European family tours?

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Tangled Metal
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European family tours?

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 Nov 2016, 3:26pm

What's your recommendation for young family cycle tour in Europe mainland for first time?
    Moselle
    Rhine
    Rhone
    Danube
    Any others?
Probably two adults and a 4 year old on child seat (less luggage space) or in a trailer. Distance won't be a great as stopping a lot to.keep a young child interested.

This would be a few firsts. First European tour, first time without an easy bug out option and we'll possibly not have our own kit but might be hiring bikes, trailers, child seat, etc. Only our second multi day tour.

So which of the above seems the best to you guys? Any others you'd recommend?

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pjclinch
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Re: European family tours?

Postby pjclinch » 21 Nov 2016, 3:50pm

Nederland is an excellent choice for a first European tour. Easy to get to, and you know the cycling side of it will be as easy as you want to make it.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Tangled Metal
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Re: European family tours?

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 Nov 2016, 4:06pm

I like the idea of a river route. Somehow I don't like the idea of a ride to Rotterdam and don't know any other rivers in the Netherlands.

I've been around parts of the.Netherlands and ridden a hired Dutch bike across from hostel in the countryside to the nearest town (£2500 Cannondale road bike in red in the LBS shop window over 25 years ago to drool over). It's actually not hard to ride 10 miles in a big, black.Dutch roadster bike that weighs more than I did at the time. That's really saying something about how easy it is to cycle on.the flat over there.

Prefer the odd hill though. Reckon hills give better scenery. Netherlands, Germany and France seem to be our preferred options. Out of them Netherlands would be the easiest to.manage we could even take our own kit that way, traveling.from Newcastle which is near relatives. Germany and France would be more problematic logistically for us I think.

Another idea I have is the canal du midi. I've got it in my head and there's a cycle route along it but I've not looked into it,

willem jongman
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Re: European family tours?

Postby willem jongman » 21 Nov 2016, 4:07pm

Also, vast numbers of camp sites in the Netherlands. The coast is great, with beaches for the little one. Easy and cheap bike hire compared to many other countries. However, just taking your own town bikes would be even cheaper (you don't need gears if your bike does not have them). I normally take the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry, but if you come from further north, there are the ferries from Hull or Newcastle.

iviehoff
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Re: European family tours?

Postby iviehoff » 21 Nov 2016, 4:43pm

I've recently done 2 family cycle tours in the Netherlands, and one along the Danube in Austria.

For our first tour in the Netherlands, we used the core route in Eric van der Horst's book,
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cycling-Nether ... 1900623196
with some minor adjustments we selected. We found this a very diverse and scenic route, in part because the old cities are very nice. We avoided cycling in the centre of Amsterdam and took a day trip in by train, which was one of our route adjustments. The second time we did our own thing in another part of the country, and found less variety. He has chosen the best bits for that core route, though Hoek to Delft is less interesting, but it isn't far.

Although the Danube has some very nice bits, overall I didn't find it as exciting as the Dutch holidays, the actual Danube bits (we bookended it with some other cycling) because there are plenty of long boring bits, and even when you are in the canyons the scenery doesn't change very fast. You go around the famous very tight bend, but even that is not exciting from the riverside, you need get above it to appreciate it. The flat going along a river can get a bit tedious. From Passau (in Germany not far from Austrian border) to Krems there are reasonably frequent campsites, if you plan carefully. After Krems as you approach Vienna there's a long stretch and not very interesting with only one campsite, which we avoided by turning off at Krems, though heading north to Czechia from Krems was quite tough through hilly country with campsites concentrated in a few touristy spots. Off the tourist trail, we found village swimming pools could be a place to camp if you asked nicely.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: European family tours?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 21 Nov 2016, 4:49pm

Not sure how far you want to go.

We did the cycleway along Meuse from Chareleville Mezieres and came back via Chimay last year as a short tour (4 days).

Pancake flat along the river (could do there and back if you don't want any hills), very scenic and Europe's longest zip wire en route (not sure if a 4yo would be allowed)

Accommodation rather limited though

Capture.JPG

MartinBrice
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Re: European family tours?

