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Is this the hardest bikepacking route in the world?

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28 May 2021

Komoot's new European Divide Trail is 7,600km long and predominantly off-road

How does a 7,600km bikepacking trip, predominantly off-road, from the very northern tip of Norway, across Europe to the very southwestern tip of Portugal sound? Terrifying? Exhilarating? Both?  

Whatever your answer is, the undertaking would be made a touch easier thanks to the latest route launch from the navigation genuises at komoot.

The European Divide Trail, put together by Andy Cox, is the latest series of routes avaliable on the navigation app and takes potential adventurers from Grense Jakobselv in Norway to Cabo St Vincent in Portugal. At 7,600km, it slots in as the longest 'predominantly off-road bikepacking route in the world'.

Cox put the route together after finding 'a need for a dirt road touring route exploring an alternative side of Europe, mostly away from the popular tourist destinations'. 

After months of planning and logistics, the end product was a challenging yet breathtaking route across Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France (straddling the Swiss border), Spain and finally Portugal.

Along the way is a mixture of terrains from the endless forests, giant lakes and crystal rivers of Scandinavia to the barren and vast expanses of the Iberian peninsula. There is also plenty of climbing along the way too with the route hitting 2,000m above sea level.

A further part of the challenge is the logistics of having to juggle the changing climates across Europe, finding places to sleep and keeping fed and watered, a particular obstacle considering one stretch of the route travels 255km without passing a shop! 

If this is sounding like something for you, komoot also has some minimum bike recommendations you might want to pay heed to. They suggest a minimum of 40mm tyres but advise 50mm for safety and comfort. They also recommend bikepack-style luggage options over panniers so you can enjoy the winding trails with more freedom.

In terms of travel, Kirkenes is the closest airport to the northern start point while Faro airport in Portugal's Algarve is the nearest to the southern point.

For more information on komoot's European Great Divide Trail, see here.

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