Getting around is one of the great challenges of traveling. If you’re going stay out in the country, you’ll likely need to rent a car in order to get from place to place. When you’re staying in an urban space, you have more options. Many travelers visiting metropolises tend to go about the city on foot instead of taking a car. After all, places like New York City are infamous for their traffic.
Walking can be a good option, especially since it lets you see and explore your surroundings more than you would by car. If you have quite a trek in front of you, however, you might find hoofing it isn’t the best option you have available. Many cities offer relatively decent public transportation and subways, commuter trains, and buses can often get you where you’re going.
You have another option for getting around, one that offers more mobility than walking but with more sightseeing potential than driving. Riding a bike can be an amazing way to tour almost any place on Earth. In fact, in some places, it’s the preferred mode of transportation. If you love riding a bike, check out some of these urban destinations. From the sunny land down under to the peaks of the Andes, these are 20 places where it’s better to cycle than drive any day.
20 Copenhagen Is The Best City In the World To Ride
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, sits on a series of small islands in the Baltic Sea. Getting around by boat isn’t entirely uncommon, but many locals choose to hop on a bike when they need to get from place to place within the city. Nearly half of all trips made in Copenhagen are made by bicycle.
The city has poured resources into creating a uniform network of wide cycling tracks and bicycle boulevards through traffic-calmed neighborhoods.
You might tour out to Viking ruins or stop at the Viking ship museum. The royal palace could be another stop on your list. Pedal down to the harbor and hop a boat tour, or cycle around the city to find great events.
19 Tour Berlin On Two Wheels
Convincing anyone Berlin is as much a “bike city” as Copenhagen or Amsterdam is a tall task. After all, Germany is one of the largest countries for car manufacturing. Yet cycling is relatively mainstream. About 13 percent of all trips are made by bike, although the number climbs to 20 percent in some inner suburbs.
Berlin has a few advantages that recommend it for cycling. First, the terrain is largely flat. The streets are also often very wide, which makes it easy to add protected bike lanes. Follow the Spree River, head off to the Brandenburg Gate and the Bundestag, or visit the Berlin Wall. There’s nowhere a bike can’t take you.
18 Explore A Twisting Network Of Canals And Bridges In Amsterdam
The Netherlands has long been known as a world leader in cycling. Amsterdam is both the capital of The Netherlands and of Dutch cycling.
Today, Amsterdam’s network is a pastiche of styles when it comes to cycling, which can make it confusing for tourists. Nonetheless, if you need to get somewhere in the city, biking is often the best choice.
With some of the most scenic views in Europe, it’s easy to see why. You’ll find yourself riding between historic buildings over lengthy bridges along canals. A bike ride is a great way to slow down and really take it all in.
17 Pedal To Roman Ruins Or The Beach In Barcelona
Until recently, Barcelona invested little in cycling infrastructure, leaving locals and tourists alike with the options of driving, taking public transport, or walking.
The city has set out to change this, investing more funds than ever in its cycling infrastructure.
With a large number of 30 kilometer-per-hour zones in the city, you might find it’s just as quick to travel by bike as it is by car these days.
A bike can take you almost anywhere in Barcelona, from historic houses lining twisting medieval streets to Roman ruins in and around the city. You might decide to pedal over to the Sagrada Familia church or even head down to the beach.
16 America’s Capitol Is An Urban Cycling Capital
Washington DC’s streets are usually full of Senators and diplomats, lobbyists and other political heavyweights. With attractions like the Washington Monument, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, and the Jefferson Memorial, it’s also a mecca for tourists. At rush hour, city streets clog with cars, and even freeways come to a standstill.
It’s much easier to pedal around than to push through rush hour traffic! DC has increased its spending on cycling infrastructure lately. Many bike lanes are protected, blockading bikes from cars, although the city isn’t entirely bike-friendly. The ease of getting from Point A to Point B rests somewhat on where exactly you’re trying to go. Nonetheless, hopping on a bike is a great way to see DC.
15 Cycle Through One Of The World’s Most Densely Populated Metropolises
The island nation of Japan has little land to spare, which means Tokyo packs in a large number of people per square mile. There are nearly 13 million people living in the capital.
You can just imagine the traffic! Residents prefer to complete short trips by bicycle and opt for public transit for longer commutes. Here, you’ll find mamchari bicycles with sturdy frames, baskets for shopping, and seats for kids. These solid bikes move at a leisurely pace through the city.
Tourists areas are also full of bicycles, which provide a better way to get around and still truly drink in the sights Tokyo has to offer.
