Barcelona is a perfect city to visit by bike: almost 200 km of cycle paths, large areas of the center with limited traffic, a large part of the city on the plains and an almost always pleasant climate. The bike is the best way to get around the historic center districts: Barri Gòtic, Raval, Barceloneta and La Ribera, where the streets are narrow and public transport cannot enter the neighborhoods. In addition to the convenience of being able to move freely in the center, the bike is ideal for getting off the beaten tourist track and exploring lesser-known areas of the city, such as the districts of Poblenou or Sarrià.
All neighborhoods are connected by bike lanes, or carrils de bicycles, with separate lanes from the rest of the traffic, so that you can go with the whole family without security risks. And if you want to explore the surroundings of Barcelona, then the bike is the most practical way: from Sant Cugat to Collserola, from villages on the Costa Brava up to the Penyedes Wine Route, the possibilities are endless, with options for all tastes.
In Spain the helmet is mandatory only for minors up to 16 years; if you plan to shoot in the dark then make sure you have working lights.
Map with cycle paths
The official interactive map is available on the Barcelona City Council website, alternatively you can also download a pdf version (8,1 MB).
By bike on public transport
Combining public transport with the bike is perfect for saving time, especially for getting from one end of Barcelona to the other, or if you want to get out of the city. There are some conditions for get on public transport by bicycle. For TMB (the Barcelona transport company) bikes are of two categories, folding and others:
- Le folding bicycles, once disassembled, they are considered as hand luggage, so you can take them on all public transport, including buses.
- Le normal bikes instead they have restricted access on the metro: their transport is prohibited from Monday to Friday, in the morning from 7:00 to 9:30 and in the evening from 17:00 to 20:30, i.e. during peak times, when there is the maximum turnout. There are no restrictions on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, as well as in July and August.
Su trains and trams, bikes can be brought at any time, placing them in the specially dedicated spaces, they are generally found at the ends of the convoys, and are marked on the external doors.
Beware of thieves!
Avoid sad surprises: during the day Barcelona is full of racks where you can safely tie your bicycle, but at night there is no bolt to hold: the bike must be secured indoors, in your accommodation, and if necessary in the hotel. Never tie your bikes to traffic signal poles, for two good reasons: the traffic police could have them removed, and thieves could remove the road sign and take them off comfortably from above.
For the rest, use common sense: never leave your bikes untied, especially when you decide to stop in a bar, and if you can get two bolts from the hirer. Typically renters offer optional theft insurance, it costs € 3 per day and covers 50% of the cost of the bike.
Where to rent a bike in Barcelona
Renting a bike in Barcelona is very easy, the city is full of renters. In the more touristy neighborhoods there are big differences in price and quality, so it's best to know where to go in advance.
The shops that we recommend all have good references, reasonable prices and clear services. In general, it is possible to rent a bike by the hour or by the day, for convenience we have only entered the rental prices of a city bike for 24 hours. To rent a bike it is required to leave a document for the entire duration of the rental, often also a deposit or a credit card number.
Ajo Bike - the cheapest
Fully functional bikes of all kinds, at a really affordable price: € 10 for 24 hours, and then € 9 for each additional day or person. 10% student discount, and if you rent on Mondays you can keep the bike for 48 hours for 10 €. The bicycles offered are perfectly anonymous, that is, they do not have particular liveries that distinguish them as bikes for rent, excellent for maintaining a stealth mode during your rides in the city. The rent includes helmet and bolts. Ajo Bike is located in the Raval, 5 minutes walk from the Rambla, at Carrer d'En Roig, 5. It opens every day except Tuesdays from 10:00 until 19:00. This is the official site and here you can find the reviews on TripAdvisor.
Ride or Die
Renter with shops in two key points: one is located in the Barri Gòtic, the other in front of the Estació de França, also here city bikes for € 10 for 24 hours, with bolts and helmets included. The Born shop is located on Carrer Pescatería, 2, and opens every day from 10:00 until 18:00. The Barri Gòtic shop, on the other hand, is located in Carrer de l'arc de Santa Eulalia, 1, the hours are the same but it is closed on Mondays. For more information or to book a bike you can contact them on their website, and you can also read the TripAdvisor reviews.
