Away from the Crowds logoAway from the Crowds

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

Sustainable tourism watermarkCycling the Paradors tour

Cycling holidaysThe Land of Conquistadors from Parador to Parador

A grand cycling tour through sweeping landscapes of central Spain, with a touch of luxury. High quality Parador hotels in beautifully restored historic monuments.

From 886 € per person

Difficulty level gauge

Difficulty:Moderate+

Details ...

Duration:6 nights, 7 days

Dates:March to 31st June | Sept. to 30th Nov.

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: 99%. Cycle track: 1%.

Average daily distance / climb:32 miles (52 km) / 1507 ft (460 m).

Description

Go on a majestic self-guided cycling tour whilst discovering a new Parador each night. Visit the birdlife paradise of Monfragüe National Park and the UNESCO city of Caceres, along with the impressive cities of Jarandilla and Plasencia. Ideal even as a winter holiday.

  • Visit the birthplace of the men who pioneered the exploration of the Americas. A great way to discover the magnificent region of central Spain known as Extremadura.
  • Cycle through terraces full of olive groves and cherry blossom in the foothills of the dramatic mountains of Gredos.
  • Experience the wild beauty of Monfragüe National Park with eagles and vultures swooping overhead. This is a must on the avid birdwatcher's wishlist!
  • Explore an authentic vision of Spain as this cycle route is seldom visited by foreign tourists.
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Caceres with its impressive medieval monuments and main square.
  • Discover the magnificent architecture in Oropesa, Plasencia and Trujillo, built by the explorers that came back from the Americas.
  • Spoil yourself in a different Parador hotel each night and enjoy the best cuisine that the heartland of Spain has to offer.
  • This is the land of the legendary Spanish jamón, made possible by the raising of free-range pigs fed with the acorns of the land.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Oropesa

Your arrival to Oropesa, which can be easily reached by train from Madrid. Arrive with time to explore this beautiful medieval town, lose yourself in the cobbled streets and discover its historic gems!

Day 2: Oropesa to Jarandilla de la Vera

Distance: 34-42 miles (55-67 km). Climb: 2008 ft (612 m).

Your cycling adventure begins today! Through typical Mediterranean woodland, your route leads you along the foothills of the Gredos Mountains, whose granite cliffs are a perfect backdrop for the day providing stunning views. Jarandilla de la Vera, final destination of the day, showcases architectural wonders such as the churches of San Agustin and Ntra. Señora de la Torre. Your stay tonight is in a spectacular castle that once hosted Emperor Charles V for several months!

Day 3: Jarandilla de la Vera to Plasencia

Distance: 37-43 miles (59-69 km). Climb: 1722 ft (525 m).

Today's cycling route takes you through peaceful countryside to the medieval market town of Plasencia. Since the days of the Conquistadors, this walled town has enjoyed a strategic location on the historic 'Ruta de la Plata'. Palaces, ancestral homes and significant religious buildings make up the architecture of this beautiful city nestled on the bank of the Jerte river. The longer route offers you the chance to visit the beautiful 16th century Monasterio de Yuste, set in stunning oak woodland.

Day 4: Plasencia to Monfragüe National Park

Distance: 24 miles (39 km). Climb: 1257 ft (383 m).

Cycling South towards the Tajo river, you will reach the famed Monfragüe National Park, a well-known place for all bird watching enthusiasts. The landscape here is a unique juxtaposition of farming land and cork and oak trees. The farms in this area are dedicated to raising Spain's famous wild bulls and the black "iberico" pig which provides us with the delicious 'jamon iberico'.

Day 5: Monfragüe to Trujillo

Distance: 30 miles (49 km). Climb: 1401 ft (427 m).

Today you cycle through beautiful Mediterranean woodland to the town of Trujillo, certainly one of Spain's finest gems! Several of Spain's most famous conquistadors such as Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro called this region home. The legacy of the conquest can be seen in much of Trujillo’s perfectly preserved architecture and the impressive bronze statue of Francisco Pizzaro.

