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Alsace Family Cycling Holidays in France

If you are looking to enjoy family cycling holidays in France, you should consider the Alsace region. One of the most beautiful regions of France, Alsace is renowned for its sloping vineyards, half-timbered houses and even storks! The cycle paths through this beautiful region of France make for a perfect cycling trip with kids.

Family cycling holidays are a great way to enjoy fresh air and outdoor activities with your kids in a beautiful, natural setting. When looking for a family cycling holiday destination, Europe is always a great place to start, but with so many excellent options it can be hard to choose. While researching family cycling holidays in France, we came across a bike tour company which looked amazing!

a 9 year old girl on a family cycling trip in Alsace, France

Safran Tours offers a wide variety of self-guided family cycling holidays in France, including this one in Alsace. We were so excited about these amazing family cycling tours that it made our choice easy – we were going to join two of Safran’s self-guided biking tours in France.  

Our family has enjoyed many family cycling tours before, but our France cycling holidays would be our first where our kids (aged 7 and 9) pedaled their own bikes the entire route. We had an incredible time on our family cycling holidays in France, and we are confident your family will as well.

a family takes a break on a cycling trip in Alsace, France

This post contains compensated links.

We love to work with companies who cater to active traveling families, so we quickly teamed up with Safran Tours, allowing us to share our experiences with you.

The following is an honest account of our experiences on this family-friendly bike tour in France through the Alsace wine region:

Benefits of a Self-Guided Family Cycling Holiday

The concept of a self-guided tour in France is a perfect cycling trip for families like us, who don’t like the typical guided tour experience. Self-guided cycling tours allow your family to go at your own pace and the tour company provides all the equipment and logistical support you need to make your family holiday super-easy and enjoyable.

a family on a self-guided cycling tour in Alsace, France takes a water break

The benefits you can expect on a Safran Tours family cycling tour are:

Detailed Route Maps and Notes

For your family cycling holiday you will receive detailed route notes, a map of your route and the GPX files you can download into your favorite cycling route app. (We used the Visorando app, but also loaded the GPX files into Google Maps as a backup). Using a handlebar mount made it stress-free to use our phones to follow the full cycle path from beginning to end.

Luggage Transfers

We love this part about self-guided trips. Safran Tours will transport your luggage from place-to-place for you, meaning you only need to take a small day bag with you on your daily cycling throughout Alsace.

Emergency Support

Chances are you will not need it, but Safran Tours is there to help just in case you need it.

a young boy on a family biking vacation to France

Cycling Tour Equipment

We were very happy with the bike gear that Safran provided for our family cycle tour in France. We appreciated the panniers to carry our gear and the well-stocked repair kit in case of a minor incident along the way.

Cycling Gear for the Adults

You may bring your own bike on the Alsace family cycle tour, but we elected to rent bikes. Safran Tours provided each of us a high-quality hybrid bicycle. A hybrid bike is a useful blend of a mountain bike and road bike which allows you to navigate a wide range of riding conditions.

They have a flat handlebar and upright seated position of a mountain bike but are lighter with have smaller, smoother tires. The bike seat was quite comfortable too. The combination of comfort and flexibility made them the perfect bike for our Alsace cycle tour.

a family enjoys an easy cycling trail in a famous wine region of France

Cycling Gear for the Kids

Safran Tours has a wide variety of equipment for kids of all ages and capabilities, including kids’ bikes, trailer bikes, bike carts or child seats.

For our (nearly) 7-year-old, we got a 20” mountain bike, while our 9-year-old got a 24” mountain bike.

a girl tries out her Strasbourg bike rental before beginning her family cycling tour through Alsace

Alsace Family Cycle Tour Accommodations

The Alsace cycle trip has an interesting mix of destinations, ranging from big cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, to charming little Alsace resort towns such as Ribeauville and Mutzig. Safran Tours has provided some of the best accommodations available in these towns along the family-friendly cycling route through Alsace.

The actual accommodations may vary for each family who takes this tour, but we stayed in 3 star hotels and one very charming bed & breakfast. We mostly shared a single hotel room with our kids, but on one occasion we had adjoining hotel rooms.

a typical family-friendly hotel in Alsace, France

Food on the Cycle Tour

Having access to healthy food is important when on active family cycling holidays. Traveling with children who may be picky eaters can make this even more challenging. With a little advance planning you’ll be able to ensure that even the pickiest eaters will have something nourishing and enjoyable to eat at every meal.

homemade blueberry pie at a bed & breakast on our family biking trip through Alsace, France
Homemade blueberry pie!

