Wellness By Corey Quinlan Taylor

Europe’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities

There's something wonderfully sensorial about cycling during a vacation. Of course, there's the exercise and wellness component, allowing you to add an hour or two of fitness between those delectable regional meals. But you also get to experience more of a destination without feeling separated by a motorcoach, taxi or chauffeured vehicle. You hear the local rhythm of a community: merchants at the market square, children playing soccer or a cathedral's aged bell. You smell the scent of a garden, brewed coffee or breads of a bakery. You feel the smooth modern pavement or the vibration caused by ancient cobblestone. These sensations are complemented by the picturesque settings of European cities, such as London, Amsterdam and Paris. Here are several locations within each city that you can enjoy during your next holiday abroad.


No matter where you travel, every city or town tells a story through its fascinating landmarks, landscapes and architecture. In London, this is conveyed through routes such as Battersea Park to Greenwich. For about 10 miles, you'll peddle along the Thames River to behold a "who's who" of London architecture, while burning a few calories along the way. See highlights such as the London Eye, the gigantic Ferris wheel; Shakespeare's Globe Theater, an oak-and-thatch replica of the original; and the Tate Modern art gallery, Britain's national gallery of international modern artwork.

For something a bit simpler, there's the Tower of London to Big Ben route, at approximately three miles, by way of the river and the Victoria Embankment. Check out the Tower of London, a castle of royal history and intrigue, ride onto Lower Thames Street and past the Neoclassical Somerset House before continuing along Victoria Embankment. Before you know it, you'll see Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

Golden Jubilee Bridge leading towards the London Eye at sunrise
Big Ben and Westminster Palace along the Victoria Embankment


From a cycling perspective, Amsterdam is a flat city, at slightly below sea level, so uphill exhaustion won't be an issue. Thus, you'll have more of a chance to appreciate the historic architecture, art museums, local parks, 62 miles of canals and more than 7,000 monuments.

For those who've enjoyed biking through Central Park in New York City, you may want to check out Vondelpark. Rent a bike and experience a day of lakes, beautiful lawns and shaded paths. During the summer, folks bring their portable grills, so consider bringing a picnic lunch and blanket, and soak up some sun afterward.

Amstel River is the largest body of water in Amsterdam, with historic buildings and streets lining its banks that are worth cycling. From central Amsterdam, the river flows southward toward Ouderkerk ann de Amstel, a village of rustic charm. The Amstel also flows passed the Jewish Quarter, Heritage Museum and the Magere Brug, a quaint white drawbridge that reminds one of a Lego design. This route, about three miles, turns into Amstelpark, which features flowered gardens and a petting zoo - a beautiful way to end your cycling day.

Vondelpark in Amsterdam


Cycling through Paris is as French as berets and baguettes, especially when considering more than 435 miles of cycle paths and routes have been installed, many of which stretch into the suburbs. So, during your vacation in the City of Lights, spend your day biking through Trocad?ro Gardens to Bois de Boulogne. About six miles, the trail starts at the Trocad?ro Gardens where you'll take beautiful photos before the Eiffel Tower, green space and cascading fountains.

Ride through the legs of the Tower into Champs de Mars to take another photo on the opposite side, double back and curve left along the river toward the ?le aux Cygnes, Paris' secret island in the west. At the southern tip of this slender island, check out the replica of the Statue of Liberty; the 72-foot statue was gifted to Paris on July 4, 1889, by America's French community and faces west toward its twin in New York City. After crossing to the opposite side of the river, enjoy the posh local architecture before heading into the 2,100-acre Bois de Boulogne, a stylish playground with a boating pond, a small zoo and a horse racetrack.

Biking in Paris near Chateau de Fontainebleau
Tower view from Trocadero Gardens

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