We love watching the world’s greats defeat the cobbled monsters of the French and Belgian Classics at this time of year – but we need a bit more training before we’re taking on those routes. And while the thought that one day it could be us reaching the top of the Koppenberg, for now we’re happy to spend our holiday cheering from the sidelines and enjoying one of these more leisurely rides instead. So read on to discover some of our very favourite fun and easy cycle routes in Europe – easily tailored to suit the whole family.
Cycling from Rotterdam to Delft – 16km
You can embark on this easy cycle route as soon as you get off the ferry – making it the ideal ride for a quick weekend away. Most of the roads out of Rotterdam are flat and wide, and drivers are generally accommodating to cyclists. At the other side, Delft provides the canals, history and stroopwafel that have come to define the perfect Dutch city break – without the crowds.
Those looking for a more challenging ride can continue the journey to the seaside beauty of the Hague, or even end up in Amsterdam. From there, you can simply take the train back to the port of Rotterdam – or make the return journey on two wheels after an evening enjoying a long evening drink by the canal.
The Loire à Vélo from Calais – 800km
Don’t be put off by the mammoth mileage, this popular route through northern France has segments to suit every group. Families can enjoy largely car-free stretches such as the Muides/Cour Sur Loire route along the embankment of the river, while more experienced cyclists can find themselves surrounded by glittering châteaux, winding vineyards and sculpted gardens in the depths of the Loire Valley.
This route makes for a truly unique holiday, with plenty of opportunities to stop off and embark on adventures along the way. Why not give your legs a break for a while and try sailing along the river, or stop off for some local delicacies at one of the hidden villages en route?
The Castle Triangle of Bruges-Torhout-Oostkamp – 47km
A picturesque route from the quaint architecture of Bruges, this cycle takes you out into thick woodlands past some of the most beautiful estates in Belgium. There are dozens of castles to see along the route, with Tillegem Castle, Loppem Castle and Pecsteen Castle particularly eye-catching sights.
While many of the buildings are still private residences, they can be easily spotted from public roads and make for a beautiful backdrop for a day’s roaming. The majestic Loppem Castle is open to the public, allowing visitors to wander around its lavish original interiors and immaculately-kept maze.
Cycling in the Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest has inspired many a tale, including Hansel and Gretel – though don’t worry, there won’t be any witches hiding in these woods! As you fly across the perfectly carved cycle paths, you’ll pass some of Germany’s best scenery; grassy green slopes and rocky cliffs illuminated by beautiful alpine sunshine.
As you cycle across the area, you’ll pass charming countryside towns like Triberg, the home of the cuckoo clock. They provide the perfect spot to rest up and chow down on some traditional German cuisine – Black Forest Cake should obviously be on the menu. Its name is thought to stem from either the traditional costume worn by the local women, or from the key ingredient of cherry schnapps which come from the region.
Ready for a cycling holiday in Europe? Here’s everything you need to know about travelling with bikes on P&O Ferries.