A free breakfast is included at each stay, making it the easiest meal of the day. A typical breakfast on tour is a choice of croissants and jam, cereal with milk, and fruit juice. Some places served us breakfast, while others were buffet style.

We self-catered lunch every day by stopping at markets along the route. We’d buy a loaf of bread, ham, cheese, fruit, trail mix, granola bars, etc. Lunch is a great opportunity for parents to load up their children with food you know they’ll eat.

there are many treats in France for kids as a reward on family cycling tours

Dinner was included at many of our hotels. Overall, we were very happy with the food served at our hotel restaurants, both for the adults and for the kids.

A typical meal for the adults would be a 2 or 3-course meal, with a salad, an entrée and a dessert. The offerings for the children were good too, with lots of kid-friendly meal options such as pizza, chicken fingers, sausage, etc. A juice and dessert is often offered as part of the kids meal as well.

a girl devours her pizza after a day of cycling with her family in Alsace, France

The Alsace Family Cycle Tour in France

Day 1 – Strasbourg

After spending five days hiking in the shadow of Mont Blanc in Chamonix with kids, we drove to Strasbourg for the first day of our Safran Tours family cycling holidays in Alsace.

It was a long drive from Chamonix, but thankfully we had a few hours available to explore the beautiful historical city of Strasbourg with our kids. Strasbourg is a pleasure to explore on foot with kids as there are endless pedestrian-only streets to enjoy around the historic town centre. Not having any cars on the road is such a treat for parents sightseeing with kids in Europe.

flowers and half-timbered houses line the canals of Petit-France in Strasbourg

Given our limited time in Strasbourg with kids, we decided to visit Petit France first. With brightly colored traditional half-timbered houses along beautiful canals, Petit France is the area most people think of when they picture Strasbourg.

It was genuinely fun to aimlessly wander Petite France with our kids, watching swans swim in the canals, window shopping etc. Another fun activity was watching the nimble tour boats float through the canals, changing levels with the help of a lock system.

Petit-France is one of the best things to do in Strasbourg with kids

Dinner is not included for day 1 of the Alsace family bike tour. We enjoyed a family dinner at a kid-friendly restaurant near our central Strasbourg hotel. Don Calzone is a casual restaurant which serves a wide variety of savory and sweet calzones, along with a generous amount of pasta dishes.

We wanted our kids to have a full tummy before the first day of our Alsace family cycle tour and pizza is always a guaranteed way to achieve that. Switching it up and getting pizza in calzone form was a fun change of pace for the kids.

a young boy is excited for his pizza in Strasbourg, France

Day 2 – Cycling from Strasbourg to Mutzig

Our first impressions of visiting Strasbourg with kids were so favorable that we decided to spend a portion of our morning to seeing more of the historic town centre.

We made our way from our hotel to the Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg) by walking in the direction of the single tower, which is so tall it can be seen from many locations. We preferred to explore Strasbourg without Google Maps as much as we could as it is a pleasure to explore and make discoveries along the way.

a flower-lined bridge over a canal in Petit-France, Strasbourg

The gothic Strasbourg Cathedral is a massive structure and it’s worth taking some time to stay outside to admire the intricate exterior artwork. To be honest, we usually take time to visit the beautiful cathedrals around Europe, but they are often quite boring, especially for the kids.

We always enjoy Gothic cathedrals as they are always so impressive and have cool stuff like gargoyles. The Strasbourg Cathedral was incredibly beautiful inside and we recommend your family taking the time to visit before beginning your Alsace family bike tour.

the sun shines through the stained glass windows in the Strasbourg Cathedral

Cycling out of Strasbourg

We picked up our bike rentals mid-morning and after a few quick adjustments and safety checks we were on our way. I always get worried when we have to cycle with the kids through a big city like Strasbourg, but our bike path through the city was very easy and safe. In fact, it was the hordes of tourists sharing the same pedestrian-only pathways that were our biggest risk, not busy streets.

a girl cycles with her family through Petite-France in Strasbourg

On our way out of Strasbourg, we enjoyed cycling through the beautiful Petite France area before starting a peaceful ride under a canopy of trees along the L’Ill river. The cycle paths for the first 7 km or so of this leg of the Alsace bike tour was through the suburbs of Strasbourg, mostly along the banks of the river. It’s always fun to see the non-touristy parts of major tourist destinations, to see how people really live.