14 Montreal Is The Hub Of North American Cycling
Montreal has long been renowned for its European flair. While Quebec is quite different from Old World France, there’s something lingeringly European about la belle province.
This is reflected in Montreal’s cycling culture. It’s long been considered the best spot for cycling in North America.
Today, Montreal’s 400 miles of bike lanes see an impressive number of cyclists. In fact, the lanes are actually getting quite crowded.
Cycling through the city can be a great way to experience the charm of Montreal. You can easily travel to the old town, cycle over the St. Lawrence River, or visit local museums. When you’re done, stop by a bakery and enjoy a Montreal-style bagel. Still hungry? Then tick off a poutine.
13 Cruise Around An Island on Jeju, South Korea
Jeju is considered the premier place to ride in all of South Korea. This is mostly on account of the island’s gorgeous natural scenery. Its mild coastal climate means you’ll have a nice breeze and temperate weather, perfect for cycling.
Head out of town on Highway 12, which runs around the perimeter of the island. It will take you anywhere from 3 to 5 days to trek around all 182 kilometers of Jeju. On the way, you can visit beaches, monuments, and Yongduam Rock. You can rent bikes at the city bus terminal. Before heading out, spend some time pedaling through city streets or head down to the pier to get a good look at the ocean.
12 LA’s Cyclists Are Reclaiming The Streets
Los Angeles is not the first place you’d pick to ride a bike. The city has long been hostile to cyclists. LA’s urban sprawl, growing since the 1950s, has catered to the car for decades. LA’s freeways usually claim top spots in competitions for “worst traffic jams.”
Instead of sitting in traffic, why not cruise through the City of Angels on two wheels? The My Figueroa project has transformed a 3-mile corridor along Figueroa Street into a multi-modal street with protected bike lanes. The corridor connects the University of South California, parks, and museums to the downtown core. A new bike share system is also in place, and the number of trips complete by bicycle has been steadily increasing.
11 Sunshine And Cycling Down Under
Perth may not be Australia’s largest city, but it can stake a claim to be the country’s sunniest. With the weather almost perpetually pleasant, riding a bike or taking a walk is an appealing option.
Perth offers a variety of trails and mixes the urban with the natural. Here, you can explore expansive coastline, clean beaches, and lush parkland.
Beginners might want to cycle around Swan River on an easy 3-kilometer ride on the Windan Bridge Loop. For those wanting a long ride, the 14-kilometer path from Marmion to Burns Beach offers a half-day of coastal adventure and discovery.
Highly recommended is the journey to Rottnest Island and its stunning beaches and unspoiled flora and fauna.
10 Get Above It All In Bogota
Like Buenos Aires, Colombia’s capital city wasn’t designed with cyclists in mind, but Bogota is reforming its ways.
Today, Bogota boasts 215 miles of bike paths, more than any other Latin American city.
The mayor once said a bicycle was as important as a car, an idea reflected in Ciclovia program. Every Sunday, about 70 miles of road are closed to car traffic. Even so, Bogota still isn’t as cycle-friendly as cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
You may find you’re a little short of breath. Bogota is around 8,500 feet above sea level, and you can climb to higher elevations still. Yes, the air’s a little thinner up here, but the panoramas of the city are so worth it.
9 Minneapolis Is Leading Innovation In America
Minnesota’s largest metropolis is staging a cycling revolution, paving the way to become the next great cycling city in North America. And why not?
Currently, Minneapolis offers 120 miles of on-street bikeways, with an additional 90 miles of off-street lanes. The city has one of America’s highest rates of urban cycling. A vibrant cycling culture has also sprung up, with 65,000 people taking part in open streets festivals.
Minneapolis is in the process of adding 30 miles of protected lanes, expected to be complete for 2020. It’s also put in place a trail system, which has grown out of abandoned railways. The tracks were transformed in the late 1990s and early 2000s to form the spine of the cycling network.
8 Take Your Pick Of Cycling Adventures In Hungary’s Capital
Welcome to Budapest, the Hungarian capital city. The city is filled with historic landmarks, including its 19th-century parliament buildings. Many are discovering a bike ride is one of the best ways to view the sights.
The Danube splits the city in two, and riders can take their pick of adventures. Pest, on the eastern side, provides urban cycling adventures. Outdoor cafes, restaurants, and “ruin cafes” in abandoned and derelict buildings are here for you to explore. A guided bicycle tour will also show you some of the best sites of the city.
On the western side of the river, Buda offers up hilly trails. For the best views of the city, mountain bike up the 526-meter Janos Hill.
