Over the last couple of decades, more and more tourists have been discovering the merits of Alpine cycling as an alternative to fly-and-flop summer holidays. A type of break that was once reserved for biking enthusiasts gradually became more and more widespread, to the point where, currently, entire families are indulging in this activity, and choosing Europe’s largest mountain range as the perfect location in which to do so.
Fortunately for the amateur demographic, the region doesn’t only offer hair-raisingly difficult courses and tracks; while the Alps are definitely known for this sort of challenging trail (which delights winter sport aficionados in winter as well), their vast expanse also offers more than a few easy trails, perfect for breaking beginners into the hobby. Listed below are a few of these, so that families planning a spot of Alpine cycling this summer may know where to take their children for a bit of practice.
Around the Lakes
The regions around Lake Annecy and Lake Constance – the first in France and the second touching the borders of three separate countries – both offer relatively tame paths for beginners to cut their teeth on Alpine cycling. With manifestly scenic vistas and a few small towns to explore, as well as some surprisingly adequate freshwater beaches, either of the two lakes’ surrounding regions will undoubtedly make for an excellent location for a day’s worth of biking.
Tirol is another excellent region of the Alps in which to gently break novices into the intricacies of Alpine cycling. The area offers over 900km of signposted bike paths, most of which criss-cross the region’s breathtaking valleys; but the highlight is undoubtedly the 500km long Inn Cycle Path, one of Europe’s premier biking routes. Combining stunning scenery with an accessible nature, this route is ripe for exploring by adventurous families on holiday in the region. Alternatively, parents and children can choose to tackle the route going from Sud Tirol (South Tirol) to Trentino, which crosses the Italian countryside and provides plenty of opportunities to taste the local food and drink.
Finally, a trip through Switzerland’s ‘cheese country’ is sure to delight families of foodies. Towns such as Gruyere and Gstaad are located along a path with a generally low gradient, which presents the added incentive of running parallel to stunning lakeside vistas and river valleys.
Any of these areas – as well as others such as Kitzbuehl, in the Austrian Alps – can therefore constitute an excellent destination in which to introduce novices to Alpine mountain biking.