Rome is a city that is best explored on two wheels. Although there are a lot of possibilities for different tours, biking through Rome allows you to experience the city from a unique perspective while also getting some exercise and fresh air. In this article, we will explore the benefits of bike tours in Rome, what to look for when choosing a tour, popular bike routes, bike rental services, safety rules, and tips for a great biking tour experience.
Is Rome Good for Biking?
Rome is a city full of people and tourists and has a lot of traffic. Biking through Rome allows you to experience the city uniquely, seeing every inch of it.
The city has many bike lanes and dedicated bike paths, which make it a safe and enjoyable place to bike. You can go out around the city on your own or find the right tour operator who will help you experience the city in a fun and memorable way.
Understanding Bike Tours in Rome
Bike tours are an excellent way to explore Rome. Bike tours are available in different types, including guided, self-guided, by day, and by night.
- Guided bike tours are led by experienced tour guides who will take you to some of the city’s most famous landmarks while giving you details on all the historic monuments.
- Self-guided bike tours allow you to explore the city at your own pace. I would recommend this if you’re looking to explore the beauty of the monuments and take in the essence of the city rather than its history.
- By day, bike tours are perfect for those who want to explore the city during the day; although it can get hot and crowded, I would save this for bike routes and tours outside the city.
- Night bike tours are ideal for those who want to see the city’s landmarks lit up at night. In my personal experience, every monument is different during the day and night. If you can’t go on a tour at night, I recommend a short bike ride or even a walk around the center.
Getting a Hold of a Bike
If you are doing a self-guided tour:
- Rent a bike from any of the bike shops (All around town) or stands (these can be found around Villa Borghese).
- Use apps like Lime, dott, Helbiz, etc. They have different types of passes for the day or the week and are all electric.
With a Tour Operator
- They will provide you with a bike according to your needs (mountain, electric, regular, etc.)
Benefits of Bike Tours
Bike tours in Rome offer several benefits.
Secondly, you can explore the city in a way that is safe and enjoyable and, at the same time, try a new experience.
Third, and in my opinion, the best, are the small streets you can cut through and save time. All the monuments are close to each other, so if you take the right turns, you should be able to get from one place to another in no time. We also can’t forget the fact that you can exercise while exploring the city.
What to Look for When Picking the Best Tour
When choosing a bike tour in Rome, look for the following things:
- The reputation of the tour operator
- The length of the tour: Bike tours can last a few hours or all day; it’s up to you.
- The price of the tour: Make sure it’s worth what you’re paying.
- The level of difficulty of the tour: There are many steep hills; be careful with the sights you’re visiting and their location.
- The landmarks that will be visited
- The type of bike that will be used: I recommend an electric bike or a mountain bike.
- Reviews and experiences from previous visitors: Check online
- Popular bike routes in Rome; look at some of them here.
Popular Bike Routes in Rome
The Appian Way (Via dell’Appia Antica), the Aurelian Walls, and the Tiber River
- The Appian Way is a historic road that goes from Rome to the south of Italy. It is a popular bike route because it offers scenic views of the countryside and the Acquedotto. There is limited car circulation, so this is a great place to explore and ride freely.
- The Aurelian Walls are a series of walls built around Rome in the 3rd century AD. They are a popular bike route because they offer a unique perspective on the city’s history.
- The Tiber River is also a popular bike route because it offers scenic views of the city and is relatively flat, but it is sometimes flooded or full of mud, especially during rainy days.
- There are other bike lanes around the city to get from one historic monument to another; most have been added in recent years, so they’re in great condition.
There are several lesser-known bike routes in Rome that are worth exploring.
Janiculum Hill is a scenic hill that offers panoramic views of the city. The Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels used as burial sites in ancient Rome. Ostia Antica is an ancient Roman city that is located outside of Rome.
Can You Cycle in The Vatican?
Cycling is not permitted in the Vatican. The Vatican is a small city-state home to several important landmarks, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Due to the large crowds of tourists and the narrow streets, cycling is not allowed in the Vatican. You can explore the Vatican on foot or by taking a guided tour. You can also bike around the outside if you’re just looking to get a nice view of St. Peter’s.
Safety Rules for Biking in Rome
- Stay in designated bike lanes when available.
- Be aware of pedestrians and other cyclists.
- Avoid biking during rush hour; Romans can be aggressive drivers.
What to Carry and How to Navigate Rome’s Streets
There are a few factors to consider when deciding what to bring. Are you cycling alone? Are you going to be in the city or on the outside? And a few others. These are my basics when I go bike riding:
- Carry a map, GPS, or your phone to get around the city’s streets, especially if you’re biking on your own.
- Bring a water bottle.
- Don’t fill your bag with snacks unless you’re going on routes outside of the city.
- Wear sunscreen, especially as the city can get hot during the summer months
- Bring a lock to secure the bike when parked; some rental places already have them.
- I recommend renting an electric bike, especially in the summer. Rome has a bunch of hills, and in the heat, you’re sure to regret your decision if you get a regular bike. Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular in Rome. They are perfect for those who want to explore the city at their own pace without getting too tired.
- Choose a tour that fits their interests and fitness level.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and dress in layers if it’s a bit cold because you will get hot for sure.
- Don’t limit yourself to the city center. Bike around the Appian Road; it has beautiful sights and limited vehicle circulation. I can assure you that all paths will leave you at a loss for words.
- Bring a water bottle with you. Rome has many fountains where you can stop for a refill of your water, or you can even drink directly from the fountain if you want to avoid bringing a bottle.