La Rioja and the River Ebro
A unique trip, following the River Ebro, the longest in Spain, as it flows from its source in the Cantabrian Mountains. It begins as a mountain stream flowing through green pastures and valleys, imposing canyons, vineyards, past pretty and unknown villages, As we cycle we perceive the changes in the landscape and the river itself. Finally we arrive in La Rioja, home of the finest Spanish wines – a sea of vineyards dotted with ancient villages, castles and wineries. A magnificent trip for those who wish to visit parts of Spain the tourists never see.
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 double room, and include trekking bike hire. Please make a booking enquiry for a confirmed price based on your chosen dates and exact requirements.
The River Ebro, the longest river in Spain, rises close to the Atlantic, yet flows across Spain and into the Mediterranean. We begin the trip at the source of the river and follow it as it flows through four different regions; Cantabria, Castile (province of Burgos), the Basque Country (province of Álava) and La Rioja.
The river rises high in the Cantabrian Mountains, close to the ski resort at Alto Campóo and in the midst of green pastures and immense forests. As we descend, the climate and the vegetation slowly become more Mediterranean. The river begins to form huge canyons, which would not look out of place in a Western movie. A succession of wide valleys and more canyons follows, dotted with tiny villages, churches and castles. It’s an unspoilt and remote country, where vultures and eagles fly overhead as we pedal along.
The full eight-day itinerary:
- Arrival in Campoo – Arrival in Santander or Bilbao and transfer to our hotel in Campoo.
- Polientes – This stage takes us through some fabulous and unspoilt scenery. From the green mountain pastures of the Cantabrian Mountains, along the shores of the Ebro Reservoir, past the Monastery of Montesclaros surrounded by forests to finally rejoin the Ebro in the Valley of Valderredible and tonight’s stop in Polientes. (approx 59km)
- Pesquera de Ebro – We begin by cycling through the open valley of Valderredible. Take the opportunity to visit the Romanesque church of San Martín de Elines and also the churches carved into the very rock, which are so characteristic of this region. As we progress down the river, the sides of the valley begin to close in until we find ourselves in a marvellous canyon of ever-increasing dimensions, where eagles and vultures soar overhead. Stop to visit the fairytale village of Orbaneja del Castillo with its cascades running through the village. As we approach Pesquera, the canyon of the Ebro reaches unbelievable dimensions before we finally reach the attractive village that will be tonight’s resting-place. (approx 43km)
- Medina de Pomar – A beautiful route which follows a huge bend of the river through the most picturesque and undiscovered villages. An optional extension takes us to the dramatic village of Puentedey,built on a natural rock bridge over the River Nela. Tonight we stay in the Castillian town of Medina de Pomar with its old Jewish quarter and the castle dominating the town and the surrounding landscape. (approx 36km)
- Frías – From Medina, we head back to the Ebro, The route then takes us along a quiet country road running parallel to the river where the valley begins to open out again. Visit the Romanesque church of San Pedro de Tejada and soon we are cycling through yet another canyon, which then opens out into the fertile valley around Frías. This is a spectacular village built around its castle and enjoying fine views of the Ebro Valley. (approx 58km)
- Haro – As we leave Frías, the valley begins to close in on us again until we find ourselves in another spectacular canyon. The road runs along the shores of a reservoir surrounded by high mountains and through short tunnels carved out of the rock. The route crosses the little town of Miranda del Ebro before passing through imposing peaks that signal the gateway to the enormous open valley of La Rioja. Tonight is spent in the wine-producing village of Haro, with a chance to drink a glass or two of Rioja in its birthplace. (approx 62km)
- Laguardia – We cycle through endless vineyards and numerous picturesque villages of La Rioja, with the backdrop of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains and the Ebro never too far away. We finally reach the superb walled medieval village of Laguardia where, as in Haro, wine is almost a way of life. (approx 25km)
- Departure – Transfer to Bilbao or Santander.
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.