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Pyrenean Traverse

Guided Road Cycling Holiday




12 days

Prices from

£3,295 P.P.
The Pyrenees, one of Europe's largest mountain ranges provides the background for this fantastic road cycling adventure. This trailblazing trip is varied and multifaceted and ventures onto roads rarely travelled by cyclists. From the crashing Atlantic Ocean to the calm azure of the Mediterranean our journey takes us through the whole of the Spanish ‘Pireneos’ and into four fiercely proud regions. Along the way we’ll take in many important historical Spanish 'puertos' (cols) not to mention a couple of French ones. 
We begin our adventure in the Basque region where the all Basque former professional cycling team Euskatel Euskadi was conceived and funded by its team members. For many years the Basque country has been synonymous with some of the biggest names in Spanish cycling with the likes of Miguel Indurain and Joseba Beloki honing their skills in the hills and deep Atlantic valleys.
As we traverse the sierra we’ll venture into the region of Aragon in the high Pyrenees, a land of giant passes and enormous mountains with towering peaks. Aragon is the setting of the Gran Fondo Quebrantahuesos, the most important and challenging cyclosportive event in Spain.
As we reach the end of our journey we enter into the stunningly beautiful and craggy sierras of Catalunya whose meandering roads eventually deliver us to the shores of the Costa Brava.

Holiday Highlights

  • A first evening feasting on Pintxos in beautiful Honarribia
  • Conquering classic climbs of the Pyrenees including the Cat 1 Puerto de Portalet
  • Winding through remote villages on unbelievably quiet mountain roads
  • Gazing in awe at the highest mountains in the Pyrenees in the Parque de Aneto
  • Wondering through the medieval streets of beautiful Ainsa
  • Finishing the week with a glass of Cava on the beach in picturesque Cadaqués

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Day 1
Arrival: Bilbao / Irun
Non Riding Day

After arrival in Bilbao we’ll make the 1.5 hour transfer to the Basque town of Irun, a pretty fishing community situated on the banks of the Bidasoa river. After building and fitting bikes we’ll head out into the lovely town to enjoy a traditional Basque supper over which the Skedaddle team will talk through plans for the following days.

The local specialities in the Basque region are “pintxos” and the majority of the bars in the town are dedicated to this fun form of eating. Pintxos can be anything from a piece of delicious cheese or tasty sweet ham on a cocktail stick to a culinary work of art mounted on a piece of bread and we’ll enjoy a lively evening hopping from bar to bar trying out different delicacies.

Day 2
Irun to Eugi
57 Miles / 91 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,150 Metres Approx.

Our first day on the bike is a fantastically picturesque introduction of what lies ahead as we head out on a route popular with local riders. It’s easy to see why these roads are so popular as we wind steadily through thick forest and follow the course of the Oiartzun river valley which leads us deep into the Natural Park of Aiako Harra.

The early stages, as we ride through a beautiful wild region linking the Cordillera Cantabrica and the Pyrenees range, feature relatively gentle climbs on which we warm our legs before leaving the coastal Basque region and heading into the first true Pyrenean province of Navarra where things start to get a little more serious.

Smooth switchback roads drop us back into the valleys and, after a late morning coffee stop in the striking granite village of Lesaka, we’ll continue our way along the Bidasoa valley. Later we take on Puerto de Artesiaga with its beautiful ‘mirador’ setting presenting a perfect alfresco picnic spot before we end the day descending gently the village of Eugi where we will spend the evening.

Day 3
Eugi to Anso
71 Miles / 114 Km Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 2,275 Metres Approx.

Once again the day begins relatively gently as we cruise through the gorgeous Navarran pre-Pyrenean countryside. With the higher Pyrenean mountains looming in the distance the road meanders its way over the Puerto de Erro and the Alto Mezkiritz before we cross the path of the Camino Frances, the ancient pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela.

Here we find ourselves close to the birthplace, home and training routes of five times Tour de France winner ‘Miguelon’ or Miguel Indurain. Puerto de Larrau, a 1,573m/5160ft summit on the border French/Spanish border lies ahead of us. A significant climb in these parts, it was here that Indurain suffered badly during his final Tour de France in 1996 marking a sad end, on his home turf, to his five-year reign.

We push on down the mountainside into the beautiful glaciated Roncal valley with its shattered limestone landscape, eventually arriving at our destination in the small and beautiful mountain village of Anso.

Day 4
Anso to Accous
59 Miles / 95 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,950 Metres Approx.

