Looking For Family Cycling Holidays To Go To This Year?
If you are looking for a fun, active holidays, or experience one of the best organized tours in the world to take with the family this season then why not consider hopping on your bikes and go for family cycling holidays? Peddling through picturesque scenery can be a fun way for a family to bond this spring. Plan a route, take your time, and stop frequently to take photographs, grab a drink and a snack, or visit an interesting historic or cultural site. If you are looking for inspiration for cycling locations, here are a few fantastic European options:
There are plenty of stunningly options for scenic family cycling holidays in the Liguria region of Italy. Why not take in the Cinque Terre – five picture perfect villages along a dramatic and rugged coastline. The Cinque Terre is interesting and varied, and the views are breathtaking. Plus there will be plenty of exquisite food to eat at the end of each day.
Overview Of Cycling Routes In Liguria
Cinque Terre Cycling tour – This cycling tour takes you through the famous Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast of the Riviera comprising five villages, “The Five Lands”: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all encapsulated in the Cinque Terre national park. The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Places Of Interest Along The Route
Harbour of Riomaggiore (distance from start: 0 m)
The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and its wine, produced by the town’s vineyards. It has a small beach and a wharf framed by tower houses. Riomaggiore has one or two roads where people socialise, but most of the life at night can be found at the Bar Centrale.
Via dell’Amore – Love’s Trai (distance from start: 39.3 m)
The tourist attractions in the region include a famous walking trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore (called Via dell’Amore, “Love’s Trail”) and hiking trails in the hills and vineyards above the town.
Manarola (distance from start: 6.21 km)
The village of Manarola is classified by UNESCO as World Heritage.
Manarola is the second smallest town of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists. The cornerstone is the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The name “Manarola” is probably dialectical evolution of the Latin, “magna rota”. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to “magna roea” which means “large wheel”, in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola’s primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region. In recent years, Manarola and its neighboring towns have become popular tourist destinations, particularly in the summer months.
Corniglia (distance from start: 10.1 km)
Corniglia is mentioned in a famous novella of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decamerone.
Corniglia is not directly adjacent to the sea. Instead, it is on the top of a promontory about 100 meters high, surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces and the fourth side descends steeply on the sea. To reach Corniglia, it is necessary to climb the Lardarina, a long brick flight of steps composed of 33 flights with 377 steps or, otherwise follow a vehicular road that, from the station, leads to the village. Sometimes a small bus runs up and down here.
Corniglia Marina (distance from start: 10.2 km)
Vernazza (distance from start: 15.9 km)
Vernazza is one of the five towns in the Cinque Terre region.
Vernazza is the fourth town heading north into the Cinque Terre. It has no car traffic (a road leads into a parking lot on the edge of the town) and remains one of the truest “fishing villages” on the Italian Riviera.
Harbour of Vernazza (distance from start: 15.9 km)
Monterosso al Mare (distance from start: 26.3 km)
Monterosso al Mare is one of the five villages in Cinque Terre. The town is divided into two distinct parts: the old town and the new town. The two areas are divided by a single tunnel that caters to pedestrians and the very few cars in the town.
Beach of Monterosso Al Mare (distance from start: 26.6 km)
The beach at Monterosso runs along most of the coast line and is well used by tourists and locals. The beach is the only extensive sand beach in the Cinque Terre. Monterosso is a small town that in the summer months is overrun by tourists.
Fegina Beach (distance from start: 26.9 km)
Tour de Manche, England and France
This cycle route, spanning the English Channel, could be the perfect mix of cycling, culture, history and scenic coastline. This is the perfect epic journey for an adventurous family.
The Tour de Manche offers a unique maritime perspective over 1200 km of varied landscapes either side of the English Channel. Going at your own pace, you have the chance to take the time to discover natural locations of exceptional beauty and interest including Corfe Castle, Dorset and East Devon’s Jurassic Coast, Dartmoor National Park, the Pink Granite Coast and the Bay of Mont St-Michel. This route also builds in part of the existing European cycle route EV4 along the French coast and can be ridden in ‘bite-sized’ pieces, or for the more serious cyclist, as a complete tour. Most of the Tour de Manche route is on quiet roads, and it has been carefully marked out. Although challenging in parts, with a selection of testing but rewarding climbs for keen cyclists, it also offers sections of much easier riding that give you time to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery, culture and art of living in each country.
