Stunning year-round cycle routes: Monaco and its surrounding area
Inspired by the drama and stunning landscapes of the Tour de France, each year thousands of people take their two wheels and go cycling in the Alps. It’s an incredible experience, but one that’s limited to a few months in summer once the snow has melted and temperatures have climbed. If, though, you’re looking for year-round cycle routes, Monaco and the surrounding areas are a match for the mountains to the north.
Coastal roads and clifftop villages
Unlike cycling in the Alps, the Cote d’Azur comes with a magnificent coastline. This is a great place to start when planning your cycle routes. Monaco sits on a stunning stretch of coastal road. It’s perfect for a leisurely cruise, taking you through seaside towns, past beaches and rugged cliffs, the azure waters always by your side.
Heading west out of Monaco, you can follow the Basse Corniche, the lower of three roads (or ‘Corniches’) that hug the cliffs. Going over a few small hills en route, you’ll pass through ports like Beaulieu-sur-Mer and then the beautiful bay at Villefranche-sur-Mer, before arriving on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
Alternatively try one of the other corniches, the Moyenne or the Grande. They climb higher up the cliffs, so are a bit harder on the legs, but you’ll be rewarded with some incredible views. There are also the clifftop villages of La Turbie and Eze to discover, perfect for a café stop or to top up your water at the fountains, where locals and tourists cluster with their bikes. You can also head east, travelling along the front of the lovely seaside town of Menton before crossing into Italy to enjoy the towns of Ventimiglia, Bordighera and San Remo.
Climbs to match cycling in the Alps
For many, the main attraction of cycling in the Alps is the climbs. Inland from Monaco, there are plenty of mountains to satisfy the more serious cyclists, the majority with summits that are accessible all year. North out of Menton, via the village of St. Agnes, you’ll find the Col de la Madone. A favourite with the many professionals who train in this area, the Madone is a must and the closest big climb to Monaco.
Further inland there’s the Col de Braus, with its impressive stacked hairpins, and the Col de Turini, which at over 20km and with more than 1200m of elevation gain, is the biggest test in the area. Both can be climbed from either side with both starting from almost the same spot in either L’Escarene or Sospel, the latter another popular stop-off for thirsty cyclists. To complete your route from Monaco, L’Escarene is reached from La Turbie via Peille and then a winding road through a steep gorge. You get to Sospel from Menton by first climbing over the Col de Castillon, another popular climb with a gentle gradient.
For visitors or those keen to stay longer and looking for a penthouse or a mixed-use apartment for sale, Monaco isn’t just about the tourist sites or home and business. It can be your base for endless cycling adventures too.