In this article we share our pick of the best family cycling holidays in Europe; the kind that allow both kids and adults to relax, ride their bikes and explore somewhere new. If you love active family holidays, then this type of break should be perfect for you.

(But be prepared for the fact that a family cycling holiday/bike tour will likely be an entirely different ball game to the sort of cycling holidays you were used to without kids!)

This guide to the five best places to take family bike tours in Europe will, hopefully, inspire you to book your first – or next – family cycling break. From the sweeping salt marshes of Ile de Ré or the sparkling shores of Lake Constance to the Greenways near Girona, a loop of the Loire or discovering the Danube Cycle Path, these suggested routes are ideal for adults and kids alike.

Read on and plan your perfect family cycling holiday in Europe!

For further inspiration, don’t miss our articles on the best UK family cycling holidays and how to plan a family cycling holiday.

In the interests of complete transparency, we haven’t cycled all of the routes in this article ourselves. We owuld love to though! If you have ridden any of these, let us know in the comments below!

Ile de Ré, France

Suggested route: The network of bike paths west from Saint Martin de Ré

Great for: Sea and salt marshes

Ile de Ré is a gorgeous island, situated just off the west coast of France and conveniently criss-crossed by a network of cycle paths. Abundant in casual charm, the island is particularly popular with holidaying Parisians.

With salt marshes and many miles of shoreline, the unique landscapes of Ile de Ré are a real draw. The island is ideal for anyone who wants to take a family cycling holiday in Europe, as there are plenty of traffic-free cycle paths. The fact that the landscape is fairly flat also makes it a suitable choice for children.

So what does Ile de Ré have to offer? Think unique boutiques, beautiful French villages and a top-notch food scene. Inland you’ll also find woodland, vineyards and meadows. There’s also around 100 kilometres of family-friendly cycling routes to help you discover it. Even at the highest elevation of the island you’re less than 20 metres above sea level.

Perfect for a first family cycling holiday in France?!

We certainly adored spending time on the Ile de Ré as a family. The only thing to be aware of is that the Ile de Ré is not undiscovered – you won’t be alone on the bike paths (remember those Parisians?!)! We’d suggest getting your family ride in early; before 9 am each day you’ll often find you have the paths all to yourselves. But even if you prefer a later start, it’s no problem, there’ll just be more people out and about.

The whole island has nice bike paths suitable for an easy cycling holiday, but we particularly liked the area west of Saint Martin de Ré. Cycle routes around Ars en Ré, Loix and Les Portes en Ré will take you on a magical journey between the salt marshes and the sea.

More information

Our complete guide to cycling Ile de Ré which also contains various route suggestions and GPS files.

A final tip: if you’re driving to the Ile de Ré from the UK, consider an overnight stop in Nantes. A trip to les Machines de l’île will be unforgettable for you and your kids.

La Flotte in Ile de Re, France

The beautiful marina at La Flotte, France

Loire, France

Suggested route: Tours to Tours loop

Great for: UNESCO World Heritage French chateaux

A classic option for family cycling holidays in France is a trip to the Loire region. This area is home to the La Loire à Vélo, an 800 kilometre route passing through the Garden of France and the Valley of the Kings. The route connects the heart of France to the Atlantic, and is also part of the Eurovélo 6 route, which stretches for some 3,600 kilometres.

Of course we’re not suggesting that you cover the whole 800 kilometres during your family break in the Loire!

We know from experience that easy cycling holidays in Europe are what you need when you have kids in tow. Fortunately, it’s possible to experience the fine French cuisine, rolling vineyards, unspoiled villages and towns, fertile farmland and untamed rivers without covering hundreds of kilometres.

The route we suggest is a loop that starts and ends in Tours with a midpoint in Amboise. This allows you to follow the impressive cycle paths that trace the banks of the Cher, the Indre and the Vienne as well as the mighty Loire.

A roll call of UNESCO-listed chateaux also awaits. Highlights include the castles at Amboise,  Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Langeais and Villandry. You can also drop into the cellar doors en route so that adults can sample a drop or two of the local vintages, and visit the troglodyte caves at Souzay-Champigny and Turquant.

More information

Check out the Loire guide at France Velo Tourisme.

Family of cyclists on a family cycling holiday in the Loire, France

On tour in the Loire Valley, France

Danube, Austria

Suggested route: Danube Cycle Path from Linz to Vienna

Great for: Family attractions, history, food and nature

Family cycling holidays in Austria are another option for active sorts who love to explore. The Danube Cycle Path is the main draw here, as adults and kids alike can discover the area away from vehicles and at their leisure. The entire Danube Cycle Path encompasses eight European nations in all (albeit you might not want to do all eight at once when you’ve got the kids with you!).