Alsace Wildlife

As you leave the historic city of Strasbourg, it doesn’t take long for nature to start impressing. The bike trail follows the beautiful Canal de la Bruche for a significant amount of time, and a surprising amount is under a cooling canopy of trees. Anywhere there is trees and water together, there is usually an abundance of wildlife, and we saw a decent amount on our family bike ride today.

our kids take a break from cycling to admire a swan in Molsheim, France

Almost immediately we saw a blue heron in a nearby field, followed by some swans and a flock of geese (who were doing crazy things like rolling over in the water!). Our daughter is crazy about horses and was thrilled to see many fields with beautiful horses. We stopped when we heard a rustling noise in the forest across the Canal de la Bruche and were excited to see a tiny little deer.

But the biggest thrill of the day was to see some famous Alsace storks flying overhead! They circled around over us a few times before disappearing – what a thrill to see these beautiful birds up close in the wild!

an Alsace stork flies above us while cycling near Strasbourg with kids

Rivers and Canals

You’ll begin to cycle through a charming French village every now and then starting around the 18 km mark. You’ll start seeing vineyards a short while later.

If you are looking for a place to have lunch with your family, there are a few park benches along the Canal de la Bruche – usually near a scenic little waterfall. We stopped at one of these benches for a yummy picnic lunch. If you’d prefer, there’s a highly rated restaurant called Ravito des Cyclos along the bike path at the halfway point of your family bike ride.

Alternatively, there’s a picnic area next to a large bakery (patisserie) at the 24 km mark, right where the trail takes a sharp turn south. There’s a potable water pump within the picnic area, so take a break and fill your water bladders if it’s a hot day.

As you cycle south, the La Broche River becomes your new aquatic companion. If you listen carefully, you’ll often hear the sound of local kids playing in the cool water. We saw even more storks in the fields along this stretch of bike path.

a stork near a fence in Molsheim, France

Molsheim

At the 27 km mark, you’ll ride along dedicated cycle paths around the edge of a larger town called Molsheim. You’ll cycle along a beautiful, long wooden bridge near some half-timber houses in Molsheim. If it’s a hot day, you may even want to stop at the outdoor swimming pool, which is right on your designated bike path.

a family cycles through Molsheim, France on a kid-friendly bike trip through Alsace

Mutzig

A quick ride from Molsheim and we were at our destination for the first day of cycling on our family bike tour in Alsace. On your way into Mutzig, you’ll pass through a historic gate from the old city walls.

After checking into our Mutzig hotel, we explored this charming little French town. The town centre is filled with colorful, half-timber buildings. Speaking of wildlife, we were thrilled to see tiny little Hummingbird Hawk Moths in the flowerbeds lining the main road.

our kids loved the Hummingbird Hawk Moths in Alsace, France

We were fooled by these tiny moths while visiting Lake Annecy with kids – we thought they were the tiniest little hummingbirds we’d ever seen, but in fact they are moths which have evolved to be very similar in nature to hummingbirds!

If you happen to be outside at the top of the hour, look up at the clock tower next to the church. If you look closely, there’s a face sticking out above the clock and at the top of the hour, the face wiggles its ears and opens its mouth. It’s so funny and great fun for the kids.

Our kids loved this clock tower in Mutzig, France as its face moved at the top of every hour

Day 2 – Alsace Cycling Stats

This leg of the Alsace family bike tour was 32 km / 20 miles long and took us just under 3 hours of moving time to complete. Mutzig is about 60 m higher in elevation than Strasbourg, but the trail is fairly flat with an imperceptible incline.

a young cyclist takes a break near a stream in Alsace, France in-between Strasbourg and Mutzig

Day 3 – Cycling from Mutzig to Andlau

Today was a wonderful day to be on two wheels as our family-friendly bike tour entered the heart of the Alsace wine region. Ironically, we’re not big wine drinkers ourselves, but we love the graceful beauty of the vineyards spread out on the gently rolling hills of the Alsace region.

a family cycles through the Alsace wine region of France

The exit from Mutzig was quick and easy and we soon found ourselves riding alongside tall stalks of corn in the countryside. It was Sunday and it seemed like the sound of church bells in the air never stopped as we passed from one town to another.

