Signature Climbs Series - The North

8 days / 7 nights Bilbao, Basque Country, Cantabria, Picos de Europa, Asturias, Gijon Ride the famous climbs of Northern Spain Fully Guided & SupportedQuality Hotels & Country Retreats Challenging


A truly classic road cycling holiday that "bags" all the famous passes of the fabled Green Spain that the pros have ridden over the years in La Vuelta. On an unrivalled journey that takes us through the Basque Country, Cantabria, the stunning Picos de Europa and ends in Asturias with the incredible Angliru, this is a fully supported and guided trip for those who want to sample some amazing scenery and of course test themselves on some world class ascents and thrilling descents. ¡Vamos!

Route Map

View Signature Climbs - The North of Spain Road Bike Tour in a larger map


  • Attempt the toughest climb in Europe - The Angliru
  • Famed ascents of Lagos de Covadonga, Pena Cabarga & El Fito
  • Discover the fabled home of Road Cycling in Spain!
  • Ride with the Cycling Country team, on legendary Vuelta climbs
  • Explore national parks with stunning mountain scenery
  • Epic A to B journey through 4 unique provinces, with local food & customs
  • Enjoy Asturiano cider, Basque country cuisine and mountain dishes of Cantabria
  • Traditional and quality accommodation in peaceful locations
  • Some of the best road cycling in Europe - Total ascent 7900m / 25, 917 feet!


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Day 1. Bilbao Basque Country

63km - 1100m · 3608 ft
We meet in the Basque city of Bilbao, home to famous Gugenheim museum. A short transfer brings us to our beautiful rural hotel retreat in the quiet countryside. Ride into the foothills of the local mountains for a warm up ride. Climb a gentle 3rd category road up to Las Munecas, a famous pass where in La Vuelta race days of past the locals are out in a sea of orange supporting their home Eusakadi team. Enjoy our welcome dinner trying the high quality basque cuisine. Pickups offered from Bilbao airport. Please contact us if you require nights in Bilbao prior the tour.

Day 2. Puerto de Alisas, Pena Cabarga, Cantabria

105km - 1600m · 5249 ft
A full day today, ride from the hotel through small villages into the higher mountains. Our morning destination is the category 1 Puerto de Alisas, a climb featured regularly in many Vueltas. After dropping down to near sea level contemplate our next challenge, the unique Pena Cabarga climb. Another cat 1, the Cabarga was raced up in 2016 and 3 years ago with Chris Froome of Team Sky taking the win. It is only 6km long but the views from the top of the coastline explain the average 9% slopes that hit 19% for a few horrible metres. Descend back down to our tranquil beach resort on the Cantabrian coastline - maybe even time for a quick late evening dip in the sea?

Day 3. Picos de Europe, Potes, Fuente De

95km - 1300m · 4265 ft
Today's route takes in the stunning Picos de Europa, often voted as one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. A morning ride takes us past flowing rivers as we pedal onto the mountain village of Potes, our base for the next 2 evenings. From here we will climb the col of Fuente De (a gentler ascent), made famous in 2012 as the place Alberto Contador sealed his Vuelta victory. From this picturesque high head back down to our mountain PARADOR retreat hotel and enjoy a group dinner together.

Day 4. Rest day or ride the Luengas pass

110km - 1200m · 3937 ft
An optional ride or rest day to explore this pleasant market town. Options exist to take a hike in the Picos, maybe venturing up the cable car. Potes is one of the most attractive villages in Cantabria and is surrounded by spectacular mountains and the interesting local stone housed villages. For those who would like to ride the bike, we will taking a spin out to the conquer the picturesque Puerto Piedrasluengas pass, heading onto the village of Cervera de Pisuerga, in the province of Castile and Leon. A free day to dine, try regional favourites like "cocido lebaniego" (mountain stew).

Day 5. San Glorio Pass, Cangas de Onis

120km - 1700m · 4265 ft
Another epic day of riding awaits as we start by pedalling up the smooth hairpins of the San Glorio pass to a height of 1206 metres. The scenery of the surrounding mountains is breath taking (as is this 26km climb!). After this grand achievement we ride down through gorges before ascending again to a viewpoint that shows off a vista unsurpassed. What goes up must come down and so enjoy a descent of over 40km to tonight's town of Cangas de Onis Cangas is a great place for bars, restaurants, and of course the famous cider. Another great stay in a luxury Parador tonight!

Day 6. Lakes of Covadanga, El Fito, Vilavicosa

95km - 1400m · 4593 ft
The morning is all about the ascent to the Lagos de Covadonga, a hors category thriller which is probably the most famous climb in Spain and many a past Vuelta has been decided here. Last featured in La Vuelta 2016, Quintana attacked and won, leaving Gesink, Froome and Contador in his wake. Making it to the high lakes at the top, cruise back down to continue along a valley of flat and fast roads. After fuelling up for lunch, try the short category 1 "El Fito" to reach a 360 degree viewpoint of stunning vistas. Descend down the smooth tarmac along the green Asturian valleys, finishing in Vilavicosa. We take a short transfer to our 4 Star city Hotel base to be ready to ride the the next day.

Day 7. The Angliru

90km - 1850m · 6069 ft
Our final riding day could be the best! Cycle to the base of the most feared climb anywhere on the cycling race circuit - the mythical Angliru. This hors cat mountain will challenge us like no other climb. A 12.5km hairpin ascent of super steep bends of upto 23.5% (avg of 10%), your triple/compact chainset will be needed! A test for all climbers (previous Vuelta winners include Contador, Heras and Simoni), this was where Chris Horner sealed his 2013 victory after riding away from Nibali and Wiggins cracked to lose the red jersey to Cobo in 2011. We transfer back to our beautiful rural hotel in Laviana and enjoy a group meal. Uncork a few bottles of Asturiano cider to celebrate our mountain adventure.

