Positioned between the green hills of the Collserola Natural Park and the blue waves of the Mediterranean, Barcelona provides the ideal backdrop for exploring both city life and the great outdoors. The city itself is home to over 200 kilometers of cycling paths and the surrounding countryside also has an abundance of scenic opportunities to enjoy the slower side of life in the Catalan capital.
Barcelona City Cycling
Even though Catalan drivers can be polite to cyclists (most of the time), riding in big city traffic can be intimidating at first. Navigating roundabouts with motos, buses, cars, trucks, stand up scooters, and pedestrians can test even the most seasoned cyclist. Fortunately, many major thoroughfares, such as Avinguda Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia, along with many smaller streets, have designated bike lanes in Barcelona, including those that are physically separated from the car lanes with barriers. Check out more information on cycling in the city on the local town hall’s website and a full map of bike lanes here.
One of the most scenic and popular routes runs along the entire seafront – all the way from the San Sebastian Beach (Platja San Sebastian) at the south end, along the length of the city until Barcelona terminates at the River Besos – there’s even a cycle path that goes up the river for further exploration. Cycle from the city center and take in the sun for a couple hours, completely car-free. Runners and weekend-goers crowd this path on the weekends, so it’s best suited for a leisurely roll along the seaside.
For a more sporty (and challenging) ride, head to the tree-lined slopes of Montjuïc. Biking up gives you the chance to explore the parks and gardens on the hillside, as well as the former Olympic installations. Pack a cool drink to enjoy along with the views at the top.
More serious cyclists can climb one of the three roads into the Collserola National Park – the range of hills directly behind the city. You can even cycle all the way up to Tibidabo – the church at the top – where an amazing view of the city rewards those who make it up the hill. If you prefer to avoid road traffic, Collserola also offers 200+ kilometres of gravel roads in the Collserola park. Plan out your route ahead of time though and take snacks and drinks because, at 84.65 square kilometers, Collserola is 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park.
Bike Routes Further Afield
If you want to get out of the city and explore Catalan roads, one of your first destinations should be Girona – currently one of the global hotbeds of road and gravel cycling. Bike racing professionals from outside of Europe often take up residence here due to the abundance of amazing routes, whether up into the Pyrenees foothills or to the Costa Brava, and the year-round weather. There are more cycle shops, cafes, and touring companies than we can list here!
For the more casual cyclist, Girona offers the Vies Verdes (“green ways”) routes around the Emporda countryside, as well as along the Costa Brava. Bike your way along old, unused railway lines. Stops can be made at the 98 former railway stations that now house restaurants, hotels, and bars. Most pathways are flat and even, making for an easy and family-friendly bike ride.
The famous Penedès wine region can be reached by bike from Barcelona. If the approximately 116km ride is too much, catch a train from Barcelona to the wine region and rent a bike there to go from vineyard to vineyard. The local tourism board for Vilafranca del Penedès has cycling routes that range from one hour to four days and can accommodate riders of all levels.
And finally, one of the most popular destinations for local Catalans to go to ride, eat, and relax, is the Delta de L’Ebre in the south of Catalunya, where the Ebre River slowly merges into the Mediterranean. This is a huge environmental sanctuary filled with rice fields, marshes, wildlife, and flat roads for easy rides.
The local tourism board has a network of cycle routes, as well as standard or electric bicycles for rent.
Barcelona Cycling Shops
Velodrom Barcelona provides great options for the serious cyclist. Perched at the edge of Gracia near Metro Lesseps, Velodrom houses a boutique for all your cycling needs, a repair shop, a training center, and plenty of organized cycling trips. Their team of experts can help you out with anything bike-related. Casual and weekend cyclists can check out Probike, one of the largest stores in Spain.
Cycling is already sustainable, so why shouldn’t the equipment be also? Re-Cycling sells second-hand bicycles and accessories in good condition. And if you are a true bike nut, take time to visit Monsieur Velo, a vintage bike shop that also brews its own beer!
Barcelona Cycling Cafes
The Barcelona cycling community is strong and connecting with others in it over a beer or coffee is easy at one of the multiple cycling-themed cafés in the city.
On y Va has two locations, one of which is a cycling shop plus a coffee bar, while the other is just a coffee shop. You can get stylish, high-quality cycling gear here, as well as rental bikes and guided tours. The coffee and brunch are both equally high quality, with plenty of healthy and filling options, like bagels loaded with fresh veggies and hummus, Greek yogurt bowls topped with fresh fruit, and crunchy salads with perfectly poached eggs.
In a similar vein, the Eroica Caffé has cycling events and food paired at its Eixample location that’s a true homage to all things cycling. The events range from organized bike rides to meet-ups to watch big cycling races. The food is a nod to its Italian roots with generous salads, pasta dishes for a filling post-ride meal, and satisfying pizzas made from local products.
Up in Gràcia, Bicioci Bike Cafe also specializes in Italian food and cycling. The owners are more than happy to let you sit with your bike right by your table. The walls are adorned with vintage bike frames and cycling kit. Absorb the vintage bicycle vibe while you enjoy freshly-squeezed juice and coffee with brunch, or go for an authentic Italian pizza for a hearty lunch.