7 Two Wheel Through The Desert In Tucson, AZ
There’s seemingly no reason driving around Tucson wouldn’t be your best option, so you might be surprised to learn Tucson is considered one of the best places to ride in the US. The 100-mile Loop trail network will help you circumnavigate the city. The 27-mile climb up Mount Lemmon is iconic.
Where should you go on your steel steed? Well, desperado, you might check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, an interactive outdoor center with a zoo. Pedal to Saguaro National Park or visit San Xavier del Bac mission, which features an ornate church. At the end, ascend Mount Lemmon for a fantastic view of the Sonora Desert.
6 Visit Melbourne, The Cycling Capital Of Australia
Melbourne has earned the title of cycling capital of Australia. It has so much to recommend it to cyclists.
The city lies on relatively flat terrain and its mild climate make for wonderful riding conditions for cyclists of all ages and skill levels.
Its excellent bike-sharing program and extensive network of safe paths make it an ideal destination to ride.
About 135 kilometers of on- and off-road bike paths connect you to the main sites of the city. You can easily visit the National Gallery of Victoria or head down to the beach. The Capital City Trail winds its way around the city. Use this 30-kilometer track to visit Federation Square, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or the zoo and aquarium.
5 Singapore Has Started A Love Affair With The Bike
Singapore has a reputation for extravagance and luxury, and with those two things often comes a love of motor vehicles. Expensive sports cars and supercars are more likely to be spotted on Singapore’s streets than a bicycle.
Singapore’s bike culture is rapidly growing. The government began promoting cycling as a mode of transportation in 2013. The efforts crisscrossed the country, extending outside the capital itself. In 2014, the government enacted plans to add dedicated cycling paths to 7 towns.
Singapore now offers hundreds of different cycling routes, most of them scenic rides from town to town. Whether you need to get to the countryside from the city or across town, cycling is an optimal choice for tourists and locals alike.
4 See A New Side Of Buenos Aires By Bike
Latin America’s development hasn’t focused on the bicycle, even though biking can be one of the most economical ways to get around large cities like Buenos Aires. Recently, the Argentine capital has put more effort into making the city friendly to cyclists.
While these investments have been aiding with congestion, Buenos Aires is still new to urban cycling. Most of its bike lanes are narrow, bidirectional stretches along the curb. Obstacles are frequently left in the bike lanes. Nonetheless, its transformation proves even large cities can become bike-friendly.
The current infrastructure can take you to many sites around the city. Visit the 19th century Plaza de Mayo or visit the obelisk. Tours of the Casa Rosada presidential palace are also popular.
3 See More Of Scenic Ljubjana By Bicycle
The capital city of Slovenia is one of many scenic Eastern European locales you can travel to. The medieval Ljubjana Castle overlooks a city crisscrossed by bridges and rivers. One of the more famous bridges is the Dragon Bridge, which features statues of the mythical creatures. Tivoli City Park and the National Museum of Slovenia are other attractions.
Ljubjana has long wanted to be a great global destination for cycling. Since it was chosen as the European Green Capital in 2016, the city has been increasingly focused on making itself more friendly to cyclists from all around the world. It currently boasts 83 miles of bike lanes and 45 miles of cycling track, with new developments underway.
2 There’s More To Chattanooga Than The Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains range of the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, this southern US city is smaller than Nashville and Memphis, and its musical history has less to recommend it to tourists.
Over the years, however, Chattanooga has quietly been transforming itself into a haven for North American cyclists. It already boasted 22 miles of single-track at Raccoon Mountain, and cyclists have long seen Lookout Mountain as a challenge. Work by the local police force has made cycling even safer.
Chattanooga’s main draw is the scenic mountain landscape it provides, although it has several museums and other attractions. Cycling will take you across bridges and up mountains for breathtaking views you can’t get by car.
1 Sightsee In North America’s Largest City
Where do you think the largest city in North America is? If you guessed DC, LA, or NYC, you’re a bit off the mark. Mexico City is North America’s largest city by population, with nearly 9 million people in the city proper. Naturally, getting around is a major concern for people living and visiting alike.
Enter the bicycle. You can choose to ride to any number of attractions around Mexico’s capital, from historic city center to the expansive Chapultepec park. Check out Zocalo Plaza or visit the National Museum of Anthropology to learn more about Mayan history and heritage. Amateur cyclists should be warned that some routes lead to one of many multi-lane, raised highways.
Sources: Wired.com, Bicycling.com, CNN Travel, HipLatina.com, Allianz.com.au, LonelyPlanet.com, FastCompany.com, Wanderlust.com