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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.


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Road bike France

A road cycling adventure between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabrian mountains, following in the footsteps of the VueltaRef CR65

It's a tour between land, sky and sea... Because even if we keep our tires on the ground, the peaks of the Picos de Europa take on the task of lifting our eyes to the sky and the Atlantic Ocean of letting them lose themselves in the horizon. On the mountain side, the programme includes the legendary mountain passes that have made the history of the Vuelta, the famous Spanish cycling tour, as well as more confidential passes to discover the remote villages and valleys of the Asturian mountains. There are plenty of free-roaming herds of sheep, cows and horses, so watch out for the bends! We'll be taking in the limestone peaks of the Cantabrica mountain range and enjoying the impressive paths through deep canyons. On the seaside, we'll be riding several times along the Atlantic coast, with its jagged cliffs and yellow sandy beaches that attract surfers from all over the world. We'll also be admiring the scenery from the mountain passes overlooking the coast. And to top it all off, we enjoy the renowned local cuisine: fabada (white beans with chorizo and smoked bacon), fish and seafood, local cheese pie, pinchos (local tapas), cider, Rioja wine (from the nearby region)...

Duration : 8 days | Level : Customer satisfaction : - 0 reviews
+33 458 140 435 A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
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Highlights

  • Climbing the legendary passes of the Vuelta: the Covadonga lakes, Jito de Escarandi, Puerto de la Sia.
  • The crossing of numerous national parks, both natural and geological: magnificent, unspoilt nature...
  • An overnight stay and two picnics by the sea on the Atlantic coast.
  • Pretty villages with their "horreos", wooden granaries built on stone stilts.
  • A variety of forests with oaks, pines and eucalyptus and beautiful ferns.
  • A mild climate, even in summer!

Description

Comments

  • The meeting point is in Bilbao, so you can choose to come by train, car or plane.
  • The climate of Asturias and Cantabria could be compared to that of Brittany. You can have all the weather in the same day! In spring, summer and early autumn, the weather is generally mild and mostly sunny, but you need to be prepared for anything, so be as well equipped for the heat as for the rain or the cold (in the mountains).

Physical level

Choose each day

Each day you choose between two different routes with varying distances and altitude gain (2 and 3 wheels).

Day 1: Individual journey to Bilbao

Itinerary start: Arrive in Bilbao in the late afternoon and move into your accommodation. If you are travelling by car, you can leave your vehicle at the accommodation for the duration of your stay.

Day 2: Bilbao - Riocorvo

Arrive in Bilbao in the late afternoon and move into your accommodation. If you are travelling by car, you can leave your vehicle at the accommodation for the duration of your stay.

After breakfast, a transfer of around one hour to Arredondo awaits us. We are now at the eastern foot of the Cantabrian Mountains, from where we start our long tour around the Picos de Europa.

We drive straight into the Collados del Ason Nature Park. Its limestone rocks are the result of the last ice age and feature impressive karst formations. At level 3, the fittest among us will cross the Picon Blanco, which offers a 360° view of the surrounding area. On our way, we will see numerous "cabanas" made of stone and with slate roofs scattered in the high valleys of Soba and Rio Trueba. They will accompany us on our journey through Cantabria and Asturias, both in the mountains and by the sea. Today we also come across the first free-roaming herds of horses and cows, which together with the spectacular limestone peaks and mountain ridges all around, form the breathtaking backdrop to this first day. From Puerto de Las Estacas, we see the Picos de Europa in the distance for the first time. We then reach the pretty village of Vega de Pas via a beautiful descent full of hairpin bends. At the end of the day we reach Riocorvo, where we will enjoy a good meal and spend the night.

Today's passes:

  • Portillo de la Sia (1200 m) - Level 2 & 3
  • Puerto de Picon Blanco (1523 m) - Level 3
  • Las Estacas Pass (1166 m) - Niveau 2 & 3
  • Portillo de Lunada (1350 m) - Level 3

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Level 2: 100 km and 2200 m
  • Niveau 3: 120 km und 2900 m
Day 3: Arredondo - Potes

This second day in the saddle always reminds us of the Basque Country in terms of scenery. The Collada de Carmona with its round, fern-covered mountains and pastures with free-range horses will be our backdrop for the first part of the day. We then cross the charming mountain village of Carmona with its narrow, cobbled streets, noble and baroque houses, where shoes are still traditionally made from apricot wood. A long climb up to the Puerto de Piedrasluegas through beautiful deciduous forests leads us to an impressive viewpoint over the high valleys of Nansa, Saja and Campoo, the Mirador del Jabali. After the descent with beautiful views of the peaks of the eastern part of the Picos de Europa, we reach Potes, one of the most beautiful villages in Cantabria.

Today's passes:

  • Puerto de Morancas (269 m) - Level 2 & 3
  • Collada de Carmona (601 m) - Level 2 & 3
  • Mirador del Jabali (1209 m) - Level 2 & 3
  • Puerto de Piedrasluegas (1357 m) - Level 3

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Level 2: approx. 100 km and 1950 metres
  • Level 3: approx. 110 km und 2100 m
Day 4: Potes - Santillan

Today, one of the highlights of this road bike tour is on the programme: the gorge of los Beyos. The route takes us through an impressive 10-kilometre-long canyon carved out of two huge rock faces by the Rio Sella. Then one of the big names of the Vuelta awaits us, the Puerto de San Glorio pass. It offers us a beautiful serpentine road overlooked by elegant cliffs. Once at the top, however, we are not yet at the end of our efforts, as we continue a little further up to the Collado de Llesba viewpoint. At the summit, we are greeted by a bear statue, the symbol of the Picos, which we can admire with a marvellous panorama behind us. The descent takes us down into the end valley of the Rio Puerma, which carves its way through boulders. The bells of horses, cows and sheep can be heard everywhere, and at the summit the view of the south-east side of the Picos from the Puerto de Pandetrave pass suddenly opens up!