Two shops in the Barri Gòtic, bikes in excellent condition and low prices: Green Bikes looks good. Renting a bike for 24 hours costs € 10, and both shops are open from 10am until 00pm. The addresses are Carrer dels Escudellers, 20 (near Plaça Reial) and Carrer Ample, 00 (next to the hemp museum). Both shops are open every day from 48am to 53pm. For reservations and other users' reviews there is the official website and their page on TripAdvisor.
If you don't feel like cycling all the time you can always rent an electric bicycle, or e-bike. They are always supplied already loaded and the autonomy is more than enough to be able to travel around the city in comfort.
E-bike Rent Barcelona
E-bike Rent offers city bikes and electric folding bikes at € 30 for 24 hours, including helmets and bolts. The shop is located in the Barri Gòtic, in Carrer de Cervantes, 5. You can book and get more information directly on their website, and if you want to read the reviews on TripAdvisor.
Not just bikes, but also scooters and cars, all electric! Excellent service, the bikes, brand new, have a range of about 60 km, more than enough in one day. The rent costs 35 € for 24 hours, available directly on their website. The ratings of other users on TripAdvisor are available on this page.
Bike tours are very popular in Barcelona: they allow you to see everything and save time on the move. If you are staying in Barcelona for a day or two, it may be your best bet to see the main attractions; if you stay more time, then you can do some more particular, to discover less known aspects of the city. All the tours offered are approved by the Barcelona Tourist Board and are therefore carried out exclusively by professional guides.
Beach Bike Tour
All the Barcelona waterfront, from Barceloneta to the Forum, then back to the Parc de la Ciutadella, a fun way to explore the maritime side of Barcelona. The tour costs € 22 per person for 3 hours, in addition to bike rental and the guide, seats and helmets for children are included in the price. Even if it is not specified on the page, it is also possible to participate in the tour in Italian. Read all the information on this page.
Montjuïc Bike Tour
Tour dedicated to Montjuïc, starting from Barceloneta to continue along the Port Vell, the Font Màgica and the Joan Miró Foundation, up to the viewpoints on Montjuïc, where you can stop for a refreshment. It is a more demanding route, but the effort is well rewarded by the panorama that can be enjoyed over the whole city. The tour is also available in Italian. The tour costs € 22 for 3 hours, and includes a guide, bike rental and possibly helmets and child seats. More details are available on this page.
E-bike tour to the monastery of Sant Cugat
Located in the Collserola park, on the hills overlooking Barcelona, the monastery of Sant Cugat is a hidden gem just 20 minutes from the center of Barcelona, away from the crowded tourist circuits. The electric bike is a great thing to get around the park and get to the monastery without getting completely sweaty. The price of the tour includes the rental of electric bikes, the entrance ticket to the monastery and an audio guide in Spanish or English. For all information, and to book directly, you can visit this page.
Bike sharing in Barcelona: Bicing
Barcelona has a service of Municipal bike sharing, Bicing. Let's clarify immediately: Bicing it is not accessible to tourists, as you must have a domicile in Barcelona and the NIE (Numero de Identificación de Extranjero): if you plan to stay in Barcelona for an extended period, for example for Erasmus or Leonardo, then you can access it.
How Bicing works
The operation of Bicing is very simple: you pay an annual fee and you can use any Bicing bicycle by taking it from one of the numerous stations / racks scattered around the city. If the usage time is less than 30 minutes, you pay nothing. If you use it for more than 30 minutes, but not for more than 2 hours, then € 0,74 is charged for each part. It is forbidden to use the bike for more than 2 hours. Every time you take or leave a bike you have to pass an electronic card. There is no limit to how many times you can take the bike, as long as you stay under 30 minutes each way you do not pay anything other than the annual pass. The cost for electric bikes is different, in this case there is a fee even in the first 30 minutes.
Is Bicing worthwhile?
The annual subscription costs € 47,16 for normal bikes, increased by 14 € if you want to use electric bikes. From an economic point of view, Bicing is convenient, in the end it is enough to take the bike a few times a year to repay the subscription. That said, even if the idea remains excellent, the service is far from reliable: the worst problem is that sometimes when you return the bike it can happen that the electronic sensor is not recognized, so they start to charge undue sums.
Apart from the - not small - technical problems, a lot depends on the route you intend to take more often: in the morning it can be difficult to find a bicycle to take at the departure stations, and in the same way it is difficult to find a station to leave the bike as all the spaces are occupied. Bikes are also very sensitive: if they know you're late they get excited and break.
For more detailed information on the service, visit the official Bicing page, in Spanish and Catalan.