See the section for Europe of the Trento Bike Pages

The Best European Bicycle Maps

From a message posted to by Ernst Poulsen, Dansk Cyklist Forbund ( on Mon, 9 Jan 95 19:38:53 +0100.

With some additions (marked as BvO) suggested by Bas van Oudheusden in November 1995

The following article gives tips on the best bicycle maps for most of the western-european countries. The information is gathered by members of the Danish Cyclists' Federation.

Our focus has been on giving advice to the cyclist who is abroad, and who may want to travel longer distances in a foreign country. Local cyclists or people who stay at one place the entire vacation may want to get maps with more detail.

In general we most often recommend scale 1:100.000 or 1:200.000 maps as they offer a fair compromise between detail, handiness, and price. Scale 1:50.000 maps give you perfect detail, but you may need one map per day, if you a going longer distances.

Prices are given in European ECU. 1 ECU equals approximately 2 German Marks. The prices stated should be valid for imported maps (also for Denmark). You will save 20-50% if you buy your maps in the country you are going to, - but the advantage of planning ahead is always worth the extra cost.

For a few countries we have added information on one of the most popular bicycle book guides. Just in case you may want to read more before you leave.

It may sometimes be difficult to find the maps. Try special map-stores in large cities, - or even better the bicycle advocacy group in your own country. As an example all the mentioned European maps are available from The Danish Cyclists' Federation in Copenhagen. Sometimes it works both ways, - you may for example buy the Danish bicycle maps not only at the Danish Cyclists' Federation, but also at the main offices of the Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and German Cyclists' Groups (address to found on VeloNet - look for: Bicycle Advocacy Groups).

If anyone on the Internet has information on other countries (also outside Europe), or if you disagree with the information given, - please write me at the address below.

This article may be freely distributed in electronic form on the Internet without permission as long it is not altered. Please respect my byline. It may not, however be printed in newsletters, magazines, newspapers or books without written permission.

Dansk Cyklist Forbund
att: Ernst Poulsen
Roemersgade 7
DK-1362 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 - 33 32 31 21
Fax:   +45 - 33 32 76 83
E-mail: (Expires Jan. 15th 95)

The Best European Bicycle Maps

(Updated Jan. 9th. 95)

Europe in general

One of the few books on cycling in Europe is "Europe by Bike - 18 Tours geared for Discovery", by Karen & Terry Whitehill, 1993, 288 pages, 18,- ECU. There are no maps available for cyclists which cover all of Europe.


   Argus, scale 1:200.000
   8 sheets cover Austria
   Estimated price: 6-7,50 ECU
These are the official bicycle maps of the ARGUS bicycle advocacy group. They show sign posted bicycle routes, moutainbike-routes, steep roads, distances between towns, bicycle lanes and traffic density in different colour-shading.

You'll also find camping sites, hotels, youth hostels, bicycle shops- and rentals, churches, castles, etc.

If you - as 200.000 other tourists each year - want to follow the famous Donau Radweg (The most popular bicycle route in the Western World) you may consider one of the spiral bound book-lets available. We recommend "Der Donauradweg" in 3 parts, each at 11,- ECU, German language, maps in scale 1:60.000. At local tourist offices you may find/buy new brochures on the latest signposted bicycle routes as they are popping up everywhere these years.


   Michelin, yellow series, scale 1:200.000
   2 maps cover Belgium and Luxembourg
   Estimated price 3,- ECU
These are almost the same as the French Michelin maps. These large maps show places of interest, steep hills, etc. - but not camping sites. Map 214 covers Luxembourg and the southern part of Belgium, map 213 covers the middle part of Belgium. For the northern most-part of Belgium we recommend the Dutch bicycle maps from ANWB.


   Geodeticky a kartograficky podnik, scale 1:200.000 
   17 sheets cover both countries
   Estimated price: 4-8,- ECU
These are auto-maps, but they still carry the usual touristic information such as camping sites, hotels, youth hostels, etc. Legends and touristic information in English, German, French. These maps were hard to find, and you may have difficulty in obtaining them today.

BvO: Very good map: 1:200.000 Velyky Autoatlas, Kartografie Praha (covering all of the CS); size: 64 pag.,35 by 25 cm. Local price: Kcs 69; also available as edition of Freytag & Berndt. The same material is available in separate sheets+booklet under the name of Automapa (18 parts covering the CS).

Recently appeared with Marco Polo/Mair (1:200.000, CS in 4 sheets) also available as Shell EuroAtlas.

More detailed topographic maps (1:100.000 en 1:50.000) are available locally, and may be obtained at specialised map shops in Europe.


   County Bicycle Maps, scale 1:100.000, 1:200.000, and 1:50.000
   Denmark covered in 14 sheets
   Estimated price: 7-13,- ECU
   The Bicycle Vacation Map
   Denmark covered in 1 sheet
   Estimated price: 6,- ECU
Every county (14) in Denmark has produced a special bicycle map. They are not all exactly alike, but they are all excellent in detail and information. Every signposted bicycle route (10.000 kilometers) is on the map as are recommended back roads in areas without signposted routes and bike lanes along highways.

