The aim of the EuroVelo project is to develop, promote and coordinate the creation and operation of a complete European cycle route network of high-quality, crossing and uniting the whole European continent.
EuroVelo incorporates existing and planned national and regional cycle routes into a single European network. It currently consists of well over 45,000 km of bike paths and thousands of kilometers more are planned – when completed it will total over 70,000 km. EuroVelo signposting can now be found in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, the UK, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, Italy a.o. The international status of the routes helps with garnering funds and political support for their continuing construction. The routes can be used by long-distance cycle tourists, as well as by local people making daily journeys.
Three Greek EuroVelo routes
Throughout the country three EuroVelo Routes*, (EV8, EV 11 and EV 13) are about to be realised.
EuroVelo 8 | The Mediterranean Route
This route (a total of approx. 5.900 km) begins from Cadiz, Andalusia in Spain and ends in Greece, where it enters Epirus Region and the city of Igoumenitsa, continues through the West Greece Region, crosses the Antirrio-Rio bridge, heading towards the city of Patras, and enters the Peloponnese Region, by the seafront along Xylokastro and Ancient Sykyon to Kiato, towards Corinth. Along the coast from Megara to Elefsina the route enters the Attica Region to the Acropolis of Athens.
EuroVelo 11 | The East Europe Route
From North to South, this lengthy route (approx. 6,000 km) stretches from the north-east tip of Norway all the way down to Greece, entering the country through the Central Macedonia Region and the city of Thessaloniki. Further south, it reaches the Monastic Complex of Meteora and from there it heads towards the cities of Larissa and Volos, at the foot of Mount Pelion, in the Thessaly Region. The route continues south, through the Central Greece Region and the towns of Delphi, Thebes and Plataies, to end in Attica Region, through the town of Elefsina and the city of Athens.
EuroVelo 13 | The Iron Curtain Trail
As the longest EuroVelo route (approx. 10.400 km) it stretches from the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean), located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia, through Lappland and the Baltic States to the vineyards of southern Czechia and northern Austria to the mountainous border of Bulgaria and Greece to end in Turkey on the Black Sea. This route enters Greece from Promachonas border station going through the National Park of Kerkini Lake, in the Region of Central Macedonia, follows the natural boundaries of Rodopi mountains north of the city of Drama, and enters Greece again in Evros district at Kyprinos municipality along Ardas River in the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace.
The objectives of the ECF for the EuroVelo project are:
- To ensure the implementation of very high quality European-grade cycle routes in all countries of Europe, carrying the best European practice across borders and harmonising standards;
- To communicate the existence of these routes to decision makers and potential users, promote and market their use, and provide an important port of call for information about cycling in Europe;
- In this way, to encourage large numbers of European citizens to give cycling a try, and so to promote a shift to healthy and sustainable travel – for daily trips and as cycling tourism.
Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination with a market share of 50% in 2016.
The tourism industry generates (directly and indirectly) 10.2% of total EU-28 GDP, a figure which is forecasted to rise to 11.2% of GDP by 2027.
Tourism is an important driver of economic and social development. The sector stimulates economic growth by generating income, employment and investment in Europe, and through its exports to origin markets worldwide. It helps to sustain our cultural and natural heritage, provides revenue to fund facilities and infrastructure enjoyed by visitors and residents, and promotes an awareness of a common European identity and citizenship distinguished by its diversity.