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The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the World

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As we strive for a cleaner, greener planet, cities around the world are waking up to the power of the pedal. In the past decade and into the foreseeable future, significant investments have been made in cycling infrastructure on a global scale.

The benefits speak for themselves. Cycling helps cut carbon emissions, reduce traffic jams, slow climate change, and save money. It helps us keep fit and active, reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, obesity, and many cancers.

Cycling on a bike lane
Stuart Jameson / ViaTravelers

Cycling is proven to release endorphins, which boost our mood and keep depression at bay. In an increasingly stressful environment, biking can be a breath of fresh air. But where are the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world?

In 2022, digital insurance company Luko studied 90 cities to see which locations made the cut for being the most bike-friendly. This so-called Global Bicycle Cities Index used factors like bike infrastructure, weather, cycling fatalities and safety, and bike usage to determine its results.

These results vary yearly as cycle-centric cities jockey for position in top ten bike-friendly lists. And the waters are muddied further by more companies introducing their own ranking system with new criteria.

The Copenhagenize Index springs to mind, which last published a global ranking in 2019. The reliability of these (often biased) lists remains to be seen, but if a city is included, there’s a good chance it’s not adverse to the odd velocipede.

In no particular order, here is a selection of places that are generally regarded to be the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Get on your bike and check them out.

Best Bike-Friendly Cities in the World

1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam bikes and canal houses
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

It’s highly likely that when you think of a bike-friendly city, the Dutch capital will be the first one in your head. It’s so popular that riding a bike here is a tourist attraction in its own right and one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

There are nearly 800 miles of designated bike lanes in the city. Over 60 percent of Amsterdam’s residents commute on two wheels. You’ll find traffic signals specifically for bikes, and while the speed limit is reduced for motorists, Amsterdam’s push for improved cycling infrastructure isn’t slowing down.

This stunning city is famous for cycling, and with so many people using bikes here, visitors should read these 13 tips for riding a bike in Amsterdam. But pedestrians also need to learn cycling etiquette in these parts – a peloton nearly flattened me after stepping into the wrong lane – and boy did they let me know about it!

In hindsight, I wish I’d joined them for sightseeing. One of the best ways to experience Amsterdam is by bike and this highlights and hidden gems tour is not to be missed.

See Related: What to Pack for Amsterdam

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Row of Bikes Parked Outside Copenhagen Central Station
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Copenhagen has a long tradition of being a cyclists’ paradise, and with more than 375 miles of dedicated bike lanes, it’s one of the best cities in the world for two wheels. But there’s more to the Danish capital than protected bikeways.

The city is flat, so it’s super easy to get around on a bike. Locals are passionately pro-cycling, and friendly towards bike users. Riders will feel at home here, and you won’t be as intimidated by drivers as you can be in some large cities.

Copenhagen is striving for the admirable goal of having bicycles make up more than half the vehicles on its streets. Many low-speed cycle roads are already built, with easily identified lanes painted green.

Further construction projects are underway to increase bicycle access, including bridges that will take bicycles over the harbor. A network of regional cycle highways is also in the pipeline, so the future looks bright for biking in and around Copenhagen. Try this cycling food tour to explore the city and learn about Danish cuisine.

See Related: Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: Differences to Know

3. Utrecht, The Netherlands

Historic Binnenstad district, Utrecht canal view with bicycles and bridge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Utrecht is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands. And with a push to promote two wheels over four, it ranks among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. For cycling, Utrecht offers some impressive numbers.

The fourth-largest Dutch city, it has a population of around 300,000 people. Of these, nearly 60 percent use their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. There are over 260 miles of designated bike lanes streets, some 33,000 bike parking areas near the central station, and over 3000 cycle routes to explore.

Indoor bike parking facilities are free for the first 24 hours. Street parking is excellent, and there’s an abundance of bike shops that offer sales and same-day repair services. OV-filets is the Dutch ridesharing scheme and bike rental is just over five dollars a day.

However, you need an OV-chipkaart for this, which can be a little tricky to come by if you’re just visiting. Renting from bike stores is easier for tourists, and you can always jump on a bike tour instead. For a healthy kick, try this guided bike tour of Utrecht which includes a visit to some of the best vegan eateries in town.

See Related: Important Pros and Cons of Living in the Netherlands

4. Paris, France

Velib Bikes, Paris
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The city of love and lights is rapidly becoming the city of two wheels. Thanks to new infrastructure and policies, Paris has become one of the most bike-friendly destinations in the world.

