Europe by Bike: Traversing the Continent's Capitals on Two Wheels
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British visitors to Europe will witness a lot during their travels and their experiences will vary greatly from place to place. But there is one thing they will discover many of the big cities have in common: a love for cycling. From Amsterdam to Vienna, the continentals love getting around on two wheels. Many of Europe’s biggest cities feature extensive cycle networks, making cycling a safe and speedy transit option, often more convenient than public transportation. Those travelling Europe should make sure to take full advantage of this by taking part in one of the many bike tours available in most big cities. Here’s a rundown of some of the best bike tours the capitals of Budapest, Vienna, Barcelona and Paris have to offer.
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsReferred to by many as the Paris of the East; the Hungarian capital is renowned for its historic monuments, relaxing thermal baths, varied, vibrant cuisine and low prices. Budabike run daily highlight tours at 10am and 3pm as well as ‘Budapest by night’ tours every evening at 8pm. The tour takes place entirely on the Pest (Eastern) side of the river and stops at some of the city’s biggest landmarks including Parliament, Hero’s Square and many remnants of the cold war. The tour guides are wonderfully well informed about the city and have all kinds of interesting and quirky facts to share with riders, such as the fact that no building can legally be built higher than 96 metres, to commiserate the first settlement in the region in the year 896. I won’t giveaway any more spoilers, but those who want to hear the rest can book highlight tour tickets for just €20. Budabike also run nightly evening tours for €25 and food tours starting at €65. Budabike tours start from €20 and can be booked online at http://www.budabike.com/en/
Credit: Pedal PowerA cultural capital of the world, Vienna is known for its Opera, classical music and as the home of famous composer Amadeus Mozart. Beginning in the museum quarter, Pedal Power provide daily bike tours at 10am and 2.30pm. Guides are enthusiastic and friendly and will take you to all the biggest sights in town such as the state opera house, the medieval University of Vienna and the Hofburg Palace, as well as highlighting some of the many quaint parks, quirky cafés and artificial beach bars to be found along the way. Pedal Power bike tours start from €25 for students and can be booked at http://www.pedalpower.at/
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Spain’s second city and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is famous for its modernist architecture, radical politics and long sandy beaches.Fat Tire Bike Tours run daily city tours at 11am and 4pm in the summer months, lasting approximately four hours. Highlights of the tour include Citadel Park, the Sagrada Familia, the bull fighting museum and the Palace of Catalan music. Tours will stop at the beach midway through for lunch or dinner at a lovely tapas bar. Fat Tire Tours start from €22 for students and can be booked at http://barcelona.fattirebiketours.com/
Credit: Blue Bike ToursThe French capital is known for its rich history, designer brands, fine food and even finer wine. Blue Bike Tours run ‘Best of Paris’ tours twice daily at 10:30am and 3pm, departing from the Place Saint-Michel near Notre Dame, the first stop of the tour. The Best Of tour is the premier way to traverse central Paris and see all of the city’s biggest landmarks in a short space of time. Guides are well informed and like to share unknown histories of the city with those who take part. Tours last four hours, including half an hour for lunch, and are a welcome break from the crowded Parisian metro, especially during the hot summer months. The experience is a great way to sample a bit of everything and help decide which attractions you would like to revisit and devote more time to outside of the tour. Tickets cost 29 Euros per person and places should be reserved online in advance at http://www.bluebiketours.com/paris/ Twitter: @JamesForsdick With thanks to Eurolines.