- Difficulty: Moderate
- Category: Cycling, self-guided
- Duration: 7 nights, 8 days
- Recommended time of year: 1st April - 31st October
Easy cycling through valleys of the Picos de Europa National Park and descent to the stunning coast or northern Asturias.
- The tour begins in the plains of northern Castile with two nights in historic towns: Aguilar de Campoo and Cervera de Pisuerga, and cycling in an area famous for its medieval Romanesque-style architecture.
- A short climb will take you into the region of Cantabria before you descend into the quaint town of Potes, in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park.
- You will have a chance to take the Fuente Dé Cable Car taking you to a height of 1823 meters for a privileged view.
- Cycling through the Hermida Gorge, an impressive 20km long ravine, will take you to the northern part of the Picos Mountains and Arenas de Cabrales.
- Take the funicular at Puente Poncebos, a tunnel railway that climbs over 2 kms inside the mountain to take you to the isolated mountain hamlet of Bulnes.
- One last cycle from the mountains to the coast through beautiful rural scenery and the sea as a backdrop.
- Your last night is spent in the pretty seaside town of Llanes, famous for its wonderful beaches, medieval core and bustling harbour.
This tour is all about the Picos de Europa Mountain Range, one of Spain´s first National Parks. The highest peaks of Northern Spain are to be found in this setting where the legendary history of Asturias was forged.
The central massif is home to the highest peaks in the Cantabrian Mountains in the form of the sheer-sided Urrieles, dominated by the most emblematic reference in the Picos de Europa: the immense beauty of Naranjo de Bulnes or Urriellu Peak. Its 2,519 meters of difficult terrain have not prevented human settlements from emerging, the most famous being the village of Bulnes. Until 2001, it was accessible only via a steep, narrow mountain path. Since then, access to the village is easier thanks to the funicular railway that cuts across the mountain from the town of Poncebos.
Despite being surrounded by mountains, this is not a very challenging cycling holiday, as you might expect. Much of the cycling is along valleys, following rivers as they descend towards the sea, keeping each day´s climbing to a moderate level.
The descent to the stunning northern coast of Asturias and enjoying its wonderful beaches make for a great way to end the tour.
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 or Bilbao international airports.
How do I get to the Starting Point? From Santander there are several trains each day to Aguilar de Campoo. They take about 2 hours. There are more international flights to Bilbao than to Santander. If you fly to Bilbao, you can easily get to Aguilar de Campoo by bus (taking about 4 hours). A visit to Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum there is very recommended.
How do I get back? By bus from Llanes to Santander Airport 1hr:45mins. By bus from Llanes to Bilbao 3hrs and 45mins.
Day 1: Arrival to Aguilar de Campoo
Enjoy a walk around this walled mediaeval town and its palace, monastery, convent, church and many noble houses.
Day 2: Aguilar de Campoo to Cervera de Pisuerga
Handover of the bikes and cycle along the river Pisuerga passing through small villages full of history and beautiful Romanesque churches for which this area is famous.
24 miles (39 km)
Day 3: Cervera de Pisuerga to Potes
A beautiful ride along quiet country roads heading North, leaving the province of Palencia and entering the very different region of Asturias and the Picos de Europa National Park. 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.
35 miles (56 km) mostly downhill
Day 4: Circular route Potes-Fuente Dé-Potes
23 kms from Potes and climbing a total of 800 meters will take you to the base of the cable car in Fuente dé. It will be well worth the effort when you go up an additional 750 meters to reach a height of 1850 meters from which to enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the Picos de Europa Massif. If you are feeling tired, there is a much shorter alternative for a chance to visit the stunning Santo Toribio Monastery.
29 miles (46 km)
Day 5: Potes to Arenas de Cabrales
Cycle out of the valley of Liebana and into the Valley of Cabrales, famous for its production of spicy blue cheeses made in the artisan tradition. You will cycle along the Hermida Gap, amongst vertical limestone walls as high as 600m.
29 miles (47 km)
Day 6: Circular route Arenas-Bulnes-Arenas
One more day amongst mountains. A short 6,5km cycle up to the end of the road in Puente Poncebos where you can choose between a 4km walk uphill or taking the cable car to the stunning and isolated mountain village of Bulnes. Retrace your steps/cycle to return to Potes.
8 miles cycle and 5 miles walk (13 km cycle and 8km walk)
Day 7: Arenas to Llanes
One final day cycling to reach the Northern coast to enjoy its wonderful white sandy beaches. There are two alternatives today depending on how tired you are or how soon you want to get to the beach!
22 miles (36 km)
Day 8: Departure or extra nights
Extra nights in Llanes, Santander or Bilbao or Return.
Aguilar de Campoo
Historic and artistic Monument, Monastery now converted into a comfortable three stars hotel.
Day 2 Cervera de Pisuerga
XVIIth century converted water-mill. Three stars rural hotel.
Days 3 & 4: Potes
Comfortable hotel with mountain-view restaurant. Two stars.
Days 5 & 6: Arenas de San Pedro
Quiet, cosy three stars hotel with pool.
Day 7: Llanes
XVII century building originally used as a convent, then military house and later school to finally be converted into a hotel. 3 stars.
Our hire bikes and equipment:
A bicycle specialist will deliver your hire bike and adjust it to your specifications. We provide you with fully equipped touring bicycles. Remember that we carry your luggage between hotels so you can travel light.
- Price: 726€ per person
- Single room supplement: 171€
- Solo Traveller supplement: 279€
- Half board / dinners: 150€
- Bike hire: 90€
- 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.
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