Do you want to visit some of the world’s most famous cities? Get out there on two wheels!
Cycling is a terrific way to remain healthy and enjoy the sights while also being good for the environment. While not every city is built for riding, some cities have a reputation for being bike havens, with miles of protected bike paths, ride-share programs, and car-free streets.
The bicycle continues to shine as the most efficient, practical, and dependable alternative to urban travel.
The Copenhagenize Index, a comprehensive and holistic rating of the world’s most bicycle-friendly towns, was created to chronicle the pro-cycling actions and initiatives performed by communities throughout the world.
Take a moment the next time you’re in a new town to learn about the city’s bike network (or rent a bike for the weekend) and see the city like the locals do – from the saddle.
Here are the top bike-friendly cities on the planet.
In Denmark, nine out of ten individuals possess a bicycle, and 25% of people prefer to ride when traveling less than five kilometers (just over 3 miles). With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is a biker’s paradise, with a massive network of bike paths and lanes, as well as an extended Cycle Super Highway connecting over 25 communities to the capital.
Portland has a platinum certification from the League of American Bicyclists for its wide network of bike routes and promotion of bike culture. You may cycle alongside the city’s hipsters on their morning commute (with a coffee stop, of course) before breaking off to ride along the Willamette or Columbia Rivers if you get up early enough. Take on the “Short, Steep, & Sweet,” a 15-mile uphill ascent that passes through Portland’s West Hills area and offers views of the Tualatin Valley if you’re up for the effort.
According to the city, you may move “more rapidly and flexibly on a bike than by any other mode of transportation” within a five-mile radius of central Munich. Dedicated bike lanes, bike traffic lights, and nearly 700 miles of defined routes may all be found here. Take a bike ride along the Isar River and pass by the Maximilianeum, the parliament building distinguished by the Maximilian Bridge.
If you’re unable to cross the Atlantic, simply pass the US-Canadian border and travel to Montreal, a charming French-Canadian metropolis. The city has 435 miles of bike routes and numerous bike rentals, making it easy to get around on two wheels. To fuel your climb up the twisting road in Parc du Mont-Royal for some of the city’s best views, stop by the famous Fairmount Bagel for a handcrafted bagel.
Hundreds of kilometers of trails, bike lanes, and bicycle-friendly streets crisscross Western Australia’s capital. The large Perth Bicycle Network was created to meet a burgeoning local demand – bicycle participation in this portion of the country stands at 42 percent. The Kep Track, a largely flat path that uses former rail lines and brings you into the wilderness, is one of the best options. While the route is 47 miles long, we recommend starting at Mundaring Weir (a 50-minute drive from Perth) and turning around before reaching Northam.
Like the city of Copenhagen, Amsterdam is a bike lover’s paradise. Some reports state that there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people, and in 2017, 68 percent of traffic to and from work and school was done by bike. 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’s paintings and pass through the historic village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.
The League of American Bicyclists recently named Washington the No. 1 state for cyclists, giving Seattle a “gold” ranking. The city was given an eight out of 10 for its bicycle network and connectivity and its encouragement of bike culture. You can cruise along the water on the Elliot Bay Trail and take a break to walk your bike through the Olympic Sculpture Park.
If you have a day of sights planned in Paris, the easiest way to get around (and avoid traffic) is to hop on a bike. You can make your way toward the Eiffel Tower along the Seine River or pedal across the river to the right bank to shop on the Champs-Élysées. Half the fun is cruising alongside Parisians — who use the city bike system to bypass traffic and delayed trains — as you make your way to an exhibit at The Centre Pompidou or a cafe in Saint Germain.
Minneapolis’ position on this list may come as a surprise, but anyone who has visited the northern city has certainly witnessed the community’s commitment to biking. The city has been planned to allow for two-wheeled enjoyment, which means you can travel around and through the city on miles of pathways. The 5.7-mile Midtown Greenway, which takes you over the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge and gives you access to the Chain of Lakes, is a great option for a journey just south of the city.
Simply by hopping on your own bike as a tourist, you can integrate right into this Belgian town that has long been synonymous with cycling culture. The city has numerous established bicycle routes, including a river route that takes you along and across the river Scheldt and through adjacent villages, that are targeted to first-timers and tourists. The 23-mile route begins and ends in Antwerp’s city center, but it provides a superb introduction to the city and its environs.
