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Years of highway improvement programs across the country have made cycling a much easier prospect than it once was, although there are few designated bike lanes. Cycling on autopistas (tollways) is forbidden. Driver attitudes on open roads are generally good; less so in the cities where cycling is not for the faint-hearted.

If you get tired of pedalling, it is often possible to take your bike on the train. All regional trains have space for bikes (usually marked by a bicycle logo on the carriage), where you can simply load the bike. Bikes are also permitted on most cercanías (local-area trains around big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona). On long-distance trains there are more restrictions. As a rule, you have to be travelling overnight in a sleeper or couchette to have the (dismantled) bike accepted as normal luggage. Otherwise, it can only be sent separately as a parcel. It’s often possible to take your bike on a bus – usually you’ll just be asked to remove the front wheel.

Hire & Bike-Sharing Schemes

Bicycle hire is not as widespread as in some European countries, though it’s becoming more so, especially in the case of bicis todo terreno (mountain bikes) and in Andalucía, Barcelona and popular coastal towns. Costs vary considerably, but expect to pay around €8 to €10 per hour, €15 to €20 per day, or €50 to €60 per week.

A number of cities have introduced public bicycle systems with dozens of automated pick-up and drop-off points. These schemes involve paying a small subscription fee, which then allows you to pick up a bicycle at one location and drop it off at another.