Green Spain & Picos de Europa
Green Spain, unspoilt coastline, and the superb mountain scenery of the Picos de Europa. A magnificent combination of sea and mountains. One of our most popular trips with a great variety of scenery, villages and hotels.
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.
After riding along the coast, an easy, barely perceptible ascent leads us to the village of Potes at the very heart of the Picos de Europa. Alpine scenery and clean, unspoilt Atlantic beaches all in the same trip. The wonderful descent of the River Miera takes us down one of the least known and most beautiful valleys of Cantabria.
This is an unspoilt and largely unknown region of Spain, where mass foreign tourism has made no impact and which has managed to remain authentically Spanish. It’s an area of great contrasts between the verdant countryside, the deep blue of the sea, beautiful sandy beaches, washed every day by the Atlantic tides, and the jagged grey limestone summits of the Picos de Europa. This mountain range forms an impressive backdrop to the coast and rises up to over 2648 metres (almost 9000 feet). Its gentle valleys with their picturesque villages are ideal for cycling.
The coast has an immense variety of superb uncrowded beaches in all shapes and sizes ranging from small sheltered coves to the elegant Sardinero beach in Santander, made popular by visiting royalty at the beginning of the 20th century. The beaches around Llanes in the province of Asturias are famous for their unspoilt beauty, the green countryside forming a vivid contrast with the blue sea. The coastline is divided by various estuaries and bays, with great stretches of sand dunes. Other parts of the coast are lined by imposing cliffs providing wonderful scenery.
Further inland, the scenery becomes more and more mountainous. The valleys are of green pastureland – dairy and beef farming is an important part of the local agricultural economy. And then there are the mountains themselves, often wild and inaccessible; where one might walk all day and never see a soul. These are areas where wild boar, wolves and brown bear still roam, and eagles, vultures and birds of prey are common.
The full eight-day 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)
- Potes – 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 with its markedly different flavour. The village of Colombres is home to the sumptuous villas of the indianos, emigrants to the Americas who made their fortune and returned to a life of luxury. We then head along the Deva Valley, riding through the incredible rocky gorge of La Hermida. Mountains tower around us as we cycle towards Potes and the valley of La Liébana, completely encircled by mountains. (approx 56km)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.