Some say that this spacious cycle path is in fact underused, which is interesting given it’s also one of the better known cycle routes of Europe. There’s a reason for its reputation; it’s idyllic, and also ideal for family biking vacations.

There are lots of segments you could ride along the Danube, but for family cycling tours a great option is between Linz and Vienna. This takes you to Enns, the oldest city in Austria and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau in the Danube Valley before ending in romantic Vienna.

This riverside route is flat throughout, making it the perfect choice for a family cycling trip through Austria. The destinations en route allow the whole family to experience a Roman circular route tracing the former border of an ancient civilisation, visit a waterpark, delve into Celtic history at the Heuneburg hillfort in Hundersingen, sample Sachertorte, ride the famous giant ferris wheel in Vienna – and much more.

More information

Take a look at the Danube Cycle Path site. The Salzkammergut region is also worth a look and we have other articles about cycling in Austria, here.

Two cyclists on a bike path near the Danube in Austria

The Danube cycle path in spring

Via Verdes near Girona, Spain

Suggested route: Via Verdes (AKA Greenways)

Great for: Peaceful off-road riding and beautiful countryside

The Girona region on Spain’s Costa Brava has serious cycling pedigree. The now-notorious Lance Armstrong used to train here, numerous prominent cyclists are based in the Girona area and David Millar has a residence here.

So with such an illustrious roll call of famous cycling names, is Girona suitable for easy family cycling holidays in Spain?

You bet. It’s easy to reach from the UK and Europe, offers plenty of bike-friendly places to stay for all budgets and offers peaceful, well-maintained roads and cycle routes.

If you’re with family and prefer to avoid being on the road, check out the Via Verdes for your cycling holiday in Spain. Though many of the popular cycling routes around the Girona area involve high elevations, the Via Verdes comprise around 125 kilometres of cycle paths created from now-defunct railway lines.

Sample the highlights by taking a ride from Llagostera to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, where there’s a smart marina and a curving, sandy bay. This route is around 20 kilometres (or 12.5 miles) long. It forms part of the Girona to Sant Feliu de Guíxols segment.

The other sectors are Ripoli to Olot, Olot to Girona and Palamós to Palafrugell. If you do decide to embark on the Girona to Sant Feliu de Guíxols segment, then do take some time to explore the city first. Park de la Devesa in the city centre is lovely, and well-shaded too thanks to the presence of over 2,500 plane trees.

More information

Find out more in our guide to cycling in Girona on the Costa Brava. Our article on Girona’s easy cycle routes might also be useful.

Cycling on the Via Verdes near Olot

Cycling on the Via Verdes near Olot

Lake Constance, Germany

Suggested route: The Lake Constance Cycle Path

Great for: Summer swims and intriguing islands

Lake Constance is so big that it’s bordered by three European countries. You can travel along its shores in Austria or Switzerland, but we recommend heading to Germany for the best family biking experience. You just cannot beat family cycling holidays in Germany spent by the water, especially in summer when taking a cooling dip will hopefully be in order.

The Lake Constance Cycle Path traces the entire 260 kilometres (or 160 miles) around the edge of the water. Dotted with lidos for summer swims, the kids shouldn’t complain too much about getting hot and sweaty as there will soon be a lido to jump into!

The Lake Constance Cycle Path is very well maintained, and is suitable even for absolute beginners. It’s also well signposted, so you shouldn’t have any trouble in working out where you’re headed.

The best bits of the German sector include Mainau island, a 45-acre plot covered in flowers on Lake Constance. There’s also a butterfly house and a baroque palace here. Reichenau Island with its Benedictine monastery, Meersburg Castle and Lindau with its lighthouse and harbour are further highlights.

If Germany isn’t enough, you could add spots like Bregenz in Austria and Stein am Rhein in Switzerland to your itinerary. Visiting these – as well as stunning Alpine views – would make for a beautiful, if packed, week-long family cycling vacation.

More information

Head over to the official German tourist board website for more on cycling Lake Constance

Pretty town of Meersburg by the side of Lake Constance

Meersburg by Lake Constance, Germany

Other options

We could have added many other destinations to this list! You can find more inspiration for relaxed cycling holidays, in these articles:

What’s your favourite family cycling holiday destination?

We’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts – do comment below.

If you’re looking for further inspiration, also check out these articles:

Wondering about what bike your child will ride? Bike Club bike subscription service might be a useful answer!

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Kate Norris

Kate is a passionate cyclist who has explored the world by bike, including Europe, central America and South East Asia. Kate is a key member of the Epic Road Rides team; when she’s not busy commissioning articles for Epic Road Rides, you’ll find her busy writing and editing articles herself.

Last Reviewed: 07 April 2024

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