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Active, self-guided cycling and walking holidays in unexplored Spain

Sustainable tourism watermarkCycling in Picos de Europa

Cycling holidaysAsturias, from mountains to sea

An unforgettable cycling tour from the wild valleys of Spain's Picos de Europa to the northern coast of Asturias.

From 773 € per person

Difficulty level gauge

Difficulty:Moderate+

Details ...

Duration:7 nights, 8 days

Dates:April to 31st October

Start:Any day of the week

Location on map of Spain

Longer distances and hilly terrain, with perhaps four ascents per day.

Cycling surface:Tarmac: 100%.

Average daily distance / climb:26 miles (42 km) / 1682 ft (513 m).

Description

This is a self-guided cycling tour full of contrasts: from the wide-open plains of northern Castilla to the awesome peaks of the Picos de Europa National Park, and finishing on the beautiful beaches of the Northern coast.

  • Begin in the plains of northern Castilla with two nights in historic towns, and time to explore the local Romanesque architecture.
  • A short climb takes you into the region of Cantabria before you descend into the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park.
  • Take the exciting Fuente Dé cable car to a dizzying height of 1823 metres! An unforgettable experience with absolutely breathtaking views!
  • Cycle through the impressive Hermida Gorge with eagles and vultures swooping overhead.
  • Take the unique funicular railway at Puente Poncebos, as it climbs over 2 kms inside the mountain to take you to the isolated village of Bulnes.
  • Reward yourself with an afternoon at the beach after experiencing the winding mountain pass through green pastures and leafy forests.
  • Your last night is spent in the pretty seaside town of Llanes, famous for its wonderful beaches, medieval core and bustling harbour.
  • Much of the cycling is along valleys, following rivers as they descend towards the sea, keeping each day's climbing to a moderate level.

Despite being surrounded by mountains, this is not a very challenging cycling holiday, as you might expect.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Aguilar de Campoo

After exploring this medieval town with its 12th Century castle, noble palaces and one of the oldest monasteries in Spain, why not take a moment to enjoy some local delicacies from one of the 'terrazas' on its beautiful arcaded square.

Day 2: Aguilar de Campoo to Cervera de Pisuerga

Distance: 26 miles (42 km). Climb: 1581 ft (482 m).

You will receive your bikes this morning and set off along the river Pisuerga passing through small villages full of history and beautiful Romanesque churches for which this area is famous.

Day 3: Cervera de Pisuerga to Potes

Distance: 35 miles (57 km). Climb: 1568 ft (478 m).

A beautiful ride along quiet country roads entering the legendary region of Asturias and the stunning Picos de Europa, one of Spain's first National Parks. This cycle offers spectacular panoramic views of the Picos in the distance and you will spend the next two nights in the popular mountain village of Potes.

Day 4: Circular route Potes-Fuente Dé-Potes

Distance: 29 miles (47 km). Climb: 2726 ft (831 m).

Today's circular route includes the opportunity to take the Fuente Dé cable car. It's an uphill ride but it's most definitely worth the effort for a truly unforgettable, exhilariting experience! There is also a much shorter, easier alternative route with a chance to visit the interesting Santo Toribio Monastery.

Day 5: Potes to Arenas de Cabrales

Distance: 31 miles (50 km). Climb: 620 ft (189 m).

Cycle out of the valley of Liebana and into the Valley of Cabrales, famous for its production of blue cheeses made in the artisan tradition. You will cycle along the Hermida Gorge, amongst vertical limestone walls as high as 600m, a great spot for sighting birds of prey and vultures!

Day 6: Circular route Arenas-Bulnes-Arenas

Distance: 8 miles (13 km). Climb: 1348 ft (411 m). Plus a 4-mile walk (6km)

Today you will visit the striking mountain villlage of Bulnes and marvel at the immense beauty of El Naranjo de Bulnes rock face. Here, we suggest you taking the impressive funicular railway up through the centre of the mountain to the village and walk downhill enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day 7: Arenas to Llanes

Distance: 24 miles (38 km). Climb: 2247 ft (685 m).

