Europe’s Highest Summits (Cycling)

#1
Pico Veleta
SPAIN
#2
Col des Gentianes
SWITZERLAND
#3
Rettenbachferner
AUSTRIA
#4
Passo dello Stelvio
ITALY
#5
Kaunertal Gletscher straBe
AUSTRIA
#6
Colle dell'Agnello - Italy
ITALY
#7
Cime de la Bonette (Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée)
FRANCE
#8
Col de l'Iseran (Val-d'Isere)
FRANCE
#9
Col du Galibier (Valloire)
FRANCE
#10
Mount Etna
ITALY

Climb List: Europe's Highest Cycling Climbs
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

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France: Alpe d'Huez and Galibier
France
19 ROUTES
33 POIs
ROUTE STATS (TOTAL)
189.9
mi
DISTANCE
65,352
ft
ELEV. GAIN
France: Briançon
France
10 ROUTES
27 POIs
ROUTE STATS (TOTAL)
98.9
mi
DISTANCE
31,966
ft
ELEV. GAIN
Italy: Stelvio, Gavia & Mortirolo
Switzerland, Italy
11 ROUTES
14 POIs
ROUTE STATS (TOTAL)
109.5
mi
DISTANCE
46,778
ft
ELEV. GAIN
Switzerland: Valais
Switzerland
23 ROUTES
44 POIs
ROUTE STATS (TOTAL)
246.8
mi
DISTANCE
95,399
ft
ELEV. GAIN

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FULL SUMMARY

Cycling the highest bike climbs in Europe - hairpins on Pico de Veleta

Pico Veleta, Spain, the highest road in Europe.

THE HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN EUROPE

PICO DE VELETA, SPAIN

Cycling Pico de Veleta - Highest bike climbs in Europe - Pico de Veleta viewed through Virgen de Las Nieves.

Cycling Pico de Veleta -- a top world bike climb.

Ride 31.3 km to 3366 m gaining 2,689 m at 7.7%.

THE NUMBER SEVEN MOST DIFFICULT CLIMB IN THE WORLD. It is not often that we are blessed to climb “The” of anything, whether it be the “hardest,” the “longest,” the “steepest,” or, in this case the “highest.”  Yet we can honestly claim that Pico is a “The” climb:  The highest paved road in all of Europe -- now that’s saying something!  And it’s not just high, it’s H A R D!

THE SECOND HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN EUROPE

COL DES GENTIANES, SWITZERLAND

Bike climb highest bike climbs in Europe - bike against ski resort sign at top of Col des Gentianes

Col des Gentianes is the 40th ranked bike climb in the world.

We finish this climb at a crazy 2,897 meters/9,504’.

The road access up this climb takes you to a ski resort.  By the way, you can take the tram up in six minutes, versus 3+ hours by bike...but that takes all the fun out of it, right?  

THE THIRD HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN EUROPE

RETTENBACHFERNER, AUSTRIA

Climbing highest bike climbs in Europe - Rettenbachferner, Austria - bike leaning against highest road in the EU sign

Rettenbachferner is the highest paved road open to the public in Europe.

The Rettenbachferner bike climbs finishes at 2,817 meters/9,242’

Pico del Veleta’s last 11.5 kilometers are paved but closed to the public. Much of Col des Gentianes is gravel, although manageable on road bike.  

THE FOURTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN EUROPE

MOUNT ETNA, ITALY

Bike climb highest bike climbs in Europe - Mount Etna and flowers

Climbing Mount Etna the 8.5 km past Rifugio Giovanni Sapienza requires cross or mountain bike.

We finish the Mount Etna bike climb at 2,798 meters/9,180’.

Mount Etna is a major tourist destination in Italy.  The big sweeping switchbacks up the mountainside take you to the restaurants/visitor center/parking lot, where the paved road ends. Many tourist park there and hike, bus, tram, or quad to the summit.

THE FIFTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN EUROPE

CIME DE LA BONETTE

Bicycle ride highest bike climbs in Europe - Cime de la Bonette - pass sign, road and mountain

We finish the Cime de la Bonette bike ride at 2,768 meters/9,080’.

Col de Bonette is part of the Route des Grandes Alpes, a tourist itinerary that begins in Thonon-les-Bains and travels over many of the most spectacular passes in France and Europe, including Col de L’Iseran, Galibier, d’Izoard, and Bonette.

We have researched and documented for this page the 30 hardest and most difficult bike climbs ever included in the Tour de France. 

The all-time hardest bike climbs of the Tour de France can be viewed on this page via the map (zoom in to view climbs in particular areas), by Climb Cards (photo and stats) or by a detailed list of the climbs that can be arranged in metric or imperial units by difficulty, distance (longest climbs in the area), altitude gained, highest elevation (highest summit), average grade (sort the grades by varying distances), lowest start point, etc. Click on "Climb Page" to jump to the detail page for that particular bike climb. We feel this page provides a good summary of the top, hardest and best bicycling climbs of the Tour de France.

The 10 hardest bike climbs ever to appear in the Tour de France are %TOP10 

Also visit our 2023 Tour de France Home Page for all the stages, climbs, details of the 2023 Tour de France as well as all the historical data for the Grand Tour.