Striving to become a 100% cycling city, the French capital has taken steps to make cycling safer and more accessible. This includes the creation of over 1000 kilometers of bike lanes, the provision of free bike rentals (for the first 30 minutes), and thousands of secure parking stands.

They’ve removed expressways along the river, slowed down speed limits, and installed protected tracks to encourage bicycle users to ditch their cars. Paris also has an ambitious bike-share program, Vélib (pictured) with over 20,000 bikes and 1,451 stations. Practically on every corner, you’ll always find a bike when needed.

Bike tours are hugely popular for exploring the world’s number-one tourist destination. Try this Paris Treasures Tour which takes you to all the main attractions, including some of the best traditional Parisien cafes.

See Related: The Best Things to Do In Paris With Kids

5. Barcelona, Spain

Tourists on a Barcelona Bike Tour
Born Bike Tours Barcelona / GetYourGuide

Barcelona is a cyclist’s paradise with wide, flat roads, scenic bike routes, and perfect weather. The city has been working hard to make cycling more manageable and accessible for everyone, and the results are impressive.

Within its urban core, Barcelona has hundreds of kilometers of bike paths and lanes, making it easy to get around without worrying about traffic. Bike commuters can enjoy the benefits of a bike-friendly city, with free parking and reduced rates for public transport.

Barcelona features the Bicing service, with over 10,000 bikes available at 400 bike-share stations. The city plans to build another 1,500 stations in the next few years. While this is not available to tourists or recreational cyclists, the Catalan capital welcomes visiting riders, and there are plenty of shops where you can buy or rent a bike.

An E-Bike Tour is a perfect way to explore some of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods, while this tour shows you the Gaudi masterpieces, including the Sagrada Familia. Cyclists should also head to Ciutadella Park for a leisurely ride, and Montjuïc Hill, which offers fantastic views.

See Related: Top 10 Things to Do In Southern Spain

6. Antwerp, Belgium

Bikes to rent in Antwerp, Belgium
bogdan1971 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Belgium is pretty flat, all things considered, so it’s no great shock that its towns and cities are perfect for cycling. Of these, Antwerp is perhaps the most bike-friendly, with plenty of cycle routes, highways, and designated on-street bike lanes. Yet the powers that be feel more is needed.

In recent years, city center speed limits have been reduced, and further improvement is expected in cycling infrastructure. This includes improved bike parking facilities, safety, and investment in a wider network. On narrow streets, it’s illegal for cars to overtake cyclists.

The city offers a series of cycle maps for touring the best routes, so you can choose your own cycling adventure based on what you want to see and how much effort it will take to see it. Recommended routes include taking a trip to Rivierenhof, the largest and most popular park in Antwerp.

Cycling group tours have become one of the best ways to explore the city. This Antwerp highlights tour hits up the most famous spots, including the old port, the stunning 11th-century Steen Castle, and the must-see MAS Museum. Visiting Antwerp is one of the best day trips from Brussels – especially for keen cyclists.

7. Münster, Germany

Bikes in Prinzipalmarkt, Munster, Germany
borisb17 / Adobe Stock

Considered Germany’s cycling capital, Münster boasts an impressive statistic. It is estimated that every resident owns at least two bikes. They even have a unique name in the local dialect, and you should certainly get on your “leeze” when visiting this German city.

With a network of nearly 300 miles of dedicated cycling paths and an additional 160 miles of on-street lanes, cycling is one of the best things to do in Münster. Rideshares are easily accessible, and with around 3000 miles of bike routes across the wider region, you can tell that cycling is a way of life in these parts.

Voted the most bicycle-friendly city in Germany for several years by national automobile and cycling federations, Münster continues to shine in the biking world. That’s largely thanks to its continued push for traffic safety, high fines for rule-breaking motorists, and heavy investment in cycling infrastructure.

The city is flat with almost no inclines, so even if you’re not feeling that energetic, getting around Münster on your “leeze” is a breeze. But if you don’t fancy riding yourself, you can always relax and enjoy a guided rickshaw tour in this historic city.

8. Montreal, Canada

Tourists on a Montreal, Canada Bike Tour
Ca Roule Montreal On Wheels / GetYourGuide

Montreal has committed to the improvement of cycling facilities for over three decades, and its efforts are beginning to pay off. A contender for the most bike-friendly city in North America, its infrastructure is excellent, with bi-directional bike lanes and a consistent push to improve bike commuter safety.

