Barcelona Bike Tours
Sightseeing from the saddle
By Duncan Rhodes
With a host of specialist companies in town, clement weather and an ever increasing number of bike paths, exploring Barcelona on two wheels is a tonne of fun… here’s everything you need to know to get going.
Why Explore by Bicycle?
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 over 200km 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.
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Bike Tour Companies
Find our recommended list of providers below, many of whom also do bike rentals if you prefer free-wheeling it…
Looking for a two-wheel ride you will never forget? The Steel Donkey team (the donkey is the national animal of Catalonia in case you were wondering!) offer small group adventures around the city of Barcelona, riding in groups of no more than 8 people. 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 might learn a little bit about Catalan independence and see sides of the city that most tourists simply don’t know about as you spend a unique afternoon uncovering Barcelona’s secrets. There is no fixed itinerary as such, but beach bars, side streets, chocolate and churros, flea markets and forgotten cemeteries are just a few delights you may well experience. A simply great tour for people who don’t like to be tourists. Tripadvisor certificate of excellence winners in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, check out their bike tour reviews, or their website below.
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.
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!
Specialists in road biking, a day in the company of Montefusco involves more than tottering around the sights… you’ll cover more than 80km of ground as you take in the entire city, from Parc del Forum to the Olimpic Stadium, via La Sagrada Familia and not forgetting – appropriately enough – the velodrome. If you want to go further afield they also organise trips to the small town of Sitges and the beautiful landscapes of Montserrat.
One of Europe’s most popular operators, if you’re looking for the classic round up of the city’s main attractions for a fair price you can’t go wrong with these dependable tours. Crowd-pleasing sights like the Gothic Cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, Parc de la Ciutadella and the beach make for a great introduction to the city, and their guides are young charismatic and fun. Popular with backpackers and budget travellers they usually ride in groups of 15 people. You can book the experience via Get Your Guide
The cheapest bike rentals in Barcelona also offer their clients an intriguing tour of the city. Their 3.5 hour round trip 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.
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. You can book via Get Your Guide.
One option NOT available for tourists and travellers is the Bicing city bikes that are parked at special stations around town. These nifty little red and white critters are for residents only and only those with a Bicing card can take them from the rank. To get one you need a resident number and to pay an annual subscription. It’s a great option for getting around if you are living here for a longer time, but sadly not an option available for sightseers. So don’t waste your time trying to figure out how they work with a puzzled expression on your face (a common sight!).
Cycling Outside The City
The rolling hills and vineyards of the Penedes region make an idyllic setting for a bit of low key pedalling punctuated by wine tasting! On this day tour you catch a train out of town to Vilafranca del Penedes where your genial guide will meet you and guide you around the local countryside and wineries. Click on the link above for more info.
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.
Hopefully then you’ve found some handy options to get you going, but if you feel there’s some cycle action we’re missing drop us a line with your suggestions.