Winter works its enchanting magic on Europe’s cities, transforming them into whimsical wonderlands ready to be explored. With a soft blanket of glistening snow, charming streetside cafes, and a tranquil hush that blankets the landscape, this season brings a unique charm to places across the continent. And what better way to fully enjoy yourself in this wintry wonderland than by setting off on a cycling adventure?

From the medieval streets in Central Europe to sun traps by the coast, these cities beckon cyclists. So, join us as we unveil the five best cities to visit on a bike in winter in Europe.

bike cities winter

Hamburg, Germany – The new world meets the old

hamburg winter cycling

Located in the heart of northern Germany, Hamburg is a city that perfectly blends tradition and modernity. From iconic architecture to world-class museums and a thriving nightlife scene, Hamburg has it all. But amidst the urban hustle and bustle, you’ll discover Hamburg’s lush parks, picturesque waterside paths, and quality bike rentals from ListNRide.

World famous Christmas markets and atmosphere

Experience the enchantment of Hamburg’s Christmas markets as snowflakes fall around you. Take a leisurely cycle to the markets and wander through the charming stalls, smelling the tantalizing scents of roasted chestnuts and spiced mulled wine. Pick up some handcrafted gifts and festive decorations, but don’t forget to indulge in irresistible seasonal treats.

When you’re not exploring Hamburg by bike, picture yourself gracefully gliding on ice under the twinkling lights or sipping hot cocoa along the historic canals. There’s something truly magical about this city when the temperature drops.

Enjoy the relaxing Alster Lake Loop

The Alster Lake Loop is an absolutely delightful 8km cycling route in Hamburg that you won’t want to miss. It starts at the iconic Jungfernstieg promenade, right in the heart of the city. This route is perfect for any type of bike – whether you prefer a city bike, a road bike, or even an e-bike. Plus, the terrain is mostly flat, so it’s a leisurely ride that cyclists of all levels can enjoy.

Get ready for the beauty of Hamburg as you pedal through the lush Alsterpark. Along the way, you’ll come across the charming St. Alphonsus Church and the Alsterperle beer garden, where you can take a break for some refreshments.

Cycle part of the Elbe River Path

The Elbe River Path in Hamburg offers an incredible cycling experience, with so many options to start and customize your route! One of the most popular starting points is the Landungsbrücken, a famous waterfront area along the Elbe River. From there, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the river, historic ships, and the lively harbour.

The total route is a whopping 1,300km, but the section through Hamburg is much shorter at 25km and best suited to road bikes, gravel bikes, or e-bikes. The terrain is varied and you extend your ride as far as you like. There are so many landmarks and attractions along the way. You can’t miss the UNESCO-listed Speicherstadt, Hamburg’s historic warehouse district, or the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

city by bike in winter

Milano, Italy – The stylish winter cycling city

milano by bike

Milan, a city that seamlessly blends the old and new, has so much to offer. With its centuries-old churches and striking modern buildings, it’s a true architectural masterpiece. And let’s not forget about the vibrant art galleries, trendy fashion boutiques, and mouthwatering restaurants that are just waiting for you to explore.

Iconic sights and incredible culture

milan by bike

Winter in Milan is surprisingly mild, making it a fantastic time to embark on a cycling tour and fully experience the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. Cycle the storied streets, from the renowned Teatro alla Scala to the magnificent Santa Maria delle Grazie.

But Milan has more to offer than just its iconic landmarks. Amidst the bustling cityscape, you’ll discover lush green parks, enchanting canalside promenades, and quality bike rental options, all beckoning you to explore the city’s charms.

Milan truly has all you could want in a destination for winter cycling. So hop on a bike and plan an unforgettable trip through Milan’s streets.

Try the Navigli Canalside Ride

The captivating Navigli Canalside Ride blends the best of Milan, both old and new. Cycle along the meandering Navigli canals, a fascinating network winding through the city, the well-paved surface is perfect for road or hybrid bikes and accessible to all cyclists.

The length of your cycle may vary, but a popular loop spans 10 to 15km, depending on your start point. We recommend starting from the iconic Porta Ticinese and pedalling alongside Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. Admire vibrant buildings, charming cafes, and unique boutiques along the canal banks. In winter, the calm waters create a truly magical atmosphere.

milan by bike in winter

Serene rides in Parco Agricolo Sud

Enjoy an amazing cycling adventure through the picturesque landscapes of Parco Agricolo Sud on paved and gravel roads, perfect for mountain or gravel bikes. Parco Agricolo Sud is vast, allowing you to plot your own route of 20, 40, or more km through the park. The terrain is relatively flat with gentle rolling hills allowing you to experience the beauty of frost-covered fields and sprawling farmlands.

As you pedal, explore historic villages like San Giuliano Milanese and Locate Triulzi. These centuries-old villages serve up delicious Lombard cuisine. Wildlife enthusiasts will spot birds, rabbits, and maybe even deer in the park.

Paris, France – Cycling adventures in the French capital

Discover the enchanting allure of the French capital, with its rich art, culture, and timeless elegance. The city shines even brighter as winter arrives as Paris rewards those who visit here with magical experiences.

paris by bike

Romance meets cycling on the city’s streets

Paris is undeniably a star of the European winter cycling scene. There’s something so romantic about riding a bike through the snow-dusted streets of this magnificent city, admiring its iconic monuments and storied architecture as you go. It’s also quickly becoming one of the best gravel bike winter destinations as well.