All maps show camping sites and youth hostels, and some show hotels and farmers who allow "wild camping" on their land (1 ECU/pr. night). Most maps also show bicycle shops and shopping possibilities in rural areas. Most of the maps also have tourist information on the back or even deliver a full local guide with the map. Some - but not all guides exist in English and German. Ask before you buy.

All County Bicycle Maps are based on the official maps of the Danish Government institution: "Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen", the best maps you can get. Whereever you are going you need one of the County Bicycle Maps. Before buying you need the name of the counties (amt) you are going to: Nordjylland, Viborg, Ringkobing, Aarhus, Vejle, Ribe, Soenderjylland, Fyn, Vestsjaelland, Storstrom, Roskilde, Frederiksborg, Copenhagen, or Bornholm). The Copenhagen county map is not in as high a quality as the rest. Try to get hold of the Copenhagen Municipality map instead. The map of Bornholm is a small booklet (in Danish, German or English) which shows all local bicycle routes.

If you have not yet decided on what counties you want to visit and you want to plan your vacation ahead you should buy the Bicycle Vacation Map, scale 1:510.000, 7,- ECU. It is the best planning map anywhere. It shows 10.000 kilometers of signposted bicycle routes, scenic routes in areas with no sign posted bicycle routes and bike lanes along major roads.

You will find camping sites, youth hostels and "Wild-camping" with farmers marked on the map. On the back of the map you find a list of tourist offices (with phone number + address), a list of youth hostels (with phone number, address and number of beds), a list of ferries (with phone number, price list and crossing time). Furthermore you will find information on what trains carry bicycles, long distance buses which carry bicycles, and even a few words about some special Danish traffic rules. Everything is translated into English and German. But please remember - this is just a planning map - when you are on the road you need the County Bicycle Maps.

If you planning on visiting every single corner of Denmark, and do not want to buy or carry 14 maps you may settle for the 1:200.000 road map of Denmark from "Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen". It is a auto-map with very little touristic information, but it shows every paved road there is, and it comes in a very handy size.


   Routemaster Ordnance Survey maps, scale 1:250.000
   9 sheets cover England
   Estimated price 5-7,- ECU
Very detailed maps, with all relevant information such as camping sites, youth hostels, distances between towns, crossing time for ferries, etc, etc. These are not special "bicycle maps", but they are excellent value for money.

For mountain biking in local areas you may want to check the Landranger maps, scale 1:50.000 from the Ordnance Survey.

A useful book on England may be: "England by Bike - 18 tours geared for Discovery", by Les Woodland, 1992, 204 pages, 16,- ECU.


   Cartografia, scale 1:850.000 Cartografia
   1 map shows all three countries
   Estimated price: 4,- ECU
Planning map with English, German and French legend. Has townmaps of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. However, only the citymaps have information on hotels, restaurants and places of interest. At present it has not been possible to get hold of more detailed maps.


   Michelin, yellow series, scale 1:200.000
   17 sheets cover France
   Estimated price: 6,- ECU

   Institut Geographique Natinal, scale 1:100.000 (green series)
   74 sheets cover France
   Estimated price: 5,50-8,- ECU
The well known yellow maps from Michelin are your best choice. Show most camping sites, scenic routes, steep hills, and points of view. Shows mountains with shading.

BvO: They do NOT contain info on the (exact) location of all camping sites, but do indicate which towns are listed in the Michelin Camping Guide.

If you are staying in one area for a longer period you may want to supplement with the scale 1:100.000 maps (green series) from Institut Geographique National (6-8,- ECU). They have very little touristic information, but instead they give you real contour lines and more gravel roads which may be handy at times. (Allthough the few times I had to turn back it was always a dead end road I found on the green maps). Whereas the Michelin maps are found everywhere these maps are a little harder to come by.

A good book on cycling in France is "France by Bike - 14 Tours geared for Discovery", by Karen & Terry Whitehill, 1993, 238 pages, 16,- ECU.


   ADFC-Radtourenkarte, scale 1:150.000 
   27 sheets cover Germany
   Estimated price 9,- ECU
These are the official bicycle maps of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club. The maps show national and regional bicycle routes. You can even see which railroads which carry bicycles.

You will of course find the usual touristic information such as hotels, youth hostels, camping sites, places of interest - plus bicycle shops and shopping possibilities in rural areas.

There are many local guides in Germany which deal with on specific bicycle route. The most well known is the "100-casstle-route". You may also find booklets on the Donau Radweg in Bavaria and on bicycle routes along the Weser River in Northern Germany.


   Cartografia, scale 1:500.000
   1 sheet covers Hungary
   Estimated price: 4,- ECU
Planning map which shows hotels, camping sites, places of interest and distances. Townmap of Budapest.

