Greece is taking action to promote bike tourism through the establishment of a National EuroVelo Coordination Center.
A memorandum of cooperation recently signed between the ministries of transport and tourism, the Central Union of Municipalities in Greece (KEDE) and the “Cities for Cycling” NGO foresees that the center will see to the extension of the EuroVelo cycling routes in Greece and the promotion of cycling as a tourism activity.
The proposal for Greece to establish a National EuroVelo Coordination Center was submitted to the European Cyclists’ Federation in June by the Greek Transport Ministry. The federation, which manages the EuroVelo network, recently gave its approval.
EuroVelo is a cycling network connecting European countries. It includes 17 certified cycling routes that cover 51,000km across 42 countries. Once completed, the network will exceed 70,000km.
According to an announcement by the Transport Ministry, every year the network is used by approximately 5.3 million cyclists that combine their trip to Europe with other modes of transport.
“We have taken the first step for the coordinated promotion of cycling tourism in Greece. The extension of the international EuroVelo cycling network in our country will contribute to our efforts to enrich and redefine our tourism product based on the principles of sustainability,” Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki said.
Meanwhile, the development of new cycling routes in Greece, is expected to contribute to the development of small villages and towns that are interconnected through local roads.
“EuroVelo will support bike tourism, a dynamic sector that combines alternative means of transport with the beauty of Greek nature. The next step is to extend these routes to other regions such as Western Macedonia, an area considered ideal for cycling,” Deputy Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos said.
The EuroVelo network
The EuroVelo network includes 17 long-distance cycling routes connecting the whole European continent. The following three routes include Greek destinations:
EuroVelo 8: Mediterranean Route – Starting from Cadiz (Spain) it passes by Elche, Barcelona, Beziers, Nice, Turin, Venice, Rijeka, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Durrës (via Kotor), Igoumenitsa, Patra, Athens, Cyprus and Izmir.
EuroVelo 11: East European Route – The route includes 11 sights in Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Servia, North Macedonia and Greece.
EuroVelo 13: Iron Curtain Trail: The route includes Norway, Finland, Russia, the Baltic States, the Pomeranian Coast, the German border, Bavaria, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Greece and Turkey.
The Greek section includes a small part of the Iron Curtain Trail – the former “Surveillance Area” along the Bulgarian-Greek border.
EuroVelo 13 enters Greece near the Roupel fortress and passes through the village of Petrota, follows along the Evros river and enters Turkey after the town of Kastanies.