The North Sea Cycling route circumnavigates the North Sea, appropriately, from the Shetland Islands (UK) south along the coast before hoping the channel for the Netherlands and running north along the coast of continental Europe another 3,000 some miles into Norway. An interactive map here: www.NorthSea-cycle.com
Edinburgh is the first international city intercepting the route going counter clockwise. Yet Glasgow (GLA) is less expensive and available direct from Florida. I spent $355 for the one-way ticket from Orlando (MCO) at the end of June, including a $95 sports item bike fee.
Edinburgh without a doubt is more tourist oriented than Glasgow, but the two cities are only 60 miles apart. A traffic-free barge towpath, making up the National Cycling Network’s Route 754, offers one day ride solution:
This route starts on Route 7 and uses the towpath of the Forth and Clyde canal from Bowling, through north Glasgow, to the Falkirk Wheel; and then the Union Canal towpath (joining Route 75) into the heart of Edinburgh. (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-754)
“Route 754 is canal towpath, and much of the surface is unbound” but heading east to Edinburgh, it is after Falkirk that several posters have complained of conditions. Yet NCN754 is still considered a nicer route than NCN75.
Thus, the moderator at SusTrans comments that “…from Falkirk you could leave it for Route 1 at Linlithgow (climbing over the hill to the coast at Bo’ness – stick to the coast on the new path to Blackness Castle – not yet signed as NCN 76.” One would rejoin the North Sea Cycling Route at South Queensferry.
There are ferry options to cross the channel before reaching London, including Newcastle to Ijmuiden, Teesport to Rotterdam and Kingston upon Hill-Rotterdam. There are also port destions further south, including Brugge. NOTE: Ferry route names may borrow from their origninating river more often than the town you’ll be looking to catch it.
From about Cuxhaven (Bremerhaven 43km away given as actual origin/terminus) to Dresden, the 850km Elbe Cycling Route “mostly runs on dedicated, asphalt cycle paths, often on or alongside the Elbe embankment. Mostly traffic-free. Asphalt is the predominant surface. Be prepared for headwinds when cycling downstream.” I plan to head upstream.
But off route at Travemunde on the Baltic Sea, several ferry options might carry one as far away as St. Petersburg (Russia) or Helsinki (Finland). Rostock, futher east, is another ferry port and beyond that few hundred km east is Barth, the site of a German Army WWII POW camp, though the structures are unrecognizable now, from what one gathers. A return towards Dresden and Prague beyond might included following the Oden (http://www.germany.travel/en/leisure-and-recreation/cycling/oder-neisse-cycle-route.html)