As the bike trail led our family into the vineyards through the rolling hills, we were met with many smiles and a friendly “bonjour” from the locals out for a morning walk. The sheer size of some of the Alsace vineyards are remarkable. We were lucky to be cycling through them as the grapes were turning from green, to purple, to a deep blue color.

wine grapes mature on the vine along the cycling trail in Alsace, France

We passed through many Alsace villages today, each competing with the others to be the most charming. No doubt you are attracted to this family bike trip in Alsace in part because of the beautiful half-timber houses. Well, today these colorful, historic buildings were on full display, from village-to-village, they were so amazing.

a family cycles through a colorful town with half-timbered houses in the Alsace wine region of France

A Walk Around Obernai

The town along our cycling route which truly stood out from the others was Obernai. A stop in this Alsace town was recommended by Safran Tours, so we locked up our bikes and went exploring.

We began by walking the entire perimeter of the old town walls. The walking path was also bike-friendly, so we could have biked around the Obernai city walls, but we enjoyed a chance to get off our bikes and go for a family walk instead. Given Obernai is about the halfway point on the bike path, your kids may appreciate a stop at the public toilets near the church.

the two bell towers of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Obernai, France

After completing our circumnavigation of the Obernai city walls, we ventured into the heart of the historic old town. All the Alsace towns we saw today were beautiful, but Obernai was clearly the best.

There were so many beautiful half-timber houses along the colorful streets, filled with shops, art galleries, restaurants and more. There was even a very unique carousel, which our kids had fun on.

a ride on the Obernai carusel was a fun activity for the kids while taking a break from our family cycling tour

Before getting back on our bikes, we stopped in a very tempting nougat shop and bought a slice of salted caramel almond nougat and ate it on the steps of the nearby synagogue.

kids drool over the salted caramel almond nougat in Obernai, France

A Gingerbread Shop in Barr

When our Alsace biking tour pathway led us to the outskirts of the village of Barr, we left the bike trail in search of the Le Palais Du Pain D’épices – a local favorite gingerbread shop! I thought it was just a big, popular gingerbread store, but I was surprised when we had to pay admission to get in!

the gingerbread museum in Barr, France is a fun activity for the family

It turns out, there is a fun little attraction dedicated to gingerbread which you get to walk through. It’s all very colorful and fun with tons of stuff for the kids to enjoy. The best part was the free samples though!

a 7-year old boy loves the free gingerbread samples at Le Palais Du Pain D'épices in Barr, France

Andlau

Once we returned to Barr via Gertwiller (another beautiful Alsace village!), we were lucky enough to stumble across a very colorful art market. It was so busy with pedestrians that we had to walk our bikes, but that was ok as we wanted to slowly admire the creative art on display.

a beautiful village along the Alsace wine region cycling route

Before long, we rolled into Andlau, which by no surprise, is another charming Alsace village. We checked into our hotel and went exploring. The highlight was watching mother swallows swooping through the air to feed their baby swallows in nests hanging on the half-timber houses. What a treat!

Day 3 – Alsace Cycling Stats

Although Day 3 was shorter at 26 km /16 miles (excluding the side trip to the Gingerbread Palace), it was a more difficult ride with several extended uphill sections to navigate.

Our kids managed the hills ok, but we could tell they were getting tuckered out near the top. It took us 3 hours and 20 minutes of moving time for today’s leg of the Alsace family bike tour, which is a slower than usual pace due to the uphill sections.

a 9 year old girl works hard to cycle up a hill on a family bike trip in Alsace, France

Day 4 – Cycling from Andlau to Selestat

Our third day of family cycling in Alsace was much easier than the day before, with just a few minor uphill sections to negotiate today. This time we were riding alongside the hills of the Alsace region as opposed to through them.

It didn’t take long to ride our bikes out of the small, charming town of Andlau and we quickly found ourselves on a quiet country road. As usual, the grape vines were our constant companions, which we never got tired of.

a family rides their bikes through a vineyard on a summer trip to France

As the country road changed into a dedicated, paved cycling path we started to notice the large number of crucifixes located next to vineyards. We hadn’t seen this on our Alsace family bike trip before, but today they seemed to be everywhere. This really added to the cultural experience on our family ride today.