Today's passes:

  • San Glorio Pass (1609 m)
  • Coll de LLesba pass (1681 m)
  • Puerto de Pandetrave (1566 m)
  • Panderrueda pass (1463 m)

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Level 2 & 3: approx. 110 km and 2500 m
Day 5: Santillan - Ribadesella (on the Atlantic Ocean):

A few kilometres to find our rhythm today and warm up, and we're already on the climb to the Covadonga Lakes (there and back, as it's a dead end), which is one of the most popular and well-known climbs in Spain. A great climb on a road bike that takes us to the centre of an idyllic alpine setting at the summit. Here, the Enol and Ercina lakes nestle at the foot of the peaks, surrounded by lush alpine meadows. We then pass the Mirador del Fitu viewpoint, which is located on the Cruz Llames pass. Once again, an incredible view awaits us: the Picos de Europa to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north! Later in the day, we pass through eucalyptus forests and fern-covered hills before cycling 10 kilometres along the Atlantic Ocean on lonely roads at the end of the stage. The rugged coastline reminds us of Brittany or Ireland, with rocky cliffs worth seeing and beautiful sandy beaches. Today's accommodation is in Ribadesella, a former whaling enclave at the mouth of the River Sella. The town and its beach are protected from the ocean by a rocky ridge.

Today's passes:

  • Covadonga- Lakes (1135 m) -Levels 2 & 3
  • Collado Moande (666 m) - Level 3
  • Collado de la Cruz Llames (574 m) - Level 2 & 3

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Niveau 2 : approx.  95 km und 2200 m
  • Level 3 : approx. 125 km and 3200 m
Tag 6: Ribadesella - Arenas de Cabrales

This sixth day is a day between land and sea. On our bikes, we first enter the green Zardon Valley on a narrow road that runs alongside the river. As we cross the Collado del Torno, the landscape changes abruptly: from the hills with their small farms and herds, we head over to the sea with its beaches, jagged cliffs, waves and surfers. It is worth taking a short break to enjoy the panorama of the northern side of the Picos de Europa with its highest peak, the Picu Uriellu (2519 m). This elegant and massive rock tower, also known as "el Picu", is a favourite destination for daring rock climbers. We spend the night in Arenas de Cabrales, which is known for its numerous outdoor activities: trekking, climbing, via ferrata, white water and, of course, cycling!

Today's passes:

  • Collado del Torno (634 m) - Levels 2 & 3
  • Mirador de la Bonza - Level 3
  • Alto de la Torneria (471 m) - Level 2 & 3
  • Mirador de las Estazadas (455 m) - Niveau 2 & 3

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Level 2: 100 km and 2150 m
  • Level 3: 115 km and 2350 m
Tag 7: Arenas de Cabrales - Cicera

The day begins with the second legendary pass of the Vuelta, which we take under our bikes: the Jito de Escarandi. We have the feeling that we are entering the very heart of the Picos de Europa. We gain height on a balcony road above the deeply incised valley of the Duje. We reach the high-altitude village of Sotres, which is famous for its cheese and meat specialities. After a final effort, we finally reach the pass after 20 kilometres. We enjoy the extraordinary panorama of the surrounding peaks and impressive gorges. After the high valley of Penamellera and its picturesque road through beautiful deciduous forests, we reach the Hermida Gorge, the second large canyon of our week of road cycling. We feel infinitely small at the end of this deep limestone valley, which we follow for around 10 kilometres. On level 3, we cycle there and back to Bejes, a charming mountain village nestling on the slopes of the Corvera Valley. The bravest among us and gravel fans can continue to the Collado de la Hoja to enjoy the view of the Sierra Cocon (200 metres of additional elevation gain). We spend the night in the pretty mountain village of Cicera, surrounded by rustic stone houses.

Today's passes:

  • Jito de Escarandi (1302 m)
  • Collau La Cruz (431 m)

Distance and altitude gain:

  • Level 2: 95 km and 2500 m
  • Level 3: 115 km and 3000 m
Day 8: Cicera - Suances - Bilbao

The last day in the saddle has begun. One last view of the Picos de Europa from the Collado de Hoz... In the idyllic gorges of the Tamason O Tamea river, we meet numerous pilgrims on the Way of St James on their way to Santiago de Compostela. More and more we feel the atmosphere of the approaching Atlantic Ocean, which gently announces the end of our road bike journey. We cycle up and down a few more times through pastures and forests. Again and again, beautiful views of the beaches and cliffs of the coast open up. The symbolic end point is the lighthouse at Punta del Torco, where our big road bike tour through the Picos de Europa ends. Transfer to Bilbao for the last night of the programme.

Itinerary end: End of our services after breakfast in Bilbao. Individual departure.

Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.

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