These Are the World's Best Cities for Cycling

Pedal around like a local in the world's best biking cities.

You can rent a bike and pedal around many large cities, but there are a few places that go above and beyond to make exploring on two wheels easy and convenient. In Copenhagen, spacious bike lanes run parallel to roads, which makes traveling by bike more efficient than pounding the pavement or calling a cab. And in Paris, scooting around town on a shared bike (or a moped) is a hundred times more fun than sitting in traffic or spending time underground in the metro. Plus, by opting for two wheels, you’ll get the chance to cruise alongside locals as you enjoy your own intimate tour of the city.

Next time you find yourself in a new place, especially if it's one of the best cities for cycling, take a moment to figure out the shared-bike network (or rent a bike for the weekend) so you can experience the city how the locals do — from the saddle. To get you started, here are the world’s best bike-friendly cities and where you’ll want to pedal in each of them.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark
© Niels Quist / Alamy. © Niels Quist / Alamy

In Denmark, nine out of 10 people own a bike, and there are five times as many bikes as cars on the street according to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark. So it’s no surprise that the capital of Copenhagen is a veritable utopia for bikers — with a vast network of bike paths and lanes, and extensive Cycle Super Highways that joins 29 municipalities with the capital.

Find a bike: In Copenhagen, you can rent a bike through the DonkeyRepublic app.

Portland, Oregon

Cyclist rides over bridge in Portland with skyline in view
Getty Images

Portland earned the coveted platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists’ for its extensive system of bike routes and for its citizens' encouragement of bike culture. If you start your day early enough, you can bike alongside the locals on their morning commute (with a coffee stop included, of course) before breaking off to cruise alongside the Willamette or Columbia Rivers. If you’re up for the challenge, take on the “Short, Steep, & Sweet,” a 15-mile climb that winds through Portland’s West Hills neighborhood, where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Tualatin Valley.

Find a bike: Start a membership with BIKETOWN ($1 to unlock, then 20 cents a minute).

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany
© imageBROKER / Alamy. © imageBROKER / Alamy

Within a five-mile radius of downtown Munich, biking is often the fastest and most flexible way to get around. Here, you’ll find dedicated lanes, bike-traffic signals, and more than 700 miles of marked routes. Pedal along the Isar River and drop by the Maximilianeum, the Bavarian parliament building at the east end of the Maximilian Bridge.

Find a bike: Download the Call a Bike app and the nearest bikes in your area will pop up with directions on how to get there. Once you’re logged into the app, you can reserve the bike in two clicks — and it's available in cities throughout Germany.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
© All Canada Photos / Alamy. © All Canada Photos / Alamy

If you can’t make it across the Atlantic, just hop over the U.S.-Canada border and make your way to Montreal. The beautiful French-Canadian city boasts more than 435 miles of bike paths and plenty of bike rentals that make exploring the city on two wheels easy. Pick up a homemade bagel at the famous Fairmount Bagel to fuel your journey up the twisting road in Parc du Mont-Royal, where you'll be able to snap a few well-earned photos of some of the city’s best views.

Find a bike: You can rent a two-wheeler from BIXI by downloading the app or by visiting a BIXI station. With a seasonal membership, all trips 45 minutes or less are included, while journeys longer than 45 minutes incur usage fees. One-way passes are pay-as-you-go.

Perth, Australia

Perth, Australia
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy. © Design Pics Inc / Alamy

Western Australia’s capital is laced with hundreds of miles of paths, bike lanes, and bicycle-friendly streets. The Western Australia government built the extensive Perth Bicycle Network to keep up with an inspiring local demand. One of the best routes is along the Kep Track, a mostly flat path that utilizes former rail lines and takes you through the bush. While the track’s total length is 47 miles, it's best to start at the Mundaring Weir trailhead (a 50-minute drive from Perth) and turn around before Northam.

Find a bike: About Bike Hire rents road, mountain, hybrid, and tandem bikes by the hour.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© Dennis Cox / Alamy. © Dennis Cox / Alamy

Like Copenhagen, Amsterdam is a bike lover’s paradise, and it can sometimes seem like there are more bicycles than people. In 2017, 68 percent of commuters rode their bikes to and from work or school. From the city center, follow the Amstel River south on the Ouderkerk aan de Amstel trail. You’ll see the landscape and windmills that inspired Rembrandt and pass through the historic village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

Find a bike: Amsterdam's bike share program is Hello-Bike, a pay-as-you-go service that works through an app.

Seattle, Washington

A bicyclist passes over a bridge at the south end of Lake Union
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The League of American Bicyclists recently named Washington the No. 3 state for cyclists in 2022, giving Seattle a “gold” ranking. The city earned an eight out of 10 for its bicycle network and its championing of bike culture. You can cruise alongside the water on the Elliot Bay Trail, then take a break to walk your bike through Olympic Sculpture Park.

