Wheels For Hire! Biking Around Barcelona
Considered one of the world's most bike-friendly cities, Barcelona was made to be explored on two wheels. Between the coast and the mountains at the back, the city is remarkably flat making getting around quick and easy, especially thanks to the 200km of bike paths (and counting. You can check a map of Barcelona's cycle paths here) which turn up in handy places around the city. The versatility of bicycles means that you can also traverse the narrow streets of the likes of El Raval, Barrio Gotico and El Born, where cars are a nightmare and metro and public transport limited.
Whilst all of the above districts are must-sees, it doesn't make sense to rent bikes unless you intend to get out of the centre, and beyond walking range, to some of the many cool sights outside the Old Town. There are tonnes of routes we could recommend, starting with a jaunt North to the former industrial area of Poblenou with modern attractions like Torre Agbar and the Park Diagonal, not to mention the beaches (in which case Steel Donkeys offer a funky tour!), or striking out all the way to the bustling village atmosphere of Gracia and on to Park Guell; whilst the liberty of two wheels means you could also pick off out of the way treasures such as the remarkable Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. A Modernista marvel that most tourists don't know exist, the hospital was designed by Domenech i Montaner, an architectural genius who instructed his more famous contemporary Antoni Gaudi.
Above: Taking a break from the saddle by Bogatell Beach
If you really fancy some hardcore pedalling, then why not hire yourselves some mountain bikes and head over either to Montjuic, with its smorgasboard of cultural treasures such as Poble Espanyol; or tone the thighs with a trip right up to Tibidabo - it's the mountain peak topped with the church which you can see if you look to the back of the city! Whatever you decide, grab yourself a map and check the weather forecast before you go.
Barcelona Bike Rentals
Steel Donkey Bicycles
Famous for their off-beat and original tours around the city, Steel Donkeys are also your go-to guys for renting a set of wheels for independent exploration of the Catalan capital. Unbeatable prices (just 10 euros a day), central pick up and drop off point in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, and fantastic city, road and mountain bikes mean that you don't have to shop around...
Green Bikes Barcelona
Excellent rates, lean mean green machines and young international staff make Green Bikes a top place to hire a bicycle or two. Their office, in the Gothic Quarter, is a bit tricky to find however, but, as with all the most useful addresses in town, you can find their exact location on our map of Barcelona (just look under 'Services').
Serious cyclists might get a little frustrated pottering about town on a sit-up saddle, which are pretty much the only bikes on offer in most stores. Montefusco however specialise in road bike hire, and their carbon-frame, ten gear racers are a great choice for anyone who wants to cover plenty of ground, and maybe even tackle one or two of those serious looking slopes at the back of the city (getting up to Tibidabo can be quite rewarding, if tiring!). They also offer a 70km guided tour of the city and various other cycling day trips.
Bicing is Barcelona's public bike share scheme, the city's equivalent to London's Boris Bikes or Paris's Velib system. However, sadly the scheme is NOT AVAILABLE for tourists. In order to qualify you must be a resident, which means registering for a NIE identity number. If you are staying in BCN for any length of time it is well worth doing however as for around €50 you get unlimited access to these red and white dynamos that are extremely handy for getting around, and generally more pleasant than being stuck underground on the metro.
The advantage of these power-assisted cycles is of course you can go further, longer and harder - and in turn means you can simply see more of the city in the same amount of time. We will be back to update this page with a reliable E-bike hire firm very shortly!
If you like the idea of seeing Barcelona from the saddle, but have no idea which are the best places to see, and how to find them, then you might want to consider signing up for a guided cycle around the city's main attractions. And if you need a bit more power between your legs you might want to hire scooters instead, especially if you fancy a day trip to some of the better beaches outside of the city.
Shame that the Bicing system is not available for tourists however we had no problem getting hold of wheels! Prices were cheap... around 10 or 12 euros a day if I remember, when we were there in summer of 2014. Coming back in 2015 and will try to explore some parts of the city we never made it too. I heard Poblenou is the new cool centre.
reviewed by Caroline from United Kingdom on Jan.19.2015
Definitely the best way to get around. We did a Steel DOnkey bike tour on our first day and had an amazing day out with a young Spanish guide called Maria. Then on the second we went back to the Green Bike store and did some more exploring by ourselves! After two days we saw practically the whole city!
reviewed by Liz from United States on Jan.19.2012
I used Green Bikes and was happy with the service. Grabbed a map and set off pioneer style to discover the city under teh Spanish sun!
reviewed by Jay Dawg from United States on Feb.16.2011
Thank you guys what a crazy time we had driving around Barcelona on our bicycles seeing everything in the whole city. It is very inexpensive to hire the cycles in general and there are many lanes for driving.
reviewed by Francois from France on Jan.12.2011
Two wheels is the only way to go around Barcelona. The roads are so flat for just seeing everything in town plus theres plenty of climbs out back if you want to head up to Tibidabo. Metro is hot as hell and slow and underground...
reviewed by Ian from Australia on Sep.08.2010