Top Ten Epic Bike Rides

Crusades Routes

In 1096, Pope Urban II, prompted by several European leaders, urged his followers to undertake a crusade to "rescue" the Holy Land from its Turkish captors. Over the next two hundred years, thousands of people tromped the dusty and muddy roads between western Europe, Istanbul, and the eastern Mediterranean coast. An epic cyclist's challenge would be to tackle the same. A modern version of the western segment of this route could follow the rail lines of the Orient Express, although these pass through the political hotbeds of former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. An alternate route slides down Croatia's dramatic Dalmatian coast. Crusaders who took the coastal route used to follow the Via Egnatia east across today's Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. While the terrain is gorgeous, now might be the time to stick to the Greek roads further south. And once you get to Turkey, cyclists beware: Turkey is a land of hills! Especially if you cross the interior of the country. Another word of warning: Make sure you have all of your visas for the Middle East before you get there.

Published: 14 Jan 2005 | Last Updated: 5 Feb 2013
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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