Whether you’re taking in the wonderful sights from your premium city bike or whizzing around town on an e-bike rental, Paris in winter is a city like no other. And with its extensive cycle lanes and bike paths, it’s a perfect place to explore on two wheels, whatever the season. So embrace winter in the City of Love and make Paris your next winter cycling destination.

Relaxing routes on the Seine Riverbanks

Set off on a relaxing winter cycling adventure along the picturesque Seine Riverbanks in the heart of Paris. You’ll fall in love with neighbourhoods that line this enchanting route. With well-paved roads and dedicated cycling paths, it’s spectacular.

The beauty of this area is that you can choose your own distance, but a typical loop is around 25km. This gives you plenty of time to soak in the stunning scenery and experience the city’s true magic. No need to worry about challenging terrain or steep hills – the route is gentle and accessible to everyone. You’ll have around two to three hours of riding time, so set your own pace and indulge in the sights along the way.

Gravel rides in the Forest of Fontainebleau

Get ready to pedal through the enchanting Forest of Fontainebleau to the south of Paris, where gravel paths and forest trails lead deep into nature. This off-road trail will surround you with the beauty of sandstone formations, lush woodlands, and serene ponds. And for those seeking a bit of a challenge, the Gorges d’Apremont area offers moderate hills to spice up your ride. Whether you prefer a shorter cycle of 10km or a longer one of 50km or more, the vast forest lets you choose your own adventure.

Start your ride in the charming town of Fontainebleau, where you can see the magnificent Fontainebleau Palace and its sprawling gardens. Then, cycle into the forest, leaving behind the noise of the city, and reconnect with nature.

paris by bike winter

Lisbon, Portugal – Go south this winter

Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal is one of the best winter cycling destinations in Europe. With its mild weather and stunning scenery, it’s an ideal place to explore by bike during the colder months. There are plenty of easily accessible routes for cyclists of all levels; from peaceful seaside trails to thrilling mountain descents. And when it’s time for a break, Lisbon is famous for its delicious pastries and excellent seafood dishes.

lisbon bike winter

Head to the Portuguese coast for the winter sun

With its winter sun and stunning scenery, Lisbon should be high on your list of winter cycling destinations. Not only will you get to see the city’s stunning historic architecture, but you can also experience the traditional and friendly Portuguese hospitality.

For those looking for lots of excitement, the nearby Sintra Mountains are perfect for long-distance cyclists. The well-maintained paths serve up awe-inspiring views of the surrounding countryside and a chance to test your fitness. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely day trip or an epic journey, there’s something for everyone in Lisbon.

Mountain biking near the city

The Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais mountain biking trails are the perfect blend of rugged beauty and challenging terrain, making the park one of the best winter MTB destinations. Get ready to tackle dirt paths, rocky trails, and forest routes that will keep your adrenaline pumping across 38 blue and 19 red trails.

Throughout your ride on the 73km of trails here, you’ll be surrounded by dense forests, serene lakes, and unique geological wonders. The mountain biking trails not only create an exhilarating ride but also an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s fascinating landscapes and cultural treasures.

Winter rides along the Tagus River

Enjoy a quintessential part of Lisbon as you pedal along the picturesque banks of the majestic Tagus River on the city’s Belém Waterfront. This route has it all – well-paved roads, dedicated cycling paths, and a round trip covering approximately 10-15km.

The terrain is gentle with minimal elevation gain, allowing you to fully appreciate the surroundings. Kick off your day at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Belém Tower, nearby, you’ll see the Jerónimos Monastery and take a break and indulge in the world-famous Pasteis de Belém bakery.

bike winter lisbon

Venice, Italy – Zip along the famous canals

Venice historic centre is completely pedestrian, it is not allowed to ride bikes nor any other cycles. But when the cold embraces Venice, the city surroundings undergoes a mesmerising change creating one a fantastic place to visit on a bike in winter. 

See a historic city with a sprinkling of snow

Ah, Venetie! What a beautiful region to explore by bike during winter. 

There’s plenty of cycling infrastructure here that makes it easy for even novice riders to get around safely, as well as dedicated bike paths that take you away from traffic and into some of the quieter corners of this romantic destination.

venice by bike in winter

Ride from Venice to Jesolo Beach

Picture yourself pedalling through the timeless canals and historic wonders of this alluring city. As you ride, you’ll cover approximately 65km, heading north towards the beautiful Jesolo Beach. The terrain is mostly flat, so this adventure is perfect for cyclists of all levels.

With a comfortable road bike, hybrid bike, or e-bike you can explore the scenic route at a leisurely pace. Along the way, you’ll be guided by well-paved roads, giving you the chance to admire Venice’s landmarks like St. Mark’s Basilica and the Rialto Bridge.

Explore Lido di Venezia

Start your journey in the city centre, by hopping on a waterbus and cruising across the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Lido di Venezia. Once on Lido, set off on the picturesque 21km loop that showcases the island’s art deco elegance and spectacular landscapes. With smooth roads and dedicated bike paths, this route is perfect for a comfortable ride on a road or city bike.

As you pedal through Lido’s charming streets, take your time to explore and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. It takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to enjoy the island’s inviting sandy beaches, admire the Art Deco architectural gems, and try the delicious Italian cuisine at the local restaurants.

lido by bike

Your turn for sightseeing by bike in the winter light!

Winter is an incredible time to explore Europe by bike. With so many great cities for every type of cyclist, the possibilities are endless. From leisurely coastal rides to rugged gravel trails and challenging road routes, Europe has it all this winter.

And if want to make sure that you’ll have top-quality bike rentals during your trip, make sure you sign up for ListNRide.

Happy cycling!

best city by bike