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Spain

La Rioja - Ruta del Vino

Self-Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

7 days

Prices from

£1,495 P.P.
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Come and discover this world-renowned wine region by bike! 
The deep red tinto that is Rioja has shaped the culture and land for centuries. Cycling around La Rioja will leave an unforgettable impression on you; landscapes, heritage, culture, wine... offering road cyclists the chance to discover the area's sights, both natural and cultural. It’s no surprise that Rioja is a land where people live and breathe wine, boasting more than 500 wineries and fantastic cycling where the deep red tinto has shaped the culture and land for centuries.
Curiously, although wine has been produced in the region since Roman times, it was French winemakers with pest depleted harvests who saw the potential of this region. La Rioja has now got it all from traditional bodegas and medieval caves to modern, jaw-dropping architectural cellars. However, the region offers far more than fantastic vino tinto, it also serves up some of the best food in Spain! Hearty mountain stews and fantastic tasty local meats and game - fresh, simple local produce are the staples. 
The Rioja region spreads itself out along the fertile Ebro valley, hemmed in by the dramatic Cordillera Cantabria and the lofty peaks of the Sierra de La Demanda threaded by sinuous roads to help you discover the region. The cultural heritage is strong and has been spiced up by the ancient influence of the Camino de Santiago which runs straight through the heart of it, giving La Rioja an added depth of history and culture.
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Holiday Highlights

  • The fantastic San Millan de la Cogolla monastery, a World Heritage Site
  • Marvelling at Frank Gehry’s architectural genius at the Marques de Riscal Winery on the loop ride from Laguardia
  • 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

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Bilbao / Logroño
Non Riding Day

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’.

Day 2
Logroño to San Millan de la Cogolla
47 Miles / 76 Kms Approx.
  • 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.

Day 3
San Millan de la Cogolla to Ezcaray
56 Miles / 90 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,200 Metres Approx.

Following a relaxing breakfast we begin our journey towards Santa Domingo, a beautiful stop for pilgrims on their camino to Santiago and the perfect place on today’s ride for a morning café break.

This afternoon’s ride gently undulates through lush agricultural scenery and vineyards before the challenge of the day with a climb at Puerta de Padilla, followed by 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.

Day 4
Ezcaray to Laguardia
49 Miles / 79 Kms Approx.
  • 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.

Laguardia is the perfect place to enjoy a wine tasting, there are many bodegas to choose from and we’ll give you a list of options including our favourite, Bodega El Fabulista where you can visit the underground cellars and enjoy an evening tasting all their delicious wines.

Day 5
Laguardia - Loop Ride
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,200 Metres Approx.

Starting from our fabulous base in Laguardia, today’s loop ride explores the lush vineyards of the Ebro basin passing many famous bodegas. Beginning by descending from Laguardia to reach the Ebo River, our route to the incredibly scenic castle-topped village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra soon comes into view through the vines.

On today’s ride the greatest challenge will be choosing from the many incredible places to take a break from the bike and explore the winemaking traditions of the region. From the Vivinco Museum of Wine Cutlure to marvelling at the Frank Gehry designed Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal, named the best vineyard in Europe in 2021 (and 2nd in the world!) you will be spoilt for choice. The region’s history is as rich as the wine, look out of the Chabola de la Hechicera (House of the Sorcerer) at the top of your final climb of the day towards Laguardia.

Day 6
Laguardia to Logroño
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • 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.

Day 7
Departure: Logroño / Bilbao
Non Riding Day
  • 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.

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The Cycling

Terrain

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.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

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.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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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.

2024 – £1495 18 Apr – 16 Oct

2025 – £1575 21 Apr – 16 Oct

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a £200 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
7 days
Price
£1,495.00

Whats Included Tick

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 an 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)

H) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

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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The Essentials

Travel Options

This tour starts and finishes in Logroño.

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday.

For this tour we ask that you fly into and back from Bilbao airport (BIO). Please arrive between 09:00 and 15:00 and depart between 11:00 and 20:00.

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for your transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite in 2/3 star hotels or guesthouses. Family run, personable, charming, comfortable and homely are boxes we tick when looking for places to stay. A million miles away from chain style hotels and all with unique touches.

Bike Hire

If you have opted to rent bikes these will typically be Merida Bikes with Carbon frame.

These bikes are set up tubeless on road-specific wheels and 700×28c tyres.

They provide a comfortable riding position and wide range of gears, fitted with hydraulic disc brakes.

They are great bikes with good quality components and generally come equipped with at least one bottle cage, a saddle bag, a phone mount and a small pump. We can also include a helmet which should be requested at time of booking. The bikes come with flat pedals as standard, so if you prefer to ride with clip-in pedals please bring your own pedals along with you

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