On this bike tour we have chosen the best highlights of the race from the lush green mountains of northern Spain to the spectacular scenery of the mountains of Madrid.
Starting in Cantabria and Asturias, in the area of northern Spain known as Green Spain, we bike through lush countryside that borders on the wild coastline of the Bay of Biscay and is surrounded by the magnificent mountain peaks of the Picos de Europa. From the picturesque fishing village of San Vicente de la Barquera in Cantabria to the Asturian capital city of Oviedo we attempt to ride the legendary climbs of Lagos de Covadonga and Angliru, both of which always make for exciting stages in La Vuelta.
Making our way south by high-speed train towards the Spanish capital we spend a couple of nights in the historic town of Segovia, which is home to one of the most well-preserved Roman Aqueducts in Iberia. This charming town is the ideal base for us to explore the beauty of the mountains of Madrid by bike, visiting the medieval town of Pedraza and the historic royal monuments of La Granja and Riofrio.
From the famous walled city of Avila we also have the opportunity to tackle the mythical climb of Serranillos made famous by the grand victory of Bernard Hinault in the 1980s. With the peak of Puerto del Pico nearby, those with a thirst for more climbing can continue this classic route.
We finish this tour of the best memories with a stay in Madrid to explore the vibrant Spanish capital on two wheels, the best way to see any city!
Day 1: San Vicente de la Barquera
Pick up from Bilbao or Santander airport. Transfer to our hotel in San Vicente de la Barquera. Welcoming, introduction of the crew and bike fitting. You can have a guided visit to this beautiful town surrounded by the Natural Park of Oyambre. Don’t miss the savage beaches with dunes , the castle and the millenary old port. The best fresh fish and good meat will be waiting for as. San Vicente is also famous because its spectacular cuisine. Bike fitting and dinner in the town. Optional: Dinner at sea side at a Michelin star restaurant: http://www.annuagastro.com/
Day 2: San Vicente de la Barquera
Accomodation: Gerra Mayor
First morning of ride. This time we will attempt to climb the famous Fuentede pass, then ride back to our hotel in San Vicente. This ascend was the end of a stage of la vuelta 2012, won by Alberto Contador after surprising everyone with a very early attack from “Collado de la Hoz” 40 km to the finish. Joaquin Rodriguez ”Purito” could not follow him. As usual in Spain we will find, very good road conditions and respectful drivers in this fantastic scenario surrounded by the vertical mountain range of Picos de Europa. Data from the ascension may seem friendly, but it is a very long and continued ascension: 5.9 Km at 6.6% to the first pass of Ozalba, 5.7 Km 7.6% to the Collada de la Hoz, the second pass and then another 17 km at 3.9 % to the top.
Day 3: Oviedo
Accomodation: Las Caldas
We can cycle along the coast to the start with the amazing route of Lagos de covadonga. Amazing landscapes in between tiny lakes really up in the valley. We can visit the famous sanctuary that names the whole area and sited into a cave is a very important spot in the history of Asturias. The climb starts just after the cave and consists of 14 km, in which a vertical drop of 962 m is saved, which means an average gradient of 6.87%. The toughest stretch is between 7 and 9 km, in areas known as The Huesera (800 m straight ramps between 12 and 15%) and the Mirador de la Reina, with ramps that reach 14 and 15% of desnivel. By the way is the climb that is been repeated more times in the story of La Vuelta. Tasting some cider and trying local food in a near costal town is obligated. We will transfer back to your hotel in the beautiful city of Oviedo.
Day 4: Oviedo
Accomodation: Las Caldas
The big day. From Oviedo we will attempt to climb the worldwide known climb of Angliru. We are talking about a serious thing which is considered one of the mountains passes paved toughest cycling in the world. Indeed, the Angliru is considered the world’s most hard top up the race. Statistics talks by himself: Elevation: 1,570 m, Length: 12.6 km, Elevation: 1265 meters, Average slope: 10.04%, Maximum slope: 23.5%, Coefficient of effort: 328 Don’t worry, our bus will be close if you want to rest or just get a lift at some point. You can cycle back to your hotel and have a fantastic typical dinner. Meals: Wine tasting, gourmet dinner with beer & wine provided.
