Without question, Britain is blessed with some of the most idyllic cycling routes in Europe of which so many are perfect for the whole family. But when that curious itch sets in and the call for adventure further afield must be answered, just what kinds of delights await across the Channel?
To explore Europe by bike is to enjoy a uniquely privileged vantage point from which to take in the sights, sounds and flavours of so many different cultures right on the UK’s doorstep. And, with such simple transport links available, a summer cycling holiday on the continent really has never been a more realistic or rewarding prospect for the family.
Take, for example, France – home to sumptuous food, arguably the world’s finest wine and the prettiest of villages basking in the warmth of summer sun. What France delivers is the perfect blend of relaxation and invigoration, as you and the family make your way around majestic chateaux, sprawling vineyards and beautiful beaches. What’s more, France is home to some of the safest, most enjoyable and most expansive cycle lane networks to be found anywhere in Europe. All of which set the scene for a glorious family trip.
One of the most popular cycling regions in France is Brittany which delivers everything from rolling hills to stunning golden sands all within a short ride of each another. France’s ‘summer playground’ can be reached with ease – regular UK to France ferry crossings from the likes of Brittany Ferries will get you, the kids, the car, your bikes and all your luggage there for next to nothing.
If however you’d like to take your journey into the continent in a different direction, take the same Channel ferry crossing and plan a relaxing drive to Belgium – another European family cycling haven and the continental and spiritual home of the bike.
For example, Bruges happens to be not only one of the most beautiful cities you could ever hope to see, it’s also a city best explored by bicycle. While so many of Bruges’ visitors never look further than the famed cobbled streets of the city centre, a gentle ride beyond the city limits will bring you and the family right into the heart of what could be considered the real Belgium.
With landscapes ranging from sandy beaches to beautiful nature reserves and an endless networks of riverside cycle paths to explore, you’ll get a taste for the stunning side of Belgium seen only by the privileged few. The whole experience has the feel of a fairy-tale, which is made all the more indulgent with the decadent local cuisine you’ll find yourself falling head over heels for. After all, there’s more to Belgium than moules-frites and beer…
Another option for those looking to take the family on a genuinely thrilling cycling holiday can be found just a little further in the tulip-laden splendor of Holland. It takes less than a day to ferry the whole family over to France and set out on an exciting adventure to the heart of the Netherlands; Amsterdam in particular having a well-earned reputation for sublime cycling.
Something of an unofficial cycling capital for Europe, the bike really is the only way to travel in and around the Dutch capital. After taking in the sights of the city itself, you’ll cruise a little further afield to pass the picturesque windmills and canals that make this wonderful corner of the world so unique. Take the car to the famed tulip fields in the springtime for a sight the whole family will never forget, before returning to the city’s iconic parks to soak up the best of the summer sun.
For family cycling at its finest this summer, Europe is hard to beat and so easy to reach.