You may want to supplement with the spiral map-booklet "Hungary by bike" (10-12,- ECU). Shows bicycle routes and bicycle paths in Hungary and has legend in Hungarian, English and German. The scale 1:500.000 maps show suggested bicycle routes, bicycle paths, bicycle shops, some camping sites, etc.


At present we do not have knowledge of the best cycling maps for Ireland. However you may find usefull hints in the book "Irish Cycling Guide", by Brendan Walsh, 1992, 133 pages, 11 ECU.

BvO: The 1:250.000 Ordnance Survey Maps (sold as Holiday Maps) are most suitable.


   Touring Club Italiano, scale 1:200.000 (Grande carta stradale d'Italia)
   15 sheets cover Italy
   Estimated price 7-8,50 ECU.
These are auto-maps, but still fairly accurate. They show hotels, places of interest, distances and steep hills.

For local areas you may want to check the 1:50.000 maps from Kompass (4,- ECU). these maps are available for some of the most popular areas.


   ANWB, scale 1:100.000
   14 maps cover the Netherlands
   Estimated price: 6-8,- ECU
The official bicycle maps of the Royal Dutch Tourist Office (ANWB), and recommended by the Dutch bicycle group ENFB. These are very detailed bicycle maps showing bicycle paths (you have never seen as many), distances, camping sites, youth hostels, tourist offfices, churches, castles, etc. The northern-most part of Belgium is covered by these maps. The publisher is presently (Jan. 95) in the midst of changing from one series to another, please check that you get hold of the newest maps available).


   Cappelens Kart, scale 1:325.000 or 1:400.000
   5 sheets cover Norway
   Estimated price: 9,50 ECU
Although these are not "bicycle-maps" they are recommended by the "Syklistenes Landsforening", for all cross country trips. You should not be discouraged by the large scale. There simply are no more roads to cycle on. In many areas these maps even show footpaths. Do NOT try to make a short cut on one of these hiking routes.

Touristic information includes youth hostels, camping sites, hotels, lodging huts, churches, viewing points, etc. Tunnels and steep roads also marked. Please notice that many longer tunnels (longer than 4 km) are closed to cyclists.

For some of the major cities you may find special bicycle maps. Ask at the Syklistenes Landsforening.

For Scandinavians (or other people who read Norwegian) we recommend the book "Sykkelferie i Norge". If you join Syklistenes Landsforening you automatically receive this book as a welcoming gift.


   Cartografia, scale 1:750.000
   1 sheet covers all of Poland
   Estimated price: 4,- ECU.
Planning map. Shows camping sites, motels, lodgings, places of interest, distances between towns. Townmaps of Warzaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Sopot, and Wroclaw.Oversigtskort med dansk signaturforklaring. At present we do not have any information on more detailed maps.



   Michelin, scale 1:400.000
   7 sheets cover Spain and Portugal
   Estimated price 4-5,- ECU. 
Although these maps are not very detailed, you may have a hard time finding anything better. Legend in English, French, Spanish and Portugese. The maps should show all paved roads outside of major towns, - and goverment owned hotels, camping sites, lodgings, distances and places of interest.


   Lantmateriet, scale 1:100.000 (blue series)
   113 sheets cover Sweden
   Estimated price 6-8,50 ECU
   Lantmateriet, scale 1:200.000 (red series)
   23 sheets cover Sweden
   Estimated price 8-11 ECU
These are the official Ordnance Survey maps of sweden with excellent detail. The show contour lines, youth hostels, camping sites. If you have strong eyes you will even find many cycle- and hiking routes. My suggestion is to buy these maps for southern Sweden.

If you are going long distances, or if you are travelling north of Gothenborg you may not need all the detail in the blue maps as there simply are fewer roads to the north. You may settle for the red, scale 1:250.000 series, which has an amazing amount of information in relation to the scale. However, they do lack camping sites and youth hostels. (But remember the "allemansret" whereby you may camp anywhere as long as you do not disturbe anyone).

It would also be a good idea to supplement with a few of the very inexpensive brochures on the many bicycle routes that are sign posted in Sweden. You will find routes along the Western Cost from Malm| to the Norwegian border and along the eastern cost from Ystad (southern most tip of Sweden) all the way (2.500 kilometers) to Lapland in the north. Ask for the 24 page brochure "Cykelleder i Sverige" (2,5-3,- ECU). It gives a brief discription of the many bicycle routes in Sweden.


   Kummerley + FreyRavenstein, scale 1:275.000
   1 map covers all of Switzerland
   Estimated price: 20,- ECU
A fairly new bicycle map of Switzerland. You will find bicycle paths, roads with little traffic, roads which are dangerous on weekends, camping sites, etc. Steep hills are shown. Mountains shown in shading. As there is quite a number of local bicycle maps (showing only smaller areas) you may want to supplement the Kummerley + Frey map when you arrive.
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