When you’re cycling in the Alps, the weather is very relevant to your enjoyment (and safety!).
To help you decide when to visit, we’ve set out:
When to cycle the Alps: 4 (crucial) things you need to consider
1. Is it cycling season
If you visit a town out of cycling season, you may find that many places are either shut or still focused on winter sports (and so can’t offer services like bike hire, guiding and repair).
Our rule of thumb for cycling season in the Alps:
Obviously, it will vary a bit, so once you’ve decided where you want to visit, check they’ll be open.
2. Will the routes you want to ride be open?
Many mountain passes close during the winter. Another rule of thumb:
This is a very general guide. The dates cols close vary and depend on conditions. Your closest tourist office should have information. Or these resources may help:
3. What’s the weather going to be like?
The weather changes quickly in the high mountains (both day to day and year to year). It’s possible you’ll hit adverse weather at any time of year.
4. Are there any events on/how busy is it going to be?
The Alps get busy. Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Summer holidays. The Alps are a major summer holiday destination. The busiest time of year is from the beginning of the second week in July to the end of the third week in August.
- The Tour de France. Whether you’re timing your trip to see it or to avoid the circus and closed roads that accompany it, plan accordingly.
- Major sportives in the area. The Alps hosts some of the world’s most famous sportives, with thousands of people descending on the start towns:
At a glance guide to cycling weather in the Alps
No good for cycling: the skiers and snowboarders are in charge until mid-April.
You may get warm sun or you may get rain - these months can be unpredictable. Depending on winter snowfall, some of the cols over 2,000m may be closed until early/mid-June.
All the cols should be open. It can get busy. If you prefer to avoid lots of people, don’t visit during the weeks around the Tour de France.
The July and August tourist throngs disappear as people return to work in September. It can be a good time to visit the Alps since temperatures in September and October remain high with averages of 21 and 18 respectively. But be prepared for rain: these are typically the island’s two most rainy months, with averages of 54 and 71mm.
Temperatures in November and December are cooler (11 and 8℃ respectively) but average rainfall dramatically reduces (11 and 8mm).
Too cold for cycling.
Over to you!
What’s your experience with the weather when cycling in the Alps? Let us know - comment below!
If you're planning a cycling trip to the Alps, don't miss our ultimate guide to cycling the Alpe d'Huez region and Col de l'Iseran region, our tips to cycling the Alps - plus loads of other articles below.
Banner photo credit: visuall2/Shutterstock.com
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