Touring Greek towns and cities by bikeA bike is one of the best means of transport for getting to know a city. Cyclists can combine a great form of exercise with an appetite for exploration, and enjoy Greek cities through the less familiar pathways. It is even possible to explore the heart of Athens by bike. A tour around the Acropolis and along the 3 km long pedestrian zone - the "archaeological promenade", or the routes around the Zappeion Hall area and the National Gardens, as well as further out in the suburban green areas around the slopes of the mountains Hymettus, Penteli and Parnitha which encircle Athens or along the coastline in the southern suburbs, or in the Syggrou Parkland area in Kifissia are just some of the alternatives which will all prove to be memorable experiences.
Thessaloniki, which has a longstanding tradition in cycling, has recently launched a bicycle hire programme with a nominal charge, so that visitors and residents can enjoy it as a form of recreation, and also use it as a practical alternative way of getting around in the city.
Some cities, such as Volos, Chania and Pyrgos, because of the extremely level ground of their urban road networks, are particularly suitable for cyclists. Ierapetra in Crete is famous for its cycling routes. The city centre is not far from the charming beach of Kato Mera or the beaches of the nearby suburbs, such as Myrtos, and it is easy to combine cycling with swimming and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.
In the town of Larissa there is a 12 km system of sign-posted bike lanes, which is constantly being extended. In Sapka Square, in the centre of Larissa, the city provides free bicycles for transportation of residents and visitors. Cyclists can enjoy the wonderful routes from the town centre to the Hippocrates district and the banks of the Pineios River, or to the Neapolis and Filippoupolis neighbourhoods.
In Trikala many residents ride bikes around the city. It is part of the “culture” of the town. The "Cyclists of Trikala" is a prominent club in the town with an active membership, involved not only in sporting events but also in the social life of this beautiful town as a whole.
In Karditsa an extensive network of urban and suburban cycle paths, with a total length of 14 km, makes it easy for residents and visitors to get around the city by bicycle. The municipality provides bicycles free of charge for travel around the town centre. One of the most interesting cycling routes is the one between the railway station and the Paparantzas Woods (also known as “Chilia Dentra” or the ‘Thousand Trees’), 3 km to the south west.
Some other Greek cities, such as Kavala, Ioannina and Sparta, offer an excellent combination of cycling both in an urban environment as well as out in the countryside. Cyclists will find exciting routes everywhere, and will also find that the local cycling clubs are very happy to help. Cycling trips and themed excursions are organized all year round, providing ample opportunity to enjoy a favourite pastime in the company of like-minded lovers of two-wheeled transport. Cyclists are a colourful part of the youthful urban tapestry of these picturesque Greek towns.