7 of Europe’s Best Cycling Holidays for Families

By Ivan PetrenkoJun 1, 2024 17:00 PMNews
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Carpathian’s Road, Yablunytsia, Ivano-Frankivs'ka oblast, Ukraine
Carpathian’s Road, Yablunytsia, Ivano-Frankivs'ka oblast, Ukraine. Source: unsplash

Cycling holidays in the UK and Europe are perfect for families, offering trails to suit every ability from tots to teens. Europe’s extensive cycling networks include child-friendly routes that transform a simple weekend activity into an exciting holiday. Whether exploring Alpine lakes, old railway lines, major rivers, or adventure centres, there’s a cycling trip for everyone.

1. Bannau Brycheiniog, Wales

Cycling level: BikePark Wales tracks cater for every level. Located just south of Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park, BikePark Wales features over 40 mountain bike trails across 1,200 acres of forested hillside. The park's new 'Ticket to Ride' package, launched this Easter, includes bike and kit hire plus four hours on beginner-level runs, making it perfect for families. Beyond the park, families can enjoy the Taff Trail, which runs from Brecon to Brynich Lock.

2. Lake Constance, Germany & Switzerland

Cycling level: Beginner — cycle as far as you like each day, with ferry hops for added fun. The Lake Constance Cycle Path is ideal for families, even those with toddlers in bike trailers. The route passes through picturesque lakeside towns with Alpine backdrops. Tour operator Freedom Treks offers itineraries from a single hotel base for added convenience.

3. Danube Cycle Path, Austria

Cycling level: Beginner — the dedicated cycle paths are flat and smooth. The Danube Cycle Path stretches across eight countries, but the Austrian segment from Linz to Vienna is perfect for families. The flat riverside path passes through ancient towns and castle ruins. Families can plot their journey independently, staying in hotels, guesthouses, or campsites along the way. A highlight is the Wachau wine region, perfect for an overnight stop.

4. Van Gogh Cycle Route, Netherlands

Cycling level: Beginner — quiet and gentle; a great introduction to cycling breaks. This new trail in Drenthe province follows the scenes that inspired Vincent van Gogh. The route consists of three loops, each around 30 miles, and is ideal for young cyclists, following flat country lanes and canal paths.

5. Atlantic Coast Route, Portugal

Cycling level: Intermediate — some hilly terrain requires stronger riders. Part of the EuroVelo network, the Atlantic Coast Route from Porto to Lisbon connects two family-friendly cities. The eight-day journey takes riders through sunny beaches, coves, and fishing villages. Tour operator Love Velo offers packages with stays in three-star hotels along the way.

6. Lake Garda to Venice, Italy

Cycling level: Intermediate — the longer daily distances may be challenging for younger riders. This tour from Lake Garda to Venice offers the allure of pizza and gelato at the end of each day, motivating youngsters to keep pedaling. The route follows the Adige River and passes through historic Verona. Riders cover around 30 miles per day, and organized tours with luggage transfers are recommended.

7. Ciro Trail, Balkans

Cycling level: Confident, with some gradients and off-road sections. The Ciro Trail follows an old railway from Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina to Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast. Old station buildings along the 98-mile trail have been converted into bike-friendly guesthouses and cafes. The route includes Roman and medieval ruins and sparkling rivers for refreshing dips.

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