Eurovelo 3 +
Maps and description courtesy of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)…
The following description comes from a map of Europe that was produced by the ECF back in 2008. I imagine some of the details have now changed but it gives a good overview of the route from North Cape to Trondheim (EuroVelo 1) and then from Trondheim to Santiago de Compostela (Eurovelo 3). Remember however that it is my plan to cycle the route in the other direction.
Eurovelo 1: The Atlantic Coast Route (section)
North Cape to Trondheim
1,800 km (approx.)
“The famous point North Cape is actually a small island belonging to Norway. Enjoy the view and the midnight sun and then pedal south to get warm again. You have 2,879km to cycle in Norway [to Bergen, not Trondheim which is approximately half way to Bergen], many of them without shops, most of the way following the main road. After 1,100km the pleasant island of Lofoten appears. Back on the mainland at Bodø, go south to reach Trondheim with the pilgrims Nidaros Cathedral and a special cyclists lift in a steep street…”
EuroVelo 3: The Pilgrims Route
Trondheim – Santiago de Compostela
“This is transport history from before the bicycle was invented! People have been walking and riding horses to various pilgrim destinations since the Middle Ages. The most well known attractions of the Christian worlds were Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela in the south and Trondheim in the north. Now a new trend of pilgrim travel has been in vogue for some decades – and many pilgrims ride a bike. This thematic route connects the two last mentioned pilgrim destinations. The word pilgrim comes from Latin: peregrinus, which means stranger or foreigner.
“In Norway people went to Trondheim to see the holy relics of King Olav at the Nidaros Cathedral. It began in 1030, when he lost his life in battle. A pilgrim route is signed for walkers between Oslo and Trondheim, but this is not for cycling. We follow the E6 to Støren and road 30 to Røros with excellent nature, including the largest desert of northern Europe. Note the logo of the copper mine on the tower of the church and the nice wooden houses (a World Heritage site). To Lillehammer we follow the signed cycle route “Trollsykling” – but take care of the Norwegian trolls! We meet the pilgrim trail again and join this to Oslo. Further south through Nesodden and along the rocky west side of the Oslo Fiord to Svinesund, the border with Sweden. Total in Norway 750km.
“The route continues along the west coast of Sweden just a short passage of 290km to Göteborg, where you take the ferry to Frederikshavn. The route is signed “Cykelsparet” and a few stages follow the E6 with heavy traffic. The coast – especially in Bohuslän – is very popular with tourists. You can also enjoy the small villages with wooden houses and nice forests.
“In Denmark follow the R61 for a bit then the N3 for the rest of the way. The historic section of the N3 goes from Viborg to the border at Padborg. Travellers have been using successive sections of roads on the Jutland Ridge for more than a thousand years. Together these sections of roads are known as Hærvejen (main road or old military road). Using your bike as a time machine, you experience the presence of history with ancient burial mounds, the rune stones of the Vikings and medieval churches. The route occasionally swings into the lush, hilly country of east Jutland, then back to the harsher, flat ground of the west. So in just a few kilometres, you can experience a remarkable change of landscape. The southern part runs through the flat land. This part is also called “Ochsenweg” (ox or bullock road). Total in Denmark 455km.
“The Oscsenweg carried cattle to markets in Germany and you will find the same name on the signage in Germany until Hamburg. The landscape is generally flat and sometimes very historic, e.g. the gravel road crossing the moor of Lürschau. Further on other, well-signed cycle routes will lead your way. First the HH-HB to Bremen, where you find the headquarters of the ADFC, then “Brück” and “Friedensroute” to the cycle friendly town of Münster. You can follow rivers including the Rhine to Aachen – the centre for pilgrims organisation. Total in Germany 1,121km.
“Belgium is not so well covered with cycle routes, but the southern part, Wallonia, do have some nice routes, which we follow through Gemmerich, Liège, Huy, Namur, Charleroi and Erquelinnes. The distance is 201km and mainly free from cars. The first part uses a disused railway and then continues along the rivers Meuse and Sambre partly using towpaths. In Namur the church St. Jacques reminds us of the pilgrim theme.
“In France we have the pleasure of continuing along the rivers and canals to reach Paris – “the town of towns” and now also a city for cyclists. Cycle routes have been implemented and public bikes of good quality are installed. To cycle through Paris is a day trip of 50km. South of Paris you can follow the river Seine and later a canal to Orléans, where the river Loire takes over with splendid castles and good cycle routes. Here we follow the EuroVelo 6, The Rivers Route, until Tours – a central town for pilgrims. Several routes meet here to cross the Loire. Further on the traditional route goes straight south to Poitiers, Angoulême in the general direction of Bordeaux, but crosses the river Garonne east of Bordeaux in Cadillac. The route has no special signs – just follow minor roads. Note in Moustey a very special pilgrim church. Finally after 1,335km in France you reach St. Jean Pied-de-Port and the Pyrenees.
“Via the Ibaneta Pass (1,057m) you enter Spain like Roland did, to fight for Karl the Great. The Camino in Spain leading to our goal at Santiago de Compostela is very popular and you will meet many people cycling and walking. Today the route is only signed for walkers, so you will find your way by minor roads linking the famous pilgrim places. At the pilgrim hostels you can experience the atmosphere of being a modern age pilgrim – and have fun with people of all ages and nationalities. The distance in Spain is 863km.”