As a Dutchie, I was able to ride a bike at a very young age. With over 35.000 km of dedicated biking lanes, us Dutchies move around on our bicycles. No wonder we love to bike around town and try to find other cities in Europe to explore by bike. I found cycling around a big city the best way to explore a town and it will save you from blisters from walking around too much.
My list with 9 best cities in Europe to explore by bike
But which are the best cities in Europe to explore by bike? I give you a list of the best European cities paved to explore by bike.
As I have not traveled everywhere in Europe, I had some help to make this list with the best cities in Europe to explore by bike from fellow travel bloggers.
Are you ready? Strap on that helmet and pedal along with me.
I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.
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#1 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
What other city than Amsterdam is at the top of my list of best cities in Europe to explore by bike?
Make sure to follow the right etiquette to blend right in with the locals. Check this funny instruction video on riding your bike as a tourist in Amsterdam.
Vicky from Vickeblueyes shares here experiences with cycling in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is a mecca for cyclists; whether you are environmentally conscious, a fitness freak, or just enjoy getting around in the open air, the locals of Amsterdam use cycles as their main mode of transport with ease and delight.
Wandering around the picturesque alleyways and along the tranquil canals, bikes zip past you frantically, with the ping of a tiny bell to catch your attention. Although a stunning place to cycle and watch the world wander past, it is quite a stressful experience for the beginner biker.
Amsterdam has got a clear lane system in place but as the entirety of the city travel by bike, the correct etiquette can be quite challenging at times for a non-biker (aka car driver like me). Head over to Home Egels, otherwise known as the Yellow Bikes of Amsterdam where you can rent a bike easily and where the staff is keen to assist you and your journey, or if you would rather, join a bike tour with them.
Sights that are perfect to cycle to are Vondel Park, the area of Jordaan and the Anne Frank Museum.
#2 Valencia, Spain
When I was studying Spanish in Valencia, I needed to cover some ground from my host family to the language school and around town. I rented a bike often, because in Valencia they have the bike share system.
Valenbisi, the bike sharing system
It’s called Valenbisi and you can rent a bike at any place at any time for any amount of time. You sign up for the system and you can take a bike from the station. You cycle to your destination and park the bike again. If you do this within 30 minutes of taking the bike, it’s free. For more fees and terms of subscriptions, check the site of Valenbisi here.
I loved this system. I was able to bike to the beach or bike all the way to the Centre of Arts. In the middle of the city, there are paved bicycle paths that make for a leasure-some cycle tour. I did have some trouble finding a free station to park my bike. Sometimes all were full and I had to find another station to park the bike. Or wait for somebody to take a bike.
#3 Rome, Italy
After having explored the city on foot for 4 days, we wanted to have another perspective on the city. I took my parents on a guided tour across Rome by bike. We choose the panoramic hill tour. This was a bit hard, as we are not used to cycling up any hills but worth all the efforts.
I can recommend this tour as you really get a bird’s eye view of the city. You visit all the hills of Rome and some little secret sites and parks. I booked this tour via a Dutch agency, so I cannot recommend any others, but there are dozens out there.
Don’t make the same dumbass mistake I made: if you photograph while cycling, and taking a turn and squeezing your front break: you will fall. Ough! Have you ever thought of Rome to be one of the best cities in Europe to explore by bike?
#4 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is quite big and after walking around for a few days, my feet were killing me. I rented a bike for a day and set off to explore the outskirts of the city.
This was a good idea! Not only did my feet get some rest (finally!) but I was also able to visit some more remote places. I stumbled upon a local artisan market, a Catalan food fair and found some pristine beaches to chill.
You can rent bikes from the numerous bike shops around town, or when you become a Barcelona resident you can sign up for the bike-share system BiCing Barcelona. Of course, you can also take a bike tour of Barcelona. With its broad avenues and lanes next to its beaches, Barcelona is definitely one of the best cities in Europe to explore by bike.
# 5 London, UK
London is another top favorite on the list of cities in Europe to explore by bike. Here’s what Vivian from Miss Happy Feet has to say about biking in London:
It is incredibly easy to rent a bike in London. There is no need to book ahead; docking stations are everywhere to be seen: just walk up to a station with your bank card and touch the screen! As easy as that!
I rented a bike (Santander Cycles) when I was in London and paid only 2 Pound for a whole day. Yes only 2 Pound, but I had to look for a docking station every 30 minutes. It wasn’t too bad because as I said, docking stations are everywhere. Kind reminder: it helps to plan accordingly prior to renting a bike! Maps with docking stations can be found on TfL website (Transport for London).
Where to cycle to in London?
Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are pretty interesting to wander through with bikes, especially if you are a beginner in hiring city bikes. Another route with amazing view (my favorite) is in South Bank, which you can go up to the Westminster Bridge.
For regular bike users, I’d recommend downloading the Santander Cycle’s App on your smartphones to make things easier. We can access information on bikes available, location of docking stations and so on.
Unfortunately, Vivian doesn’t have any pictures of her biking in London, but you can check MissHappyFeet on Instagram.