With dozens of bike hire services and an increasing network of cycling lanes, seeing Barcelona by bike is becoming enormously popular, especially along the city’s waterfront.
Barceloneta, the city’s salty, maritime neighbourhood is the best place to start off on your two wheels. (You could even hire them from Barceloneta Bikes, C/ Mestrança 49). With the Port Vell – the city’s main marina – on your right, head down Passeig del Borbón, Barceloneta’s main drag and home to dozens of famous fish restaurants, like La Cucina di Ivo all the way down the Plaça del Mar, a vast plaza that faces the sea.
From here you can take the boardwalk in the opposite direction, heading towards the landmark twin towers at the Port Olímpic and Frank Gehry’s famous bronze fish sculpture (you can’t miss them). Along the way, you could take a break at one of the dozens of chiringuitos (outdoor bars) that line the foreshore, or at the Port Olímpic itself, which contains dozens of cafes restaurants overlooking another marina.
Once replenished, continue along the boardwalk in the same direction. (After a short distance it will become a sandy track, but don’t worry, it soon reverts to concrete again). North of the Port Olímpic, you pass by the city’s quieter, less populated beaches and a couple of concrete jetties; ride to the end to enjoy a moment or two of solitude whilst staring at the big blue.
If you wish to continue even further northwards, then head towards the huge solar panel you see in the distance. This is the Parc del Forúm, the site of a not-too-successful, yearlong cultural event Barcelona hosted in 2004. Its legacy is a surreal landscape of wide concrete plazas (now thronged by skaters), bizarre sculpture and a striking cobalt-blue Forum
auditorium by the cutting Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. The nicest place to rest up before heading back is the Zona de Banys, a saltwater baths that contains a terrace, public sun beds and an outdoor café.