Grand Tour of Cantabria & Asturias
A 12-day tour combining the best of the hills, mountains, and coastline of “Green Spain”.
Arrival date any Saturday from April to October. Personalised tours are available for groups of 4 or more riders.
Prices are starting indications, per person, based on two people sharing a twin room, and include standard bike hire. Please make a booking enquiry for a confirmed price based on your chosen dates and exact requirements.
The full itinerary:
- Arrival in Santillana del Mar – Pick up from arrival point and transfer to the charming medieval village of Santillana del Mar. Introduction to bikes and route briefing. Spend the rest of the day walking round the cobbled streets of this beautiful village, visit the modern museum of the Altamira Caves or enjoy a ride around the country lanes and down to the coastline.
- San Vicente – Leaving Santillana, our route heads westwards through green meadows and the hills and valleys of Cantabria with its marvellous unspoilt coastline and beaches nearby. We soon arrive at the charming villageof Novales, set amidst lemon groves and with its fine typical rural architecture. Next stop is the seaside villageof Comillas. Here a visit to the fine beach, the small harbour and the pretty village square with its pavement tapas bars and restaurants is a must, not to mention the architectural sights of El Capricho by the famous Catalán architect Gaudí and the Palace of the Marqués de Comillas.After leaving Comillas, cycle through the Parque Natural de Oyambre and along the beautiful beaches of Oyambre and Merón. We are finally greeted by the stunning view of San Vicente and the Picos de Europa in the distance. (approx 36 or 62km)
- San Vicente – Spend time getting to know this pretty fishing village with its many seafood restaurants and magnificent setting. Take a ride on one of the free day routes, or visit the lovely mountain village of Carmona. Alternatively, enjoy a ride through the unspoilt hill country behind the village, or you may just prefer to spend a lazy afternoon on the beach. (varying km)
- Llanes – Leaving San Vicente the route heads westwards along the coast. After a short distance, cycle around the beautiful headland of Pechón with its magnificent views of the coastline. Crossing the River Deva in Unquera we enter the province of Asturias. The village of Colombres is home to the sumptuous villas of the indianos, emigrants to the Americas who made their fortune and then returned. From here, the route continues between the coast and the dramatic mountain backdrop of the Sierra de Cuera, foothills of the Picos de Europa. A beautiful descent through eucalyptus forests brings us back to the coast, where we cycle past beautiful and unspoilt beaches to arrive at the charming fishing village of Llanes. (approx 47km)
- Llanes – Cycle westwards and visit a string of fine beaches, including the incredible landlocked beach of Gulpiyuri. Another beautiful route takes us through the most beautiful hills and valleys behind Llanes. Alternatively, we can give the bikes a rest and take a canoeing trip on the Deva or Sella Rivers, or a hike through the dramatic and renowned Cares Gorge in the very heart of the Picos de Europa. Take a train to Ribadasella and visit the Caves of Tito Bustillo with their prehistoric paintings, before cycling back to Llanes. Enjoy the busy atmosphere of the fishing village of Llanes, so popular with Spanish tourists. (varying km)
- Arenas de Cabrales – From Llanes we turn south towards the magnificent Picos de Europa. A most beautiful and spectacular ride takes us over the pass of El Mazuco and the Sierra de Cuera and we are finally greeted with the panorama of the Picos themselves. We see the beautiful pastures and hills so characteristic of Asturias. A final descent takes us into the valley of Cabrales and the village of Arenas de Cabrales, famous for its authentic blue cheese and gateway to the Picos mountains. Here we will spend our next two nights. (approx 37km)
- Arenas de Cabrales – Today we have a free day in Arenas de Cabrales. You can cycle to the mountain village of Sotres (34 km round trip) in the heart of the Picos, or even further on to Tresviso (57 km round trip), famous like Cabrales for its blue cheese matured in caves, and also its truly spectaclar setting. Take the funicular railway (or walk!) up to Bulnes, once possibly the most isolated village in Spain – only accessible along a mountain track. Or take the opportunity to walk the world-famous Ruta del Cares, an easy but incredibly beautiful walk through the heart ot the Picos de Europa Or just take a day off and chill out enjoying the bustling village atmosphere of Arenas. (varying km)
- Potes – From Arenas de Cabrales we follow the River Cares, the Sierra de Cuera to our left and the imposing Western, Central and Eastern Massifs of the Picos de Europa to our right. In Panes, the Cares flows into the Deva and we follow the latter upstream to the mountain village of Potes. Suddenly the sides of the valley close in and the route runs through the incredible rocky gorge of La Hermida. Mountains tower around us as we cycle Potes and the valley of La Liébana, completely encircled by mountains. This is a longer stage but easy – flat / downhill to Panes and then a barely perceptible ascent to Liébana and the village of Potes. (approx 50km)
- Potes – Cycle along any of the three valleys that meet in Potes. Take a trip on the cable car at Fuente Dé to enjoy breathtaking views of the Cantabrian Mountains, where the brown bear and wolves still roam. Enjoy a walk through the lush green valleys or the higher mountains. Spend time in the bustling market village of Potes with its peculiar mix of local farmers, tourists and mountaineers. Visit the many other picturesque villages dotted around the area. Cycle up to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, home to the largest surviving fragment of the True Cross or to the charming country monastery of Piasca. There’s no shortage of things to do in this magnificent setting. (varying km)
- Potes – A second day to enjoy the posibilities that the area around Potes provides. (varying km)
- Somo – Today we transfer to the Cantabrian Mountains, and begin our descent of the Miera Valley to our final stop in Somo. Pick up after breakfast and drive to the starting point at 822 metres/2697 feet above sea level. From here, a marvellous ride through the stunning limestone valley of the River Miera takes us down to the farmland around Somo and the Bay of Santander. Visit the mountain village of San Roque de Riomiera and the spa village of Liérganes with its charming old quarter. (approx 44km)
- Somo – Enjoy the marvellous beach, miles of golden sand. Take a short boat ride across the Bay to visit the lively and elegant city of Santander, capital of the province of Cantabria. Enjoy the belle époque atmosphere of El Sardinero, the beach resort of the city where Alfonso XIII and his court spent the summer months in the early 20th century. Or stroll around the town centre for some last minute shopping. Take one of the free day routes to visit the beautiful beaches of Loredo, Langre or Galizano. Ride through the green country lanes, where a surprise awaits you round every corner, to the village of Ajo where the speciality of the restaurants is that classic Spanish dish, paella.. Try the freshly grilled sardines in the seaside restaurants of nearby Pedreña. (varying km)
- Departure to Santander or Bilbao – End of trip. Pick up from Somo hotel and transfer to departure point.
You are provided with hybrid-type tourist bicycles from Trek with conventional handlebars and with triple chain ring and easy-to-change gear ratios for comfortable and easy cycling. Road bikes may also be available on request. We can also provide tandems, which make for great cycling fun, and are also ideal for those with children.
All cycles are equipped with pump, spare inner tube, water bottle, bike lock and basic toolkit. Extras such as lights or toe clips are available on request.
Hybrid bikes will carry a handlebar bag. They are also equipped with a rear luggage rack and one or two panniers, or a rear rack bag to carry just what you need for each day’s cycling. Road bikes carry a seat post bag if required.