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(CNN) — Bicycles can be a great way for travelers to enjoy a city. Not only do you have easy access to many tourist spots, but they're good for your personal health, financial health and the planet's health.
However, not all cities are bicycle friendly. The last thing you want is a stressful vacation pedaling around an urban tangle where roads and vehicles totally rule.
The good news is some cities have given bicycles and the practice of sustainability their due.
The following 10 cities worldwide are among the best for tourists (and locals) who like to bike.
Antwerpen-Centraal railway station is an architectural masterpiece, opened in 1905. The station has an underground bicycle parking garage, plus various street-level spots.
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There's nothing like a local to help provide the lay of the land. Jurga Rubinovaite, founder of the Full Suitcase family travel blog, is based in Antwerp. And she's also a major biking enthusiast.
"Biking is a great way to explore a new destination or rediscover a place and get to know it deeper," she told CNN Travel by email. "So I try to do it whenever I get the chance."
"It offers a great mix of historic landmarks, modern architecture, world-class museums, and some of the best shopping and dining in Europe," she said. "In addition, it's a relatively flat and bike-friendly city, which is surrounded by lots of greenery, just a stone's throw from the historic old town."
While Antwerp is a year-round destination, she suggests coming from April to October for the best biking weather.
The Rose Garden in Bern is a popular spot for bicyclists. While synonymous with roses, it also features irises, rhododendrons and other types of flowers.
It's a capital idea to see this nation's lovely capital by bike. There are routes to fit any fitness level or sightseeing interest.
The City of Bern route takes you through neighborhoods such as Kirchenfeld (the museum district). It's 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) with about a 200-meter (656-foot) change in elevation along the route. The UNESCO Tour route starts in Bern's Old Town and leads to the Rose Garden, a popular selfie spot with a breathtaking view. It also goes by the Bern Cathedral and the city's mountain, the Gurten, before heading out to more rural settings. It's 60 kilometers (37 miles) with designated "easy" riding conditions. For thrill-seekers who feel the need for speed, there's the downhill trail at the Gurten. Riders take a funicular to the top before beginning their rapid descent.
Bicyclists in Copenhagen whiz by Christiansborg Palace.
William Perugini/Adobe Stock
The Danes are known for taking their bicycling culture seriously, and the stats back that up. Roughly 70% own a bike, according to the Danish Centre of Cycling Knowledge, and about 45% of commutes in the Copenhagen area are by bike. The first bike lane in Denmark was set up in 1892 in Copenhagen. Today, the capital has 385 kilometers (239 miles) of bike lanes, according to VisitDenmark.com. Bicyclists and drivers also safely share the same roadway in many places. Thanks to Danish design innovations such as narrowed streets and textured surfaces, cars drive slower.
Tourists can get in on the pedaling action for general transport or with themed routes.
Click here for a list of bike rentals, and then click here for the city's biking rules. A bonus for tourists not in tiptop shape: Copenhagen is mostly flat.
Like much of Leipzig, the Augustusplatz is bicycle-friendly. It holds cultural attractions, including the Oper Leipzig (opera house) and the Mendebrunnen fountain in front of the Gewandhaus concert hall.
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Numerous German cities claim enviable spots on the Global Bicycle Cities Index, and longtime cultural juggernaut Leipzig is one of them.
Roughly 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of Berlin, Leipzig was the longtime home of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. It's also home to an impressive biking system on a serious growth spurt.
In 1990, Leipzig had 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) of bike paths. Today, there are more than 400 kilometers (almost 250 miles) of paths, according to the city government. Cycling is generally permitted in green spaces and in the city's parks. Travelers can bike to and park right across from top sites such as St. Nicolas Church, a center point of history ranging from Bach in 1723 to the 1989 revolution in then-East Germany. Lovers of classical composers might want to shell out the euros for a three-hour tour of historical music sites.
A cyclist rides on the Webb Bridge in Docklands, Melbourne. Spanning the Yarra River, the bridge is only for cyclists and pedestrians.
ymgerman/iStock Editorial/Getty Images
Melbourne's scenic beauty, culture spots and casual eateries are that much more fun when you arrive by bike.
The city has more than 135 kilometers (84 miles) of on- and off-road routes and is fast-tracking more. One riding highlight is the Capital City Trail. Cyclists share its 29 kilometers (18 miles) with pedestrians. It circles the inner city and goes through some eastern and northern suburbs.