The sections of Tour de Manche
Cherbourg > Carentan picto itineraire[79.1 km]
Leaving Cherbourg, you travel through an ever-changing landscape of hedged fields, dunes and moorland, and Portbail with its beautiful golden beach. The Cotentin Regional National Park and Bessin Marshes are magical places to cycle – do stop to sample the local cheeses, ciders, seafood and Calvados apple brandy.
Carentan > La Ferrière-Harang (viaduc de la Souleuvre) picto itineraire [94.7 km]
After the lush landscapes of Normandy, you enter the Vire Valley with its rolling hills and spectacular gorges. At Roches de Ham, the rocks form a near 100 metre precipitous wall above the river.
La Ferrière-Harang (viaduc de la Souleuvre) > Mortain picto itineraire [60.8 km]
Here you arrive in the Vire Valley, renowned for its undulating banks and spectacular gorges. In the midst of the area’s countryside with its typical Norman patchwork of fields divided by hedgerows, don’t miss the Roches de Ham, rising some 100m above the river, forming a vertiginous rocky cliff.
Le Bocage Mortainais picto itineraire [33.9 km]
Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking a lush green landscape, the town of Mortain is a striking crossroads for the Petit Tour de Manche and la Véloscénie. The greenway, which follows the old steam-train tracks, leads you straight to the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. The Normandy countryside guarantees a gentle pastoral change of scenery as you head towards Ducey into the heart of the Sélune valley.
La baie du Mont-Saint-Michel picto itineraire [31.1 km]
A truly fabulous location. This section of the Véloscénie and the Tour de Manche takes you on small roads through the polders, which are dotted with tiny villages, before you arrive at the highlight of the route. Mont-Saint-Michel, ever-present, cuts a mythical silhouette surrounded by grasslands and constantly shifting sands. The greenway follows the length of the Couesnon River, allowing you lots of time to savour the vista of this marvellous symbol of the world heritage of humanity.
Le Mont-St-Michel > St-Malo picto itineraire [67.6 km]
With the Mont St-Michel Bay providing the dramatic backdrop, head towards the citadel itself whose historical and architectural heritage is so renowned. It’s to the rhythm of the constant, powerful tides surging in from the Atlantic that you now travel through natural, conserved marshlands, and polders stretching as far as he eye can see down the Breton coastline. Climb up to Cancale, the unspoilt fishing port on the Emerald Coast, famous for its oysters, and its excellent seafood restaurants lining the sea front.
Jersey picto itineraire [62 km]
Jersey is the most southerly of the British Channel Islands, the sun shines and the weather is mild. The cycle routes are perfect, you don’t see much traffic and everywhere is close. As a frontline outpost between Britain and France, Jersey has a unique history and heritage. Here road names are in French but everyone speaks English, Michelin-starred chefs rub shoulders in Fish and Chip shops, and within half an hour of leaving the office the fund managers are on their surfboards.
St-Malo > St-Brieuc picto itineraire [99.5 km]
Begin this choice section of the Tour de Manche at the salty city of St-Malo. Further reputed seaside resorts, joyous beaches and stunning sea views follow along this brilliant route along the Côte d’Emeraude and Côte de Penthièvre. Enjoy countless discoveries, of forts, fine villas, river estuaries, coves and dramatic headlands.
St-Brieuc > Paimpol picto itineraire [59.4 km]
This Tour de Manche section introduces you to unspoilt stretches of shoreline known as “grèves”, well represented in the Bay of St-Brieuc’s Nature Reserve. Continuing up this bay’s western side, the Côte de Goëlo’s old fishing ports are now charming seaside resorts. Visit Beauport Abbey before this captivating section ends at the port of Paimpol.
