What Should I Know About the 23 Best Bike Friendly Cities in Europe? (Part 1)

Antwerpen Grote Markt

I now have a Brompton folding bike and can easily carry it in my car. I do not like to walk for more than 30 minutes at a slow pace. Most towns and cities I have visited in Europe will take a couple of hours to walk around and see everything. So, I got to thinking, “What Should I Know About the 24 Best Bike Friendly Cities in Europe?” Below is a list of cities with key points about biking in those cities. Now we will all be better prepared when we go there and either ride our own bike there or rent a bike from a local shop.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is what I like to call the biking capital of Europe. There are well over 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has canals, right? Well, over 10,000 bikes get pulled out of the canals each year.

Let’s see what Amsterdam has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to I amsterdam for all sorts of information.

The city of Amsterdam is setup for biking. You will come up to a signal light in your car and you will notice on your right that the bicyclist besides having their own lane will have their own light, too! Let’s take ourselves out of the car seat and put ourselves in the bike seat.

We may be in a bike lane, but we still need to follow the rules of the road in the bike lane.

  • Vondelpark
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • De Pijp (Latin Quarter)
  • Rijksmuseum (State Museum)
  • Stay to the right unless passing
  • Use those hand signals you learned when studying for your driving test
  • Use your bell if someone is blocking the bike lane
  • When in a pedestrian only zone, walk your bike!
  • Lock your bike securely (See my post on folding bike locks)
  • You can get a DUI for driving a bike after drinking
  • Don’t use a selfie stick while driving, get off the bike and take your video off the path while walking
  • Most people do not wear helmets while biking in Amsterdam; do you need a good easy to carry helmet? (See my post on folding bike helmets)
Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from IAmsterdam.
If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Mike’s Bike Tours.

Antwerp, Belgium

First, let’s see what Antwerp has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Visit Antwerpen for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about Antwerp:

  • Antwerp Central Station
  • Grote Markt (Grand Place)
Antwerpen Grote Market

Antwerpen Grote Market

  • Onze Lieve Vrouwkathedraal (The Cathedral of Our Lady)
  • Havenroute (Port Tour)
  • Bicycle theft is common so make sure to securely lock your bike.
  • Visit in the spring for the best weather
  • If visiting for two days, look into the Antwerp City Card for discounts and free access to tourist sites

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then you are in luck because the Antwerpen visitor centers on Market Square (Grote Markt 13, 2000 Antwerp)

Antwerpen Grote Markt Visitors Center

Antwerpen Grote Markt Visitors Center

or at the Central Station (Koningin Astridplein, 2018 Antwerp) have free “Easy-Going Route” maps for you. I also recommend checking out the cycle routes from BikeMap. Scroll down the page and select either “Road Bike Routes,” “Mountain Bike Routes,” or “City Bike Routes.” From there you will be able to select the distance you would like to ride and pick a route that suits you.

Antwerp Rental Bikes

Antwerp Rental Bikes

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: antwerp by bike.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Is Barcelona bike friendly? Well, well, well, let’s see what Barcelona has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to visit Barcelona for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Barcelona:

  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Park Guell by Gaudi
  • Tibidabo Hill
  • La Barceloneta Beach
  • Pedestrians have the right of way
  • There are speed limits for bikes, bike lanes (20 kph or less) and pedestrian areas (10 kph or less)
  • Use hand and arm signals
  • Lock your bike securely
  • Obey traffic signals
  • Regular bikes have scheduled times they can be on the metro
  • Folding bikes are allowed at all times and days

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from TimeOut.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: SteelDonkey.

Berlin, Germany

First, let’s see what Berlin has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to visit Berlin for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Berlin:

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Gendarmenmarkt
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Charlottenburg Palace
  • Museum Island
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • You need an extra ticket on the S-Bahn & metro.
  • Even when there is a bikepath you are allowed to ride on the road
  • You can get a DUI for driving drunk
  • Its illegal to insult other drivers
  • Lock your bike securely

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from komoot.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Berlin on Bike.

Bordeaux, France

First, let’s see what Bordeaux has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Bordeaux Tourism for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Bordeaux:

  • Bordearx is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Miroir d’Eau (World’s Largest Reflecting Pool)
  • The Riverfront
  • Offers a 24 and 48 hour city pass for unlimited access to public transport, free access to some museums and monuments, and a free guided tour (bus, tourist train, walking)

Do you want to explore the wine country on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle route from drink bordeaux.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Bordeaux by bike.

Budapest, Hungary

First, let’s see what Budapest has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Budapest Tourism for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Budapest:

  • Heroes’ Square
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • The Buda Hills
  • Mandatory to wear reflective clothing at night and outside the city
  • Mandatory to wear helmet outside the city
  • Can only ride in pedestrian zones if a sign allows it, otherwise walk the bike
  • Lock your bike securely

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from bikemap.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is a website that reviews seven guided bike businesses: We Love Budapest.

