The sweet thrills of riding a bike through a new city are immense- checking out the locals, seeing the side streets, going beyond the common tourist destinations, learning the lay of the land, the unexpected discoveries- all make biking the best way to really experience the city you’re in.
Usually though, you can find yourself up against some intimidating and unfamiliar traffic. Stockholm, however, is every bike explorers dream town, no matter how timid a biker you may be. With miles of protected bike paths wrapping around the city’s many islands and cutting through every corner of town, you can take in a panoramic view of the city while cruising at your own pace.
Best Views from a Bike
No matter where you are in Stockholm, you’ll find plenty of easy and scenic bike paths to take, but be sure to take a spin around Sodermalm, the city’s island of young and vibrant activity. Connected to the rest of Stockholm by a few bridges, Sodermalm has bike paths that ring the entire island, taking you past gorgeous 19th century buildings in Stockholm’s characteristic orange, pink, yellow, and blue tones. Along the waterside trail are also rugged cliffs, a tiny village area that is over 400 years old, the dock area for the impressive giant cruise ships that sail to Finland, and a view of every side of Stockholm across the water. This is a great place to check out city life too, so take one of the paths off the water to see the sleek cafes, shops, bars, and people that make this the cradle of Scandinavian cool.
Beautiful Langholmen beckons with its rows of private boats on the water and endless forest. Be sure to cross the tiny bridge that connects this island to Sodermalm and check out the unadulterated green splendor the island offers. Treat yourself to a thirst-quenching pit-stop at the delightful Lasse I Parken restaurant, an oasis amidst the trees with a small dining room and a large tent outside where live bands play almost every day of the week.
On a bike, you can easily explore the most amazing aspect of Stockholm, nature in the city. Langholmen is a good place to start, but if you like trees, head over to Djurgarden as well. Both of these islands are difficult to reach by public transportation, but they are easy to reach by bike, and much more pleasant to enjoy once there. Djurgarden is huge island with only a few houses and a well-preserved old-fashioned amusement. The rest of the island is filled with the kind of improbably pure nature that makes you forget, really forget, that you are in the heart of a cosmopolitan capital city.
Since the bike lanes are mostly separated from traffic, you can feel at ease exploring the city’s more urban delights from your bike as well. Biking at night is no problem (although a backlight is definitely preferable), and you can then free yourself from taking a frighteningly expensive taxi. Save it for a frighteningly expensive cocktail, preferably at Gondolen in Sodermalm, and then enjoy the fresh ocean breeze on your face as you cruise home.
Get Yourself a Bike
Bikes are cheap and plentiful in Stockholm. For a longer stay, you can buy a new bike for just 1000kr. Used bikes are available at most bike shops for very little money, and best of all for tourists, Stockholm has copied Paris’ genius public bike plan, and has set up 64 hubs for Stockholm City Bikes where you can borrow a bike and return it to the closest station, all for next to nothing, as long as you sign up for a membership (ID required) at any SL (city transport) stations.
Photo of Stockholm City Bikes originally posted by leafar.