Anyone who’s sticking to a budget is used to outlining the details of a vacation to make sure they can actually afford it. Researching hotel rooms, flights, tours, and restaurant reservations gives a good sense of how much you can expect to spend. Transportation is just as important and it’s also one of the easiest components to forget when making travel arrangements. Taking cabs everywhere will have you spending hundreds in no time and renting a car isn’t much better. Public transportation can be great, but only if you know the system.
Never fear, we have a solution. Instead of getting around by car or bus, take a more active approach to transportation by biking on your next vacation. As for the actual bike, you have a number of options. All of these cities have plenty of places that rent and many have bike sharing programs as well. For the true cycling enthusiast, packing and shipping your own bike is also an option. Bicycling shared some great tips on how to pack, ship, or check your two-wheeled transportation with ease. According to the article, shipping is the most budget-friendly, ranging from $25 to $80.
Even if expenses aren’t a huge concern, pedaling your way from point to point is a great idea. You’ll be able to get from lunch at a restaurant to an afternoon museum visit without having to worry about finding parking or if you enough cash on hand. Biking is also a great way to torch calories, which will help keep you in shape while away.
Because not every city is suitable for biking, we’ve picked six of the best to inspire your next getaway. Add these destinations to your travel bucket list today.
1. Minneapolis, Minn.
Though it’s fallen a few spots from its first place slot in Bicyling’s 50 most bike-friendly cities, Minneapolis remains one of the best cities for getting around via two wheels. According to the city’s government website, Minneapolis features 118 miles of on-street bike paths and an additional 92 miles of bikeways that don’t fall along the road. Even during the harsh winter months, keeping the paths clear is a top priority.
The booming beer scene makes getting around by bike even more practical. You’ll find tons of great breweries around downtown as well as the nearby northeast neighborhood. You can also check out some great performances at favorite venues like First Avenue and the Triple Rock Social Club. If you make a trip during January, don’t miss the annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
2. Boulder, Colo.
Colorado’s mountainous terrain has earned it a reputation as a top destination for skiers, so you might be surprised to hear it’s also a fantastic choice for getting around by bike. Boulder in particular is leading the way with a platinum ranking from The League of American Bicyclists. You’ll find plenty of in-town bikeways as well as a wide selection of mountain trails if you’re looking to work up a sweat.
Keep in mind, Boulder is also a high-elevation city at about 5,400 feet. Those used to pedaling at lower altitudes will likely have to slow their usual pace to avoid getting too winded. If you’re training for an event, this could actually be an advantage. Many professional cyclists and runners utilize high-altitude training as a way to naturally boost their red blood cell count before important races. Just make sure to take it easy, especially in the first several days.
When you’re not pounding the pedals, USA Today’s 10Best recommended checking out the fantastic parks and Fiske Planetarium. If you’re an outdoor lover, Boulder is a great choice.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagenize Design Company has released an annual list of the most bike-friendly cities in the world since 2011, and this year’s top placeholder was none other than Copenhagen. According to the website, the city experienced a 9% growth in the number of bike commuters from 2012 to 2014 thanks to huge investments geared toward improving the biking infrastructure. And according to VisitCopenhagen, the traffic lights are actually designed to favor cyclists over cars.
Anyone who’s ever enjoyed the thrill of a roller coaster has to set aside time to visit Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second oldest amusement park. This fun stop is only open for certain holidays until April, so check your dates before planning a visit. The culinary scene is also thriving, and not just because of René Redzepi’s famed restaurant, Noma. Time Out shared some of their top choices that are all worth a reservation.
4. Portland, Ore.
No surprise here. According to Marketplace, Portland boasts more cyclists per capital than any other U.S. city and 345 miles of dedicated biking paths. They’re still pushing to improve, though, and the article highlighted a new app aimed at making things even better by monitoring the number and behavior of cyclists. Check out Travel Portland for resources on everything from bike routes to fun events.
For something slightly different, head to Pittock Mansion, a 22-room behemoth built by the founder of a local newspaper. U.S. News Travel recommended visiting even just to stroll through the grounds. One thing to note: the mansion’s closed for the month of January. For more ideas on things to do and a schedule of events, check out Clipper Vacations.
Though Rome isn’t an obvious destination for getting around by bike, Frommer’s said drivers are very friendly toward cyclists and the city offers a fair number of dedicated bike paths. Traveling through this historic city on two wheels might actually be the best way to take in the architecture. Though you can certainly go it alone, we recommend looking into Free Bike Tours Rome. The organization, which boasts a perfect rating on TripAdvisor, plans 3 to 4 hour rides through some of the best scenert Rome has to offer and even takes care of rentals.
First-time visitors to Rome will likely be impressed by the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but those touristy stops can be incredibly crowded. Business Insider featured a list of some great things to do, straight from locals. Their choices included visiting the Capuchin Crypt, digging into the local cuisine, and gazing at the city from Monte Mario.
6. Perth, Australia
Though it doesn’t garner the same recognition as Sydney or Melbourne, Perth is a fantastic place to visit if you’ve ever wanted to plan a trip to Australia. According to Mother Nature Network, it’s possible to get to nearly any destination in the city via bike. In addition to in-town routes, you’ll also find tons of options for scenic rides through wineries and along the coast. This destination is particularly good for those who love lounging on the sand because it boasts 19 beaches where you can learn to surf or just hang out with your family.