Cycling around Barcelona is an excellent way to soak up the sights, breathe in the Mediterranean air and beat the traffic. The city’s numerous biking lanes and relaxed vibe make it perfect for both beginners and seasoned cyclists. If you’re about to embark on some biking in Barcelona, here are some handy tips.
Rent a bike in Barcelona
If you want to rent a bike in Barcelona, you will be spoilt for choice. There are dozens of bike rental shops dotted around the city, from La Raval to El Born and La Barceloneta. It’s a wise move to check out a few of them in advance, to compare things like bike rental fees (per hour and per day) and the type of bikes on offer.
The kind of bikes you’ll be offered can vary greatly between shops – for example, one place might offer Dutch bikes, another might do mountain bikes for those planning to go further afield. You should expect to pay between €8 to €15 per day or about €3 per hour. The most expensive rentals will be in the Barceloneta area where there is a huge demand for bikes in the summer. Some tips for renting bikes:
- You’ll need to bring your passport for ID
- Ask if you can have a go on one of the bikes before you rent it
- Don’t forget to ask for a secure lock for your rented bike – Barcelona is a busy city where a decent bike will disappear very quickly if it’s left unattended!
- Many rental shops will provide you with a map of cycling routes around Barcelona
- If you don’t fancy a traditional bicycle, there are electric bikes and Segways which can also be great fun!
Buy a bike in Barcelona
If you’re planning on staying in the city for a few months it’s well worth buying your own bike and saving money on metro tickets. There’s a thriving market in second hand bikes and one of the best places to look is www.loquo.es, where bikes start from around €60 for a standard, no-frills city bike. You’ll pay a bit more (€100 plus) for a “bici plegable” or folding bike, which are very popular with Barcelona’s apartment dwellers and commuters. For those looking for something brand new, there are specialist bike shops around the city including vintage bike shops where you can pick up something really stylish. If you’re not too fussed about something fancy, Carrefour superstore in the Glories shopping center also does lovely brand new bikes starting from around €130.
Best cycle routes in Barcelona
One of the best routes to cycle in the city is along the beach, which stretches for miles and is completely pedestrianised. From La Barceloneta, cruise along the promenade past the cafes and surf shops, and you’ll reach Villa Olympica where you’ll see the boats moored at the marina. Carry on and you’ll reach Poble Nou where you’ll see lots of chiringuitos (beach hut bars) along the beach. If you want to, you can continue all the way to El Forum where you’ll find the Natural History Museum.
Other great places to cycle around are Parc de la Ciutadella with its fountains and zoo, and the route from Plaça de Catalunya to Plaça d’Espanya. Once you have a map though the city really is your oyster!
- Here is a useful link to a map of the bike lanes from the people at Ride or Die.
Places to avoid when cycling
There are just a few places in Barcelona that you should really avoid on a bike. Firstly, the Rambla is absolutely jammed with people and you’ll find it nearly impossible to get from one end to the other without jumping off your bike and walking. It’s a frustrating experience to say the least! Secondly, watch out for the large wide streets with big passeos or ramblas in the middle of them – bikes aren’t always allowed on these areas (Rambla de Catalunya is one example) and you might find you get a telling off from the police. Lastly, be very careful in areas where there are narrow little laneways like El Born and Raval – even if the coast looks clear it’s very easy to turn a corner and collide with a pedestrian, so go slowly and use your bell when you come to a corner.
Watch the lights
In Barcelona, you will often find motorists ignoring a green man for pedestrians. At some junctions, tthe cars are allowed to go through the crossing when there is a green man, unlike countries like the UK where this would be a traffic offence. So, be very careful when crossing at zebra crossings and traffic lights, because the rules of the road are slightly different. Green does not mean “go”, it means “check for cars, and then go”.
Please share these tips, Gracias
Article by Rachel Faulkner