Dambach-la-ville

We again passed through many small, charming Alsace villages today, but for us the standout was Dambach-la-ville. We had stopped just outside of here to do a fun family hike, but we were very impressed with the beauty of Dambach-la-ville and its colorful half-timber houses and massive church.

Our daughter was excited to see many horses today, as well as lots of swallows playing in the sky (she’s now very interested in swallows after seeing the babies in Andlau the day before).

our daughter stopped to visit every horse along our self-guided cycling trip through Alsace, France

Another interesting thing to see along the way was an insect hotel – a small house designed with habitat that would attract insects, which we assume would be beneficial to the grape crops?

we took a break from our family cycling trip in Alsace to inspect an insect hotel next to a vineyard

All throughout the day, we marveled at the postcard-worthy views of the Alsace region of France. All throughout the day it seemed like we could see colorful villages in the distance with their church steeples high in the sky. The rolling hills with abandoned castles, vineyards and forests add to the breathtaking scenery.

cycling through charming villages in Alsace with kids

Selestat

Selestat is a larger centre of nearly 20,000 inhabitants, which was a bit of a shock to the system after so many small, sleepy villages. I was wondering how we’d get to our bed & breakfast through a city the size of Selestat, but the cycling path was quite clever. True, it took us through some less scenic areas of Selestat, but for the most part, the kid-friendly route was traffic-free.

We didn’t have a ton of time to explore Selestat, but we enjoyed walking along the pedestrian-only street in the historic town centre. There are many beautiful buildings in Selestat, including a gothic cathedral.

two kids climb on the Selestat sign on a family vacation to France

Optional Family Hike: Bernstein Castle Hike

On this leg of our family bike tour of Alsace, we could have gone to a theme park or a monkey habitat in Selestat, but for an optional activity we decided to do a short hike to a ruined castle.

Ever since we explored a ruined castle in the Czech Republic, we’ve looked for another opportunity to do it again. We were excited to discover the trailhead for the hike to the Bernstein Castle ruins was in the village of Dambach-la-ville – which was right at the halfway point of our Alsace bike route for the day.

We locked our bikes on a street sign at the Bernstein Castle trailhead. A few minutes into the hike, there is a huge information sign about the geography of the region and why it makes their wines so special.  We found it fascinating that from this vantage point, we could see the Black Forest of Germany across the valley!

a family hike near Dambach-la-ville to the ruins of Bernstein Castle

It’s a short 2.5 km to hike from Dambach-la-ville to Bernstein Castle, but it is steep, with around 300 m of elevation gain. It’s a moderate hike for regular hikers, but if your kids are active enough to do the Alsace Family Cycle Tour, then they will be in good enough shape for this hike.

The ruins of Bernstein Castle are awesome and your kids will love it. Strategically built atop a granite outcrop, there is more than enough of this Alsace castle remaining for your imagination to run wild. The best part is climbing the stairs to the top of the castle tower, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible view of castle and town below.

the ruins of Bernstein Castle is a fun hike for kids near Dambach-la-ville, France

It took us just over 2 hours to complete the Bernstein Castle hike with kids. This does not include the time we spent exploring this fascinating ruined castle. It will help to have a trail map for Bernstein Castle downloaded onto your phone.

two kids exploring the ruins of Bernstein Castle in the Alsace wine region of France

Day 4 – Alsace Cycling Stats

It took us 2.5 hours of moving time to complete the 22 km / 13.7 mile bike ride from Andlau to Selestat. It was pretty easy cycling today with just a few hills to contend with.

a happy family enjoying a self-guided cycling tour in France

Day 5 – Cycling from Selestat to Ribeauville

We began our fifth day of the Alsace family bike tour with a visit to the renowned Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. To get there, we left our bikes at our bed & breakfast and walked to the nearby train station where we caught the bus.

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Given our visit to the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg was included in our Safran Tours package, we didn’t really do much research beforehand. We were absolutely shocked to see how popular this Alsace attraction was!

