The first in Greece to receive the certification in 2019, the municipality has since been working to improve its cycling infrastructure and promote bicycle tourism.
As part of the renewal process, the municipality has added new routes to its cycling network, as well as new signage and QR codes. The routes are all linked to local historical and cultural attractions, so that cyclists can explore the region’s natural and cultural heritage while riding their bikes.
Moreover, the local authority soon plans to target the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Scandinavia with its marketing campaign for cycling tourism. The campaign includes participation in trade fairs, digital campaigns, and linking the product with other activities such as road and adventure tourism. In addition, the municipality hopes to attract cycling teams to Eastern Halkidiki for their preparation and to organize international cycling races in the future.
“We have created another integrated tourism product,” said Aristotle Mayor Stelios Valianos adding that “by maintaining and certifying the existing infrastructure and integrating many local hotels/businesses into the national bike-friendly platform, we hope to create a modern and safe network of cycling services.”
The Bike Friendly label is awarded to hotels, but also to municipalities or tourism destinations/organizations that meet a set of internationally recognized quality criteria. It is developed by NatTour in cooperation with the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF). All Bike Friendly activities run are under the auspices of the Greek Tourism and Environment & Energy ministries.
NatTour is a newly established Greek nonprofit civil partnership that offers services for sustainable tourism development.