We hope you’re off your training wheels and ready to explore Europe on bike, because sometimes it’s the best way to see cities and explore like a local. Grab your map (or phone), hop on that fixie that you just hired (that’s the way those crazy Europeans say rent), and get ready to explore five of the best cities in Europe for cyclists.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
This isn’t the bike capital of the world for no reason. More than 40% of all people get around on their bicycle. As with all of the best advice, get lost. Wander down canals and head to Amsterdam West to see one of the last remaining windmills in the city (built in 1631). Just be careful not to rent a bike immediately after visiting a coffeeshop, you don’t want to forget where to return it!
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Two very complicated words: Bycyklen Kobenhavn. However much time you have is all the time you need. This hourly bike rental system means you don’t have to return the bike where you rented it, and it only costs around $3 an hour! There are more than 20 in the Copenhagen area. Did we mention it comes with a GPS and built-in lock? Start at the edge and see Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid statue, hit the monuments in the downtown area, ride over the the Carlsberg district and explore the brewery, and finish your trip in Christiana “Green District”… you’ll see what we mean.
3. Barcelona, Spain
One of the best things about Barcelona is the architecture, so don’t miss out on it by using their metro the entire time. The day-long DIY walking tour to see all of Gaudi’s gaudy architecture will be cut in half when you peddle your little heart out (stopping for tapas all along the way). Start at Parc Guell, at the top of the hill, and work your way down to Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo.
4. Munich, Germany
Bike riding gets progressively more difficult after a few hours at Hofbrauhaus or another beer hall, so take that into consideration. While you’re meandering your way through the city, be sure peddle your way to the Munich English Garden and stop at the Eisbach, where you can catch a few waves a few hundred miles from the ocean. Not only can you watch surfers in the English Garden, you can see pagodas, and artificial lake (complete with three islands), and four beer gardens!
5. Rome, Italy
Rome is huge and their public transportation isn’t quite as spot on as other European cities, so renting a bike is an easy and quick way to get around (subway doesn’t run through the old city). If you happen to be in Rome on a Sunday, be sure to bike Via Appia Antica, as they close it to cars, and it’s a scenic route that will take you past ruins, catacombs, and if you stick with it long enough you can make it to the aqueducts and the volcanic Albano Lake!
P.S. Make sure to get a lock from wherever you rent the bike or don’t leave the bike. And don’t worry about getting hit either, Europeans have a whole lot more respect for bikers and aren’t specifically targeting you, unlike cabs in New York City…