Find a bike: In Seattle, you can take advantage of app-based bike share programs like Lime and Veo.

Paris, France

People enjoying a car free day in Paris, France
Getty Images

If you want to avoid getting stuck in traffic when sightseeing in Paris, the easiest way to get around is to hop on a bike. You can make your way along the left bank of the Seine to the Eiffel Tower or pedal across the river to shop on the Champs-Élysées. Half the fun is cruising alongside Parisians, many of whom use bikes to bypass traffic and delayed trains, as you ride to an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou or a café in Saint Germain.

Find a bike: In Paris, the shared-bike system is called Vélib and there is a checkout station roughly every 1,000 feet — download the app before you arrive so you can make sure you know how to use it.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

students from Pillsbury, Nellie Stone Johnson, Lucy Laney, Bethune Community, and Whittier International Elementary road across the Stone Arch Bridge
Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Anyone who’s been to Minneapolis has likely benefitted from the biking community’s work to make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. There are miles and miles of bike lanes, protected bikeways, and dedicated bike paths on which you can cruise around town. For a trip just south of the city, try the 5.7-mile Midtown Greenway, which takes you over the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge and leads you to the Chain of Lakes.

Find a bike: Visitors can tool around the city on shared bikes thanks to Nice Ride Minnesota, a service with more 3,000 bicycles and 400 stations across Minneapolis.

Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia
© Robert Harding World Imagery / Alamy. © Robert Harding World Imagery / Alamy

Bogotá’s system of bicycle paths and separated lanes — called ciclorrutas — stretches for hundreds of collective miles through the city, connecting commercial centers with residential areas. Spend the day rolling along the many bike paths that showcase the city’s green spaces. Just make sure to book your Bogotá cycling vacation for a weekend so you can experience the capital without cars. Every Sunday, the city transforms into a cyclist's dream by closing 80 miles of its streets to automobiles — a tradition that’s been going strong since the 1970s.

Find a bike: In Bogotá, you can use the bike-sharing app Tembici, which offers more than 3,000 standard and electric bikes.

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium
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As a traveler, you can blend right into Belgium's second-largest city by simply hopping on a bike. The city has several established cycling routes that are tailored to tourists, including an Antwerp highlight route that passes through more than 40 points of interest. The 3.7-mile journey starts and ends in the center of Antwerp and delivers a wonderful introduction to the city and surrounding areas.

Find a bike: Pick up a rental bike from Velo, a bike sharing service with more than 4,000 bikes in rotation. Your first 30 minutes are free and a day pass about $4.30.

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France
© Vito Arcomano / Alamy. © Vito Arcomano / Alamy

This bustling, pedestrian-friendly city and the surrounding countryside have more than 700 miles of bicycle paths. For a scenic ride that takes in landmarks on both sides of the Garrone River, depart from Place Gambetta for the Place des Quinconces, the Grand Theatre, and the Place de la Bourse, then cross Pont de Pierre and pedal north along the waterfront to the serene Parc aux Angéliques and the city’s botanical garden.

Find a bike: Opt for a full-day bike rental from Cool Bike (for $11 a day) so you have time to stop and make yourself a French-style picnic.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan
© Radius Images / Alamy. © Radius Images / Alamy

Visitors to this mega city — home to more than 13 million people — usually opt to travel on the extensive rail system. But if you spend a good portion of your day underground traveling from one place to the next, you miss all the views, sights, and smells. Instead, hop on a bike  to explore the Imperial Gardens in Chiyoda, or make your way to the Sumida riverfront to take in views of the city's iconic skyline.

Find a bike: The bike-share service Community Cycle is $1.23 for the first 30 minutes another $1.23 for each additional 30 minutes. Day passes are available for $12.27.

Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland
© Image Source / Alamy. © Image Source / Alamy

The Swiss have a love affair with cycling — and in this city it shows. Basel is the perfect starting point for long trips because you can reach other European countries from the city's bike trails. You can also rent a bike in Basel and return it in another Swiss city. That said, there’s no reason to leave Basel proper, as the city sports traffic signals and lanes just for cyclists. For an easy day of exploration, rent an e-bike and swing by the sculptural Tinguely Fountain before setting out a picnic on the banks of the Birs River.

Find a bike: Grab an e-bike from Guest Bike Basel at the city’s main train station for about $20.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain
© Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy. © Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy

There’s no need to leave the urban core to cycle around this design-centric city. In fact, by starting at Plaça Catalunya, you can hit most of the highlights, including Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, and Casa Batlló. Take a right onto Av. Portal de l’Angel, left onto Carrer dels Arcs, then head to El Born, home to Museu Picasso de Barcelona. This route ends at Las Ramblas, a walkway lined with cafés, bars, and shops.

Find a bike: Barcelona's public bike-share system is not intended for tourists, but you can rent a bike from various bike shops around the city like Happy Rental Bike near Parc de la Ciutadella. Prices start at about $9 for two hours.

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