Basque Country, Cantabria, Picos de Europa, Asturias
8 days / 7 nights, Fully Guided & Supported
Parador Luxury Hotels & Country Retreat
Famous climbs of the North means first class road cycling along the roads of Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque country.
Green verdant ascents snake upwards into the clouds as we take on all the famous summits of La Vuelta. Ride through the Picos de Europa, the mystic Fuente De with panoramic vistas, Covadonga's lakes and legends, Peña Cabarga's fame and of course Angliru's pain - the hardest pro climb in Europe! Try them all on this beauty. 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!
Day 1. Bilbao Basque Country
63km - 1100m · 3608 ft
Meet in the Basque city of Bilbao to transfer out to our beautiful rural hotel retreat. Ride into the foothills and climb a gentle 3rd category road up to Las Munecas, a famous pass where in past La Vuelta race days the locals are out in a sea of orange supporting their home Eusakadi team. Enjoy our welcome dinner trying the high quality basque cuisine.
Day 2. Puerto de Alisas, Pena Cabarga, Cantabria
105km - 1600m · 5249 ft
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 Peña 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 medieval hideaway Parador Hotel inland, a great spot to start tomorrow´s ride from and enjoy the atmosphere of this special village.
Day 3. Picos de Europa, 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 retreat Parador 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 hike day to explore this pleasant market town and Picos. Potes is one of the most attractive villages in Cantabria and is surrounded by spectacular mountains. 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 Onís
120km - 1700m · 4265 ft
Another epic day awaits as you pedal 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 an unsurpassed viewpoint. 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 their cider. Enjoy this fascinating Parador hotel, 100s of years old tonight.
Day 6. Lakes of Covadonga, 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 to continue along a valley of flat and fast roads. Try the short category 1 "El Fito" to reach a 360 degree viewpoint. Descend along the green Asturian valleys, finishing in Vilavicosa. We take a short transfer to attractive Oviedo, our base to be ready to ride from the hotel the next day.
Day 7. The Angliru
90km - 1850m · 6069 ft
Our final riding day could be the best with 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. Transfer back to our 4 Star City hotel in Oviedo and enjoy a group meal. Uncork some 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 or the very conveniently located train station that accesses the rest of Spain. ¡Gracias y Hasta Pronto!
Road Cycling - Guided
Bikes - Road
Route - Bilbao / Basque Country / Cantabria / Picos de Europa / Asturias / Gijón
Groups Size - 6+
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.
Specially chosen 2 luxury Paradors, 4 star City, and 2 rural retreat hotel
All bedrooms are en-suite
3 dinners of 3 courses (including wine, beer, soft drinks)
- 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 (MULEBAR Energy Bars and Goos inc!)
- Electrolyte drink supplements
- 5% off future trips!
1-2 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
Arrival point - Bilbao centre Hotel
Departure - to Oviedo - Asturias airport
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.
Bilbao is well connected with international flights, train and coach services and Oviedo is as well at the end.
Will you be wishing you were back in bed on this tour? Riding or hiding, the hills are there for the day, so your night times should be free of any obstacles to blissfulness.
Stay in a beautiful luxury PARADOR for 2 nights in the Picos de Europa, right under the Massif, where its outdoor lifestyle building is a delight and in the Parador in the middle of lovely historic Santillana del Mar.
A comfortable quality 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.
“Top of the List! Northern Climbs
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 - July 2017
"Tough Climbs, but Awesome experience. Thanks guys for an amazing week that really challenged us on the bikes. I feel I am a better cyclist after trying those climbs. Good luck for the season!"
S. Martin - Vancouver, Canada - May 2015
“Cycling Northern Climbs
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 - June 2014
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 .
CUSTOM DATES: if booking with a group of 6+
This tour is available throughout the year given availability.
Pick your start date!
Discounts for 4+ booking together!
Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
- 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
- Some of the best road cycling in Europe - Total ascent 7900m / 25, 917 feet!
THE CC ADVANTAGE
Tour with one of the very few Spanish Official tour Operators of La Vuelta
Our experience of running Vuelta Tours here, on race day is Unique
We are Pro Race fans and get a thrill out of riding these routes here too!
Parador Boutique accommodation makes for a quality experience on this route
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
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