Categories of EuroVelo routes

We have noticed that the categories of EuroVelo routes are not always perfectly clear for everyone. This article aims to clarify the meanings of the different kinds of EuroVelo routes: certified, developed, under development and at the planning stage. We hope that this summary will be useful both for professionals working with us to improve the network and for cycling tourists planning their next journey!

The EuroVelo network is over 70,000 km long with each of the 15 routes being at least 1,000 km in length. ECF is constantly working with its National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators on developing the network but there remain differences in the conditions of the routes (sometimes even between different sections on the same route). Whilst this is inevitable on a network of this size, it is important to communicate to potential users what they can expect if they cycle a particular section of a route. For this reason, the ECF has developed some common categories that are applicable for the entire network and are communicated on the European level (e.g. EuroVelo.com website, EuroVelo Overview Map).

The purpose of this note is to provide an overview of these different categories.

EUROVELO ROUTES

The first 12 EuroVelo routes were designated back in 1995 when the network was more an aspiration than a reality. Consequently, each route only had to meet some very basic criteria (see table below).  Most of these routes have seen substantial development in the meantime but there remain some sections at the planning stage or under development.

For routes at the planning stage, the route is not signed and there is no detailed information publicly available on the internet. The proposed itinerary communicated is a proposal for the best possible option currently available. It may also contain dangerous sections.

For routes under development but usable, it is possible to follow the route either by signing or detailed information publicly available on the internet on national or regional cycling / tourism portals (linked to EuroVelo.com). The route may contain some sections that need further development (e.g. stretches on public highways with high levels of traffic).

In both cases, the ECF is working with national partners to encourage further development.

It is no longer possible for new routes, or extensions to existing routes, to join the network at this level. They should be at least Developed EuroVelo Routes with EuroVelo signs at the time that they formally join the network (see below).

DEVELOPED EUROVELO ROUTES

If a route or section features signing in line with the respective national standard as well as a website providing information to users, it can be called a Developed EuroVelo route. A further distinction is made if the signing incorporates EuroVelo route information panels too.

Routes at the planning stage, routes under development but useable and developed routes can be all surveyed using the European Certification Standard methodology (see below) to identify critical deficiencies and provide an impetus to make improvements in cooperation with the relevant authorities and partners. The aim is to raise the overall quality of the route to the point at which it can formally be certified. However, this process can take several years.

CERTIFIED EUROVELO ROUTES

If a route has additionally successfully undergone the certification process in line with the ECF’s European Certification Standard, it can be called a Certified EuroVelo route. So far, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is the only route in the EuroVelo network meeting all the necessary criteria.

It is important to note that to join the EuroVelo network, a route does not necessarily have to be certified in accordance with the ECF’s European Certification Standard. As a minimum, new routes, or major extensions to existing routes, should meet the criteria for Developed EuroVelo Routes with EuroVelo signs.

Status, categories communicated and colors on the EuroVelo maps Minimum criteria
(N.B. in order to reach a certain category, the route should also comply with the criteria under the preceding categories)
CERTIFIED EUROVELO ROUTE
Certified EuroVelo Route
  • Certification according to ECF’s European Certification Standard. Can either be a full route or a continuous section of at least 300 km.
  • There are different levels of certification reflecting the potential target groups (regular cycle tourists; occasional cycle tourists; and inexperienced cycle tourists and cyclists with special bikes).
DEVELOPED EUROVELO ROUTE
Developed route with EuroVelo signs
Developed route
  • Signing in line with national standards (a disctinction is made if they incorporate EuroVelo signs).
  • Detailed information publicly available on the internet on national or regional cycling / tourism portals (linked to EuroVelo.com).
EUROVELO ROUTE
EuroVelo under development
Route at the planning stage
  • At least 1,000 km.
  • At least 2 countries.
  • For routes under development, there should either be signing in line with national standards or detaild information publicly available on the internet on national or regional cycling / tourism portals (linked to EuroVelo.com).
Of course, our network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators are working on improvements all the time, so we regularly update the information available on www.EuroVelo.com to show the latest situation along each route.