With just under 1000 kilometers of lanes, the city’s bike trails offer plenty of opportunities to explore and get around. Known as the Express Bike Network (EBN), it’s open all year and ensures you can easily live in the city without ever needing a driver’s license.

Montreal’s bike-sharing program is one of the largest in North America, with over 4,000 bikes and 400 stations. And the city closes several key streets to vehicles every Sunday so that cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy the day blissfully traffic-free.

Taking a bike tour is the ideal way to see some of the best sights in Montreal. Check out the Old Port of Montreal (a beautiful area to ride through) and Mount Royal Park – which is great for mountain bike enthusiasts.

9. Tokyo, Japan

Biking in Tokyo Japan
拓也 神崎 / Adobe Stock

The world’s largest metropolis happens to be a bicycle-friendly city, with an ever-growing network of protected bike lanes and paths. Although densely populated, it’s surprisingly easy to navigate by bike and has the bonus of an exceptional public transportation system.

Japan has a long affiliation with bicycles, while cities like Tokyo look to the future for bike safety. Cycling is a great way to get around, especially if you want to explore Tokyo’s residential areas.

Popular routes include the Tamako Cycling Road, the Yamanote Line Loop which goes through the city center, along the Sumida River (pictured), and the Imperial Palace Loop. Bike parking is cheap and readily available and in a city this crowded – you need to use it or risk your wheels being removed.

You can explore some of the best things to do in Tokyo on your own steam, or you can try a traditional Tokyo bike tour with an expert guide to show you all the best spots. Cycling in Tokyo is one of the many reasons to visit Japan, so put it on your to-do list.

10. Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Woman Wondering where her bike is at bike parking in Eindhoven
Alina Rosanova / Adobe Stock

Another entry for The Netherlands proves that their bicycle culture is as deeply ingrained in the Dutch psyche as tulips, liberal laws, and poffertjes. Although Amsterdam might be the more well-known cycling destination and Utrecht is always in the conversation, Eindhoven certainly holds its own in the rankings.

One of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands, Eindhoven uses fewer cars than almost anywhere else on the continent, so drivers are used to sharing the road. The city is flat, with an extensive ride-friendly infrastructure, and a solid base of bicycling enthusiasts pushing for innovation and change.

Projects, like floating roundabouts, are regularly completed that help encourage more people to ditch their vehicles and go by bicycle. Existing bike paths have been upgraded and modified to give cyclists more room and improve safety.

Try this guided bike tour which takes in the city’s best sights. If you’re looking for a more challenging ride, check out the routes along Essense Lake. These routes offer beautiful views of the city and surrounding countryside.

11. Vienna, Austria

Tourists on a Vienna, Austria Viking Tour
Pedal Power Vienna / GetYourGuide

Vienna is another city making a name for itself as a bike-riding Mecca. This historic European destination boasts an extensive bike path network, is flat and easy to navigate, and features a strong cycling culture that’s constantly developing.

There are over 800 miles of designated bicycle paths in the city, with more in the pipeline. Bike-sharing opportunities and facilities have recently been upgraded, and there’s been an increase in bike racks and repair facilities. Free parking and showers are available as incentives for anyone commuting by bike.

Bikes are allowed on the Vienna underground at certain times of the day, and folded bikes are permitted on buses and trams. Popular cycle routes include riding by the Danube, the Ringstrassen which circles the old city center, and the southern bank of the Donaukanal.

Exploring the city by bike is one of the best things to do in Vienna, and this classic three-hour bike tour will take you to all the top sights. For the more adventurous, the Vienna Woods is a little further afield, but it’s well-known as being an ideal spot for mountain biking.

See Related: The Best Things to Do in Vienna With Kids

12. Taipei, Taiwan

Woman Biking in Freedom Square, Taipei

Taiwan is one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations and one of its most bike-friendly countries. Its capital, Taipei, might first appear inaccessible to cyclists, but with an extensive network of back streets, paths, and trails, there’s more to this large city than meets the eye.

Scenic bike routes include the riverside bikeway, Dajia Riverside Park, Fengguikou, Keelung River Right Bank Bike Trail, and Jingmei River Bikeway. In town, the YouBike rideshare system is available for locals and tourists and is super easy to use.