No surprise, there is a reason the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is so popular – it’s an incredibly well-restored castle on a high hill with equally incredible views. Of all the castles we’ve visited in Europe with kids, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg made it the easiest to imagine what life in a castle was like. The castle itself if immaculately restored with careful attention to detail, while many of the rooms have been decorated to illustrate castle life.

a boy looks out a castle window at the Haut-Koenigsbourg chateau near Selestat, France

We find that kids get bored with nearly empty castles, but give their imagination a little kick-start and they love them. The Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is one of those European castles which kids love. Starting with a knight and her horse greeting guests, to the drawbridges, the weapons room and the room full of cannons, your kids will have a blast at the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg.

two kids play with a cannon in the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle while on a bike tour in Alsace, France

La Montagne des Singes

We had originally thought that we wouldn’t be able to visit the monkey park near Selestat, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover the bus to the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Chateau also stops at the La Montagne des Singes monkey park. After we had finished exploring the extensive French chateau, we took a short bus ride to the monkey park.

Home to approximately 200 free-roaming barbary macaques, Le Montagne des Signes is a must-do Selestat attraction with kids. You explore the monkey park through a walking trail where the barbary macaques literally roam free.

a free-roaming barbary macaque sitting at the Selestat monkey park is a thrill for kids

At first, every sighting of a barbary macaque is extremely exciting, but then you start seeing the babies. The baby monkeys are so incredibly cute and fun to watch, that they easily win your hearts.

Each sighting and monkey encounter is exciting of course, but the little pool with rocks and ropes near the end of the walking loop is especially fun. The young monkeys seem to love to play and roughhouse in this little pool, to the delight of the gathered crowds.

a boy gets close to a free roaming monkey at the La Montagne des Singes monkey park near Selestat, France

We were able to visit both the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Château and the La Montagne des Singes in the same day as the scheduled bike ride today was very short. This left us with plenty of time to enjoy ourselves with the best things to do in Selestat with kids.

Cycling to Ribeauville

It was super-easy getting out of Selestat as we followed minor roads with dedicated bike lanes. Parents should be aware that you will pass Cigoland on your way out of town. Cigoland is an amusement park which will easily catch your kids eye. Be prepared for the inevitable begging which will follow.

The fun thing about the bike ride from Selestat to Ribeauville is that you can see the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Château perched way up high on a hilltop virtually the whole day. There are other minor castles along the way as well, but none as majestic as the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Château.

a female cyclist explores a French village in the Alsace wine region

Due to the short length of the day’s ride, you’ll only pass through a couple of villages on your way to Ribeauville, but they are quite charming, especially Bergheim. With cobblestone streets, a beautiful church and many half-timber houses, you may want to get off your bikes for a closer look.

Ribeauville

Before long, you’ll arrive in Ribeauville. Our Selestat B&B host told us that Ribeauville was one of the nicest towns along the Alsace wine route, and we think he’s right. The crowds were a bit much at times, but the main pedestrian-only street in Ribeauville is something special.

A family cycles through Ribeauville, France

It’s hard to place what exactly sets it apart from the other Alsace villages, but there’s a certain something that just works here. It’s a truly beautiful town you’ll want to slow down and spend some time in.

the main street in Ribeauville is one of the most charming along the Alsace wine route

Dinner was not included in the tour package for this evening, so we walked to a fun pizza place just outside the Ribeauville old town. La Pizzeria is a bit quirky – it’s a hotel, pizza shop, comic book store and bakery. I was very skeptical, but the pizza turned out to be very good with generous portions. The kids loved the massive King Kong and Iron Man displays outside as we enjoyed our pizza in a shady courtyard.

Day 5 – Alsace Cycling Stats

It took us 2 hours of moving time to complete the 16 km / 10 mile bike ride from Selestat to Ribeauville. It was pretty easy cycling again today – the trail was mostly flat with only one hill of consequence as you near Ribeauville.

a family cycles past the Château d'eau in Selestat, France on their way to Ribeauville

Day 6 – Cycling from Ribeauville to Colmar

It was with mixed emotions that we hit the trail for our final day of biking on our Alsace family bike tour. We were sad that our France family cycling holidays were coming to an end, but we were excited to reach Colmar, one of the most beautiful cities in Alsace.

Leaving Ribeauville early in the morning was a nice experience as we got to enjoy the town mostly to ourselves, without the hordes of tourists the day before. The uphill ride through the suburbs of Ribeauville lead you to the top of the hill where you can look behind you and see three castles on the hill above the vineyards below.

Ribeauville, France is beautifully lit in the morning sun without the afternoon crowds of tourists

NaturOparC

The downhill glide into Hunawihr was effortless and fun. The downhill ride takes you through town and ends when you reach NaturOparC, a small zoo on the outskirts of Hunawihr.

