Fall is a wonderful time of year to explore cities in Europe. With cooler temperatures, stunning foliage, and fewer crowds, it can be the best time to visit popular places. But as we all know, most places are much better when explored on two wheels, so we’ve picked five of the best cities to visit for a cycling holiday during autumn.
From the Spanish coast to the foothills of the Alps, these cities offer so much to cyclists and there are even more adventures away from all the hustle and bustle in nearby areas. Here are our top picks.
As the largest city in Bavaria and one of the most culturally rich cities in Germany, Munich is a buzzing metropolis filled with historic buildings, impressive museums, and of course, famous beer halls. Its picturesque parks, riverside paths, and our various bikes that you can pick up directly at our ListNRide CycleHub in the city make it an ideal destination for a cycling holiday.
Think of fall in Munich and you’re probably picturing Oktoberfest. This celebration of Bavarian culture brings live music, fun fair rides, and of course beer to the city, but before you book your trip, remember that Oktoberfest takes place in September, not October!
There’s lots to see and do in Munich besides the festival too. Head to the Roman-Irish baths and relax in the sauna, try local foods at the folk festival Kirchweihdult, and what better way to see the leaves change colour than from the 291m tall Olympic Tower.
Munich’s incredible infrastructure makes the city a great place for cyclists to visit, in fact, cyclists make up 18% of all traffic here and take advantage of the 1,200km of cycle lanes. Munich strikes a perfect balance of cycling and sightseeing with a wide network of cycle paths, picturesque nature trails, and plenty of attractions along the way. Wheel your way alongside the banks of the Isar River along the cycle path or cruise through mature woodland in the Englischer Garten.
After a morning of cruising around the city on your bike, pull into one of the cyclist-friendly cafés to refuel and find out more about the cycling scene in Munich. Monaco Velo Club was the city’s first cycling café and they even have their own range of apparel if you need to pick up an extra layer. No matter where your ride takes you in Munich, you’ll never run out of things to do.
One of the best things about planning a trip to Munich is that you can cycle in the city in the morning and go mountain biking in The Alps in the afternoon, making it one of the best autumn MTB destinations.
We’ve made it super simple to find your dream mountain bike on ListNRide, hop on the train to Oberammergau and hit the trails. Bikepark Oberammergau opens in the evenings and on weekends in autumn and has 6 trails that mix jumps, flow sections, and technical descents with options available for all levels. You can also head to Garmisch-Patenkirschen, the old Olympic station and start you mountain bike tour from there.
Vienna is a city of grand architecture, classical music, and a rich history unlike anywhere else. In recent years it’s become known as one of the most liveable cities in the world, which is in part due to its pro-cycling approach. A large network of bike paths, bike racks, and public repair stations has seen a huge surge in locals choosing their bikes instead of their cars.
In the fall, Vienna comes alive with an amazing choice of festivals that celebrate food, drink, and the arts throughout the season. Explore the city without summer heat and taste the best wiener schnitzel you’ve ever had and treat yourself to a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards. This is also the best time of year to visit to get the best photos at Belvedere Palace and visit the Naschmarkt without the crowds of tourists.
Vienna is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe, with plenty of dedicated cycling lanes and scenic trails that make it an ideal destination for cyclists. From downtown to the outskirts of the city, there’s always something new to explore on two wheels. With its grand architecture, museums, palaces and parks, cycling around Vienna offers a unique insight into Austrian culture and history.
The Danube River serves as a main artery for cyclists in Vienna, with its scenic riverside setting and breathtaking views. You can follow it from the city centre to the edge of the city and beyond. Plus, there are countless bike-friendly paths throughout the city’s parks and green spaces that showcase the very best of this grand capital.
Even though Vienna is a thriving metropolis, you don’t have to go too far to find a real outdoor adventure – in fact, the adventure flows right through the city. The Danube River Path runs from Vienna to Passau in Germany 300km away.
Cycling the path is a challenge for all cyclists, but by renting an e-bike in Vienna you can finish the route without all of the effort. Imagine yourself gliding along the banks of the mighty river, eating in picturesque villages and staying in historic buildings in the countryside.
For the more adventurous, you can also take a long A to B bike trip from Vienna to Budapest by hiring a bike from ListNRide and leaving it on arrival.
Is there any city in the world that’s more committed to cycling than Amsterdam? Bikes rule supreme here as the vast majority of residents choose to cycle rather than drive, making it possibly the most cycling-friendly city in the world. There are almost as many bikes as people here! Rent a bike during your stay and truly live like a local as you cycle alongside the canals, stop for Stroopwafel, and visit the city’s famous art galleries.
The iconic tree-lined canals turn from pretty in summer to absolutely beautiful in autumn as the leaves begin to change colour and fall. You’ll cycle through a quintessential Amsterdam postcard scene as you wheel past stunning canal houses with locals as boats navigate the waterways beside you.
Amsterdam is a major stop on Europe’s backpacking trail, but by autumn these visitors are long gone, which means much shorter lines at The Rijk’s Museum, Anne Frank House, and Van Gogh Museum.
With an incredibly vast network of cycle paths, the sheer volume of what’s accessible by bike in Amsterdam is astounding. Tick all the boxes on your Dutch to-do list with a ride along the Amstel River past windmills and through the landscapes that inspired Rembrandt. It’s a 43km long route that should take under 3 hours to complete the loop route.