Paimpol > Lannion picto itineraire[80.9 km]
After Paimpol, the Tour de Manche continues along an island-strewn coast and through countryside marked by the steep, attractive Trieux and Jaudy Valleys. Then admire the famed Côte de Granit Rose, with its breathtaking pink-tinged rocks. The meandering Léguer leads you to the pleasant town of Lannion, near the département (county) of Finistère.
Lannion > Morlaix picto itineraire [69.4 km]
This section takes you from Lannion Bay to Morlaix Bay, going via the vast, serene Grève de St-Michel and the Corniche de l’Armorique. From the Pointe de Primel headland you can already glimpse the port of Roscoff and the Island of Batz. Note that this section has not yet been laid out between Plestin-les-Grèves and Morlaix.
Morlaix > Roscoff picto itineraire [30.8 km]
From Morlaix, to reach the port of Roscoff, the Tour de Manche shares the way with La Vélodyssée® cycle route, following the River Penzé. Near the dramatic little city of St-Pol-de-Léon, in the Pays Léonard area, you cross wide fields producing famed pink onions and artichokes, with beautiful views to the Channel.
Plymouth > Okehampton picto itineraire [67 km]
To ride this section is to experience Devon’s huge variety of landscapes: from the urban expanse of Plymouth to the thick forestation of Plymbridge Woods and the stark beauty of Dartmoor. The route is mostly off-road and uses former railway lines, giving cyclists a thrilling ride through tunnels and across dramatic viaducts.
Okehampton > Axminster picto itineraire [101.1 km]
This section has something for everyone: verdant hills and pastures, a beautiful coastline designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and city attractions. You’ll also ride through some of Devon’s most picturesque villages. At times physically demanding, this section rewards you with some outstanding scenery.
Axminster > Dorchester picto itineraire [55.8 km]
The route explores the pretty Marshwood Vale, home to hill forts, stone circles and attractive hamlets which have maintained their historic character. Riding along quiet lanes through farmland, the going is occasionally hilly with a steady climb to the Hardy monument near Dorchester and unrivalled views across four counties.
Dorset picto itineraire [75 km]
This section traverses idyllic Dorset countryside immortalised in many of Thomas Hardy’s novels: dramatic coastlines, across Purbeck’s heathland and into the huge natural harbour of Poole, with its fine sandy beaches. History comes alive as you pass Iron Age forts, and ancient landscapes that reveal layers of human occupation.
Coast and Castles Route, England and Scotland
This route is perfect for history lovers. It travels up the east coast of Northumberland, in the North of England, past crumbling castles, ancient ruins and historic towns, over the border into Southern Scotland, where it continues to follow the rugged coastline all the way up to Edinburgh. The route is hardly ever out of sight of the wild North Sea, but there are plenty of places to stop en route and plenty to entertain the whole family along the way.
Sample Itinerary Most Cyclists Go Through
- Arrive by train in Newcastle Upon Tyne – direct from London
- Make sure book bike space with ticket – limited space
- Stay at the Albatross hostel. Great for location and cleanliness
- Photo id for check-in even if British.
Day 1 – Newcastle to Seahouses 70 miles
- Leaving Newcastle stop at sainsburys supermarket for lunch.
- Head to the quayside and follow north bank of river tyne.
- Route 10 to Tynemouth. Take in the heritage of dockyards. Head out to most Easterly part of trip.
- Also end of coast to coast cycleroute. Then start of the route 1 Head north along beautiful beaches and sand dunes.
- Shared pavement with pedestrians.
- Then Blyth. Quite industrial. Lose route, just head north.
- Following dual carriageway to reach lynemouth and the whole route opens up – druiridge links road and rspb nature reserve.
- Alnmouth. Arrival very picturesque. Great pubs. Well worth a stop.
- Off road to sugar sands. Bridges over streams and beaches. Farm tracks and views of castles. A few hills before Craster. Kippers your thing. Place to head. Fast section to seahouses via b roads and across Edinburgh main line. Well signed.
Day 2 – Seahouses to Innerleithen 80 miles
- Today is the longest day, but certainly the most varied – coast, castles and into the Scottish borders!
