This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.
Choosing the correct port of entry can depend on a number of factors. If you
have lots of time and resources, but not much money, you might try to fly into
an airport that has great fares, but is relatively far from your starting point
Frankfurt is a good example, with lots of reasonable fares from the US and with
rail service right out of the airport to many of the starting points for popula
If you have a time constraint, you may want to try and get as close as possible
to your starting point. Another option is to get a one-way rental car so that
you can drive directly from the airport to your starting point. Be warned that
with gasoline prices in Europe between $4 and $5/gallon and with freeways in
France and Italy charging tolls to use their roads, the oveall cost of renting
a car can be much greater than the actual car rental charge.
Below is a list of points of entry to the various mountainous regions of Europe
1) Geneva - good for the Alps and the Jura mountains. There is a train station
in the airport to get you out of town fast.
2) Milan - good for the Italian and Swiss Alps. You can leave luggage in the
airport. The airport is a fair ways northeast of the city, there is bus servic
to the train station downtown.
3) Nice - very nice starting point for the Maritime Alps and Provence. You can
ride your bike right out of the airport.
4) Barcelona - about 100 miles south of the eastern end of the Pyrenees.
5) Paris - you can take a TGV (bullet train) south to the Pyrenees or east to
6) Zurich - close to the Swiss Alps.