More than 400 miles of bicycle routes criss-cross in and around Bordeaux in this lively, pedestrian-friendly area of France. Departing from Place Gambetta, take Cours de l’Intendance, Cours du Chapeau Rouge, and Pont de Pierre for a short 5-mile route that traverses both left and right banks for views of world-class monuments (Grand Théâtre, Place de la Bourse, Porte Cailhau, and Place du Palais) from your cycling seat.
This Swiss city is crazy with riding, and it shows. Indeed, you may link up with bike trails in other European nations or rent a bike in one Swiss city and return to another. There’s no need to leave Basel, though, because the city has dedicated traffic signals and lanes for cyclists. Rent an e-bike and stop by the sculptural Tinguely Fountain before putting up a picnic on the banks of the Birs River for a relaxing day of exploration.
To cycle throughout this design-driven city, there’s no need to leave the city center. In fact, if you start from Plaça Catalunya and ride for 5.6 miles, you’ll see most of the sights, including the Sagrada Familia, the Arc de Triomf, and Casa Batlló. Take Av. Portal de l’Angel to the right, Carrer dels Arcs to the left, and then El Born to the Museu Picasso de Barcelona. Las Ramblas, a pedestrian-friendly walkway dotted with cafes, bars, and shops, marks the finish of this trip.
More than 1,300 kilometers of bicycle infrastructure, as well as a bike-first reorientation of the bustling Hämeentie boulevard and poll results indicating that 74% of locals felt safe cycling in the city. For some years, Helsinki has been doing a lot of things well in terms of bike-friendliness. Bicycles, for example, have been allowed to travel free of charge on public transportation since 2018. Bike infrastructure is also getting greater attention when it comes to snow removal, which is especially useful for a Scandinavian city.
Thousands of new bike parking places, pleasant new cycle lanes at Getreidemarkt, and the ubiquitous marketing campaign #warumfärhstDUnicht? urging more riding – Austria’s capital has done a lot right in recent years. What prevents a higher ranking: Bicyclists still share bike lanes with buses or taxis much too frequently.
The Norwegian capital is the big winner in the 2018 Copenhagenize Index, jumping from 19th to 7th place, the largest jump of any city. The increase is due to the city’s 2015-2025 Bicycle Plan, which establishes new transportation goals through a variety of measures, including: Since 2017, cars have been prohibited from driving inside a 1.3-mile radius of the city center, and thousands of automobile parking places have given way to cyclists and pedestrians in recent years. Individuals and businesses can get financial incentives to buy cargo bikes, and thanks to 400 urban bikes with winter wheels, even the snowy winter becomes less of an issue.
Alsace is home to France’s most bike-friendly city. In Strasbourg, 16% of the population rides their bikes to work. On the historic Grande Ile and the docks “Les Quais,” for example, residents’ initiatives have guaranteed that space is taken away from cars and allocated to cyclists. Money is an impediment to even more bicycle friendliness: initiatives are still far too often underfunded.
In Utrecht, bicycles are everywhere, but that isn’t enough for the city: by 2030, the number of bicycle commutes to work will have doubled. Utrecht is investing in “fast lanes” for e-bikes, sophisticated traffic guiding systems, and world-record-breaking bicycle parking spaces: the world’s largest bicycle parking garage, with capacity for 22,000 bikes, is being developed in the Dutch city. There are now 33,000 bicycle parking places around the central station. This is also due to the fact that private investors are investing in bicycle infrastructure. The lack of clarity in the bike infrastructure for newcomers is one of the criticisms in the Copenhagenize Index.
Ljubljana, a small but perfectly shaped city, has fully embraced the bicycle. The entire city center is traffic-free, and venturing out of town opens up a plethora of opportunities for a leisurely bike ride. Ljubljana is one of Europe’s most charming cities, a green paradise with cycling at its center. The BicikeLJ bike-sharing system allows you to get on and off whenever you want.
Other European cities, from Antwerp to Strasbourg, are probably more bike-friendly, but why not look further afield to a city that is trying hard to embrace the beauty of the bicycle? Sydney is the furthest you can get from Europe, yet the Australian marvel is constantly modernizing its infrastructure. There are many of bike rental alternatives here, so grab one and cycle the seas and the city while the wind blows through your locks (provided you have luscious locks, of course). Every year, the number of bikers in Sydney grows, and there’s never been a better time to join in.