Along the quaint, cobbled streets of many European cities, you're more likely to find folks getting around on two wheels than four. Cycling is very much the norm in much of Europe, with modern infrastructure, well-maintained paths and cheap-as-chips bike hire schemes making it easy to ride on. Grab your lycra and head for these top cycle cities in Europe.
This canal-laden Dutch city has long been known for its cycle culture, where riding a bike is the rule and not the exception. Cycling is so popular in Amsterdam the city is actually running out of space for bicycle parking! The city's preferred mode of transportation plays into its unhurried atmosphere. It's very much about the journey as well as the destination.
Belgium is making great strides in developing its cycle-friendly status, from Ghent to Bruges and the fashion-forward hub of Antwerp. Cycle paths criss-cross the city, with locals and tourists alike embracing the Velo Antwerpen cycle share system. A day pass will set you back just 3.80€ and there are dozens of stations conveniently placed around town.
Hire a set of wheels and explore the Finnish capital in true Scandi style. Around 750 kilometres of prime cycle paths weave their way around Helsinki, adding to the city's youthful and design-driven fabric. There's plenty to see from the saddle in Helsinki too, from its bustling harbour to its lush green spaces.
Think the king of cycle cities in Europe is Amsterdam? Think again! Copenhagen consistently places at the top of the list thanks to its ratio of bicycles to cars (5:1), and well planned cross-river bridges. The Danish capital invests a great deal of money and care in its cycle infrastructure and it definitely shows.
Vienna's wide, leafy boulevards and paths along the banks of the Danube make it perfect for cycling. Recent years have seen the Austrian capital work towards becoming more cycle friendly, with initiatives such as the Citybike rental scheme and the Ringstrasse Route – a sightseeing cycle path that showcases the beauty of the 'old city'.
In a country home to what is arguably the world's most famous bicycle race, it's not surprising to run into a lycra-clad crowd. Bordeaux is the perfect place for an all-encompassing cycle holiday, with cycle paths woven through city and country alike. Take advantage of VCub bike hire at just 1.50€ per day.
Cycling is becoming more and more popular in Berlin. The German city may be vast, but it's also flat and conducive to easy peddling. New cycle routes are being added as we speak, and will eventually bring the total to 27. One of the most popular rides is Berliner Mauerweg, tracing the remains of the Berlin Wall along what was once the guard's path.
The Hungarian capital is yet another city that is attempting to integrate a cycle-friendly philosophy into its cobbled streets. To avoid zigzagging between pedestrians in the heart of the city, reserve your scenic cycling in Budapest for the leafy expanse of Margaret Island, or Buda Hills if you're feeling a little more adventurous.
Taking its cues from Copenhagen, Malmö is committed to boosting bike love in the city over the next several years. The city is actually home to more dedicated cycle lanes than Copenhagen, with cycle paths named for easy GPS mapping. The entire region of Skåne in south Sweden is known for being cycle-friendly.
Prague may not immediately spring to mind when you think of cycle cities in Europe, but that doesn't mean it should be dismissed entirely. See the Czech capital by cycling along the banks of the Vltava, or go for glory along the 400-kilometre Prague-Vienna Greenways, to admire medieval churches, castles and quaint villages.
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