Today and tomorrow we will ride the route of one of Spain’s most challenging Gran Fondos. The Quebrantahuesos, takes its title from the Spanish name for the enormous Lammegeier vultures native to the area and, aptly, translates literally as “bone-breaker”

To avoid any risk of breaking bones though we’ll tackle the route over two challenging yet manageable days, the first of which takes us over the Puerto de Somport and back over the border into France where will spend the evening near to the small town of Escot, the gateway to the infamously steep Tour de France classic, the Col de Marie–Blanque.

Day 5
Accous to Sallent de Gallego
52 Miles / 83 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 2,400 Metres Approx.

Our second Quebrantahuesos day begins with something of a shock to the system as the Col de Marie Blanque is almost instantly upon us. It is a steep but thankfully short climb and the beautiful rural setting will help keep our mind off the gradient. After resting a while and taking in the lovely views from the summit we’ll enjoy a swift descent down the other side into the Vallee d’Ossau where we’ll take a right hand turn and make our way up the valley.

Our brief excursion into this beautiful part of France is almost over yet there is no reason to be sad as one of the most beautiful climbs, the mighty Puerto de Portalet, lies ahead of us and is waiting to coax us back into Spain’s Aragon region. The border lies at the 1,794m/5885ft high summit and after crossing it we commence a breathtaking descent to the pretty village of Sallent de Gallego.

Day 6
Sallent De Gallego to Ainsa
59 Miles / 92 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,300 Metres Approx.

A gentler day and a welcome change of pace awaits us today as we have an opportunity to recover a little from the rigours of the previous stages. We begin the day gliding around the mirror-like Embalse de Lanuza, a beautiful reservoir situated beneath the imposing Picos de Infierno. After dropping rapidly down into the Valle de Tena we’ll swing east where we start to ascend the Puerto de Cotefablo.

The descent over the other side delivers us to the edge of Parque National de Ordesa and Monte Perdido after which we head down the Valle de Broto and follow the course of Rio Ara via a series of small canyons and villages to Embalse de Mediano.

Finally we arrive at the beautifully preserved medieval town of Ainsa where will spend the evening beneath its impressive 11th century castle and enjoy feasting on local delicacies in the quaint cobbled plaza.

Day 7
Ainsa to Pont de Suert
54 Miles / 87 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 2,000 Metres Approx.

Our sixth day in the saddle sees us continuing eastward through more pleasant mountain towns and villages surrounded by towering peaks as we make our way into Catalunya.

After completing our first challenge of the day, Puerto de Foradada, the road leads us down to the banks of the gushing Rio Esera and through the dramatic Congosto (meaning canyon) de Ventamillo.

We’ll stop for a break in the town Castejon de Sos, nestled between majestic peaks of Posets, Maladeta and Aneto, the latter being the highest in the Pyrenean range at 3,408m/11,181ft, before pushing on over Puerto de Fadas and Puerto de Espina.

We end the stage descending the valley road for over 20km/12.5 miles to arrive, ultimately, in the market town of El Pont de Suert.

Day 8
Pont de Suert to Seu d'Urgell
70 Miles / 113 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,450 Metres Approx.

We start the day by climbing out of the Valle Noguera Riborgocana to reach the Coll de Perves where we can take in the wonderful views overlooking the heartland of Catalunya.

Quiet country lanes lead us through a red-earthed lunar landscape and via the glacial lake of Montecortes and numerous isolated villages until eventually we descend into the main valley of the river Noguera Pallaresa. Riding upstream along the dramatic valley we’ll stop for a break in the bustling town of Sort.

From Sort a challenging 1,000m/3300m climb takes us up and over the Coll de Canto from where we can see the peaks of Andorra and the stunningly craggy Serra de Cadi. An exhilarating descent from the summit of the Canto takes us down open country roads, through holm oak forest and then deep into the Segre valley and our destination in the area’s capital town La Seu d’Urgell.

Day 9
Seu d'Urgell to La Pobla de Lillet
55 Miles / 88 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,900 Metres Approx.

Today we will climb into the Serra de Cadi, a region of outstanding natural beauty almost unheard of outside the immediate area which throws up some of the most fabulous riding on the whole route.

As the road snakes its way into the serra through thick forested hillsides, we are presented with a series of colls to tackle including the Coll de Trava, the Coll de Bancs and the beautiful Coll de Josa.

As the day progresses the dramatic Pedraforca (Stone Fork) comes into view, the unmistakeable and iconic mountain of the range that is said to bring a calming nature to those in its presence!

A fabulous 500m descent into the River Llobregat valley, which meets the sea at Barcelona, takes us away from the Serra de Cadi leaving us with a final, and thankfully gentle, 10km/6 mile climb to the picturesque village of Pobla de Lillet.

Day 10
La Pobla de Lillet to Banyoles
55 Miles / 89 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,200 Metres Approx.

