Sightseeing From The Saddle
A bike tour is a great way to see Barcelona, and has numerous advantages over traditional walking tours. The most obvious is that being on a bicycle enables you to see much more of the city, but those of you who like a little exercise will also appreciate the chance to burn off a couple more calories and keep the oxygen flowing to the brain as your invariably knowledgeable guide regales you with fascinating histories and amusing anecdotes. The chance to rattle around Barcelona on two wheels will also make you feel a little more independent (and dare we say it 'cool') than those who've hopped on the nearest tourist bus - and you can even maintain the moral high ground on environmental friendliness. There's no carbon emissions generated from pedal power!
The fact that Barcelona is (with the exception of the odd mountain) an incredibly flat city with 120km of bike paths (and more planned) should provide additional incentive to get in the saddle and discover the town's best attractions. Most of Barcelona's numerous bike tour companies offer both private tours and group excursions with a guide; and as well as catch-all routes that take in the likes of La Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta Beach and La Rambla in one circuit, you'll also find some exciting alternative tours on offer, concentrating on different themes (like eating tapas or football) or taking you to less-heralded, but equally fascinating, districts.
Above: A local guide stops to explain a finer point about the city...
Barcelona Bike Tours
Find our recommended list of providers below, many of whom also do bike rentals if you prefer free-wheeling it...
Steel Donkey Bike Tours
Looking for a two-wheel ride you will never forget? Steel Donkey tours (the donkey is the national animal of Catalonia in case you were wondering!) offer private/small group adventures around the city of Barcelona. Their friendly guides are all Barna locals, with an eye for the fascinating details and stories that others might miss, and a nose for adventure! You won't get a history lesson on Gaudi, but you will see sides of the city that most tourists simply don't know about and spend a unique afternoon uncovering Barcelona's secrets. There is no fixed itinerary as such, but beach bars, chocolate and churros, patatas bravas, flea markets and squat houses are just a few delights you may well experience. A simply great tour for people who don't like to be tourists!
Technically they're tricycles not bicycles, but Funky Cycle's brightly coloured rickshaws have many of the same advantages of sightseeing by bike. For a start you are neither restricted by roads or pavements, as you can happily traverse either, secondly they are just as environmentally friendly and thirdly they prove to be an inexpensive way of getting around. Best of all though, you won't be expected to do any pedaling. Your driver/guide will do all the hard work while they take you anywhere you want to go in the city, from Barceloneta beach to the kaleidoscopic Torre Agbar tower.
A great compromise if you want to combine sightseeing with a bit of exercise - but not test the lungs or thighs too much. These fun and easy to ride electric bikes offer battery-powered assistance to your cycling, ensuring you can climb hills and cover distances with ease. Thanks to how easy it becomes to get around you can also enjoy an tour that goes way beyond the average excursion and travellers can choose between a ride up to Montjuic mountain with fantastic views of the city, or taking in all of Gaudi's greats in one afternoon! Check out their website for more info.
Barcelona City Tours
These expert tour bookers work with four different providers in the city, offering not only typical bike tours of all the major sights, but also night rides, tapas tours and private cycling excursions along exciting routes in the Catalan countryside. What could be better than peddling past Romanic churches and paddy fields on a beautiful summer's day? A great website to see a wide spread of two-wheeled excursions!
Green Bikes Barcelona
The cheapest bike rentals in Barcelona also offer their clients an intriguing tour of the city. Their 3.5 hour tour takes in all the greats, including the Gothic Quarter and El Borne districts and sights such as the Palau de la Musica and Gaudi's Casa Battlo. Their tours are offered in more languages than spoken in the Tower of Babel so drop them a line if English is not your group's Lingua Franca.
Baja Bikes Guided Tours
These Dutch languages specialists offer seven different rides to choose from, so if you're here from the Netherlands and want to explore the city from the saddle then look no further. Uncovering the secrets of Las Ramblas, the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and many of Gaudi's greats, their Barcelona highlights tour is a natural choice for those visiting the city for the first time; or you could combine sightseeing with some more epicurean pleasures during their two-wheel tapas trip. Football aficionados should look no further than the Camp Nou tour, a four hour ride which takes you to the legendary 99,000-seater stadium, and Barca FC museum, as well as regaling you with stories about famous players and coaches past and present.
Well that's plenty of options to keep you going, but if you feel there's some cycle action we're missing drop us a line with your suggestions. Meanwhile if you're looking for some more hardcore thigh-burn then check out our guide to cycling and mountain biking in Catalonia. There's some amazing countryside to be discovered, whether you're interested in a day trip or a lycra-sponsored excursion.
Recently did a ride with Steel Donkeys by a cool Catalan guy who showed us all the back streets of Born, with cool sites including a secret dining club, an old bordello, an old post house, the square where knights used to joust, and a secret urban beach/garden. We finished hte tour in a champagne bar (ok it was not real French champagne... but Catalan version!). 10 out of 10 for sure and the best thign we did in BCN.
reviewed by Cedric K from France on Apr.19.2013
great list, thanks for sharing.
reviewed by Courtney from United States on Mar.01.2013
Steel Donkeys were perfect for our small group. More personable and relaxed and focused on contemporary life in the city
reviewed by Jeffrey from United States on Apr.24.2012
I went on one of the major tour companies and it was ok but it was very hard to take the bikes around the small lanes with so many tourists in the way. Also sometimes we could not get close enough to the tour guide to hear everything what he said - in particular because he had a very strong accent. When we went out to the beach it was much better and more funny
reviewed by Alina from Romania on Jan.12.2011
Definitely the best way to discover BCN. It was a bit too crowded in the Gothic area but once we got out to the beaches it was awesome. The guide was totally cool and knew everything about the city
reviewed by Jason from United States on Nov.12.2010
Steel Donkey bike tours rocked! Completely different. No tourists, completely cool side of Barcelona we didn't know existed...
reviewed by Carlos from Colombia on Jul.02.2010
I'd def like to know what is the cheapest company and what is the best
reviewed by Geraldine from United States on Feb.05.2010
what is the average price of bike tour in Barcelona? What can you expect to see?
reviewed by Fernando from United States on Feb.05.2010
I did a bike tour of Barcelona years ago, but was awesome fun. Learned a lot but much more funky than a walking tour. Plus you see a load more of the city. The bikes we had were really cool beach cruiser ones, California style. Rockin'!
reviewed by Greg from United States on Jan.13.2010