Today you take a winding route down to the coast along the valley of the Cuera Mountains and with the backdrop of the sea in view. Finish with time to enjoy the sandy beaches and to explore the bustling little fishing port of Llanes.

Day 8: Departure or extra nights

Why not enjoy an extra night or two in Llanes, Santander or Bilbao? There are still so many things to see and places to visit!

Travel

Frequent questions:

How can I get to Spain by boat?
There are ferries from Southern England: More and more people are bringing their own car from the south of England to visit this part of Spain. There are Ferries to Santander from Plymouth and Portsmouth.
Which airport should I fly to?
Santander, Bilbao or Madrid international airports.
How do I get to the starting point?
From Santander Airport take a bus or taxi from the airport to the main bus and train station in Santander. There are three trains each day from Santander to Aguilar de Campoo(1h:50m approx).

There is also a morning bus and an afternoon bus which takes 1h30m. The company Alsa runs this service.

From Bilbao Airport take a bus or taxi from the airport to the main bus station in Bilbao. There are several buses each day from Bilbao to Aguilar de Campoo, but Monday-Thursday and Saturday usually before 14:30h. They take around 4h. The company Alsa runs this service.

From Madrid airport by train: Take the tube to Chamartin train station and from here catch a train to Aguilar de Campoo. There are two trains each afternoon taking about 2h30m

By Bus: Take bus 200 or the tube from the airport to the Avenida de America bus station in Madrid. From here there are two buses each day to Aguilar de Campoo: 10:30am and 16:30pm. They take around 4h. The company Alsa runs this service.

How do I get back?
By bus from Llanes to Santander Airport (1h:45m approx).

By bus from Llanes to Bilbao (3h: 45m approx).

From Llanes to Madrid you have to make your way to Oviedo by bus in the first place and then take a train or a bus to Madrid (4h approx).

Useful links:

Hotels

Bedroom in Aguilar de Campoo hotel

Night 1: Aguilar de Campoo

Hotel Posada Santa María la Real was an 18th century convent that has been tastefully converted into a charming and modern 3-star hotel. It is located next to the Benedictine monastery of the town.

Bedroom in Cervera de Pisuerga hotel

Night 2: Cervera de Pisuerga

The Parador de Cervera is located in a prime setting, the Fuentes Carrionas Nature Reserve, and surrounded by woodlands and spectacular views of the Picos de Europa mountain range.

Bedroom in the Potes hotel

Nights 3 and 4: Potes

You will spend two nights in a well situated and comfortable 3-star hotel with a mountain-view restaurant. It is well-maintained and is popular with the locals.

Bedroom of the Arenas de San Pedro hotel

Nights 5 and 6: Arenas de San Pedro

Spend two nights in Hotel Picos de Europa, a quiet and cosy 3-star hotel which provides its guests with the opportunity to relax by a pool. Friendly staff and well located in the centre of town.

Bedroom at the Llanes hotel

Night 7: Llanes

A charming hotel, originally a XVII century Baroque convent converted into a stunning and comfortable 3-star establishment with excellent style far above its class.

Our Bikes

Touring bikesElectric bikes

Designed to withstand heavy loads and provide high safety and comfort even after long hours of riding in the saddle, these adventure bikes will serve you well both on and off-road.

The downside to all these extra features and equipment is weight, but on a long distance tour, reliability, comfort and safety, win the day.

Gentleman's push bikeLady's push bike

Characteristics:
  • Time tested components to stay maintenance free during the tour.
  • Broad range of gears.
  • Stable carriers for luggage transport.
  • Permanently mounted lights with a hub dynamo.
  • Comfortable sitting position and straight, adjustable handlebars.
  • Other comfort features include bike stand, mudguards and bottle holder.
  • High bar and low bar models and sizes xs to XL.
Equipment provided:
  • Odometer
  • Rear pannier
  • Map carrier
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle
  • Lock
  • Pump
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Multitool set

Touring bikesElectric bikes

Not every type of electric bike is suitable to use in a cycling tour. Most e-bikes are actually designed for city cycling rather than long distances routes.

Experience allows us to choose e-bikes with the most suitable features for touring: reliability, simple operation, long battery life and short charge time.