Day 6: Trujillo to Caceres

Distance: 34 miles (55 km). Climb: 1148 ft (350 m).

The scenery of this last day is a beautiful mix of small villages and impressive landscapes. Reaching the monumental city of Caceres, you will be transported back in time as the architecture reflects a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance influences. Be sure to explore the narrow cobbled streets as they twist and climb among ancient stonewalls lined with palaces and mansions!

Day 7: Departure or extra nights

Why not to take one or two extra nights to relax and enjoy this fabulous destination?

Travel

Frequent questions:

Which airport should I fly to?
Madrid International Airport.
How do I get to the starting point?
By train from Madrid Atocha train Station to Oropesa (1hr 45min).
How do I get back to Madrid Airport?
By train from Caceres to Madrid Atocha station (3hrs 30min).

Useful links:

Hotels

Five nights at four-star Paradors and one night at a charming rural hacienda inside Monfragüe National Park itself.

Paradors are luxury hotels with exquisite service and offering the best of traditional cuisine in their restaurants. They are located in National Heritage properties: unique, historic buildings such as restored Palaces, Monasteries or Castles. All but one of the hotels have seasonal swimming pools.

Oropesa Parador

Night 1: Oropesa

This Parador is a beautifully restored 15th Century Palace and Castle. This was the stately home of the Álvarez de Toledo family, who were Counts of Oropesa.

The historic value of the tower attached to the Parador, the columns of the courtyard, and the pool with outstanding views over the plains, make this into an amazing location!

Jarandilla de la Vera hotel

Night 2: Jarandilla de la Vera

Your Parador is a tastefully renovated palace-castle from the 14th century. It lies sheltered in the middle of the Vera and Tietar valleys, between gorges filled with water and woods of chestnut and oak trees.

For months it played host to Emperor Carlos V. From the exterior, the towers, courtyard and its excellent swimming pool contrast with the olive and orange trees. Inside, you will find a relaxing and intimate atmosphere.

Hotel in Plasencia

Night 3: Plasencia

This Parador is an impressive historic building just inside the walls of the city. Originally a former convent of Santo Domingo, it was founded by the Zuñiga family in the mid-15th century, with a Gothic style inside and in parts of the exterior.

The convent is strategically located in the historic centre of Plasencia, this is the ideal place to explore the architectural beauty of this singular city.

Drawing room in the Monfragüe hotel

Night 4: Monfragüe

The Palacio Viejo is a charming country house set in a 600 hectare farm, and is a carefully restored traditional building dating back 200 years. The hotel is surrounded by cork and holm oaks, and you can enjoy the services of the pool they have.

Due to its privileged location at the foot of Las Corchuelas Mountain Range, the backbone of Monfragüe's National Park, it is a unique destination to enjoy the peace of unadulterated nature.

Bedroom in the Trujillo hotel

Night 5: Trujillo

Set in the historic city of Trujillo, this lovely Parador is located in the 16th century convent of Santa Clara. Outstanding features of the interior include two beautiful cloisters with Renaissance arches and columns drenched in sunlight.

The hotel has spacious and pleasant lounges and noble bedrooms with antique wooden furniture. One of the most impressive spaces is the breakfast room, a beautifully decorated restored chapel.

The hotel in Cáceres

Night 6: Cáceres

The Parador de Cáceres represents the harmonious union of two palaces dating back from the 14th century. The interior of the building boasts all the elegance, quality and comfort of a historic structure adapted to suit the needs of today's guests.

The hotel is conveniently situated in the old historic centre.

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 room886 €

This includes:

  • 6 nights' accommodation. 6 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 button163 €

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

Solo traveller supplementHelp button296 €

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

Extras:

Half board (dinners, drinks not included)160 €

Bicycle hire100 €

E-bike hire150 €

GPS rental (one per group)30 €

Transfers:

Taxi Madrid to Oropesa (1-6 people)Info button170 €

Price is per taxi, not per person. 2hr 30 mins.

Taxi Caceres to Madrid (1-6 people)Info button350 €

Price is per taxi, not per person. 4 hrs.

