Anyone who’s been to Amsterdam knows that Europe loves to cycle. For such huge and busy cities, most of the locals skip the (mostly expensive) public transport and the super-busy roads and prefer to travel on two wheels!
The best thing about a bike is it’s fun, it’s easy and it’s exercise! But what do you do if you’re visiting somewhere in Europe as a tourist or if you’re just a non-local who wants to cycle? You can’t take your bike with you on a flight or across countries/cities…
While the suggestion of hiring a bike is always a good idea, it can get pretty costly at a minimum (normally) of at least 20€ a day…. so what’s your next best option? Local ‘public bikeshares’!
What’s a public bikeshare?!
A bikeshare is a service provided by the town or city in which you’re visiting. Normally you’ll see a “hub” where all the bikes are parked and all you have to do is go over and buy your pass (daily, weekly or whatever you need, and normally with an app) and then you can take a bike to cycle.
It’s really simple and easy and even better – it’s cheap! Cheaper than hiring a bike like you normally would (from a bike rental service), and you’re not as restricted for time – you don’t have to be back at the bike rental office on the dot ready to hand it back in.
Admittedly these bikes are only really made for city-dwellers – you’re not going to find a mountain bike to take but when you’re cycling around a city do you really need a mountain bike??
Europe Is The Place To Be For Cycling
Europe as a whole is committed to being more ‘green’ (it’s an EU policy actually) and helping both tourists and locals to get around the cities in easier, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly ways.
This is why most major cities in Europe have invested in bikes that anyone can hire. You don’t pay an exorbitant amount, you don’t have to put down a huge deposit, and most of them you can return to any bike station in the city, not just the you got yours from. They’re also available 24/7!
Rules and prices vary from city to city so I have compiled a list of the most popular cities and the local bike service you will find there. Each one is clickable – it will take you to the website for the bike service so you can check the price, and of course the rules. Scroll down to see the list or click here.
How Much Does It Cost?
Generally, to hire a ‘local bike’ it’s somewhere around 3-5€ as a flat fee. Then you pay an extra 30-50 centimes per half hour or hour. I hired a local bike in Antwerp, Belgium for a total of 4€ for 2 hours.
If I wanted to do a bike tour around a cliff in Croatia I would definitely look towards paying a larger sum for a better, more well-equipped off-road bike… but if I’m just bumming around a European city for a day then a local bike is the quickest, easiest way… and it’s available 24/7!
I’ll admit, the bike I rode in Antwerp dug into my butt cheeks so much that I was almost certain I had bruises when I got home (apparently my booty is too bootylicious for these bikes) but I think I just got unlucky. Local bikes are the way to go!
FOR U.S TRAVELLERS: The USA has a dedicated website for finding bikeshare services! Click here!
Europe List (A-Z by country)
DENMARK • Copenhagen Bycyklen Bikes
GREECE • Athens AthensBike
HUNGARY • Budapest DonkeyBike
ICELAND • Reykjavik WOWCityBike
ITALY • Rome (doesn’t really have one – well, they did but it got cancelled. So instead I’m offering a different non-public bikeshare service as I know lots of people want to cycle around Rome!) Eco Move Rent • Venice Actv • Florence Mobike • Pisa Smile & Ride
NETHERLANDS • Benefits from a country-wide service OV-Fiets
If you’re heading to somewhere in Europe and looking for a place to rent a bike in one of the more popular cities just bookmark this page and come back to it when you arrive in your destination. Travelling need not be so stressful and hard all the time – why not cruise around the city on a bike and take your time enjoying the sights 😉