5 Best Cycling Trails in the World

Do you tire of the scenery in your own country? Do you feel like you’re ready for grander adventures? Whether you’re a beginner cyclist looking for inspiration or a hardcore gravel-cruncher that’s looking to challenge themselves in the most extreme way possible, here are five of the best cycling trails in the world.

1 Shimanami Kaido in Japan

The Shimanami Kaido is a 70km ride across Japan’s seaside roads. Separated from the main highways, this cycling route is for the new or recreational cyclist who loves to see as much as they love to bike. One can complete this trail in a day. Still, the vistas that you pass by begging to be appreciated, and one way or another, you’ll undoubtedly stop and stare at the many quaint coastal villages, temples, and majestic, arching bridges that you will pass along the way.

2 South Downs Way in England

Think of the Shimanami Kaido, but take it up a notch; the famous South Downs Way in England is another scenic route that takes riders up to three days to appreciate fully. Well, you can probably crunch it in just one go, but although the 160-kilometer route among the rolling hills looks tame, you’re climbing up for at least 4.3 kilometers during the entire ride, which is quite significant. Much easier to take it easy and appreciate the lush scenery that unfolds as you pedal, and then rest along with the many guesthouses and pubs along the way.

3 La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica

Translated to “The Conquistadors’ Trail” in English, this Costa Rican mountain trail is exactly how it sounds; challenging, grueling, and epic. This 270-kilometer off-road trail is not for beginners. Originally one of the first mountain bike race trails of its kind, you can now complete the La Ruta de Los Conquistadores any day and any time you like. The route winds through tough mud patches, unforgiving rainforest paths, and even the summit peak of the Irazu, an extinct volcano. And yes, that’s as tough as it sounds like too. For those who can persevere, though, the rewards are great. You will pass lush mountain sceneries, mangrove forests, and scenic white sand beaches along the way to the end. That is if you can make it.

4 The Friendship Highway in China

Ironically enough, you won’t find a single friendly thing in China’s Friendship Highway – not when it comes to cycling. The vista in this 800-kilometer mountainside trail is epic and intimidating, and the ride conditions are not for the faint of heart. Aside from the vast distance, this is also one of the highest trails in the world. Passing through three roads at more than 5 kilometers above sea level, topping at 5.2 km at the Gyatso La pass, this road is for those who dare to pedal their way to the top.

5 Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in North America

One of the grandest, biggest, longest trails to ever be opened for mountain bikers, the Great Divide Route measures 4,400 kilometers in length, about 61 kilometers of that composed of steep climbs in rocky, punishing terrain. Sounds tough? That’s not all. It’s also very remote, running through deep forests, mountain ranges, and the vast sceneries of the Great Basin. Spectacular view and challenging route for mountain bikers who love the extreme. Thinking of your next international bike ride? There are undoubtedly many more cycling trails than what we’ve mentioned, but so far, those top five are the most visually stunning and physically demanding routes we know, earning them their spot in the top five.