There are also many mountain biking trails on the outskirts of Taipei. The most popular trail is the Maokong Gondola, which was built to help locals have easier access to the tea plantations in the hills around the city. Adventurous cyclists will want to check out this trail.

Taipei is also one of the cheapest places to travel, which makes it ideal if you’re biking on a budget. Rise early and enjoy this morning cycling tour of the city, which provides a traditional Taiwanese breakfast to get you going.

13. Bogota, Colombia

People biking in Bogota, Colombia
by nati_fg / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Colombia has long shed its reputation as a no-go destination for tourists. This bike-loving country offers much to the traveler, including friendly cities, beautiful natural landscapes, near-perfect weather, and ancient cultural attractions. And the capital city of Bogota is leading the way for cyclists.

City-wide bike routes cover more than 600 miles of Bogota’s streets. Bike paths are well marked with blue paint and many miles are protected by barriers. A new ride-share program has seen heavy investment, and educational programs are in place to teach people about bike and traffic safety

You’ll see plenty of locals getting on their bikes here, as this sustainable transport is the most efficient way of getting around. Cargo bikes are popular, so expect to see citizens carrying more gear from A to B. And free riding lessons are available to encourage new riders.

The city government is committed to expanding all this infrastructure in the near future, so cycling in Bogota continues to go from strength to strength. Join the friendly locals and take a Bogota bike tour, which visits all the key neighborhoods.

14. Melbourne, Australia

Bike share bikes in Melbourne, Australia
Pengo / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Melbourne is the second-most populous city in Australia and the capital of the state of Victoria. Located on the country’s southeastern coast, Melbourne is a lively melting pot, with a rich culture and plenty of activities for people of all ages. It’s also a great place to get on your bike.

The bicycle infrastructure is good, with off-road and on-road cycling routes. It’s not in the same league as European cities, but it is moving in the right direction.

Thousands of parking hoops have been added, with more forthcoming. The city’s 80-plus miles of cycle routes also look set to be extended.

Melbourne is flat, easy to navigate, and has excellent year-round weather. Bikes are allowed on trains, so you can easily get out of the city and explore the surrounding region. Australians tend to view cycling as recreational rather than for transport, which is evident in the adventurous outdoor scene down under.

For a great way to see the city, try this best of Melbourne bike tour. Explore the famous sights as well as off-the-beaten-path attractions and hidden gems.

See Related: Best Bike Rides Around the World

15. San Francisco, California

Bikers in Golden Gate, San Francisco, California Biking
Bay City Bike Rentals and Tours / GetYourGuide

The United States has a long way to go to become a bike-friendly country. For some perspective, The Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany have more than 27,000 miles of bike lanes between them, while the US has only 4,000. But there are glimmers of hope.

On the West Coast, San Francisco is known as being a bicycle-friendly town. It has more than 200 miles of bike lanes, and the city is working hard to add as many bike paths as possible. Bicycles are allowed on all San Francisco streets except for a few designated explicitly as “motor vehicle only.”

There are incentives available for people who commute by bike, including free parking and shower facilities. Bike-related events are frequent, and you should reach out to the San Francisco Bike Coalition if you want to get involved. San Fran also has some cool bicycle shops to rival those in European cities.

The main downside of biking in San Francisco is the hills. But if you’re looking for a good workout, “The City” is perfect for baking those buns. This popular bike tour lets you ride over the Golden Gate Bridge – which should be on any keen cyclist’s bucket list.

See Related: The Best Bike Trails in the US

16. Portland, Oregon

Cyclist biking in Hawthorne Bridge, Portland, Oregon
CrackerClips / Adobe Stock

Portland is known as a bike-friendly city and one of the best places to visit in the US. The city has an impressive 557 miles of bike lanes, and it was the first city in the country to adopt a bicycle master plan.

Portland is also home to the world’s largest bike parking garage, which can hold up to 5,000 bicycles. The city offers several bicycle-sharing programs, making it easy to borrow a bike! If you’re feeling particularly daring, you can bare all at Portland’s naked bike ride

Always evolving, Portland continues to make itself even more bike-friendly. Recently, they’ve started a program that offers residents five dollars for every day they don’t drive a car. I would give my right arm for something like that in Madison.

The incentive appears to be working, as the number of people biking to work in Portland has jumped by 60% in a few short years. Who knows? Perhaps bribery is the only way to prise Americans out of their cars and into the saddle.