Other options:(Prices on request)

Extra night(s) in Madrid 

Extra night(s) in Caceres 

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
886 €plusminus

Supplements:

Single room supplement
163 €plusminus
Solo traveller supplement
296 €plusminus

Extras:

Half board (dinners, drinks not included)
160 €plusminus
Bicycle hire
100 €plusminus
E-bike hire
150 €plusminus
GPS rental (one per group)
30 €plusminus

Transfers:

Taxi Madrid to Oropesa (1-6 people)
170 €plusminus
Taxi Caceres to Madrid (1-6 people)
350 €plusminus
 
Total: *

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 Extra night(s) in Madrid
 Extra night(s) in Caceres

Please use "Notes" below to specify when. Thanks!

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Reviews

impeccable

The organisation of the tour was fantastic, flawless and gave us total ease of mind. The pre-holiday instructions were really clear so getting to the starting point was no hassle at all.

All our hotels were all aware of our trip and took care of bicycle parking and helped with luggage transfers. Each day our luggage was successfully transferred to the next location without any hassle or glitches.

On one of the days it rained persistently that we felt uncomfortable to cycle that day and Away from the Crowds so kindly arranged for us to be transferred by taxi to the next destination.

The cycle tour daily itinerary instructions were impeccable, they were so detailed and very simple to understand. We didn't have any troubles navigating from Parador to Parador.

The hybrid bicycles we hired were great, although we had a chain break they were able to organise a mechanic to fix the bike to get us moving again.

The holiday, the route and the idea is exceptional! Cycling from town to town, visiting various Paradors and the beautiful old towns they're in was truly an unforgettable experience.

We had such a great time... we highly recommend this tour and Away from the Crowds as a great tour operator!

ChiChi Wang, UK.

stunning

We thoroughly enjoyed the ride and were quite happy to do our own thing.

The extremaduran countryside is beautiful and the Semana Santa processions were impressive.

All the Paradors were stunning.

Theresa Khairallah, USA.

spectacular

From the minute that we were picked up at Madrid airport by Guzman, to the morning that we checked out of the Caceres Parador, everything was organised for us, and all we had to do was pedal!

Harry was also very helpful when he handed over the bikes and equipment at Oropesa. He also seemed to be impressed with the pace of two 'more mature' cyclists!

We will definitely recommend your services to our friends, family and colleagues. I will also be posting very complimentary reviews on Facebook and trip advisor. We will also be in contact soon to organise future trips with away from the crowds.

I must compliment you on the quality of the maps, road book, hotels, restaurant/cafe recommendations, bike quality and hotel choices. You should be very proud of the excellent business you manage.

As for the routes, the national park was one of the most spectacular places we have ever visited, and we have been to many places around the world.

Ged Bell, Scotland.

We loved Extremadura

Our overall impression was excellent, as everything was very well organised: our bags arrived safely and promptly everyday; the hotels were expecting us and accommodated our bikes, gear etc. and the maps and bikes were of a high standard.

We loved Extremadura, the history, the landscape and the food all contributed to a memorable holiday.

Antonia Lanigan. Ireland.

fabulous places

We had a wonderful time. The paradores were fabulous places, your maps and info pack excellent, the bikes were great and your back up team very good and friendly. So all was perfect.

We did cut down on some of the distances for several reasons. It would have been a pity to spend all day in the saddle and not have the time for a relaxing afternoon exploring the towns we stayed in, have a swim etc.

We managed to do all that so had a perfect combination of cycling, exploring and relaxing.

The first day was quite difficult for us though as I had anticipated. Although we were taken for 20 km, by the time we had sorted out the bikes etc. it was 10 o’clock, far too late for a hot day. We got to the next parador at 3.30 pm having to have so many stops in the afternoon to try and cool down.

But all in all we had a fantastic time and enjoyed it very much. So thank you for organizing such a wonderful trip. Will be looking at your website again, maybe try something else another time.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,

Inge Bratley, Cornwall, UK

attention to detail

We can not thank Jaime and Agustín enough for suggesting and making various arrangements to ensure we comfortably continued quickly onto Madrid.