Postby MartinBrice » 21 Nov 2016, 10:30pm

The Loire is good, lots of campsites, flat, and there is a railway alongside.

willem jongman
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Re: European family tours?

Postby willem jongman » 22 Nov 2016, 7:33am

Absolutely. We enjoyed touring there with the kids. The only issue may be how to get there. We drove from Holland, and left the car at a campsite. I am not sure what the options would be from various UK regions.

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syklist
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Re: European family tours?

Postby syklist » 22 Nov 2016, 10:25am

Tangled Metal wrote:What's your recommendation for young family cycle tour in Europe mainland for first time?

North Sea Cycle Route in Denmark.

Reasonably flat, flat in the south.
Good campsites often with family rooms (albeit at a price) and good play areas. Occasionally with a swimming pool.
A network of free camping spots which mean if you don't make it to the next campsite you can usually find a good place with to stop for the night with water and a place to sleep (often with access to toilets and showers as well)
A lot of the route is on quiet roads/tracks and vehicle free tracks.
A few ferries which makes the trip more exciting. If you start in Germany you can take the train to Sylt and a ferry between Sylt and Romø)
Good train network with trains that take bikes (check for summer engineering works).
The Poul Egg campsite in Skagen has a car free field for tents which usually has space even in the high season. Skagen has a great playground just off the main pedestrianised shopping street.

We've been there in the last three years no further south than Esbjerg. So next summer with we will have to do our first tour with two kids somewhere else. :D
So long and thanks for all the fish...

steady eddy
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Re: European family tours?

Postby steady eddy » 22 Nov 2016, 12:16pm

Zeeland - the islands south of the hook are just great for family touring - lots of small villages and the odd town or two so the distance between stops is easy to mange . If you get the ferry over the river from The hook to Maasvlakte then you can avoid Rotterdam completely and once through the industrial estate you are out in the countryside. A there are a number of options for circular tours depending upon how far or fast you want to go. There are a number of online cycle route planners for the Netherlands which will assist you.

If you want rivers The Moselle going from France through Luxenbourg to Koblenz is an interesting river, good roman ruins in Trier. If you don't want to freewheel all the way and want hills then do the route in reverse from Koblenz.

pwa
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Re: European family tours?

Postby pwa » 22 Nov 2016, 3:26pm

Personally, with small kids I would stick with a nice big tent on a fixed site and just do day rides with picnics and visits to places of interest. I don't think a small child will get much pleasure out of bumping along in a trailer day after day.

willem jongman
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Re: European family tours?

Postby willem jongman » 22 Nov 2016, 3:30pm

Well, ours rather did enjoy it, but you should really not overdo it. Our schedule was some 30-40 km a day, about every other day. So it is an altogether different enterprise from touring as adults.

pwa
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Re: European family tours?

Postby pwa » 22 Nov 2016, 3:35pm

It's a judgement you have to make. Our first tour with the kids was when the youngest was about 8, and both were able to cycle their own bikes for 20 miles with small panniers. That worked well, combined with daily pub meals and lots of cake stops. But a child in a trailer is passive and potentially bored.

willem jongman
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Re: European family tours?

Postby willem jongman » 22 Nov 2016, 3:47pm

My experience relates to kids from about 1.5-2 years and older. They were first sitting in a child seat on the front of the bike (with a lot to see and talk about), and next at the back. In those years, our trips were very modest indeed. Later on, from about five they would ride the back of a child back tandem. That was the first time we did something more ambitious (riding from Maastricht to Luxemburg in some three weeks, so very gently again, but at least an exotic experience for them). And indeed, from about eight they started to ride their own bikes on holidays.

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meic
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Re: European family tours?

Postby meic » 22 Nov 2016, 3:54pm

But a child in a trailer is passive and potentially bored.

I suppose that could be the case. My daughter did over 8,000 miles in the trailer and managed to never be bored. Possibly the trailer rides themselves turned her into the sort of person who can entertain themselves instead of having to be fed entertainment and kicking up a fuss if they dont get it!

She only had the lid up when it was needed and there were two big pouches that she could fill with things to play with.
Yma o Hyd