Copenhagen, Denmark

What is the most bike friendly city in the world? Several sources have stated that Copenhagen is that city. Let’s see what Copenhagen has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Visit Copenhagen for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Copenhagen:

  • Rosenborg Castle
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Kronborg Castle
  • Amager Beach Park
  • Carlsberg Brewery
  • S-train in Copenhagen includes the bike
  • Regional trains and metro requires an extra bike ticket
  • 650,000 bikes

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Some of the better places to visit include:

  • Amager Beach Park
  • Kastellet (The Citidel)
  • Dragor
  • Jaegersborg Dyrehave (Deer Park)
  • Frederiksberg Garden
  • Assisten’s Cemetery

You can also look up some cycle routes from bikemap.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is a list of businesses that offer that service: visit copenhagen.

Dublin, Ireland

Is Dublin bike friendly? Since it is on this list of Europe’s best bike cities that should answer the question. Let’s see what Dublin has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to visit Dublin for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Dublin:

  • Guinness Storehouse Factory
  • Spire of Dublin
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Phoenix Park
  • St. Stephen’s Green
  • Cyclists are not required to use bike lanes, except in pedestrian zones or where a lane is provided that goes against traffic
  • On Bus Eireann a folded bike will be treated as normal small luggage
  • Folding bikes are allowed on Dublin bus, however, it is really up to the individual driver; be courteous
  • It is illegal to run red lights

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from bikemap.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Dublin City Bike Tours.

Ghent, Belgium

First, let’s see what Ghent has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to visit gent for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Ghent:

  • Granensteen (Castle of the Counts)
  • Sint-Michielshelling (St. Michael’s Bridge)
  • Sint-Baafskathedraal (St. Bavo’s Cathedral)
  • Belfort (Ghent Belfry)
  • Its pedestrianized center is known for medieval architecture such as 12th-century Gravensteen castle and the Graslei, a row of guildhalls beside the Leie river harbor
  • Ghent is the second largest city in Belgium, by population.

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from this article in The Square.Gent. Of course, the bikemap has routes for you, as well.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is two hour tour with a local guide: BahaBikes.

Giethoorn, Netherlands

Giethoorn Canal Walking Bridge

Giethoorn Canal Walking Bridge

First, let’s see what Giethoorn has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Giethoorn Tourism for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Giethoom:

  • The canal that connects the houses in this small town is just awesome!
Giethoorn Canal

Giethoorn Canal

  • Cycling through the Tulip fields in the spring

You do not need to do any paid bicycle touring in this town. Everything can be done on your own. Walk past the tourist information center and the path and canal will lead you where you want to go.

We just visited this town in November 2018 and it was gorgeous! You do not have to visit only in the springtime during Tulip season or in the summer when it is hotter.

We had a great time and it was easy for me to cycle around because it was the off-season. We even stopped in at this nice restaurant at the end of one of the walkways and had some great cake and coffee.

Coffee and Cake
Restaurant in Giethoorn

Hamburg, Germany

First, let’s see what Hamburg has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Welcome to Hamburg for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Hamburg:

  • Chilehaus (Chili House)
  • Binnenslster (Alster Lake)
  • Landungsbrücken (Landing Bridges)
  • Old Elbe Tunnel
  • Lombards Bridge
  • Get a Hamburg Card, unlimited travel on all U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus and ferry routes, as well as discounts at many of the city’s museums, restaurants and stores.
  • Many smaller bars, shops, and restaurants only take cash
    Catch Ferry 62 free with your Hamburg Card, instead of paying for tourist ferry
  • Most stores will be closed on Sundays
    Carry rain gear in the winter (October-April)
  • The Speicherstadt district has located within it, the Miniatur Wunderland, which is the largest model railroad in the world

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from Cycling in Hamburg.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Hamburg Bike Tours.

Helsinki, Finland

First, let’s see what Helsinki has to offer in things to see and do or eat and drink by going to Your local guide for all sorts of information.

Here are some highlight points about biking in Helsinki:

  • Senate Square
  • The Cathedral of Helsinki
  • Temppeliaukio (Rock Church)
  • Market Square
  • Esplanadi Main Boulevard
  • Toolo Bay Nature Zone
  • Central Park District

Do you want to explore the city on your own? Well then I recommend checking out the cycle routes from bikemap.

If you do not feel like exploring the city on your own or you want to maximize your limited time, then I would suggest taking a city or countryside bike tour. Here is just one of the businesses that offer that service: Helsinki Cityride.

Here we have covered about half of the best cities for cycling in Europe.

Next, in Part 2 we will cover:

  • Island of Sark
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Malmö, Sweden
  • Nantes, France
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Paris, France
  • Seville, Spain
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Zermatt, Switzerland

Ride safe and may the wind be at your back!

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