Our family had a lot of fun visiting the NaturOparC zoo during our final day of the Alsace family bike tour. For a reasonably small zoo, they pack in a ton of animals and exhibits. During our visit to NaturOparC, we saw turtles, donkeys, nutrias, ducks, raccoons, swans, grand hamsters and an aquarium. The centerpiece attraction at NaturOparC is the stork exhibit, where a large number of these famous Alsace birds can be seen.

a girl enjoys the koi exhibit at the NaturOparC zoo in Hunawihr, France

NaturOparC is fun for the whole family, but our kids favorite exhibits getting to touch very friendly koi fish and the European Otter exhibit. A thoughtful display, kids can watch these playful aquatic animals from both above water and through the glass to watch them swim gracefully below water.

a boy is all smiles as he walks through a wall of mist at the NaturOparC zoo in Hunawihr, France

Cycling from Hunawihr to Kientzheim

As you leave NaturOparC, families may want to take advantage of the picnic tables on the road just outside the park on the way back to Hunawihr. From this picnic area you can see the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Château, plus two additional closer castles. If you are lucky, you’ll also get to see storks flying above NaturOparc.

two kids take a break from cycling to enjoy the view of three French castles on a hill, including Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Having a picnic to refuel is a good idea as the uphill ride for the next 2 km is one of the hardest climbs of the entire Alsace bike tour. Over 2 km, you’ll gain approximately 150 m in elevation. It’s quite steep, so don’t be surprised if your kids need a break, or to get off their bikes and push. The reward is a nice long downhill section where you won’t have to pedal your bike a single time.

a girl pushes her bike up a steep hill while on a family cycling trip in France

Kientzheim

As we approached the town of Kientzheim, the whole family had our breath taken away by the views of the rolling hills of Alsace – it was so beautiful even the kids mentioned it.

a family cycles through a beautiful vineyard on a self-guided bike tour in Alsace

As we rode our bikes effortlessly down another big hill, we were treated to a postcard worthy vista of beautiful rolling hills, covered in vineyards with colorful villages sprinkled here and there. It was a nice gift to receive such a beautiful view on our last day cycling in Alsace with kids.

As we left the rolling hills and entered the valley floor on our final approach to Colmar, the vineyards slowly started giving way to orchards. We could see apple trees, berry trees and even a huge sod farm with a flawless green lawn of grass.

two siblings on bikes stop to enjoy the vineyards outside Colmar, France

Before long, we entered the suburbs of Colmar and made our way to our hotel a few blocks from Petite Venice. Despite the size of Colmar, it was easy to make our way to our hotel, via dedicated bike lanes and pedestrian-only streets. We quickly took the kids to La Sorbetière d’Isabelle for ice cream to celebrate a great family bike ride through Alsace.

a family celebrates the end of a self-guided cycl tour from Strasbourg to Colmar with some ice cream

Then, after freshening up at our hotel, we enjoyed a beautiful walk through old town Colmar to have sushi at Restaurant Japonais Nagoya. Sushi is our family’s go-to food when we have something we want to celebrate, and we finishing our Alsace cycling holiday was the perfect excuse!

Day 6 – Alsace Cycling Stats

It took us 2.5 hours of moving time to complete the 24 km / 15 mile bike ride from Ribeauville to Colmar. As mentioned, the ride out of out of NaturOparC is a bit of a grind, but it’s easy sailing afterwards. Once you crest the top of that hill, the remaining cycling to Colmar is almost all downhill or flat.

a family cycles through an archway in Ribeauville, France

Day 7 – Colmar

When planning our family holiday to France, we thought that Colmar looked so nice that we decided to take a midday train back to Paris, giving us a free morning to enjoy the beauty of Colmar.

the canals of Colmar are why this charming town is often called the Venice of France

For our final morning in Colmar, we put Google Maps away and simply enjoyed a leisurely walk through this beautiful Alsace town. The size of the Colmar old town is remarkably big, with an endless number of charming and colorful half-timber buildings. The canals along Petite Venice were especially nice with the morning sunlight glittering off the water.

half-timber houses line the beautiful canals in Colmar, France

As our train traveled from Colmar to Strasbourg (on our way back to Paris), it was fun looking at the rolling hills and seeing many of the towns and castles we had visited along the way. The kids thought it was amazing that we had biked that entire distance – and they were right, it was truly amazing!