Day 5: Segovia
Accomodation: San Antonio Real
We are moving south today. Best way to move though Spain is the high speed train that runs at more than 300km an hour, this time to takes you comfortably to Segovia city. From our hotel, in the afternoon, we will make a fantastic loop joining the medieval towns of Pedraza, and knowing our royal heritage in the Palaces of Riofrío and La Granja. Later on we will visit the spectacular city. Do not miss the medieval castle, the cozy old town, cathedral and of course the 2300 years old Roman aqueduct, Heritage of Humanity.
Day 6: Segovia
Accomodation: San Antonio Real
As said, the roads in the north side of Madrid are the perfect playground for professional and passionate of the sport. The impressive views from the bike in a constant up and down in between the mountains, makes worth the effort. Navafria pass, Cotos and Navacerrada will be the tops to match. We will have time to visit the Monastery of Paular, have a coffee in one of the cute mountain village. The final climb to Navacerrada pass has the added difficulty of the pavement trail that takes to the top of the ski resort with some sections of 20%. Nibali won the title there for the first time in 2010 after being second behind Mosquera.
Day 7: Madrid
Accomodation: Petit Palace Lealtad Plus
After one hour transfer to have a quick look to the walled city of Avila before cycling into the climbing area of Serranillos and Puerto del Pico. You can feel yourself in Bernard Hinault Shoes in his epic climb of 1983 when he imposed a strong rhythm from behind, getting to the small head group and finally beating the only two riders who were able to stay close to him. It is a not very steep ascent but real long. As usual our bus will be helping you to enjoy the ride. Surely if time permits, we will visit the village and the cyclist Museum in El Barraco, born town of top Spanish riders. At the end of the itinerary we drive to our final destination: Madrid.
Day 8: Madrid
Accomodation: Petit Palace Lealtad Plus
Is there a better way to know Madrid than from a bicycle? We will be proud to show you the most impressive part of the city, cycling into the final circuit of La Vuelta and trough the most beautiful avenues in Madrid: El Paseo del Prado and la Gran Vía. Depending on weather and what people prefers we can choose one of the many options to ride, from the city to near towns. We will have a special dinner and a real Flamenco Show.
Day 9: Departure
After breakfast you can come along on a city bike tour of Madrid. This 2-3 hrs. loop takes you past the most interesting places, monuments, parks and decorative squares and beautiful parks. This is a fantastic way to experience the life of Madrid. We will have you back at the hotel by noon.
Hotel Enclave las Caldas
When not relaxing in the spa, you can enjoy a round of golf, or a walk on the historic grounds or the stunning natural landscape beyond.
This grand, luxury hotel features a spa making use of the healing waters of its own thermal spring. It is set between the sea and the mountains in the green region of Asturias. Boasting a beautiful, natural setting in the area around the Nalón River, this classic hotel has state-of-the-art facilities designed to take care of your health and beauty needs.
Hotel San Antonio el Real
It is located 10 minutes walking from the aqueduct and the main square.
Hotel San Antonio El Real is the accommodation that you are looking for: with a wealth of detail and an impeccable cuisine, it is located in a part of the San Antonio El Real Monastery, a National Monument of a beautiful city deemed as a World Heritage Site. Fully-equipped bedrooms, with Hispanic-Muslim art, boast some of the most modern services and facilities, which include a spectacular garden-cloister and the famous Cloister of San Antonio El Real and Restaurant. History, high cuisine and comfort get together.
Hotel Gerra Mayor
The Hotel Gerra Mayor is a small paradise in a stunning location overlooking the Bay of Biscay in the town of San Vicente de la Barquera.
It offers charming rooms with a sea view, living room with fire place, a cafeteria facing the ocean and a large garden. The relaxed atmosphere and attentive personal service combines with a refined decoration. Surrounded by the wonderful natural environment of a protected natural park and located in front of a superb wild sand beach, this hotel is a jewel to discover.
Petit Palace Lealtad Plaza
The Petit Palace Lealtad Plaza is a boutique hotel located between Paseo del Prado and El Retiro in Madrid.
It is a perfect hotel at the heart of Madrid Triangle of Art, an ideal location close to the main tourist attractions of the city. Discover its complete rooms with a free iPad and relax: the Petit Palace Lealtad Plaza invites you to live a unique experience in Madrid.