Europe has some of the most diverse and accessible cities for cycling holidays.
Whether you’re cycling for fitness, charity, or want to bond with the family, Europe offers a wide array of trails and events all year round. Cycling is also a creative way to appreciate Europe’s marvellous architectural heritage. So, with that in mind, here are five of the most bike-friendly cities in the continent, including the rapidly developing new cycling hubs:
Dubbed as the cycling capital of Europe, Copenhagen is has been voted the most bike-friendly city in the continent on several occasions. In fact, the popular index which cities are judged on is called the Copenhagenize Index. With the many bicycle bridges being built to encourage cycling, Copenhagen has snatched the top place in the index this year back from Amsterdam.
Initiatives like the GoBike, where stationary bikes can be rented by residents and tourists through an app have also boosted its structural support to cycling in the city.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Currently in second place in terms of having bike-friendly infrastructure and rules, Amsterdam’s commitment to environmental sustainability is fast becoming the standard in Europe. The wide adoption of policies that encourage cycling has drawn many charities to the city.
Following in Amsterdam’s tire tracks are other cities in the Netherlands like Utrecht and Den Haag. The KLM Urban Trail that happened this July is a testament to just how seriously the country is sticking by its pledge to keep its cities bike-friendly.
London, United Kingdom
While London hasn’t always been known as a cycling friendly city, it has made huge strides forward in recent years.
London officials recently unveiled their ambitious Cycling Action Plan, where the capital is aiming to be the “world’s best city for cycling”. While some think it’s just for optics and lacks actual financial and institutional support, this change in infrastructure has attracted more and more charity cycling events like Pedal4Cancer and Prudential Ride London in the last two years. Global charity Save the Children have a team cycling at Ride London, which is a 100-mile ride where anyone can join and raise money for notable causes. It is a product of the 2012 Olympic Games, and the next charity ride takes place on August 4, 2019. The ride will go through Central London and Surrey Hills where most of the cycling events usually take place.
If you’re really into cycling, chances are you’ve heard of Ghent. A Flemish city following in the footsteps of its Dutch counterparts, according to Wanderlust, Ghent actually has portions of its city centre operating without cars. It also has the largest low-traffic pedestrian lanes in the whole of Europe. The heavy investment in infrastructure and programs that support cycling and commuters has manifested in the current boom the city is seeing in the amount of bike rental businesses across the city.
Arguably the best time to go cycling in this marvellously slow city is from late March to mid-April, or what they call the Springs Classics season. Try going on the Tour of Flanders from Bruges to Oudenaarde – undoubtedly one of the most scenic bike routes in Europe.
Joining the league of green cities is Bordeaux – the 4th most bike friendly city in the world, according to the above-mentioned index. Much of this is due to the fact that in 2017, the City Council of Bordeaux almost unanimously adopted a €70 million plan aimed at raising the modal share of cycling to 15% by 2020. Bordeaux currently holds the record for the highest per capita investment on cycling friendly infrastructure in the whole of Europe.
Its bike scheme VCub is also drawing in tourists with its network of 1,545 bikes across 139 docking stations. Being the greenest and cheapest transport in the whole of Europe, the city is on its way to hitting its target.