Family cycling in woods in the Vendée

Family cycling holidays in France

A family cycling holiday is not only a fun way to explore a new destination, it’s one of the greenest ways that you can travel. Travelling from the UK, France is an easily accessible and wonderful place for families to enjoy on two wheels. Brittany Ferries sails from PortsmouthPoole and Plymouth and in no time at all, you’ll be across the Channel and ready to start pedalling. 

Taking your bike to France 

If you plan to take your own bicycles with you then it couldn’t be easier with Brittany Ferries. Most families taking ferry holidays with bikes add them to their cars (or caravans) in racks or boxes for a minimal additional charge.

Remember, you may need a lighting board with number plate and electrical supply to make sure that your number plate is not obscured and that your car and bike racks are legally roadworthy.

Car & motorcycle tours in France, Spain & Portugal

From the UK, Brittany Ferries offers a large choice of routes sailing to five ports in Northern France. This means that cycling in France across destinations including BrittanyNormandythe Loire and Western France is easy and affordable. If you’re planning a longer holiday then these towns are fantastic gateways for heading off and exploring more of the country.

Brittany Ferries also offers a wide choice of sailing times both during the day and overnight with cabins and reserved seating available on most. And then there are the added bonuses such as free WiFi on board, play areas for young children and arcades for teens.

Why go on a family cycling holiday to France

So, what can you expect from a family cycling holiday in France? Well, in addition to sunshine, beautiful countryside and endless croissants for breakfast, France is also home to an extensive network of family-friendly cycle routes.

Girl on her bike with teddy bear ahead of her family on wooded track

Family cycling holidays in France

These voies vertes (green ways), are bicycle routes that have been created from abandoned railway tracks. Today they provide miles and miles of flat, paved, car-free trails that are perfect for children. If cycling with older children or teens who are confident on roads then look out for véloroutes, an itinerary composed of a mixture of green ways and minor roads.

Where to go on a cycling holiday in France


If sailing into St Malo or Roscoff then you have all of Brittany to tour. Packed with charming villages, megalithic monuments, and storybook castles there is a lot to see and do.

Megalithic stones at Carnac © Shutterstock

Megalithic stones at Carnac

Plus, the beaches in this corner of France are stunning with turquoise waters to rival those found in the Med. Brittany also boasts hundreds of kilometres of car-free green ways meaning stress-free cycling with kids.


For a family cycling holiday in Normandy you can sail into Le Havre, Caen or Cherbourg. Promising beautiful countryside and more than 500km of bike paths for cyclists of all levels, this is a great destination for families on two wheels.

Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen with flags outside © Shutterstock

Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen with flags outside

One of the most famous cycle routes, the Vélo Francette, is a 615km route that runs between La Rochelle and Ouistreham. Cycling the entire length might challenge even the most ambitious of family cyclists but fortunately the route is broken up into sections, including five green ways suited for parents and children.


Of course, your family biking holiday is not confined to Brittany and Normandy. Northern France is the perfect jumping off point for exploring other regions in France. Cross over Brittany and you’ll find yourself in the Pays de la Loire, another region that has benefited from the country’s green ways systems.

Château de Saumur © Shutterstock

Château de Saumur

As you cycle along you can discover some of the area’s most famous sights including the medieval hilltop fort of Château de Saumur and the brilliant historical theme park Puy du Fou.

Another region worth exploring is the Dordogne where well-marked bike paths run past some of the area’s most well-known sights. The voie verte from Trélissac to Marsac sur l’Isle is a 21km flat path that follows the river passing picnic spots, playgrounds and places where you can stop and go canoeing.

Looking along the river Dordogne at Argentan © Shutterstock

Looking along the river Dordogne at Argentan

Follow the coast north and you’ll arrive in Somme Bay, one of the prettiest bays in France. The bay boasts 46km of cycle paths, many of them specially designed for families. 

For a longer cycling holiday in France your possibilities are endless. Head south along the coast and you’ll find some of the best coastal cycling in the country between the Gulf of Morbihan and the Gironde.

Young family on bicycles looking at a map by the beach © Shutterstock

In Burgundy, opt between a hilly route or a towpath cycling tour. And in Alsace, follow the scenic wine route linking small villages tucked away in the foothills of the Vosges. 

At the end of the holiday, when you’re both weary and exhilarated after days in the saddle, Brittany Ferries makes it easy to travel back to the UK. Regular crossings mean that you can drive on board whenever you’re ready and you’ll be home before you know it. 

A cycling holiday in France is the perfect holiday for any active family and a brilliant way to tour France at your own leisure.

Feel inspired? Holiday with confidence with Brittany Ferries. Our 2021 selection of ferry-inclusive package holidays come with free Covid-19 cover and free amendments too.