Ever wondered why this part of Spain is so much greener than the rest? Part of the explanation is given by its extraordinary and extreme landscape (and related to that – its climate): the spectacular coastline to the north and the mountains that are almost touching the sea to the south. Describing this part of Spain is almost as if it were an advertisement for Ireland or Wales with its rolling hills, craggy hills, cider-drinking and bagpipes… Cycling along the coast on the north of Spain, you’ll be surprised by the endless variety alternating between sheer cliffs, tiny coves, small fishing villages and resort towns and sandy beaches.
Day 1: Transfer to Santillana
Pick up from arrival point and transfer to the charming medieval village of Santillana del Mar. Introduction to bikes and route briefing. Spend the rest of the day walking round the cobbled streets of this beautiful village, visit the modern museum of the Altamira Caves or enjoy a ride around the country lanes and down to the coastline.
Day 2: Santillana – San Vicente
Route: 36 km
Leaving Santillana, our route heads westwards through green meadows and the hills and valleys of Cantabria with its marvelous unspoilt coastline and beaches nearby. We soon arrive at the charming village of Novales, set amidst lemon groves and with its fine typical rural architecture. Next stop is the seaside village of Comillas. Here a visit to the fine beach, the small harbour and the pretty village square with its pavement tapas bars and restaurants is a must, not to mention the architectural sights of El Capricho by the famous Catalan architect Gaudí and the Palace of the Marqués de Comillas. After leaving Comillas, cycle through the Parque Natural de Oyambre and along the seashore with the beautiful beaches of Oyambre and Merón. On the last stretch we are greeted by the stunning view of San Vicente and the Picos de Europa in the distance.
Day 3: Free Day in San Vicente
Spend time getting to know this pretty fishing village with its many seafood restaurants and magnificent setting. Take a ride on one of the free day routes, or visit the lovely mountain village of Carmona. Alternatively, enjoy a ride through the unspoilt hill country behind the village, or you may just prefer to spend a lazy afternoon on the beach.
Day 4: San Vicente – Llanes
Route: 46 km
Leaving San Vicente, the route heads westwards along the coast. After a short distance, cycle around the beautiful headland of Pechón with its magnificent views of the coastline. Crossing the River Deva in Unquera, we enter the province of Asturias with its markedly different flavour. The village of Colombres is home to the sumptuous villas of the indianos, emigrants to the Americas who made their fortune and returned to show it off at home. From here the route continues between the coast and the dramatic mountain backdrop of the Sierra de Cuera, foothills of the magnificent Picos de Europa. A beautiful descent through eucalyptus forests brings us back to the coast where we cycle past beautiful and unspoilt beaches, so typical of Asturias, to arrive at the charming fishing village of Llanes.
Day 5: Free day in Llanes
Cycle westwards and visit a string of fine beaches including the incredible landlocked beach of Gulpiyuri. Another beautiful route takes us through the most beautiful hills and valleys behind Llanes. Alternatively we can give the bikes a rest and take a canoeing trip on the Deva or Sella Rivers, or a hike through the dramatic and renowned Cares Gorge in the very heart of the Picos de Europa. Take a train to Ribadasella and visit the Caves of Tito Bustillo with their prehistoric paintings before cycling back to Porrúa. Enjoy the busy atmosphere of the fishing village of Llanes, so popular with Spanish tourists.
Day 6: Llanes – Miera Valley Descent – Somo
Today we transfer to the Cantabrian Mountains, and begin our descent of the Miera Valley to our final stop in Somo. Pick up after breakfast and drive to the starting point at 822 metres / 3757 feet above sea level. From here, a marvelous ride through the stunning limestone valley of the River Miera takes us down to the farmland around Somo and the Bay of Santander. Visit the mountain village of San Roque de Riomiera and the spa village of Liérganes with its charming old quarter.
Day 7: Free day in Somo
Enjoy the marvellous beach with its miles of golden sand. Take a short boat ride across the Bay to visit the lively and elegant city of Santander, capital of the province of Cantabria. Enjoy the belle époque atmosphere of El Sardinero, the beach resort of the city, where Alfonso XIII and his court spent the summer months in the early 20th century. Stroll around the town centre for some last minute shopping. Take one of the free day routes to visit the beautiful beaches of Loredo, Langre or Galizano. Ride through the green country lanes, where a surprise awaits you round every corner, to the village of Ajo, famous for its paellas. Visit the Nature Park of Cabárceno with wild animals from all over the world, and bizarre scenery resulting from its one time use as a Roman mine. Eat freshly grilled sardines in the seaside restaurants of Pedreña, birthplace and home of the famous golfer, Severiano Ballesteros.
Day 8: Transfer Somo – Departure point
End of trip. Pick up from Somo hotel and transfer to departure point.