Throughout our trip, the attention to detail on the maps, scenic cycling and the comfort of the paradores was excellent, gracias!

Diane ans Tim Morris. Australia.

I loved it, even the hard bits

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday – in fact I loved it, even the hard bits. We were incredibly lucky with the weather.

All the Paradors were excellent. The directions were mostly good and the bikes were fine.

Some feedback which I hope will be constructive: there was one night where we didn't eat at the Parador. If I had known this was likely I would have been able to tell you in advance what my dietary requirements are – I am a vegetarian plus I don’t eat eggs and this did cause a problem.

Some of the directions weren't entirely clear and some of the distances were incorrect e.g. on day 2 we had to retrace our steps because we had overshot the turning by a couple of miles and this was uphill.

However an anecdote from the same day: We had just finished the detour in the national park; Neil had arrived at the top of a hill and was waiting for me. We stopped to catch our breath and a farmer called over and introduced himself. He said his name was Michael.

I think he was quite impressed about where we had come from and where we were going to. He invited us to fill up our water bottles, and to help ourselves to cherries and lemons from his orchards!

I would love to go on a similar holiday again some day.

Julia and Neil Edmunds, UK.

Thanks for the feedback Julia. Since then, we've carried out a full revision of the route and corrected errors.

Love the anecdote about the local farmer, although I doubt his name was really Michael!

Jaime, AFTC.

We decided to have an extra night in Monfrague

We chose “Away from the Crowds” because they were a local company and were very knowledgeable about the areas.

We have thought about doing the cycling parador trip for a number of years but work commitments have made this impossible until this year.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Everything was arranged perfectly and all seemed to flow well from our side.

Each days cycle routes allowed us to stop and explore villages, buildings, waterfalls, do some birdwatching etc and still arrive at our next parador by 3.30pm.

The bikes were great-very comfortable and all measured perfectly to our heights.

The routes were a good mixture of challenging sections and easier sections. All in very scenic areas. We loved seeing the changes in the landscapes as we progressed.

Although most of the cycling was on roads, on the whole they were very good and quiet. Even when there was traffic, the drivers are all very courteous to cyclists.

The maps and cycle guide were all very clear and easy to follow.

There was only one bit where the instructions were slightly awkward. This was in Malpartida de Plasencia. Neither of the two marked traffic lights existed and the sign at Calle Caceres was very faint and hidden. We had a little bit of detour into town then doubling back to find the road.

We decided to have an extra night in Monfrague to allow us to explore and birdwatch on the second day. The Palacio Viejo de Corchuelas was a perfect destination and Carmen was a great host. We ordered a picnic lunch between us for our hike. This was beautifully presented and very tasty.

We also had booked an extra night at Trujillo parador so that we could do the extra day circular cycle into the rural area. This was a god option and we enjoyed stopping to watch the many birds and scenery. We also ordered the 20 eurospicnic lunch to share from the parador. This again was extremely well packaged and presented and loads of it.

Each parador was interesting and all very different. We loved the fact we did the hard work during the day and could relax and have some luxury at night.

We had decided that we would eat in the restaurants in the Pardors in the evenings as this was part of our trip. The food was all excellent and lots of local produce and recipes.

To get to Oropesa we got the train from Madrid- very comfortable and efficient.

We extended our stay after arriving in Caceres - we had booked an apartment in the medieval city for a few nights then booked the bus to get back to Madrid. The times of this suited better than the early train departure and took about the same time. Again this worked out really well. Our extra stay in Caceres by coincidence overlapped with the WOMAD festival, which added another dimension to our trip.

We would not hesitate to use Away from the Crowds again for another trip to Spain. As the areas we were in were rural often there was not much English spoken. In anticipation we had gone for Spanish lessons and it was good to be able to converse in Spanish whenever possible. Most people were patient with our efforts to be understood.

Shiona and Bill Scott, UK.

CO₂ footprint offsetting

This holiday produces a carbon footprint of 0,6326 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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