Seven best places to explore by bike in Europe

From the Tour de France to the commuter culture of the Netherlands, bicycles have long been a staple in European society. Global competitions or just getting to work aside, biking is also a great way to travel Europe. Bike tours allow you to uncover hidden gems and see sights which other forms of travel might pass by. They're also relatively speedy — if you have just a limited amount of time in one destination, they're a great way to see as much as possible. Plus, they are active, healthy and adventurous!  
While some seek out the most the most epic bike rides across Europe, others may be more inclined for a relaxing cycle tour along the continent's gentle waterways. Throughout your European river cruise with Emerald Cruises, you'll have the opportunity to use one of the on board bicycles to explore on your own or join us on a guided bike tour to some of our favourite spots. And to help inspire your future bike adventure, here is our list of the seven best places to explore by bike in Europe. Ranging from quaint medieval settlements to bustling bike-friendly cities, this list will give you an idea of the exceptional getaway to come.

1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The largest metropolis in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a city built for biking. For residents, it's an essential form of transportation with road networks, stoplights and even parking spaces existing throughout the city specifically for bicycles. With such a robust infrastructure, cycling is generally faster than taking public transit or even driving! A bike tour through Amsterdam is not only a great way to explore the city's many cafés and magical canals, but it's also an excellent way to immerse yourself in a quintessential part of Amsterdammer culture. Join us on a river cruise to the fabled Dutch capital and see the wonders of this incredible city from two wheels for yourself.

2. Nice, France

With the backdrop of the warm Mediterranean Sea at its edge, Nice is arguable one of the most beautiful destinations on our list. With its rolling hills, seaside towns and year-round pleasant weather, the whole of the French Riviera has become a favourite of the legendary Tour de France. For those not too interested in steep climbs and intense downhills, Nice also offers a more relaxing ride for those looking to casually pedal their way through the city. Running along the waterfront, the Promenade des Anglais is a must for those seeking to grasp the beauty of the Cote d'Azure and get a glimpse the varying walks of like that call Nice home, also making for an exciting bike route. Visit Nice on a pre or post cruise city stay and discover why the south of France is beloved by cyclists and travellers alike.

3. Vienna, Austria

You could spend a whole week in Austria's ancient capital and still not have enough time to explore its vast wealth of stunning architecture, historical sites and cultural wonders. Luckily, Vienna is home to a network of bike lanes which run past many of the city's most renowned landmarks throughout the heart of the city such as the Hofburg Palace, the Austrian Parliament Building and Rathaus (City Hall). Looking to connect with nature? Cycle through the vast gardens around the Schönbrunn Palace and the awe-inspiring Stadtpark. Vienna's Rococo Palace is one of the most important architectural and historic monuments in the city, but while exploring its gardens you'll find many more hidden gems like the Neptune Fountain and even Roman ruins. 

4. Cochem, Germany

With its stunning Imperial Castle, rolling vineyards and picturesque riverside Old Town, Germany's Cochem makes for a truly magical bike ride. Regarded as one of the prettiest villages along the Moselle, it won't take long to fall in love with its historic culture, regional cuisine and delicious wine. Have the chance to see nearly every corner of Cochem on an EmeraldACTIVE guided bike tour as feel as though you've just pedaled your way into a fairytale.

5. Lyon, France

When you think of Lyon, what comes to mind? For many, it is of course the region's renowned Lyonnaise cuisine. While definitely France's gastronomy capital, the city also boasts a wonderful array of monuments, galleries and historical sites which have made it an UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. With accessible pathways that wind through the city and along the magnificent Rhône, the regional flavours and cultural highlights of Lyon are yours to explore by bicycle. If you find yourself with some free time to explore, take advantage of one of the many bike kiosks dotted throughout the city. Bon voyage!  

6. Melk, Austria

The area surrounding Melk is one of spectacular beauty. For thousands of years, communities have blossomed along these fertile Austrian shores along the winding Danube. The nearby Dürnstein Castle, and the seemingly endless vineyards of the Wachau Valley are easy to get to from Melk, and make for a pleasant bike ride. While visiting the region, take the opportunity to ride along the banks of the Danube from Dürnstein to Melk. 

7. Koblenz, Germany

At the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers is Europe's gateway to the Rhine Gorge, the city of Koblenz. Once a Roman stronghold, this ancient city is now full of postcard-worthy parks, gardens and monuments for you to weave in and out of. With over 350 routes throughout the city, there are plenty of options when it comes to exploring Koblenz by bicycle. But be warned — despite the pathways being relatively flat...with so many hilltop castles, quaint villages and stunning river views to stop at and take in, it's difficult to travel quickly through this historical region!

See Europe the way you want to

Travel through Europe in a way that suits your interests and pace during an immersive river cruise with  Emerald Cruises. Explore the continent's most magnificent waterways in a truly handcrafted fashion, and choose from a range of activities and excursions curated just for you.

Prefer to explore by bike? Then you'll love our EmeraldACTIVE program featuring guided bike tours that take you into the heart of your destination and introduce you to its hidden cultural and historical gems. Download your complimentary river cruise brochure and get rolling on your next adventure today!