Best Cycle And Walking Routes In Normandy

November 20, 2020

One of the greatest pleasures of autumn is getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and seeing the golden and copper colours of the leaves fall at your feet. Whether it’s a short stroll, an all-day hike or a cycle ride with a picnic, enjoying the autumnal landscape is a delight.

While we’re sure you’re busy exploring areas close to home and making the most of your local outdoor space, it’s always good to explore new places too. And as you’re not able to do that in person, we thought we would bring some of Normandy’s best cycle and walking routes to you.

So settle in and discover some of the best walking and cycling routes in Normandy.

1. A coastal cycle

Follow the Normandy coastline on the La Vélomaritime – EuroVelo 4 route and cycle through the Baie de Somme region and the Opal Coast, taking in the breathtaking landscapes as you ride. Stop at France’s Finest Market in Dieppe to pick up local produce for a picnic and enjoy beneath the white cliffs of Étretat.


2. A riverside ride

Follow the river Seine to cycle past quaint villages and tree-lined canals while taking in the landscape which inspired the Impressionists. Start in Giverny after visiting Monet’s gardens and follow the route through vast countryside which connects towns and villages such as Le Havre and Honfleur. Stop by any one of these towns for 19th century architecture, amazing local food and fascinating cultural sites.


3. Cycle or stroll the Canal de la Somme

For a peaceful cycle or stroll, a quiet stretch of the Canal de la Somme is the perfect place to free your mind. Start in Boismont and walk down the tree-lined canal into the open countryside surrounding it. It’s also a cycle path but not many cyclists pass through so there’s plenty of space for a leisurely walk.


4. Follow the old railway line in Le Bec-Hellouin

The path that links one of the most beautiful villages in France, Le Bec-Hellouin to Evreux, follows a former railway line which passes through medieval villages, dense woods, abandoned train stations and beautiful countryside. You can follow the full 42km trail over a series of days on your bike or by foot. Alternatively, you can explore a stretch of it, visiting the villages en route, discovering their history, traditions and cuisine.


5. An historic cycle ride

Cycle the route from the D-Day beaches all the way to Mont St-Michel for tranquil country lanes, sprawling valleys and hills which reward you with great views. Visit the historic sites en route, including the WW2 landing beaches, Bayeux, where the famous medieval tapestry sits, and the magnificent Mont St-Michel, which appears out of the sea like a mirage.


6. Hike through a cathedral of beech trees in Beuvron en Auge

Take a hike through the centuries old beech forest that surrounds the village of Beuvron en Auge and be rewarded with breathtaking views across the Dives valley and Orne forests. Within the forest sits the 12th century Saint-Michel chapel which is well worth a visit and once you’ve walked back down to the village you can reward yourself with a crêpe!


7. A foodie bike ride

Follow the L’Avenue Verte cycle route which runs from London to Paris, passing through Normandy, with plenty of opportunities to try the regional delicacies. Take the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and don’t leave until you’ve tried Marmite Dieppoise, a rich and hearty fish stew with a kick of paprika. Well fed,  head south to Neufchâtel-en-Bray to try one of the oldest varieties of cheese in France then visit the apple orchards of Forges-les-Eaux before sipping some locally produced cider to refuel you for your onward journey.


8. Walk the Alabaster Coast

A walk upon the cliffs of Étretat offer scenic views and are suitable for all skill levels. See the interesting rock formations of the cliffs and look out across the English Channel. On a very clear day you might even see the shores of England. Once you’ve walked the cliffs head down to the beach for a spot of fossil hunting and for something truly special heading there at sunrise or sunset will not disappoint!


9. Mountain biking in La Manche

With over 700km of trails, La Manche in Western Normandy is ideal for cyclists and hikers. The mix of terrains in the region make it suitable for a range of purposes but the rugged trails are ideal for exploring on a mountain bike. Not only will you be challenged by the hilly routes, you will be able to see natural marshlands, cycle through one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Northern France and admire the unspoilt coastline.


10. Stroll through a field of flowers in the Andelle Valley

The walking and cycling route from La Hallotière through the forests and fields surrounding it is enjoyable in all seasons. However, visit in spring and you will see the forest burst with the colour of wild hyacinths and bluebells. Just beautiful.

If you fancy sampling these routes for yourself next year, crossings for 2021 on our Newhaven to Dieppe route are now on sale.

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