Day 8. Transfers

After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye as we take our transfers to Oviedo-Asturias airport, Oviedo centre or a drop off in the interesting seaside city of Gijon. Options to extend your stay in Oviedo or Gijon.

Trip Details

  • Tour Style
  • Classic Road - Guided - Challenging

    Bikes - Road

    Groups Size - 6+

    Route - Bilbao / Basque Country / Cantabria / Picos de Europa / Asturias / Gijon

    See Map for Details

  • Activity Level
    • Challenging - (Daily average of 100 km over mountainous terrain). The tour is suitable for experienced cyclists of all ages who have a good level of fitness and enjoy road biking. It goes without saying - expect climbs! Be prepared to descend mountain roads. Quiet country and mountain roads. Rolling countryside with long mountain passes.
  • Accommodation
    • 7 Nights
    • Specially chosen 3 luxury PARADORs, 4 star City, 1 historical Boutique home and 1 rural retreat hotel
    • All bedrooms are en-suite
  • Food
  • 3 dinners of 3 courses (including wine, beer, soft drinks)

    7 breakfasts

  • Extras Included
    • Welcome drink and meeting
    • Complimentary custom Cycling Country Spain Race cycling jersey
    • Complimentary Cycling Country water bottles
    • Tour guide book / Route notes / maps / profiles
    • Experienced guides with a wealth of local knowledge
    • Daily snacks and refreshments (muesli bars, fruit, nuts, etc and drinks)
  • Staff
  • 2 leaders with full van support to pick up souvenirs, provide refreshments, act as guides, offer tips and insights throughout the day, provide directional signs where required, transfer luggage and provide on-road assistance. 1 guide cycles with the group

  • Transfer
  • Arrival point - Bilbao centre Hotel

    Departure - Transfers back to Oviedo-Asturias airport, Oviedo or Gijon centre at the end of the tour

  • Bikes
  • You can bring your own road bike (we have facilities to collect and store bike boxes for the duration of the trip) or we can arrange good quality road bike hire either Carbon Trek Madones 3.1 (160 Eur) or Carbon Trek Edmonda S6 Ultegra 11 speed (185 Euros) for the tour. We also have wheel upgrades available (e.g. Dura Ace C50, or Ultegra wheelsets). If you do bring your own bike, we recommend a compact or triple chainset.

  • Getting Here
  • Bilbao is well connected with international flights, train and coach services. Please see our Getting Here section for further details.


“Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing, Beloved from pole to pole.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Will you be wishing you were back in bed on this tour? Possibly, sometimes, Yes of course! The hills are there for the day, so your night times should be free of any obstacles to blissfulness and we have some great accommodation on this tour. Stay 2 nights in the Picos de Europa in a beautiful luxury parador, right under the Massif, and in Cangas as well another Parador awaits in a historical building but with all the amenities. A city 4 star hotel that gives a great base to go out exploring on bike and your free evenings in Oviedo, a great city to wander. Your night in the village of Santiallana del Mar is in a medieval home that is a fine and luxury boutique experience and you will find your night in the Pais Vasco, accompanied by birdsong and tranquility in a lovely rural spot with some wonderful local food to start the day off with.

Dates & Prices

Dates Price In EUR
12 June - 19 June, 2018 (Guaranteed to Go!) Eur 1,925
25 July - 01 August, 2018 Eur 1,925
Custom Dates - Your Choice if booking with a group of 6 or more (check for availability)
Single Supplement Eur 275
*Price includes all local taxes. Single supplements apply (see individual trip details).
Please note we transact in Euros.

Enquire About This Tour


Top of the List! Northern Climbs - July 2017"
I write this as Javi and Dani drive us back to Bilbao after and amazing week of riding in northern Spain. This is the 12th year running that a group of us have gotten together to do a week long epic tour with past trips to the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees, Colorado, California and the Pacific NE USA and this trip and Cycling Country as a provider goes to the VERY top of the list. Geoff and Maggie have put together a fantastic schedule for 1 week of very scenic, challenging and historic riding (La Huelta symbolic). Javi and Dani then executed it to perfection. We couldn't if asked for better hosts...with excellent support, advice and great attitude throughout....and super riding companions. The accommodation was excellent (recommend taking the option to upgrade to Paradors for a couple of nights as they are even better than the very nice standard accommodation). The roads are, for the most part, in perfect condition and local drivers very accommodating to cyclists. Food on the road and in local towns (lunches, coffee and dinners out) were very reasonably priced and good quality compared to the rest of Europe. As for the riding...this route isn't for the faint of heart as we covered over 700km (440mi) and 13,000m (40,000 ft) over 7 days with famous La Huelta climbs Pena Cabarga, Lagos de Covalonga and Angliru as well as a number of other category 1-4s included. This is a serious cyclists route...but if you are up for it, it was immensely satisfying! Kudos and chapeau to Cycling Country all around. Sore legs and all, I want to come back soon!

G. LaDoe, London, UK

Cycling Northern Climbs - June 2014"
I had a first class experience doing Signature Climbs of the North in June, 2014. Route was excellent with plenty of challenging but achieveable climbs and descents aided by the professionalism and passion of Geoff and Dean.The roads were excellent as we're the hotels and it was fantastic to experience the food, culture and even the cider of the North with a great bunch of like minded individuals the majority of whom were Cycling Country devotees of which I am now one. Can't wait to do another Cycling Country adventure but better bring my wife next time!

M. Preston, Sydney, Australia

Testimonials from previous cyclists are always available and we enjoy receiving the feedback after tours. It helps us improve our services and offer you an even better experience. Please feel free to contact us if you would like a reference to talk to. Others have also posted reviews on the independent travel website TripAdvisor.

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