Bike tours for families
Bicycle tours are a great way for families to explore a country and to really get a feel for its geography and terrain, scents and smells, history and culture, and its people—experiences that aren't often possible from a train or rental car.
Another bonus for parents? Built-in physical activity every day means worn out kids at night! Read on for helpful information on choosing a bike tour for your family, or start searching for tours great for families with teens, younger kids, or mixed ages of kids!
Dedicated bike paths
Europe is a popular destination for family travel, and many of the family-friendly European bike tours follow dedicated bicycle paths. You're away from traffic nearly the entire time and follow wide, well-marked asphalt trails – safety for the kids, and peace of mind for parents.
It's often easy for some family members to ride ahead—perhaps to get rid of pent-up energy, get away from a sibling, or just scope out the best ice cream or pastry shop in the next village!
Self-guided bike tours
Many families enjoy the independence of a self-guided bicycle tour, which still includes lodging with breakfasts, luggage transfers, detailed route information and maps, rental bikes, orientation with the local tour company, and a service hotline. With self-guided tours, you can ride at your own pace, and make stops at sights (and ice cream shops) that interest you.
Self-guided bicycle tours are also a great value, with most costing less than $1,000 for one week – and even less for children sharing rooms with parents.
Guided bike tours
However, many families appreciate the support of a guided bicycle tour, where the group rides together with a guide, and a support van is always at the ready to ferry tired riders. These tours also are popular in destinations like Asia and Africa, where families might feel most comfortable riding with a local.
While most bicycle tours travel from town to town and stay overnight in different hotels along the way, some families prefer tours that are based in one town and do day tours. That way, there’s no pressure to get the to the next town – every day is a possible rest day!
If there are family members with different skills or interests, it’s also possible for some to take the day off or do a shorter route, while the others do a longer or faster ride.
Logistics bonus: you skip rounding up and repacking multiple bags each day!
Bike and boat tours
Another similar option: bike and boat tours, where your "floating hotel" travels with you. If you don’t feel like riding, watch the world pass by from the comfort of the deck. Plus, sleeping on a boat adds an extra level of fun and adventure for kids. (Okay, adults too!) Take a look at this Holland bike and barge tour for families - the rides and program are targeted to families with kids age 7-11.
Our most-recommended family-friendly bike tour is Austria's Danube Bicycle Path. The route features castles, medieval towns, vineyards, cathedrals, beautiful scenery and the exciting cities of Passau and Vienna on each end. If you get tired, you can often roll your bike onto a train or riverboat to cut down daily distance. The tour can be tailored to your preferences: number of days, daily distance, and built-in rest days. We can also make sure that your overnight stops reflect any special interests.
The Danube Family Tour is ideal for families. In addition to the benefits of the actual bike path, the tour has shorter daily distances than the usual tour, some built-in transfers by boat and train, and hotels that are especially family-friendly. It's available in 7-night or 9-night itineraries.
Families looking for a lot of independence will enjoy the self-guided Connemara Family Cycling tour in Ireland. The short daily distances (averaging 12 miles per day) leave plenty of time to explore at your own pace.
If you prefer mountain scenery, try the Dolomites to Lake Garda Family Tour in northern Italy.
The Riviera Maya Family Adventure tour is a special itinerary offered only in February 2013 for families on winter break. It includes kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, archaeological site visits, and an ecological park with water park features!
View tours recommended for families traveling with:
The bicycle tours listed are suggestions only. Some are appropriate for families with younger children, some for those with older children. Please contact us for advice!