Biking is a perfect way to explore many destinations around the world. I love how we can use a long day of biking to explore a new place at our own pace, while seeing much more than we ever can on foot alone.
Plus, you get the added benefit of exercise!
In Malaga, Spain, we took part in a cool guided bike tour to check out that port city. But many other cruise ports in Europe and elsewhere offer opportunities for active travelers to pedal around on a day of sightseeing, whether you join a tour group or go it alone.
River cruise boats often have bicycles onboard that passengers can sign out for the day, but ocean cruise lines typically have policies prohibiting bringing your own bike along on your sailing. Windstar Cruises, an ocean line, rents bikes on its sailing yachts for $39 to $59. Check with your cruise line on whether you can bring your bike on the ship or whether your river boat offers bikes. Ocean sailings in the Mediterranean and river cruises on the Rhine and Danube offer the best way to explore a port area by bicycle because you usually can find well-maintained paths -- usually not too crowded, either -- within steps of your cruise ship. The river ships, especially, land ashore at biking and walking paths that follow the curves of the waterway.
Not to worry if you arrive at port with no bike. These destinations feature plenty of businesses that rent bikes or have "city bike" rental stations where you can just swipe a credit card, grab your wheels and go.
Amsterdam, Netherlands -- The city has more bikes than residents. Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities on the planet. You'll delight in wheeling around town checking out canals, historic architecture, restaurants, museums or even zipping into the countryside. I would recommend using a tour guide if it's your first time pedaling around Amsterdam because the maze of roadways and bike paths intersect amid the busy city center with crowds of tourists and traffic, which can all be very intimidating and confusing.
Vienna, Austria -- The city, which sits along the Danube River, contains a network of more than 740 miles of well-designed bike paths, making it easy to venture out on your own to explore the capital city's coffee houses, museums, Vienna State Opera House, cathedrals and more. Need a bike? Find one at any of the 120 Citybike Vienna rental stations (first hour is free, and prices are about $1 to $2 an hour depending on how long you keep the bike).
Bike and Boat Tours -- The best way to ensure you'll get to pedal in every port is to look for a cruise specifically geared to cyclists. Adventure companies like Backroads, for example, create itineraries for active cruisers. The company's upcoming Danube River Cruise Bike Tour on AmaWaterways' AmaViola will take bikers on rides in the Bavarian Forest in Germany, through the Austrian countryside, along the popular Donauradweg Danube bike path and around historic Budapest. Also, look for barge and bike cruises that arrive and ride in port towns in France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Bikes are provided or you can bring your own.
Thanks for reading, and have fun on your adventures.