It’s fair to say that one of the best ways to explore this world is by bicycle. There’s nothing like the open road, the wind in your hair and the freedom of exploring on two wheels.
It seems that some cities are leading the way here by making bicycle riding more easy and convenient than ever. Initiatives like biking lanes, biking facilities and even city-wide biking programs where you can hire a bicycle for as little as 1 Euro are making their way across cities worldwide and we couldn’t be happier. Not only is this a cheaper option to see the world, but a more environmentally friendly one as well – and one that will keep some numbers off those scales.
I’ve collaborated with travel professionals to bring you this list of the world’s best cities to explore by bicycle. Where shall we start?
If there were ever a city as natural as can be to travel by bike, it would be Copenhagen. Biking is the most popular and easiest mode of transportation in the city. All over the city there is bike parking, and bikes. There are even special bike lines elevated from the street with their own street signals and signs to follow. While in Copenhagen we rented a bike from our hotel (there are also bike rental places) and explored the city. Because there are so many cyclists, the city doesn’t have much car traffic. We rode miles and miles across the town and never had a problem, even during rush hour. I can’t wait to return to see more of Copenhagen by bike.
Jessica from Hej Doll
Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, a small and young city filled with hidden gems. A lot overlook Helsinki when they visit Northern Europe and to be honest, I can’t really blame them. Helsinki is still very small and there are not a lot of happenings compared to its neighbouring Northern capitals like Stockholm or Copenhagen. However, I think that it is still worth a visit to this beautiful city. As mentioned above, they city itself is small and although the public transport is efficient, they are promoting cycling around to locals and tourists alike. I personally know a lot of Finns who rather cycle around town instead of taking the public transport because as they mention, “it is easier to get around freely and you get to find new places to see with just a little change of road”. To add to this, it is very safe and fun to cycle around Helsinki, which makes it one of the best cities to explore by bicycle. Also, with bicycle, you can roam around freely without getting lost – you’ll always find your way in this city!
Evan from Pretty Wild World
Strasbourg is bike-friendly, much as Amsterdam is, and it is a very popular mode of transport that is used for exploring the city. It is also mostly used as a means of commuting by many of the residents. Strasbourg has 500 km of cycle tracks in an area of 30 sq. miles (78 sq. km) making it densely populated with cyclers. There are tracks throughout the city and these cyclists, particularly the locals, ride fast. Their bikes are the bigger Amsterdam type bikes and the bike lanes take precedence over everything. Be careful, as you need to get out of their way if you are on foot, though the locals will give you a quick bell to give you warning to move or they will manoeuvre the bike around you.
Paula and Gordon from Contented Traveller
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat temple complex is great to explore by bicycle. It’s a cheap activity – $2-3USD per day for a bike and pretty much all accommodation types will have them available for hire. It’s also an excellent workout (the bikes aren’t always in the best condition so be prepared to pedal harder!) Whilst a tuk tuk is needed to explore the further out temples I can recommend doing the town to Praeh Khan by bike, round trip it’s about 24km. I took both the main road and the not so main one. Both offered a little crazy traffic mixed in with day-to-day life in Cambodia. It was great to be able to wave to the kids passing me on their way to school while also enjoying the cool pre-sunrise breeze.
Sarah from Fit Travels
London is a large, hectic and very expensive big city, albeit an extremely exciting one. Cycling in the city has really taken off during the past few decades as commuters use it to save money on the high tube (how we refer to our metro) fees and to keep fit. As long as you are careful and respect the rules of the road, it is also a lot of fun and safe way to get around.
London has a lot of iconic sites dotted around the city. You can quite easily reach them using the tube or iconic red London buses, but to avoid traffic and save on the expensive train fares, cycling is a far more satisfying and efficient way of doing it. You can cycle in the city using the shared bicycle schemes available across the central areas. They were set up when Boris Johnson was the London mayor so were nicknamed Boris Bikes. They cost £2 for 24 hours and the first 30 minutes is free.
The best time to cycle in London? In June during the naked bike ride of course!
Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys
Hoi An, Vietnam
Compared to the rest of Vietnam Hoi An is incredibly quiet. It may be due to the fact that it is significantly smaller, and that the historic centre is closed to traffic. Either way, it is really pleasant to walk around and, even better, to bike around. Most visitors rent a bike not only to explore the gorgeous city, but also to visit its surroundings, which include the fantastic An Bang beach, on the way to Da Nang; the organic farms of Tra Que and the bucolic Cam Kim island, which is packed with the greenest rice fields and where the atmosphere is completely peaceful and relaxed – very few tourists and just a bunch of locals going about their daily business, and always smiling and welcoming to anybody who passes by.
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
With hundreds of kilometres of dedicated bicycle lanes and paths meandering their way through the city, Berlin has become one of the best cities in the world to explore by bike. The bohemian and lively destination has been attracting tourists for years, and now more and more people are realising the benefits of cycling there. You can rent a bike for just a few Euros a day from most hostels, hotels and guesthouses and hit the pavement. Not only is it an environmentally friendly way to get around, it often works out cheaper and faster than taking public transport.