Waterways and bike paths just seem to go together, and so it is in Melbourne.
Montreal is a year-round biking city, but its two-wheeled charms are probably best explored in warmer weather.
Eva Blue/Tourism Montreal
This bilingual city, set on an island in the St. Lawrence River, has embraced bicycles in a big way.
Now, the city plans to expand, according to the CBC, by adding about 200 kilometers (125 miles) of protected, dedicated bike lanes over the next five years. More options: The Lachine Canal route (about 40 kilometers or 25 miles roundtrip) goes through some of Montreal's hippest 'hoods. The Réseau Express Vélo (REV) provides fast cycling across some of the city's busiest neighborhoods without facing any car traffic. Click here for some other great sightseeing routes.
San Francisco, California
What a view! It's hard to beat a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge while riding a bike. Unless you decide to bike over the bridge itself.
Alperen Aydin/EyeEm/Getty Images
Many of the top bicycling cities are in Europe, but the United States does have some offerings, including tourist favorite San Francisco.
The city had almost 464 miles (747 kilometers) in its bikeway network as of May 2022. And 121 miles (195 kilometers) were protected.
CNN Travel emailed Nesrine Majzoub, director of marketing and communications for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, for some bike-riding tips in the notoriously hilly city.
"Thankfully, our bike paths choose the safest path with the least amount of hills. So, it's really valuable to look at the 'biking' route in your GPS and map options, because those paths will allow you to avoid the hills as much as possible," said Majzoub.
"For example, if you're downtown and want to bike west towards the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park, you can take what we call 'The Wiggle' -- a bike path that will wiggle you around the hills and have a much more accessible slope," she said. Click here for more bike route suggestions.
Another option: renting an e-bike. "Take it as slow as you want and enjoy the ride, Majzoub said.
Petite-France is a medieval district with typical half-timbered houses and very popular with tourists, including those on bikes.
imantsu/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images
Numerous German cities are well-regarded for their biking culture, so perhaps it's no surprise that the "French Cycling Capital" is the city of Strasbourg, which sits just across the Rhine River from Germany and has a heavy Teutonic influence.
With a metro population of about 480,000 people, Strasbourg sports around 600 kilometers (375 miles) of bike paths, according to the Office de Tourisme Strasbourg. An estimated 16% of workers use bicycles to get to work. And tourists can get in on the action. At least 6,000 bikes are available at self-service stations 24/7. Vélhop is the major bike-sharing service in the city, offering conventional bikes, kids' bikes, tandems, e-bikes and electric cargo bikes. The route planning and navigation app Komoot suggests a 19.3-kilometer (12-mile) route through the heart of Strasbourg that's rated as "easy" and takes about an hour. It winds through the Petite-France neighborhood situated along the city's canals, where Instagram-worthy half-timbered homes still stand. Strasbourg is so steeped in biking that hotels such as the Best Western Plus Monopole Métropole have webpages and staff devoted specifically to people who wish to bike while visiting.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Beach culture and bike culture have a happy meeting in Tel Aviv. This is Hilton Beach.
Israel's sophisticated, Bauhaus-styled city on the Mediterranean Sea has the makings of a bicycling paradise.
It already features flat topography like Copenhagen but offers warmer, sunnier weather. And the city government has an ever-increasing commitment to cultivating a world-class bicycling culture. The city touts the time-savings that biking can give visitors. For instance, a ride from Rabin Square, the main plaza in Tel Aviv, to lush HaYarkon Park is about seven minutes away. Popular Gordon Beach is also a short bike ride away. Shady, cafe-lined Rothschild Boulevard, which cuts through the gleaming buildings of the White City, makes for excellent biking. Tel-O-Fun offers rental options throughout the city via an app. Helmets are not mandatory in Tel Aviv, according to Tourist Israel, but more locals are starting to wear them.
If you don't want to deal with the crowds of Amsterdam, then head to Utrecht, where you can still get traditional old streets, buildings and waterways as well as a strong bicycle culture.
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The Dutch talent for ingenious design is on vivid display here.
The Dafne Schippersbrug bridge spans the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to connect the historic city center to the new district of Leidsche Rijn. But it's no ordinary bridge. Dedicated to bicycles and pedestrians, it also integrates a primary school and a park into the design.
Top image: See the colorful Copenhagen waterfront by bicycle. (Photo by nantonov/iStock Editorial/Getty Images)