- The fantastic San Millan de la Cogolla monastery, a World Heritage Site
- Cycling high along the limestone cliffs of the Sierra de Cantabria
- Enjoying the atmospheric, medieval towns of Ezcaray and Laguardia
- Wine tasting in a Riojan bodega (or two!)
- Cycling through Mediterranean forests, along mountainsides and through endless vineyards
- Rolling along the Rio Ebro into Logroño for an authentic slice of tapas heaven in Calle Laurel
You’ll be met on arrival into Bilbao airport transferred to the capital of Rioja, the beautiful and historical city of Logroño .
Bikes will be fitted and tested for the week’s cycling ahead and your local representative will brief you on the adventures to come, after which you can step out and discover this wonderful city that sits on the banks of the majestic Rio Ebro. Flight times permitting, a visit to the Museo de La Rioja is highly recommended to learn a little about the diverse and fascinating area you are about to discover by bike.
Logroño is gaining a culinary reputation to rival anywhere in Spain and no visit to the town would be complete without a visit to Calle del Laurel which showcases the best pincho and tapas bars in the area. A great chance to go shoulder to shoulder with the locals, soak up some fantastic Riojan atmosphere and wash down local culinary delights with fruity red ‘de la tierra’.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,150 Metres Approx.
Your first day in the saddle begins by following the Camino de Santiago. You’ll leave the city via the ‘Puerta del Camino’ and head into the seemingly endless vineyards of Rioja; quiet, single lane strips of asphalt which lead you through pretty sandstone villages, heading towards the dark, looming Sierras de Cebollera. Soon you’ll reach the tiny village of Ventosa, which has been offering travellers refreshments for hundreds of years; with never-ending views across the Ebro plains it’s a fitting spot for a break.
The route proceeds West and a steady descent on winding roads leads you into the dramatically located medieval town of Nájera. Next you’ll continue onto the medieval villages of Codovin and Villar de Torre before a final steady climb brings you to the majestic monasteries of San Millan de Cogolla, guarded by the towering peak of San Lorenzo (2,270m).
San Millán de la Cogolla, site of the Suso and Yuso monasteries which were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, is known for being the birthplace of the first written words in Spanish. The setting of the Yuso monastery is exquisite and hopefully you’ll have time to explore before heading out for the evening of tasting the local Bodegas Moreno reds not forgetting the chance to sample some Riojan culinary delights.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.
Following a relaxing breakfast it’s time to head deeper into the La Demanda Mountains. Leaving your hotel, the views across the Ebro Valley, to the Cordillera Cantabrica mountains, are splendid as you wind your way through foothills and farmlands, before dropping into the beautiful Najarilla Valley. The dramatic road weaves you up the valley, passing the Anguiano monastery. You’ll be able to stop high above the rushing river for a morning coffee break and will have chance to spot soaring vultures! Creeping further away from the fertile Ebro Valley, the mountains become ever more enclosed around you, until reaching the Mansilla reservoir, where you can make a picnic stop break for some well-earned lunch.
Your afternoon ride will take you on a beautiful climb up through a twisted narrow canyon, taking you high into the Demanda mountain range on a virtually traffic free road. As you cross into the Castille y Leon province, the road eases into a beautiful glacial valley before arriving at the small, picturesque village of Neila. You pass through the town with a stiff climb over a pass called El Collado before a fantastic 20km descent down through a narrow pine forested valley to Quintanar de la Sierra. A short ride further will lead you to your hotel for the night in the town of Salas de los Infantes.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,600 Metres Approx.
The day starts by passing through the village of Huerta to the valley floor, spanning the trout river Rio Pedroso. Once the capital of the sierra, it’s a great spot for a mid-morning coffee to soak up some local life. Back in the saddle, you can take on the second climb of the day, gaining height on a terrific switch-back lane, before another gliding 20 or so km descent to the Uzquiza reservoir.
Climbing steadily through pines you’ll be rewarded as the route begins a great traverse. Pradoluengo, sitting between flower filled pastures and high mountains, is ideally placed for a refuel and rest before today’s final push. You’ll begin a fantastic descent into the wooded Ciloria valley, to reach the grand Rio Oja Valley and the quintessential Riojan village of Ezacaray, where you will stay for the night. Here, cobbled lanes link inviting plazas where some of the best cuisine in the region is served in a range of quality establishments.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,200 Metres Approx.
