Five motorcycle sidecar tours with views you’ll never get on a bus

Jan 29, 2018
  • By Shivani Vora
  • The New York Times

Sightseeing tours in motorcycle sidecars are gaining popularity. Riding in the three-wheeled vehicles with a driver who’s also your local guide is a unique and fun way for travelers to explore a destination. 

It can be an attention-getting way to explore a city, too. Remi Di Nino, a founder of the Paris sidecar tour company Retro Tour Paris, said that spectators often snap pictures of the sidecars during excursions. “They’re not your typical way of getting around, so people get excited when they see them,” he said. “Also, the riders on the tours get a completely different perspective of Paris than they would by sitting on a bus.”  

Di Nino’s company offers four excursions around Paris, from 40 minutes to seven hours, in stylish Ural sidecars (Ural is a well-known sidecar manufacturer). The tours are customized based on what travelers want to see. Alternatively, their guides can lead the way and take them to their favorite spots in the city. Prices start from 69 euros ($84) a person; the price for a second rider starts at an additional 20 euros. Book online on their website.  

BrightSide Tours offers seven excursions in Barcelona, Spain, also in Ural sidecar motorcycles. The 3 1/2-hour Foodie Ride is a popular pick, and the tour includes stops at three popular tapas bars to enjoy traditional Spanish fare. It also includes a stop at Montjuic, a hill with views of the city, for a Cava toast. Prices start at 240 euros for one passenger, and 160 euros per person for two passengers. Book online on their website.  

AndBeyond offers a visually rich, eight-hour tour in and around Cape Town, South Africa, in a vintage World War II motorcycle with a sidecar.  

Travelers ride through the scenic suburb of Camps Bay, along the edgy cliffs of Chapman’s Peak, to Boulders Beach to see the colony of penguins, and to the Constantia Winelands, where they will visit two boutique wineries. Bookings start at $241 for two people. Reserve by email:  

Beijing Sideways has several sidecar tours of Beijing in a Chang Jiang 750 Chinese motorcycle. One option is the two-hour Beijing by night that includes more than a dozen stops around the city, including at the gate of the Forbidden City. Also among the destinations are the National Center for the Performing Arts and Tiananmen Square. Prices are about $181 for the first passenger and $91 for the second. Book by email:  

Some hotels also have sidecar tours. The Royal Mansour, in Marrakech, Morocco, offers a sidecar excursion to the home of French perfumer Serge Lutens. The residence still has the laboratory in which Lutens has created more than 70 of his fragrances. Guests will ride to the home in a vintage motorcycle sidecar; after the tour, a driver will take them on a ride to see popular sites in Marrakech. Prices are around $400 for two people, and for hotel guests only. Book by email: