You could choose to cycle up and down hills, but why bother when there are some delightfully flat bike routes to explore? If you have the kids with you, or you’re a newcomer to cycling, the flatter the route is the more miles you’ll be able to cover on a bike and with the least amount of stress. And flat cycle routes do not mean dull and dutiful. Cycling a flat path beside a river or canal or following an old railway line-turned-bike-path can so often take you through beautiful scenery. The routes might wind a little, such as following the single contour of a canal, or go from A to B without any nonsense, such as on a former railway line, but most are guaranteed to offer easy-going cycling that will appeal to all kinds of cycle tour holidaymakers.
Best cycle routes for flat cycling
River Danube: You could cycle from Passau to Vienna or Vienna to Budapest or both. This wonderfully easy cycling route follows the scenic River Danube through several countries, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, and takes you on a journey between beautiful towns and villages and past delightful and historic attractions. Adding even greater appeal to a cycle tour holiday on the River Danube is the opportunity to sleep on a boat each night. A Danube Bike and Boat option is perfect for families, couples and solo riders.
Scottish Canals: Glasgow to Edinburgh or the other way round makes for a surprisingly leisurely bike ride between Scotland's two biggest cities. There are plenty of places along the way t see, including the iconic Falkirk Wheel, and numerous nearby train stations should you wish to return either way by train.
The Canal du Midi: France is the location for the lovely bike route, which travels alongside the “most beautiful canal in Europe”. The signposted route heads from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Pink City of Toulouse. The 17th century tree-lined Canal du Midi leads you through a landscape rich in cultural and natural history. It’s the perfect place to test your cycle touring legs. See Canal du Midi cycling tour.
Provence: France again and this time on a slightly more undulating route, cyclists can still enjoy leisurely cycling in wonderful countryside. You’ll leave the main roads behind and discover a lesser-known France. Visit the cultural city of Avignon and the scenery of the Luberon. A leisurely eight-day Pedalling in Provence cycling tour could be your perfect introduction to cycle touring.
Veloscenic: A new 400km signposted cycle route heads from France’s capital of Paris to stunning Mont St Michel on the north-west coast. The Veloscenic is predominantly very flat and follows old railway lines, established community bike paths and quiet country roads as it travels between such places as Chartres, Alencon and Domfront.
Holland: You can’t really go wrong in Holland. It’s flat and boasts thousands of miles of canal routes for the easiest of cycling holidays. Landelijke fietsroutes – long distance (LF) routes – are a good choice if you’re not sure where to start. For example, take off with your bikes for a lovely five-day tour of the historic cities of Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Dordrecht and Utrecht. The start and finish is in the capital Amsterdam and the route averages around 30–40kms a day.
Where have you cycled on the flat?