What to Pack on Your Family Cycling Holidays in Alsace

To have the best family cycling holidays, we recommend you bring the following gear with you each day on your trip:

  • A handlebar mount for your phone allows you to easily navigate your way through this family-friendly cycling trip.

  • A small travel first aid kit. You never know when an accident will happen, so having a small first aid kit will help with the minor scrapes you many get along the way.

  • A sweat resistant sports sunscreen.

  • A cycling backpack with a hydration pack. The cycling specific backpacks are great as they are small and aerodynamic. Having a hydration pack for each cycler is imperative to ensure everyone gets enough water along their daily ride. This becomes especially important as the temperature rises. Our kids used this hydration pack from Outdoor Products, while we used this Osprey bike hydration backpack.
two kids on a family cycling trip in France take a drink from their cycling hydration packs
  • Bug spray. We didn’t notice any mosquitos on our Alsace bike tour, but they can be a problem while at outdoor restaurants.

  • A small power bank. You’ll burn through your phone battery pretty quickly running your GPS, taking videos and photos etc. It’s always comforting to have a small power bank and charging cord along with you in case your phone battery gets too low. It’d be a shame to miss out on great family photos because your phone was dead.

  • We used an Insta360 action camera mounted to the handlebars to capture great videos of our family bike tour in France. Having a handlebar-mounted camera is much safer than pulling your phone out and recording video as you ride with one hand. This is especially true while cycling downhill.

  • Packable sun hats are useful for when you get off your bikes and take off your helmets. If the sun is strong, you’ll still want your kids to be protected from the sun.
kids taking a break from their family cycling trip in Strasbourg admire the beautiful canals

Tips for Cycling through Alsace with Kids

  • There are picnic tables and benches all along the Alsace cycle paths. Pack a lunch and stop at a scenic table for a nice break along the way.

  • As previously mentioned, having water bladders is a very effective way your kids stay hydrated while cycling in the hot summer sun.

  • Early morning rides are a good way to beat the heat if the daily high temperatures are too much for your children. Ice cream is the perfect reward after a great day of family cycling!
ice cream was the perfect reward for a great day of family cycling in Alsace, France
  • If you preload the Visorando app with the GPS maps provided by Safran Tours, we recommend you turn cellular data on for the app (as long as you have reasonable data costs and are not paying outrageous roaming charges). If you have cheap data, the Visorando map detail is superior to simply downloading the map and running the app without data. (We used Airalo eSIM’s in France for our cellular data – sign up for Airalo and get a discount off your first eSIM).

  • The Pass-Alsace discount card provides free entry to over 60 tourist attractions in Alsace including the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, the Cigoland amusement park, the NaturOparC zoo and much more.
a girl cycles past half-timbered houses on a family cycling trip in the Alsace wine region of France

Final Thoughts

We have done family cycling holidays before, but our France cycling trips were the first time where our kids did all their own cycling. We knew they were capable of the daily distances on single outings back home, but we wondered if they could string together these daily cycling distances over a solid week?

There was no need to have worried; they did awesome. Even when the intense sun from the ongoing heat wave temperatures was bearing down on us, they amazed us with their energy, resilience and positive attitudes.

two children enjoy the beautiful half-timbered houses in Colmar, France

The beautiful vineyards, rolling hills and charming villages of Alsace did not disappoint either. The half-timber houses that Alsace is famous for were every bit as charming as we’d hope they would be.

a 7-year old boy rides his bike through a vineyard on a family biking trip in Alsace, France

Safran Tours did an excellent job. Their trip information package gave us interesting information about the region and the places we would be cycling with our children. Their route maps and detailed directions gave us confidence as we set out each day. The cycling equipment was in great shape, and with help only a phone call away, we felt safe taking our family on the road.

We would travel with Safran Tours again and would recommend their Alsace family cycle tour to anyone. We encourage you to read about our La Dolce Via Family Cycle Tour in Ardeche, another family cycling holiday by Safran Tours.

a family enjoying cycling with kids in France - Alsace region

If our post inspired you to book the Family Cycle Tour in Alsace (or any family-friendly tour by Safran Tours), please use coupon code “familycantravel” to let them know we referred you.

Visit France with Kids

Amazing Family Cycling Tours