If you’ve ever visited Barcelona, you’ve experienced the magic that seems to touch every corner of the city. From the authentic tapas served in historic buildings to the modernist architecture that gracefully adorns most streets, Barcelona is arguably one of the most romantic and liveable cities in Europe.
In 2011, Barcelona’s recently elected mayor, Xavier Trias, modeled the city’s bike program after Copenhagen. But to accommodate the 6th most populous metropolitan European city, the bike lanes were designed to reflect their own traffic system. Each path comes equipped with specific bike lights and lanes that aid in the flow of safe transportation.
And there is no better way to dive into local culture and feel confident zipping around the bustling Catalan streets than jumping on BCN Travel’s “Steel Donkey” Tour. Experience Barcelona at its finest as the guides take riders through all the main districts and invite travelers to look at the city through local eyes.
Cycling in Barcelona (and any city for the matter), exposes you to areas that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Being exposed to the city by bike immediately activates your senses. People’s faces come into focus, the smell of tapas lingers throughout the streets, and you feel apart of local life, not to mention, you are able to cover much more ground in a relatively short amount of time.
Riding Steel Donkeys Through Barcelona
MiLLENNiAL was invited to participate in BCN Travel’s Saturday morning “Steel Donkey” tour, which was nothing short of amazing. We began our journey in the Gothic Quarter, where we were instructed to pick up our trusty steeds and meet up with our fellow compadres. According to our guide, every tour is different and showcases the city in unique ways.
Hopping on our “steel donkeys”, we rode through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Gothic Quarter over to El Born, the bohemian corner of Barcelona, known for its eclectic artisan cafes and famous Picasso Museum. At the edge of the district sits the majestic grounds of Parc de Ciutadella, a 70-acre park filled with sprawling grass hills, nature paths, recreational activities, and the famous fountain designed by Josep Fontserè.
From there, we made our way through the heart of the city to Mercat del Encants, Barcelona’s largest Flea Market. After a quick pitstop, we continued our journey into the newly redeveloped Sant Marti, where we found ourself riding down a flat tree-lined metropolis to Parc de Centre del Poblenou. As the sun broke through the clouds, we entered the less touristy Rambles de Poblenou and stopped to drink a special Catalan horchata from El Tio Che, an establishment that recently celebrated their 100th birthday.
Rounding out our tour, we rode the Rambles down to the beach, and along the coastline to Barconeleta, the epicenter of Catalan seafood and beach culture. It was recommended we stop for lunch at the Mercat de la Barceloneta before heading back over to the Gothic Quarter to return our bikes.
BCN Travel’s Steel Donkey Tour was by far the best way to quickly get a taste of Barcelona. By popping into different neighborhoods on bike, we were able to make mental notes of the places we wanted to revisit. It was a beautiful experience and made biking in the city our preferred mode of transportation.
In addition to their biking tours, BCN Travel has an array of offerings that allow tourists to dive into local life. We especially recommend the Craft Brew Tour, which gives travelers an intimate look at the beer culture brewing in Barcelona. Another must-see is their Wine and Cava Tour, which explores the rural Catalan vineyards just outside of the city.
To learn more about BCN Travel or book your tour, visit BCN.Travel.