17. Malmö, Sweden

Bicycles  in downtown Malmö, Sweden
Liaurinko / Adobe Stock

It’s not just its proximity to bicycle-capital contender Copenhagen that makes the Swedish city of Malmö an entry on our list. Flat, compact, and very safe for cyclists, Malmö is seriously well-designed. Then again, we are in Sweden, after all.

The city has over 300 miles of impeccably crafted bike paths, so much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking they were a work of art. Hundreds of bike crossings make transitions safe and easy, and there are plenty of streets – like Kaptensgatan – that are off-limits to motor vehicles.

To become more cycle-centric, in the late 2000s, Malmö began a campaign called No Ridiculous Car Journeys. Through media and education, its aim was for citizens to reduce car use for trips of less than five kilometers.

This appears to have worked, as the modal share for bikes jumped at least ten percent. For tourists, bike rental in Malmö is straightforward, with plenty of hire shops and “Malmö by Bike” rideshares scattered throughout the city.

18. Hangzhou, China

Rental electric bikes in Hangzhou, China
Nataliya Hora / Adobe Stock

In the Global Bicycle Cities Index, Hangzhou was the only Chinese city and, at the time, the only non-European city included in the top ten. In a country known for having the worst cities worldwide for poor air quality, perhaps this is no surprise.

The Hangzhou Public Bicycle rideshare scheme was introduced in response to traffic congestion. It was the first of its kind and largest in China until overtaken by Shanghai. Bikes are heavily subsidized, with the first hour free, and then a cheap hourly rate after that.

It’s mainly for residents (an impressive 30% of locals now commute by bike) but tourists can use it by getting a public transit card. Other bike-friendly introductions include expanding the city’s greenways for safe, scenic cycling routes.

The West Lake is one of the best places to take a ride, and you can enjoy it on this half-day guided tour. In a country that used to run on pedal power, Hangzhou is leading the way for reconnecting with China’s bike riding past.

19. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cyclists in Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota
CK / Adobe Stock

One of the most walkable cities in the US also happens to be a biking capital. Minneapolis benefits from a picturesque setting with its proximity to A LOT of water. Add an impressive and ever-expanding cycling infrastructure and you have a recipe for one of the best biking cities in the country.

There are hundreds of miles of cycle paths throughout the city, including dedicated lanes and protected on-street zones. Local cycling events, programs, and educational initiatives highlight the importance and benefits of using two wheels.

The city’s rideshare scheme – Nice Ride Minnesota – offers thousands of bikes throughout the city, and plenty of stands to pick one up from. Free bike racks are provided on buses and trains, and speed limits have been lowered around the city to make the streets safer for cyclists.

Further improvements have been made to existing on-road cycle paths with protective barriers added. With such an enviable network of urban and rural trails, the City of Lakes is a wonderful place to get on your bike. Don’t miss our guide on the best things to do on the Minneapolis Riverwalk.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Minneapolis?

20. Bern, Switzerland

Cyclists in Kirchenfeld bridge, Bern, Switzerland
Roman Babakin / Adobe Stock

Here’s something for you trivia fans. Bern is the capital of Switzerland. Not Zurich, not Geneva, not Basel.

I was today years old when I learned this. And while all of those cities can boast excellent biking infrastructure, it’s the Swiss capital that comes out on top as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world.

Bern’s local government has invested heavily in cycling facilities and infrastructure in recent years. The fruits of their labor are evident, as the biking modal share has steadily increased, and many residents use bikes as their preferred way to work – come rain or shine.

Bern’s UNESCO-listed old town is car-free, and the city adopts car-free days to promote other methods of transport. Public transportation is particularly good here, and bikes can be brought on buses and trains. A valid ticket is required.

Rideshare facilities are abundant in the city, with options from E-bikes to cargo bikes available. And with a low cycling fatality rate, Bern ranks as one of the safest cities for cycling in the world.

See Related: The Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland

FAQs

Which city is known as the cycling capital of the world?

There are a few cities that can lay claim to this title, including Copenhagen, Utrecht, Munster, and Antwerp are all strong contenders. But you have to say that Amsterdam – as the most well-known cycling city – takes the crown.

What is the least bike-friendly city in the US?

Cyclists look away now. Cities with poor bike scores in the US include Los Angeles, Memphis, Dallas, Chicago, and Phoenix. Alas, that’s just scratching the surface.

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  1. Bike tour Seville says:

    Seville is with big difference the best city in Spain for ride a bike!!!

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