You start today with a very gentle ride out of Ezacaray and down the Rio Oja valley, passing the village of Ojacastro which is dominated by limestone cliffs. The valley flattens and widens as you approach the Ebro plain and you’ll find yourselves winding past woods and wheat fields until you reach the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, meeting the Camino de Santiago once again.It’s worth taking time here to meander around the town’s medieval streets and 12th century cathedral, before you hop back on your bikes for a cruise past endless vineyards to bring you out at the beautiful city of Haro, a place which lives and breathes wine and is the hub of the Riojan wine industry.
Here you can take a break in the atmospheric central square before riding down through the historical ‘estacion’ part of the town, which has been home to some of the most famous Riojan wineries for over 150 years. From Haro you will meander downstream on quiet lanes, skirting past the the wine village of La Bastida before climbing into the beautiful Sierra de Cantabria and the Alava province of the Basque country. You’ll soon find yourself on an exhilarating descent taking you back towards the Ebro valley to the village of Elciego.
From here your route begins to ascend from the Ebro basin. The sight as you head through villages is quite something, with undulating vineyards as far as the eye can see! Following the picturesque Rio Rozanco you will arrive in the beautiful, medieval wine village of Laguardia. Sitting high on a rock foundation, the village is located within pristine fortress walls and has hardly changed since the 13th century. Bliss.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,300 Metres Approx.
The final day of your Riojan cycling tour is a true beauty! As the sun rises and lights up the ancient golden sandstone of Laguardia, you set out for the stunning Sierra de Cantabria. Gaining steady height through vineyards, you pedal beneath impressive crags with Griffon Vultures spying on you as you check out bronze-age dolmens that scatter this ancient land.
Skirting past swaying golden wheat you pass the village of Lapoblacion and cross into the Navarra region which stretches to the high Pyrenees and the French border. The roads are desperately quiet and smooth as a terrific 15km descent lets you pin back your ears to blast down the Linares valley.
Prepare yourself for the final true climb of the week, a 5km climb past the impressively situated Santuario de Condes, to finally descend out of the sierra on a cracking 20km rollercoaster ride through deciduous forest and wheat fields, bringing you back to the beautiful blanket of vines. Snaking through foothills, you will arrive at the Camino stage-post town of Viana and you’ll meander through lanes for the final kilometres to your final destination, Logroño.
- Meals: Breakfast
Time to pack those bags for the last time. Hopefully there’s a little time to explore the old quarter of Logroño before your transfer back to Bilbao for your journey home.
This ride through Rioja will be 100% on asphalt roads. The route uses a mixture of different types of road including single lanes and quiet double roads with traffic kept to a minimum. Please be aware however that there will be some busier roads which you’ll cycle on, especially when close to towns and villages. Overall the quality of the roads is excellent, as throughout most of Spain, although there are sections that are potholed and gravelly at times. It is a mountainous region, hemmed in by 2 mountain ranges, so lengthy climbs and descents can be expected.
Road Cycling Grade
45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day
For riders with experience, good fitness & a decent level of skill
Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher grade tour
Most days include a couple of significant climbs
Some long days & some steep to very steep sections
Not for beginners
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
You’re definitely not a novice rider, you’re fit, you ride regularly at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for much of the day, you love your bike! You also enjoy a challenge and if you haven’t already done so you’re keen to attempt a semi-serious to serious mountain pass or two. You’re as comfortable with the prospect of descending from the top of a col as you are with the idea of climbing it and you’re confident that you have the skills to do so safely. You’re not necessarily a “racer” but you can crank up the pace a little when it’s necessary and you don’t mind forgoing a coffee stop if the schedule demands it occasionally. You probably own and use clipless pedals. You have good control of your bike and can take a drink from a water bottle without having to unclip and put your feet on the ground. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 3 would be a good option for you.
Dates & Prices
Daily departures available. The prices below are per person and are applicable for all start dates between and inclusive of the stated dates.
2023 18 Apr – 16 Oct – £1655
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Local representative (with welcome meeting)
D) Access to the Skedaddle App for holiday information and navigation
E) Luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bilbao airport (BIO)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Bilbao airport (BIO)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Meals not stated in the itinerary
D) Single room (available if required)
E) Travel insurance
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
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