Electric bike

Characteristics:
  • Time tested components to stay maintenance free during the tour.
  • Broad range of gears.
  • Stable carriers for luggage transport.
  • Permanently mounted lights with a hub dynamo.
  • Comfortable sitting position and straight, adjustable handlebars.
  • Other comfort features include bike stand, mudguards and bottle holder.
  • High bar and low bar models and sizes xs to XL.
Equipment provided:
  • Odometer
  • Rear pannier
  • Map carrier
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle
  • Lock
  • Pump
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Multitool set

Prices

Basic price:

Per person in double room773 €

This includes:

  • 7 nights' accommodation. 7 breakfasts.
  • Luggage transfers between hotels.
  • Detailed maps with your trail clearly marked.
  • Itinerary description, full of recommendations for things to do and places to visit, advice and suggestions and information about your accommodation, etc.
  • Emergency support.
  • Activity insurance.

Supplements:

Single room supplementHelp button171 €

For those travelling with others, but wanting a room to themselves each night.

Solo traveller supplementHelp button279 €

For those travelling by themselves. Do not choose the "Single room supplement" as well in this case.

Extras:

Half board (dinners)150 €

Bicycle hire100 €

GPS rental (one per group)30 €

Other options:(Prices on request)

Extra night(s) in Llanes 

Extra night(s) in Bilbao 

If interested, please contact us with your plans, requirements and queries,

or simply use the "Get a quote" section, which we would recommend.

Get a quote

Calculator

Basic price:

Per person in double room
773 €plusminus

Supplements:

Single room supplement
171 €plusminus
Solo traveller supplement
279 €plusminus

Extras:

Half board (dinners)
150 €plusminus
Bicycle hire
100 €plusminus
GPS rental (one per group)
30 €plusminus
 
Total: *

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Other prices on request
 Extra night(s) in Llanes
 Extra night(s) in Bilbao

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Reviews

an excellent holiday

We really enjoyed the tour, even though we did get wet when it rained (we now know how northern Spain stays so green!), we all thought it was an excellent holiday with lovely hotels and food and, of course, the cycling was great.

The extra nights we did in Bilbao and Santander were well worth it and we'd certainly recommend doing this to anyone looking to do the tour.

The two tours we have done with you (Land of the Conquistadors in 2014 and this one) have been great and we'll certainly do another one as soon as we can!

Thanks,

Neil Plant, UK.

organisation of a terrific tour

We had a fantastic cycle trip - everything went well with the arrangements and the bikes performed well .... a couple of us wished we had more gears on the 23k mountain climb out of Potes 😉

We all intend returning to participate in another bike tour soon.

Thanks again for your help and organisation of a terrific tour.

Ann Sherry, Australia.

The route far exceeded our expectations!

I'm writing to tell you how much we enjoyed our cycling experience in August. The route far exceeded our expectations! It was a great way to see some beautiful parts of the Picos. I thought that the route was very well planned, the route guide notes were excellent and all of the accommodation was faultless. Thank you for providing such an excellent service. I hope that we can book with you again in the near future.

Best regards

Ian Sowerby, UK.

some of the places we visited along with Spanish hospitality will live long in our memory

Once again we had a great holiday and I certainly needed the gel saddle cover climbing to Fuente De!

The organisation was brilliant as usual and some of the places we visited along with Spanish hospitality will live long in our memory: including the view from Cervera de Piscera and the hospitality shown to us by Jose in the beautiful hotel in Llanes, not to mention the vibrant and beautiful city of Bilbao.

If I had to complain I would say the hotel we stayed in and restaurant where we eat in Potes were our least favourite.

However, I am already looking forward to my trip next year and look forward to your tips on Seville and Cadiz.

Kind regards and thanks for everything.

Antonia Lanigan, Ireland.

CO₂ footprint offsetting

This holiday produces a carbon footprint of 0,3951 tonnes of CO₂. This includes taxis, luggage transfers and accommodation for every traveller.

We will compensate the CO₂ footprint for each booking through tropical reforestation projects in collaboration with the CeroCO₂ platform.

Additionally, you can also offset your own flight emissions by visiting myclimate. See the link below.

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