Where Will We Stay While Cycle Touring Europe?

Cycle Touring Accommodation

You’ll notice that there was no camping gear in the equipment list that I published last week. You see, Jason doesn’t camp. Well apart from that time that I convinced him to hike the Tetons with me a couple of years ago and, of course, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu but, generally, the thought of pitching a tent and climbing into a sleeping bag has him saying no to my great ideas well before I can even get them out.

So we needed a compromise for cycle touring Europe this summer. We can’t afford to stay in hotels the whole way, and besides, our plan has us cycling through a whole lot of countryside where traditional hotels and hostels might not be available.

There are a couple of options that are available:


WarmShowers.org is the CouchSurfing of the cycling set. People who are willing to host cyclists sign up and provide their contact information while cyclists looking for accommodation options sign up and fill out a profile. Hosts are flagged on a map and cyclists simply look at the map to find a host that may be nearby and then send them a message.

Hosts are typically cyclists themselves and are interested in meeting like-minded folk who enjoy both travel and cycling. Accommodation is free; it is the exchange of conversation and goodwill that fuels the exchange.

Vrienden op de Fiets

Loosely translated (very loosely as I don’t know any Dutch!) this is Friends of the Bike. It works very similarly to WarmShowers but with more of a bed and breakfast feel to it. In fact, that is exactly how it works. Owners register their property with the organization and are required to provide a few basic cycling necessities; there needs to be a private room, space to store the bikes, and a breakfast upon departure. Cyclists ‘donate’ to the organization and receive a registration card, a map with all the hosts mapped out, and a booklet listing all the possible places to stay; they simply connect up, show up, and enjoy a relaxing evening. There is a cost for this option though; 19 Euro per person, per night.

Vacation Rentals

Our plan is to intersperse some longer urban stays in amongst the long days of cycling. A chance to relax and get to know a city as well as get some work done. You know how much we love renting apartments and this is a perfect occasion; we’ll be able to relax with coffee and breakfast in the morning while catching up on work and then spend the afternoons and evenings exploring and enjoying our new neighbourhood.

It will be an interesting mix of places to stay. I’m a little nervous about staying with other people but, at the same time, it’s one of the things I’m looking forward to. It’s out of my comfort zone but I have long lamented that I don’t think we ‘get under the skin’ enough when we travel; this is an experiment in doing that. I guess I should really be worrying that I will be as good a guest as I’m hoping the hosts will be ;)

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22 Responses to “Where Will We Stay While Cycle Touring Europe?”

  1. Chantae Says:

    Staying with locals is the best way to travel! Enjoy :)
    Chantae recently posted..Nothing but Crocs and Tighty-Whiteys in Esperance, Australia

  2. Corinne Says:

    It sounds like fun. I think mixing it up will make it seem much less like work, too! I can’t wait to hear more.
    Corinne recently posted..Singapore Airport and Why It’s So Awesome!

  3. Tracey Says:

    Gillian, this has all makings of an awesome vacation! I feel another book coming soon:) I can’t wait to here about all of the amazing people you will meet.
    Tracey recently posted..The Road Less Traveled: Oahu

  4. Oliver Says:

    I just came across Warmshowers a few days ago and love the concept!
    Your route looks amazing btw, I’m sure you will have fun. Keeping my fingers crossed for some tailwind as well… ;)
    Oliver recently posted..Celebrating tranquillity

  5. Franca Says:

    How exciting! We’ve used couchsurfing a lot (we still do) and we had some of the most memorable experiences with the locals and made great friends, so the idea of using WarmShowers.org sounds excellent. You’ll might need to compromise at times and adapt to the situation, but it might turn into incredible experiences.

    • Gillian Says:

      Franca, you and Dale have definitely inspired us to try out WarmShowers as I know you’ve had such success with CouchSurfing. It’s going to be an experience, that’s for sure!

  6. Rebecca Says:

    So exciting – what an adventure!!
    Rebecca recently posted..Bali sunsets

  7. Ali Says:

    And friend! Staying with friends! We can’t wait to see you!
    Ali recently posted..Krabi 4 Islands Tour

  8. Andrea Says:

    Wow, lots of great options allowing you to connect with likeminded people – love that!
    Andrea recently posted..The World’s Worst Drivers Are In Houston

  9. Carmel Says:

    I love those first two concepts! What a nice idea for like-minded travelers. I’m so excited for you guys to get started!

  10. Stephen Says:

    This is going to be amazing! Can’t wait to read about it :)
    Stephen recently posted..Melbourne’s White Night Festival -Magical Or Mayhem?

  11. John Says:

    What an interesting adventure! You will might need to bargain at times and adjust to the scenario, but it might become amazing encounters. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  12. Torsten Says:

    What an exciting way to see Europe – exhausting, I bet, but so fulfilling.

    Now following you on Twitter so hopefully see you there sometime!
    Torsten recently posted..Airfare Deal – from Boston to Houston $136 on jetBlue