As we inch ever-closer to the Mediterranean we find ourselves entering the legendary Catalonian cycling country and during the next couple of days we may find ourselves sharing the roads with some of the many professional riders who base themselves here for the training season.

We set off due east and before long we’ll be heading up the 8km/5 mile forested road that leads to the summit of Coll de Merolla, setting us up for a fantastic rollercoaster descent into the Ribes valley. Back on lower ground and the lush green wooded valleys of Girona, our route takes us past the monumental village of Vallfogona as we head for the modest Coll de Canes before descending into the busy centre of Olot where we’ll stop for refreshments.

East of Olot we head into the Parque Natural de la Zona Volcanica de Garrotxa, an area of wooded craters and green valleys, reaching the beautiful medieval village of Santa Pau where we’ll have lunch before ending the day conquering a number of minor colls on the way to the lovely lakeside town of Banyoles.

Day 11
Banyoles to Cadaques
64 Miles / 103 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,450 Metres Approx.

We’ve reached our final stage and during the course of the day we will turn north and climb again towards eastern Pyrenees, taking on a series small climbs as we make our way to the coast.

Skirting the west side of the town of Figueres, the birthplace of artist Salvador Dali, we pick up the road leading to St Pere de Rodes, a 6th century Benedictine monastery perched precariously high and overlooking the Mediterranean. The winding road rises steadily, offering us amazing views of the muddled Costa Brava coastline before plunging us almost 500m down to sea level.

From here one final climb takes us into the Parc Natural de Cap de Creus, snaking through Mediterranean scrub and thicket before dropping us back down to the coast at the stunningly pretty village of Cadaques, once a fishing village and now a charming seaside resort. The village, where Dali spent many of his later years, hugs itself around a series of sheltered bays where fresh seafood and the catch of the day is on the menu for a fitting celebratory dinner and maybe a glass or two of celebratory Cava!

Day 12
Departure: Cadaques / Barcelona
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Transfers will be arranged to Barcelona (2.5 hours), where we bid farewell as we set off on our onward journeys.

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The Cycling


The Spanish Pyrenees, although not as steep as the French side are still a formidable challenge. Two or more significant climbs a day is not uncommon and many will include steep and challenging sections. Road surfaces are generally good although mountain weather can take its toll. Caution should be exercised, especially when descending as occasional potholes and gravel patches do occur. Descents are as frequent and long as the ascents and many feature numerous tight bends and switchbacks. Competent and confident descenders will undoubtedly enjoy the downhill stages, however all riders will be expected to exercise caution. Traffic is generally light throughout however it can become more busy on occasional stages approaching towns and villages.


Road Cycling Grade

Grade 4 : Challenging

45-80 miles / 80-130 kms per day

For cyclists with stamina & a good level of fitness

Long & challenging days with multiple tough or high altitude ascents, with steep sections over extended distances

Long & often technically demanding descents

Road riding for experienced riders

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 an enthusiast. It’s probably your main hobby and possibly the only sport you take seriously. You‘re in pretty good shape and you ride as often as you possibly can. You might participate in the occasional cyclo-sportive and when you do, you probably opt for the longest distances. You love bikes and fantasise about the latest model or the joy of a new set of wheels. You love challenges and you‘re looking for a tour with plenty of climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols or the like. You‘re a competent descender, and you‘re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you‘re comfortable riding in a bunch. You‘re happy to do your stint at the front of the pack if the need arises. You know you can ride a century and probably have done a few. It sounds like you are a Grade 4.

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

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a £300 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
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
12 days
Start Date
Return Date
12 days

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) GPX files available on request

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bilbao airport (BIO)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Barcelona airport (BCN)

I) 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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Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

The Essentials

Travel Options

This tour starts in Irun and finishes in Cadaques.

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday and both the arrival transfer from Bilbao airport (BIO) and return transfer to Barcelona airport (BCN) will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule.

We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to make sure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.


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

Rental bikes will typically be a Giant Defy Advanced 2 or Giant Liv Avail Advanced 2 (for those preferring a women’s specific geometry) – or equivalent, with a carbon frame and hydraulic disc brakes.

All our bikes have good quality components, and come equipped with two bottle cages and water bottle, a seat post bag containing: puncture repair kit, multitool, inner tube and pump.

We can also include a helmet which should be requested at the time of booking.

Please note that your bike will come with flat pedals as standard, so please do bring your own if you use clip-in pedals.

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News, Reviews & Stories

Cycling in the Pyrenees: A Tale of Two Journeys – France versus Spain

Cycling in Spain

We’re proud to call it our casa! Here's 8 things you’ll only understand if you’ve been cycling in Spain…

Meet the guides: Santiago 'Tato'

We caught up with Tato and asked him a few burning questions...


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