1/10 Amsterdam South, Holland
Amsterdam has 513km of dedicated cycle paths and several bike-only bridges with around 10,000 bicycles parked around Amsterdam Central Station each day. A great half-day ride into the leafy suburbs leads through the lesser-known Amsterdam Zuid district, visiting the stately Apollolaan area and the verdant public space of Vondelpark. Pick up an illustrated guide to the self-guided route from the Amsterdam Tourist Office and allow 2.5 hours to explore.
More info: Holland.com
2/10 Bruges, Belgium
While WWI cycle routes are proving popular for families with older children this year given the centenary commemoration, the 29km daytrip around Bruges makes for a faourite shorter option. The Bruges trail starts from the central station and leads out to the charming West Flanders town of Damme, following the canal along a flat, well-signposted route. After lunch in a Damme café, head back into historic Bruges for a Belgian beer.
More info: VisitFlanders.co.uk
3/10 Somerset, England
Yorkshire may be grabbing the cycling headlines this summer with Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France but there are plenty of shorter family routes around England. One of the most atmospheric is the traffic-free Strawberry Line along the old railway route from Clevedon to Cranmore. With a series of spurs around the village of Cheddar, it’s an easy-going eight miles with plenty to visit along the way, notably Glastonbury Tor, Wells Cathedral and the Cheddar Caves.
4/10 River Danube, Austria
For older children (secondary school-age onwards) Austria’s Danube Cycle Path may be an ambitious 225km but it cuts a delightfully scenic swathe through the bucolic backroads of rural Austria. Leading from Linz to Vienna, the traffic-free trail hugs the River Danube’s banks via the historic hilltop town of Wallsee, the Habsburg town of Grein and wine-growing region of Wachau. Book a package to transfer luggage ahead each and count on cycling 25km per day.
More info: Austria.Info
5/10 Bornholm, Denmark
Copenhagen may be one of Europe’s most cycle-friendly cities but smart Scandinavians escape each summer to the Baltic island of Bornholm – about 30 minutes from Copenhagen airport, or a ferry ride from Sweden. The island is ideal for chilled-out cycling with a craggy coastline, white-sand beaches and mystic rock formations to explore. The entire coastal loop is 105km.
6/10 Tenerife, Spain
Tour de France cycling hero Bradley Wiggins trained on the island of Tenerife but there are plenty of more leisurely trails for families. The north of the island has several routes with the Puerto de La Cruz loop great for all ages. It leads from Martianez beach to the Botanic Gardens with stops for refreshments en route. More adventurous is the trail through the Corona Forestal Natural Park and the hills around La Esperanza.
7/10 Brittany, France
For children starting to learn French at school, a leisurely summer saunter through the beautiful Breton countryside is a great introduction. Follow the scenic canal towpaths of the Nantes-Brest canal from St Brieuc – three hours by TGV from Paris. You can dip in and out of 20km sections along the route each day (especially if you send bags ahead), taking time to linger around the chateau in Josselin, or the marketplace in Pontivy.
More info: BrittanyTourism.com
8/10 Venetia, Italy
For a gentle introduction to la dolce vita, a self-guided trip around the Venetian countryside combines circular cycling routes and back-to-nature lifestyle with a chance to stay at a family-run agriturismo (farm-hotel). Combine a leisurely day excursion criss-crossing the valley floor on quiet country lanes with days off to visit regional highlights, such as nearby Venice, Vicenza and Padua. Great short rides for younger children include the 5km circular cycle around Lake Fimon and the village of Costozza with its network of caves set amongst vineyards.
More info: Love Italy
9/10 Meckleburg Lakeland, Germany
With more than 70,000 km of cycle trails and 200 long-distance cycle routes, Germany has cycling for all ages. Riverside routes are particularly popular with both the 230km Ruhr Valley Cycle Route from Winterberg to Duisburg, and the 640km Mecklenburg Lakes Cycle Route from Lüneburg
to Wolgast boasting water-based activities along the way. The latter is particularly scenic with sections through the Mecklenburg Lake District and Müritz National Park. Dip in then transfer ahead before finishing at a Baltic beach resort.
More info: Germany Travel
10/10 Graubünden, Switzerland
The Alpine ski resort of Flims takes on a new life each summer as a cycling haven. It’s home to a mountain-biking centre with over 330km of waymarked trails for all levels, plus a rope-swinging centre in the forest. One of the best trails for primary-school-age children is the Flims Round Trip (route 245) from Laax Staderas via refreshments in Conn, which runs 11.2km through the forest and boats view of the Upper Rhine gorge. Finish with a dip in nearby Lake Cauma.