Are you looking for a custom hiking or cycling route? Perhaps one with a unique starting point, a specific destination or a certain distance? Learn how to use RouteYou to make your own customized route.
So far on this blog I have given you ideas for set walks or cycle rides. But what if you don’t want to be limited to a defined route but want to make your own, unique route? For example:
- You are on holiday and want a hiking route that starts and ends exactly from your holiday house and that is no longer than 10k so you can be back for lunch.
- You want to design a hike between two specific railway stations, but you can’t find a route on any of the hiking sites.
- You’ve bought an e-bike and you want a circular route of 50k that starts and ends at your home but which avoids all the main roads.
- You’re on a business trip and want a short evening city walk from your hotel that takes just one hour.
These are just a few examples. But the point is that for all of them, there’s probably only a slim chance that someone has had exactly the same idea before you, and has made a route that fits the bill perfectly. There’s no alternative: you have to make your own route. Thankfully, with RouteYou, it’s very easy. In fact, it’s set up to help you do exactly this.
AN INTRODUCTION TO ROUTEYOU
You firstly need to go to RouteYou. You don’t have to register, although it’s better if you do because then you can save your route and do lots of other stuff that I mention later. This link explains the difference between just using the RouteYou website and making a MyRouteYou account.
You also don’t have to pay anything as the free version is perfectly adequate. But if you do pay for a Plus account (30 EUR per year) then you obviously have access to a lot more functionalities. This link explains the difference between a free account and the MyRouteYou Plus account.
RouteYou is also available as a very smart app (iOs and Android). I’ve been using RouteYou for years and putting my own routes on the platform. Their headquarters are based in Belgium, but it’s active worldwide. In fact, you can use the following directions to make a route anywhere in the world, and in your own language.
Learn how to use RouteYou to design your own walking or cycling route, anywhere in the world!Tweet
STARTING ON ROUTEYOU
Anyway, to return to our task, open up RouteYou.com, select your language, open up the menu from the left, and click on Plan routes:
This will take you to the Route Planner, which incorporates a map on the left-hand side of the page, and the Route Planner on the right-hand side. Below shows the Route Planner:
Here you choose whether you want to go from A to B, or make a round trip. Under Route type you can chose to go walking, cycling, mountain biking, race cycling, motorcycling etc. Each main category also has sub-categories. You can see that I have selected the Cycling icon, and chosen “Recreational cycling – nicest” which will mean that any routes suggested will be the most interesting, the nicest, and will avoid main roads.
You then enter your starting address and destination. This could be your home. Or, following the examples I mentioned earlier, your holiday house, the two railway stations, or your business hotel.
For the purpose of this exercise, I am entering my home address and choosing a round trip. RouteYou immediately calculates a nice recreational cycling route beginning and ending at my home (the blue circle):
Now you might be perfectly happy with the first route offered. But the chance is high that it won’t exactly match your specific requirements. So you need to modify it. You will see that the length is set at the moment at 34 miles. (Creating an account will enable you to change to km). That’s a bit too long so I’m going to reduce it to 20. You’ll also see under the Heading section, a compass. This enables you to select the direction you want to travel in. So I may decide that I fancy discovering the area to the north-east of my home. I merely click on the compass in the north-east direction. When I make the changes in length and heading I now get a completely different route. You can see from the picture below that it’s a shorter route and now I am exploring the area to the north-east of my home:
You can also change the route in the smallest details. For example, here’s a very small fragment of another route that I made recently:
You can see that part of the route goes right next to the (brown) motorway, which I am not happy about. So what I do is click on the dark green circular node in the middle of that stretch of the route, and pull it away from the motorway. This re-routes that bit of the route. The new route is much better:
STATION TO STATION
To follow up on one of the examples given earlier, maybe you want to walk from one railway station to another, instead of retracing your steps. All you have to do is add one of the stations to the point of departure and the other to the destination, and RouteYou will give you a route. Below is a walking route from Houyet station to Gendron station in Wallonia. Walking from station to station is very useful for people who don’t have a car or who don’t want to go on a circular walk.
STEPPING OUT FROM YOUR HOTEL
Simply put the name of your hotel as point of departure, select Walking, choose a round trip, enter the distance, and you will be given a lovely city walk. For example, let’s imagine you are staying at the Novotel Hotel in Ghent and want a 4 km city walk. In a matter of seconds you have got one:
As it’s a city, you probably want to know what you are looking at on your walk. This is also easy to do with RouteYou. Open the Edit facility on the right-hand side of the map you’ve just made and scroll down until you see Add places of interest towards the bottom:
Once you click and confirm, various points of interest will be added to your route. You can scroll through these next to the route:
Or maybe you think it would be useful to have a little guidebook, either printed or on your mobile phone, as you go on this Ghent city walk? This is a very nice feature of RouteYou that allows you to follow the route and read a little background information on the points of interest on the way. If you have a Plus account, click on the second icon on the right-hand menu, called Download + Print.
Under the Print option, select Guide and then Download. You will then get a really useful PDF of your route plus descriptions of all the Points of Interest along the way. Here is a brief excerpt from one page of the short Ghent City Walk I quickly made above. You can download the full Guide here.
This is really a very basic introduction to RouteYou in the hope that it will help you get started with making your own walking or cycling route. It is an extremely sophisticated tool with a lot of functionalities. I am really only scraping the surface. You can print out routes, follow them in the app or on your smartphone. You can access thousands of ready-made routes. And as I mentioned, some functionalities are only available if you register and/or subscribe.
For more information on what’s possible, a good place to start is the RouteYou YouTube page, which has loads of videos in Dutch and English. They also have a very comprehensive Help Page where you can surely find the answer to your specific questions. Or you could always ask me how to use RouteYou and I will try to help you, or at least point you in the right direction. (By the way, I’m not paid by RouteYou, nor do I earn a commission; I’m just a satisfied customer who is happy to recommend them).
I’ll be adding further posts over the summer describing other useful things you can do with RouteYou. And of course I’ll be adding more set walks and cycle routes that I’ve done myself. If you’ve not already subscribed to Discovering Belgium, please add your email below to get new posts in your inbox:
And here are some station to station walks that I’ve done:
Do you also write tech manuals? Nice job.
This will be very useful on future holidays.
I’m sharing with friends. Thanks!
Thank you Henry, much appreciated.
I need this explanation – thanks so much!
Thanks for your comment Marion. I’m glad it helps. Any questions just drop me a line. Happy routing!
This is the best blog about Belgium that I have come across in my ten years here. Thank you!
I do have a question too; please don’t laugh. Is Routeyou reliable in not directing you onto a major road in the walking or cycling mode? When it directs you to cross a motorway, how does that happen – is there always a tunnel or a bridge for cyclists?
I have been using OsmandMaps till now, but I am slightly gripped by panic whenever it suggest bike routes along major roads – after bad experiences with Google Maps, I don’t dare to trust that I would find an actual bike friendly path there (and I don’t want to experiment because I carry small kids on my bike).
Thanks for your lovely comment Anna; much appreciated. In my experience RouteYou directs you over motorways by tunnels and overpasses, and over main road by pedestrian/cyclist friendly junctions. If you select “walking-nicest” or “cycling-nicest” then it should direct you to avoid unpleasant stretches along busy roads. If you have specific questions about particular routes, just drop me another line.
Thanks for the tip. We had our RouteYou debut yesterday and it worked like a charm. The precision of the app is amazing. It opens up a whole new world of walking.
Great, thanks for taking time to add your appreciative comment Hans.
Feedback is a gift ?