Alesha and Jarryd from NOMADasaurus
Some cities are meant to be explored on a bike, and Boston is definitely one of them. The New England summer is lush green, blooming and bright, and Boston, being home to the famous Charles river, serves as the perfect paradise for a biker who demands a view. In fact, the first thing that you would notice as a tourist in Boston city are the hard to miss biking tracks along every street, be it big or small. Most public parks, ponds, pathways and the iconic freedom trail are all easily accessible on a bike, which can be easily rented from various bike renting companies/spots across Boston. All you need to do is pick a route from the many available on the map and ride away!
Shraddha from Streettrotter
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a bicyclist heaven! In the past two and a half years of travel, and 26 countries, we’ve never see a more bicycle-friendly destination. For starters, there are bike lanes all over the city, which makes biking anywhere you might want to go in Ljubljana safe and convenient. Additionally, drivers are friendly and courteous so you don’t have to worry about being mowed down by your motorized neighbors on the street. The best part about cycling in Ljubljana though, is the city-wide bike program that gives visitors and locals access to hundreds of bikes throughout the city for as little as one Euro! You can subscribe for a week at one Euro or a year at three Euros. Once subscribed, you can rent a bicycle at one of the many stations throughout the city, for up to an hour for free. Needless to say, we took advantage of this program the entire time we were in Ljubljana and our total transportation cost amounted to just one Euro each. We can’t think of a better deal! So, if you love exploring new destinations by bike, Ljubljana should be on your list of places to visit.
Randi and Michael from Just A Pack
Taipei, Taiwan has one the best public transportation in the world, but the best way to explore the city is by renting a bicycle from the YouBike station. With its easy accessibility, it’s hard to not cruise along with this beaut! Throughout the city there is a YouBike station available 24/7. Just use your Easy Card (same card for public transportation) and you’re set. It’ll cost you 10NT every 30 minutes and if the ride is less than 30 minutes, it’s FREE! Unsure if the YouBike station has bicycles? Well, there’s an app and a website for that! It shows how many bicycles are available at any given YouBike station. Whether you want to see one of the tallest buildings in the world or check out what’s in the area, a YouBike is a perfect way to get around.
Karla from Noshindulge
Denver is one of the best cities to explore by bicycle; there are over 85 miles of paved trails, and tons of adventures to be had for every skill level. Cruise the Cherry Creek Bike Path and stop in to the many boutiques, art galleries, and outdoor cafes that line the trail or follow the path to Cherry Creek State Park and take your bike off road for some more adventurous mountain biking. Denver’s B-cycle sharing stations offer a cheap and easy way to bike about the city with hubs at every major point of interest, including museums, Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team), neighborhood breweries, restaurants, and much more.
Katie from Kitty To City
The well-planned city of Vienna is home to more than 1200 kms of bike lanes. Although the city center (commonly referred to as the Ring Road) is easily explorable on foot, bikes become are a great option because there’s so much to do outside the city center too. Some of the best bike routes to explore in Vienna and its outskirts are The Danube Canal Cycle Path – a 17km route along the Danube takes you from the Nussdorf Weir to the Vienna Harbour, and the Kahlenberg – a route most renowned for the best vantage point in the Austrian capital. There are two companies that offer bike rentals – Citybike Vienna and Vienna Explorer.
Sanket from Nomadic Lives
Ubud, Bali is a town synonymous with yoga, healthy eats and relaxation; It’s somewhere you want to dial down. But for those seeking a little adventure, a bike tour away from buzz of Jalan Raya Ubud, could feed your appetite. While the roads in the centre of Ubud are busy with scooters, cars and trucks aplenty, climbing up the mountain means you’ll find yourself in the saddle, weaving your way through corn fields, navigating the thin rises among the rice paddies, visiting temples without a tourist in sight and gliding through villages to smiles from friendly locals. I can’t recommend a half-day bike tour enough to see another beautiful side to the popular destination.
Skye from The Fit Traveller
From ancient ruins to captivating cenotes (natural pools), Tulum is a spectacular spot for a holiday in Mexico. What’s the best way to explore Tulum? Rent a bicycle for a day. Travellers either stay in Tilum Pueblo, the main part of the city or Tulum Playa, the beach area. From either site, one can easily rent a bicycle for a whole day for around $10. We stayed in the beach area of Tulum and easily went towards the famous Tulum ruins. From there, we continued to a few nearby cenotes, the best one we visited was Cenote Calavera, a small cave-like swimming hole shaped like a skull. Bike lanes are available for most part of Tulum so it’s really easy to cycle around the city. Transport options are quite limited in Tulum. Public buses are restricted to locals so you’re best bet is either to hire a taxi or to rent a bike. The latter is the cheaper and more flexible option.
Gia from Mismatched Passports
Do you know of any other bicycle friendly cities or have you loved cycling any of the cities we’ve mentioned above ? Leave your comments in the section below.