Discover these European cities by bike

As someone who loves travelling, I’ve done some research to find cities that are worth a city trip. But not in a regular way, oh no. These cities are worth visiting by bike after you’ve arrived with a different form of transportation, of course!

  1. Ljubljana (Slovenia)

The Slovenian capital Ljubljana is modest in size, but rich in romance. It’s not entirely coincidental that the city resembles Vienna and Prague, because the local architect Jože Plečnik also built iconic buildings in those two other beloved cities. The bike is the most popular means of transport in relatively car-free Ljubljana. There are cycle paths and lanes everywhere. The city is mostly flat, except for the hill topped by the mighty castle, though you can also take the cable car. The best time is sunset, and the best place is the terrace of bar Grajska Vinoteka, just outside the castle walls. The view over the city and the mountains beyond is breathtaking. Ljubljana is bisected by the river Ljubljanica. The quays, also built by Plečnik, are wonderful to cycle along, for example from the famous Tromostovje (triple bridge) via the castle side of the centre to the botanical garden, and then back on the other side. Or follow the river to the beautifully situated Fužine Castle, which nowadays houses the Museum of Architecture and Design. Cycle back over the other bank, and you’ve covered thirteen kilometres.

2. Budapest (Hungary)

Straight through the Hungarian capital Budapest, there’s a stage of the Eurovelo No. 6 Route, one of the oldest cycling routes in the world, which takes you from France to the Black Sea. In Budapest, the route follows the Danube on the Buda side of the river (the western bank), between the Rákóczi Bridge and the Árpád Bridge, a distance of over ten kilometres. On this beautiful route, you pass Castle Hill, and you have a view of, amongst other things, the beautiful parliament buildings on the other side and the iconic Chain Bridge. A very surprising place for a bike tour in Budapest is the vast, historic Kerepesi cemetery. An oasis of silence and reflection in the busy city, with a sculpture garden and numerous romantic avenues. For peace and excitement, cycling on the car-free Margaret Island in the Danube is fantastic. It’s one large recreational forest with many cycle paths, picnic spots everywhere, and some nice eateries. And an Instagram-worthy Art Nouveau water tower, which is a World Heritage Site. There’s also the large city park Városliget with the famous Széchenyi baths, one of the most beautiful thermal complexes in Budapest, with both outdoor and indoor pools. It’s a nice place to be after a day on the pedals.

3. Antwerp (Belgium)

Besides the old centre around the Big Market with the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp has many more beautiful and special neighbourhoods to discover. They’re a bit too far apart to do all that on foot, but it’s perfect by bike. You just have to put up with the charming but bumpy cobblestones. That shouldn’t spoil the fun, because by bike you have an action radius that extends from the creative district of The South to the hip quarter of The Harbour, and even the unique Art Nouveau streets of Zurenborg, culminating in the elegant Cogels-Osylei. You can recover from all the beauty in Zurenborg at the cafes on Dawn Street and Dragon Street. Something completely different is Park Middleheim. The combination of sculpture and nature makes this historic park a pleasure to cycle through. It’s part of the Nightingales Park, which also includes the Birdsong and Den Brandt parks. Less well known (except to the people of Antwerp themselves), is the more than one hundred and thirty hectares of River Court park, through which the river Great Appearance meanders (Provincial Domain Rivierenhof). Here you’ll find a varied landscape, varying from tightly landscaped to unspoiled, and with a lot of surprises in the field of catering, gardens, ponds, and castles. Fantastic to explore by bike.

4. Malmö (Sweden)

Malmö is in the top ten most bike-friendly cities in the world and has more than 500 kilometres of cycle paths. The city is located on the south coast of Sweden on the Sound, near the bridge to Copenhagen, yes, The Bridge from the Netflix series of the same name. Nice to cycle along the sea. Malmö’s old town is enclosed by a rectangle of canals. You can cycle around the historic heart along the canals. You then continue to pass bridges to enter the city. For example, the ancient market square Lilla Torg with half-timbered houses is a perfect spot to take a break here for a fika (a relaxing coffee moment). Within the canals are also the castle parks and the Malmöhus, a fifteenth-century castle annex museum. Right above the old town is the harbor quarter. The trendy western harbor area in particular is wonderful to explore on the pedals. The eye-catcher there is the twisted residential tower Turning Torso, a design by star architect Santiago Calatrava. The best place to end a bike tour in and around Malmö is Ribersborg Kallbadhuset, a classic wooden bathhouse on a pier with a screened-off outdoor swimming pool in the sea, soothing wood saunas and other wellness to relax those stiff cycling legs.

5. Seville (Spain)

In the southern Spanish city of Seville, they’re not only crazy about flamenco, but also about cycling. This is facilitated and stimulated by more than one hundred and seventy kilometres of cycle paths, under orange trees and palms, along the baroque facades with plasterwork in ocher and red tones. Roller skaters also eagerly use these cycle paths. You can take a city tour with highlights such as the Gothic cathedral Santa María de la Sede, with the Moorish Giralda tower attached to it, modelled on the minaret of Marrakesh. Right next to it is the Real Alcázar, a Moorish fairytale palace with gardens. The next stop is the gigantic Plaza de España, known as the most beautiful square in the country. Under the arches of the Renaissance palace, flamenco dancers give their fiery shows. The square borders the lush Parque de María Luisa, wonderful to cycle through. At the end turn right towards the river Guadalquivir and then cycle back along the water. After the roundabout, where the park ends, you can continue along a wide, car-free promenade with pergolas, gardens, and terraces, all the way to the photogenic bridge Puente de Isabel II, also known as Puente de Triana. Cross it to the pleasant working-class neighbourhood of Triana. Then cycle along the river back towards and via the bridge Puente de San Telmo to the old centre.

6. Berlin (Germany)

Berlin is a metropolis full of interesting history, culture, architecture, and nature. The city’s various popular districts, including Mitte, Prenzlauerberg, Kreuzberg, Schöneberg, and Tiergarten, are almost cities in themselves. Some are far apart, but they’re all easily accessible by bike. Cycling is the best way to understand how this complex city works anyway. You’ll experience the contrasts and history firsthand when you’re cycling on a megalomaniac allee from the GDR era one moment, and a moment later in the cosiness of Prenzlauerberg or Schöneberg. Then you continue over the runways of the former Tempelhof airport, and then past Checkpoint Charlie or along a remnant part of the Berlin wall. There are cycle paths throughout the city and if not, it’s normal to cart over the sidewalk between the local cargo bikes. Plenty of space, the sidewalks are sometimes meters wide here. A beautiful cycle route with a mix of city and greenery is the one from the Brandenburger Tor along the river Spree through the enormous Tiergarten park to the Charlottenburg sugar pie palace. Then back a little further south, again via Tiergarten (tip: take a break in Biergarten Café am Neuen See). In addition to the listed sights, you’ll also pass the Holocaust Memorial and the Reichstag along the way.

Free Crop unrecognizable woman taking photo of aged building on smartphone during vacation Stock Photo

Love, Skye Lewis ❤

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