9 of the most bike-friendly cities in the world

Want to see the world’s greatest cities? Get on two wheels! Cycling is not only a fun way to stay active and see the top sights, but it’s also great for the environment. While not every city in the world is cut out for cycling, there are some cities that have a reputation as bike havens, with miles of protected bike paths, ride-share programs and car-free streets. Here are 9 of the most bike-friendly cities in the world where you can cycle to your heart’s content.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

colourful buildings boats and bicycles Copenhagen Denmark

Copenhagen is widely famed as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. The locals cycle around 1.44 million kilometres every day, with over half of the population riding their bike to work. With all those people whizzing around on bikes, the city has created a cycling oasis. There are 390 kilometres of designated bike lanes and hundreds of kilometres of regional cycle highways including a “Cycle Super Highway” connecting the city to the town of Albertslund. There’s also plenty of amenities like air pumps and timed traffic lights, so you can hop on your bike without a worry.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

bicycles parked by a canal Amsterdam Netherlands

The Netherlands is serious about cycling, and the capital is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. There are almost 900,000 bicycles in Amsterdam (more bikes than people!) and over 50% of all city journeys are made on a bike. With more than 400 kilometres of dedicated cycle paths, the city has created a cycling haven. There are low-speed cycle streets, extra wide bicycle paths, protected cycling spaces at intersections and even great bicycle parking. While the locals hop on their bikes for everything from getting to work to carting around groceries, the city also has plenty of places where tourists can rent a bike and learn how to get around safely. 

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3. Montreal, Canada

bicycle parked on a leafy street Montreal Canada

Europe often holds out the top spots when it comes to the world’s most bike-friendly cities, but Montreal holds its own. The city has invested in improving its bicycle infrastructure and you’ll find an incredible 600 kilometres of bike paths. The city also hosts a bike festival every year, and cyclists of all skill levels can tour around this beautiful city on two wheels.

RELATED CONTENT: Where to go and what to do in Montreal, Canada

4. Strasbourg, France

traditional buildings lining the canal Strasbourg France

Home to Le Tour de France, the world’s most famous bike race, France already enjoys a bike-friendly reputation. But Strasbourg sets the bar high as the country’s most bikeable city. It’s also one of the most gorgeous cities in Europe and it’s a treat to cycle around and take in all the picturesque streets and canals. There are around 560 kilometres of designated cycling paths and over 360 streets with two-way lanes for bikes. You’ll enjoy car-free sections in the city, and be sure to check out Forts Trail, an 85-kilometre path around Strasbourg. The city also encourages new riders and has plans to increase the number of daily cyclists to around 20% by 2025. 

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5. Antwerp, Belgium

Harbour Master Wharf Antwerp Belgium

Belgians love to cycle – and Antwerp is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe. There are dedicated bike lanes, bike parking, ride-share programs, and the city has even committed to lowering speed limits to 30 km/h on 95% of all streets. They’re also working on expanding their network of cycle highways. Right now there are a number of car-free routes where you can cycle outside the city to explores castles and other icons of the region. Perfect for your next trip!

RELATED CONTENT: 7 historically significant places to visit in Belgium

6. Tokyo, Japan

man cycling along a street in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world and it’s home to millions of cyclists who use their bike for everything from shopping trips to work and school commutes. Around 14% of all commuters in Tokyo ride bikes and there are plenty of bike paths, parking and bike-sharing programs. While tourists may prefer to join a cycling tour, be sure to catch a glimpse of the locals riding the iconic Mamachari utility bike that can cart around just about anything.

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7. Barcelona, Spain

ride-share bicycles parked in Barcelona Spain

The Catalonia capital is a beautiful place to get around on two wheels. The city has become a leader in urban cycling innovation and its bike-share program is one of the largest and most used in the world. They’ve also lowered inner-city speed limits to 30km/h, which has led to an increase in cyclists on the road. If you want to get out there, you’ll find plenty of stunning cycle paths along the coast.  

RELATED CONTENT: 5 alternative things to do in Barcelona that take you off the tourist trail

8. Berlin, Germany

a couple riding hire bikes in Berlin Germany

With wide streets and mostly flat terrain, you can’t help but want to get on a bike in Berlin. And many of the locals do, with around 10% of the population hopping on a bike every day. The city has an impressive 900 kilometres of designated cycling paths, so you can get around without worrying about traffic. There’s also plenty of cycling tours for tourists, so you can see the best of Berlin on two wheels.

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9. Malmö, Sweden

quiet street in Malmo Sweden

Malmö has long been recognised as one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities. They’ve got over 500 protected bike paths (more than any other city in Sweden), and around 30% of all daily trips are made by bike. The city has run successful campaigns like “No Ridiculous Car Trips” which aimed to reduce the use of cars, and introduced new technology like intersections with sensors that alert drivers when cyclists are approaching. Even better, Malmö is just 40 minutes away by train or car from the cycling paradise Copenhagen. Why not see both and try out the best of Scandinavia’s cycling cities.

What are your favourite bike-friendly destinations around the world? Let us know in the comments below!

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