- Leave Seahouses to head towards Bamburgh castle, and down some lovely country lanes before crossing the A1 and east coast railway crossing.
- Before long you will be back on the coast after an inland stretch and after Berwick golf course and some fantastic beaches, you will descend into Berwick. We stopped here for lunch – plenty of choices here.
- From Berwick onwards you have a quite long stretch of around 60 miles until the finish for today – lots of country estates and farms you will ride pass, mostly traffic tree, with some busy roads.
- The last stretch before Innerleithen takes you along a scenic forest road with glimpses down the river valley. Take your time here to wind down and enjoy the Scottish scenery!
Day 3 – Innerleithen to Edinburgh 23 miles
- A farewell to the lovely valley of Innerleithen, and an easy country road out of the town past the golf course to the Moorfoot Hills. Not the most technical of climbs, but a steady climb of around 5 miles nonetheless. Passing beautiful streams, farms and forests.
- Before the descent down to Edinburgh, you will have great views out to the Forth, and view of the borders, as well as Edinburgh.
- A nice easy descent to the lowlands, and then a steady ride into villages, and when the area you ride through gets more and more built up, you know you are not far from the finish.
- This is where the map comes in handy, or if you are in a rush use the GPS device on your phone.
- Finish at the castle in Edinburgh – be careful, as there are cobbled streets on the royal mile. Also the whisky shops are great for gift shopping!
- Stay at the Argyll backpackers overnight, and got the train from Waverley Station back to London Kings Cross.
- Don’t forget to get to the station slightly earlier (30 mins) to walk to the front of the train to put your bikes in the guards carriage.
Romantic Road, Germany
A number of scenic off-road routes link up to take you on this long-distance trail linking historic sites and mediaeval cities. The tourist offices suggest that this can be split into ten stages, so for a family, two weeks might be a good length of time to take, in order to be able to visit many of the fairytale locations on this magical route.
Cycling along the Romantic Road is made easy by the fact that there are a number of connected cycle paths away from the busy main roads and that there is a recognised long-distance trail (the D9) covering the route in its entirety.
The distance is 440km and it is relatively flat in many of the stages (in fact, despite the fact that it goes into the foothills of the Alps, the overall difference in altitude is not particularly great – under 600 metres). The main climbs come around Rothenburg ob der Tauber and approaching the hilly country of the Pfaffenwinkel.
The official Romantic Road tourist association suggests splitting the journey into 10 stages, although the more energetic or time-constrained might find it possible to combine some of the shorter stages together.
The association has also produced an extensive guide (in English or German) to cycling the Romantic Road on this specially designed route, which is available from the online shop(cost ca. 20 Euros). GPS data can also be downloaded for free (with registration) and there is a free bike map (not particularly detailed) with short descriptions of towns available in local tourist offices.
Of course, it is not necessary to do the whole ten days either. There are shorter sections which lend themselves admirably to those looking to bumble about on two wheels and to take the time to explore the towns and villages (and vineyards!).
Up near the northern end, the Tauber valley from Tauberbischofsheim through to Rothenburg makes a lovely (and mostly flat, apart from the climb to Rothenburg at the end) short-ish route.
A subsequent section, from Rothenburg through to Nördlingen, covers the “big three” walled medieval towns. And the final stretch from Schongau through to Füssen is slightly more challenging in the lovely hilly countryside, but the most scenic of the shorter options, with the Alps rising in the distance and the attraction of Neuschwanstein castle in its mountain setting at the end of the journey.
There are many, many islands dotted in the Adriatic off the Croatian Coast. Quite a few of them are perfect for exploration by bike. So why not come to these sunny islands before they are invaded by the summertime crowds? Cycle between quaint fishing ports, yacht-filled harbours and olive, oak and pine trees and relax and play on lovely beaches.
There are many different places perfect for family cycling holidays this spring so why don’t you dust off those bikes after the winter and get out there to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Europe at your own pace? You are bound to have many adventures along the route, you will get the kids unplugged from their technology, and you will all have plenty to talk about and many memories to share.
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