Loire Valley bike tours

Cycle the Loire Valley and its mythical “Valley of the Kings”

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Loire Valley is a living cultural landscape, where geography, history and nature blend harmoniously, making a cycling vacation on the Loire an obvious choice! Its imposing châteaux and renowned vineyards offer a diversity of interests of rare density. The wild banks of the Loire are home to exceptional biodiversity and offer a bucolic experience to your cycling trip.

The Loire by bike in the heart of the Loire Valley

A part of UNESCO’s World Heritage, the Loire Valley is a living cultural landscape. With a great river, a fertile land and temperate climate, it is a privileged place. Its geography, history and natural sites make the Loire Valley an obvious choice for a cycling holiday! Castles, vineyards, rivers, typical and preserved architecture offer a variety of interests of a rare density.

The Loire Valley

The Loire draws a valley, a long territory. It thus creates a space of cultural variations. From the center of France to the estuary, from Nevers to Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, from Cher to Loire Atlantique, the link that its inhabitants maintain with the longest river in France is still very strong, but everyone appropriate to its local specificities. The river has drawn different landscapes, sometimes hilly, digging cavities. Men took shelter there before setting up charming residence. You may also have the opportunity to sleep in one of these troglodyte rooms after a beautiful ride.

Roads and bike paths in the Loire Valley

Created in 1995, the “Loire à vélo” is a 800 km cycling route composed of small roads and greenways. If most of the network is on small roads, facilities and dedicated bike paths grow a bit more each year and help keep you away from traffic. Shared with the Eurovelo 6 which links the Atlantic to the Black Sea, the “Loire à vélo” is one of the most popular and accessible bike routes. The low height difference is a real asset and first time cycling travelers often choose it as their starting experience. The network of cycling routes, greenways and large number of villages with hotels and bed and breakfast make it a great destination for families.

The Loire Valley is much more than just a cycling route! All around the river, many roads and greenways take you to castles, vineyards and other attractions of the Loire’s rich heritage.

Our trips show you the best of what the valley has to offer, along the official route and alternative local loops. We select our favorite sections and personally choose small roads and great pathways to not miss out on Loire Valley’s riches. Accommodations have adapted to the popularity of the “Loire à vélo” by gradually developing services for cyclists. You can identify them by the Accueil Vélo accreditationcertifying their capacity to welcome cyclists and offer dedicated services.


When to visit the banks of the Loire?

Benefiting from a temperate oceanic climate, the Loire Valley has a pleasant mildness that we enjoy all year round. Neither too hot nor too cold, without excess, the temperatures are ideal for our bike rides. They are also important for gardens and market gardeners, hence the nickname given to the region: the garden of France.

This oceanic climate brings frequent cloudy periods but offers rather below average precipitation. The level of sunshine corresponds to the French average, with good values from May to September. If we see a few stormy episodes in the summer, we do not suffer from torrential rain showers.

It is a region where life is good. It is no coincidence that the kings of France had made it their favorite vacation spot by setting up their court there, in Chambord of course, but throughout the valley from Nantes to Sully-sur-Loire.

Sites of interest in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley has such a densely rich heritage that it’s impossible to list everything here. It takes several trips to discover every nook and cranny! Here are some outlines and points of interest to help you get an idea. Let’s descend together this majestic river from Sully to Saint-Brévin: what should you see during a trip on the Loire by bike? Which castles of the Loire to visit?

From Loiret to Loir et Cher via Sologne

  • From Sully to Orleans: The Castle of Sully is a gateway to UNESCO’s World Heritage territory. In a bucolic countryside, along the riverbanks you cycle through beautiful small villages built around Romanesque churches, sometimes on the river.
  • From Orléans to Beaugency: Out of Orléans, the Loiret flows into the Loire. Without a dam from its source to the ocean, many islands on the Loire show the river’s wild character. Some castles, in the heart of picturesque villages, offer nice surprises.
  • From Beaugency to Blois: Welcome to the land of castles! Chambord, Cheverny, Beauregard, Blois, to name only the most commonly known. They carry you back in time, to the courts’ festivities and great royal hunts. Cycling along the Loire offers a cultural amazement.
  • The garden festival of Chaumont sur Loire and its superb festival castle that we invite you to visit.

Touraine and Anjou

  • The Cher valley and the Castle of Chenonceaux: Spanning the river, the castle is magical. You can enjoy a canoe ride and navigate under the castle!
  • The Castle of Amboise and the Clos Lucé: Leonardo da Vinci’s last home presents some of the genius’s artistic inventions and creations.
  • Touraine and its vineyards: Discover a wide variety of wines, some unknown yet delightful. Their bouquets and flavors are a perfect accompaniment to goat cheese, another one of the region’s specialties. Lush parks and gardens highlight the castles and mansions.
  • From Chinon to Saumur: the valley is more untamed, more intimate. The castles are smaller in size, giving them a lot of charm. The tufa stone gives the villages a unusual clarity and luminosity. Tuffeau is common in the Loire Valley although today it is an expensive stone. Some preserved villages are classified as “most beautiful villages in France” such as Candes-Saint-Martin and Montsoreau.
  • From Saumur to Angers: The Loire plays with this friable rock to separate and regroup constantly in several arms, forming islands and sandbanks, a true paradise for birds. Saumur has a castle that dominates the river, offering an exceptional view of the valley.
  • In Angers: In June, since 2011, the city of light has organized the Anjou Vélo Vintage. The event quickly became unmissable. The famous meeting place for lovers of retro bike rides welcomes several thousand participants every year!

Towards the Atlantic Loire

  • From Angers to Nantes the Loire river widens. In some spots with vineyards, the river tightens and has stronger and deeper currents.
  • From Nantes to Saint-Brévin, the country is flat and villages are scarce. You will soon reach the estuary and its salty sea scents. A place where waters mix, and cultures too!