There’s no question that cycling is economical, environmentally friendly, and delivers a good amount of cardiovascular exercise. But it’s also a great way to see a new city or destination. Here are our picks for the world’s best places to see by bike:
One of the most famous bits of trivia about Amsterdam is that the city has as many bicycles as it does people (both figures are over the 800,000 mark). The city’s infrastructure, culture, and day-to-day way of life is built around cycling, from a vast city network of bike trails (more than 500 km, or 311 mi, of them) to easily accessible bikes for hire, lockups, and tours on two wheels. And with around 83 percent of Amsterdam residents reportedly hopping onto their bikes at least once a week, it might be the best way to meet local people, on top of being the best (and greenest) way to get around.
Must do: Bike across Amsterdam’s famous canals on two wheels — and be sure to stop for a stroopwafel and a honking big bouquet of fresh tulips. Check out our tours to Amsterdam and the Netherlands and feel what it’s really like to go Dutch.
If it’s long-distance (rather than city) cycling you’re after, Vietnam is the destination for you. With the right planning and a good guide — seeing the city’s stunning coastline and dense interior on two wheels can offer a remarkably unique, on-the-ground-perspective of this beautiful country.
Must do: Cruise around the peaceful villages and rice paddies of Hoi An and then stop for a noodle making demonstration and lunch. Our Vietnam Hike, Bike & Kayak tour gets you all that good stuff and more.
The image of a stripe-shirted Parisian pedalling along the Seine with a baguette in his pannier is an exaggerated stereotype, but also based in fact: Paris — like much of France — is a haven for cyclists. The City of Light has bikes for rent available throughout the city centre — most of which are equipped with baskets for market purchases or snacks picked up as you pedal through the streets, cobblestone and otherwise.
Must do: City life not your thing? Hop off a river barge and hop on a bicycle to explore famous vineyards on our Burgundy River Cruise Adventure – Plus tour. Roll up to sparkling wine and Chardonnay and feel really good about your life choices.
Some of the world’s most beautiful racing bikes are designed and manufactured in Italy. Given that the cycling opportunities in the Mediterranean country span from long-distance routes that run from Austria to Rome to cobblestone paths that snake through each city’s historic streets, there’s plenty of opportunity to put these beautiful machines to good use. Take note, though: in Venice, riding a bike through the city is illegal.
Must do: City cycling in Italy is surely some of the most romantic riding you’ll do, but it’s the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes of Tuscany that make for the best rides in the country. With plenty of free time you can rent a bike and explore to your heart’s content on our Ultimate Italy tour.
It’s estimated that Berlin has around 700 bikes for every 1,000 residents, and it’s no wonder: there’s around 620 kilometres (385 mi) of bike paths in the German city, plus several long-distance routes like the Berlin–Copenhagen Trail. And here, cycling isn’t just for those who’d like to ride themselves: visitors can also hop in a Velotaxi, which is a small, pod-shaped vehicle run by the pedal-power of its driver.
Must do: If you’re considering a visit to the Berlin Wall, you can take a guided bike tour along its length rather than walking.
In this Californian city, about 128,000 bike trips are made by residents across 37 km (23 mi) of bike lanes (and 72 km, or 45 mi of streets with bike lanes) per day. But it’s more than just volume: this city has a vibrant cycling culture comprising everything from distinct cliques (think: fixie users band together; mountain bikers hang out separately) to races, events, co-ops, and an annual Bike to Work day.
Must do: The iconic Golden Gate bridge is nearly 3 km (2 mi) of picturesque cycling pleasure. Some US tours like Highlights of California end in San Francisco which leaves you free to ride like the wind. Just mind the hills!
You won’t want to speed through the architecture and food on offer in Barcelona, but with 200km (124 mi) of bike paths in and around the city, getting from point to point is as easy as renting a cycle and heading towards your next destination.
Must do: Barcelona is a great starting point for cyclists, but just to the north are some of the country’s most striking vistas, all easily accessible on two wheels.
Driving anything in the U.K. can pose initial challenges for those used to driving on the right side of the road, but London’s vast network of cycling paths and rental bikes make it well worth the attempt. Transport for London has developed a series of “leisure routes” that combine the best of the city’s sightseeing and exercise, and are fine-tuned to deliver London 101 on two wheels to tourists and out-of-town visitors.
Must do: A pleasure cycle along London’s iconic South Bank — around sunset, if you can time it — offers an unparalleled view of the historic Thames. Find out how we can get you there.
While Belize may not come first to mind for cycling enthusiasts, the bicycle is a staple of daily life for its people. For many, it’s their main (and often only) mode of transportation and thus they have perfected the art of double and triple-riding to take their kids along. On the island of Caye Caulker there are no cars and the motto is “go slow” which makes it the perfect place for an idyllic ride. It’s also home to some of the most incredible reef snorkelling in the world if you need to give your seat a rest.
Must do: Cruise through and learn about the remote island community of Caye Caulker to support students at The Ocean Academy. Their Bike with Purpose program on tours like Explore Belize gives them an education and practical training to work in the local tourism industry.
The Quebecois city is mighty hilly, so riding around it at length may be best suited to experienced cyclists. However, Old Montreal — about as European-feeling as it gets in North America — is flat (and cobblestoned, to boot), and plentiful cycle rentals and guided bike tours means that there’s a bike tour around the city for any taste (and experience level).
Must do: A ride along the Lachine Canal towards the Old Port will have you second guessing whether you’re in La Belle Province or La belle Paris. Check out our tours of Canada here.
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