Or if you prefer to see the autumn leaves up close, then hop on your bike and pedal to Amsterdam Bos, just 25 minutes from the city centre. This sprawling forest is an urban oasis with lots of gravel tracks and winding treeline paths that you can spend a day exploring.
Amsterdam truly is a cyclist’s paradise and sometimes the best thing to do is simply wile away the day exploring the canals and backstreets. The Netherlands is incredibly flat, so you can cycle for hours on end and rarely have to climb up a hill.
For a real Dutch experience, we’d recommend renting a cargo bike, loading it up with a picnic and blankets, and heading for the coast. Zandvoort Beach is just 90 minutes away, with a handy pit stop around the halfway mark in Haarlem, all of which are easily reached by cycle lanes.
Enjoy seafood along the north coast and listen to the waves crash into the shore – it’s the perfect way to escape the city and unwind. If you don’t fancy cycling back, just hop on the train in Haarlem and you’ll be back in Amsterdam in no time.
Home to incredible works of architecture by Gaudí, packed full of amazing tapas restaurants, and lined with some of the best beaches in Europe, Barcelona is an incredibly popular city. But if you ask us, it’s best visited during fall and by bike.
Driving on the busy roads here is not for the faint of heart, but cycling in Barcelona is another story altogether as there’s a brilliant network of dedicated bike lanes that link up the best parts of the city.
Given its location on the Costa Brava, it’s no surprise that the summers here can get quite warm with temperatures here reaching the mid to high 30s quite often. That’s why we recommend going here in autumn when the temperatures average in the much more manageable mid-20s. As the temperature reduces, so do the crowds, making it a great time to visit the city’s most popular beaches and attractions.
Barcelona is a city best experienced by its outdoors. The famous parks, stunning waterfront, and many plazas are all easily reached by bike. Plan a route through the Eixample neighbourhood to see the world-renowned La Sagrada Familia with plenty of restaurants and cafés to stop at nearby.
Or rent a road bike and climb the hills to the top of the Olympic Mountain of Montjuïc for amazing views over the city. From the top, you’ll see the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees Mountains to the north, and the famous grid pattern of the city’s streets below.
Barcelona has a great selection of independent bike shops that stock all types of brands, but if you love bikes and want to see some of the best ones in the world, then you should plan a visit to Orbea Campus – this showroom dedicated to the Spanish brand has some of the mouth-wateringly beautiful and eye-wateringly expensive bikes you’ll ever see.
Barcelona’s location between the sea and mountains makes it easily one of the best gravel bike autumn destinations in Europe. The Catalan city of Girona is just over an hour away and is famous for its endless gravel trails and bikepacking routes.
Rent a gravel bike in Barcelona or Girona and see why this discipline of cycling is in everyone’s minds right now. The sheer variety of routes, from short gravel spins to epic rides into the middle of nowhere, is what makes this part of Spain one of the most exciting places to go gravel biking.
As one of the smaller cities in The Netherlands, Eindhoven is often overlooked as a cycling destination, but that’s what makes it so special. The pace of life is a little slower here when compared to Amsterdam but it has a fantastic reputation as a leading hub of design and nightlife. Combine that with the world-famous Dutch cycling infrastructure, it’s a smart choice for a cycling getaway.
The landscapes surrounding Eindhoven inspired some of the famous Dutch masters including Van Gogh to create their famous works. In fall the landscapes seem to change colour every day as the autumnal tones replace the vibrant summer colours.
Eindhoven has a history of creativity and there’s no better way to experience it nowadays than by attending a festival. The Dutch Design Week takes place in October and is a multi-disciplinary celebration of all things design.
The benefit of visiting a smaller city with great cycling routes is that you can see it all in just a few days. Rondje Eindhoven is a network of four trails ranging from 20km to 75km long that can be ridden in sections or in one epic day to see every nook and cranny of this fascinating city.
Unique design is seen everywhere in Eindhoven, even on bike paths. The Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Path is a one-of-a-kind bike path that’s a must-see, even though it’s only 600m long. Inspired by the great artist, the path here lights up at night like the artist’s famous piece ‘Starry Night’. If you fancy a longer Van Gogh cycle, the 50km Van Gogh loop brings you out of the city to places that the artist painted.
The flat landscapes in The Netherlands make long cycles much more accessible, so we’d recommend renting a road bike in Eindhoven and cycling the routes in the National Park De Maasduinen.
The park is quintessentially Dutch, with large open green spaces, gorgeous waterways and plenty of cycle routes. A 60km looped route will take you from north to south along car-free paths to remote and tranquil parts of the park. Or if you fancy a shorter spin, there are plenty of other routes here too.
Safety first. Here’s how to stay safe while riding your bike in autumn in the city. If you’re travelling to a different country, make sure you know the local laws including what side of the road to ride on and who has the right of way at intersections.
Be mindful that it gets darker earlier as the seasons change, so bring your lights and pack some high-vis clothing on your visit to the best autumn cycling destinations. Bring weather-appropriate clothing temperatures may drop and of course, always wear your helmet.
Last but no least, watch out for fallen leaves on the road – they can be very slippery. Slow down and go wide on bends.
Fall is the perfect time to make the most of cycling in Europe and there are plenty of destinations for every type of cyclist. with each providing a unique cycling experience. So whether you’re after leisurely coastal rides, rugged gravel trails or challenging road routes – Europe has it all this fall.
Plan your trip, book your rental bike and get ready for an unforgettable cycling trip!
Want to make some money by renting out your bike? Here’s all you need to know to rent your bike on ListNRide.