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Spain

Bilbao to Barcelona

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

10 days

Prices from

$2,675 P.P.
Spain

Bilbao to Barcelona

Guided Road Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

10 days

Prices from

$2,675 P.P.
BOOK NOW
Bilbao to Barcelona is an adventure of contrasts that will take you from the crashing Atlantic to the calm waters of the Mediterranean, from the iconic monuments of Gehry’s Guggenheim to Gaudi’s outrageous Sagrada Familia, from cider country to cava land, connecting with a cycling journey, two fiercely proud provinces of Pais Vasco and Catalonia.
Between these two great cities the route also journeys through Navarra and Aragon taking in the Pre Pyrenees, the fantastic Navarrese and the Somontano wine regions, the serenity of the Guara and Montsec sierras with their breathtaking canons and the stunning historical villages of Olite, Sos del Rey Catloico and Alquezar, known for its fine wines and prehistoric rock art.
The aim of this fantastic journey isn’t to ‘bag’ the highest passes or to cram in as many miles as possible each day, but to take the rider through the most exquisite countryside, past the historical sights, taking in a meandering route through sierras and valleys in the shadow of the majestic Pyrenean range as your senses absorb the stunning surroundings.
The days are linked with stays in ancient villages overlooked by majestic castles, grand monasteries and great quality family run hotels who know a thing or two about feeding weary travelers.
On your 8th and final day in the saddle you will leave the awesome, iconic site of Monserrat, its gigantic granite serrations standing proud and imposing across the Catalan heartland and head out for the great city itself, Barcelona.

Highlights

  • An epic coast to coast adventure – riding all the way from the Atlantic to the Med under your own steam
  • Cycling with the impressive back-drop of the Pyrenees by your side
  • Dining each evening on rustic Spanish mountain cuisine
  • The striking pink granite of the Parc Natural de Montserrat
  • Dramatic castles, forts and monasteries perched on every hilltop
  • Seeing Barcelona stretched out in front of you, with the sea beyond

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All of the days provided great cycling with good traffic free roads, reaching Monserrat was perhaps unique because of its location but other places we visited were also fascinating. Our guides were superb, they were of the exceptionally high standard that we have come to recognize from Skedaddle guides.

Nigel, UK

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Bilbao Airport
Non Riding Day

You will be met by our Skedaddle Spain guides at Bilbao airport and taken to our first night’s accommodation on the southern edge of the city. Transfer time will be approximately 20 minutes from the airport, giving us plenty of time to build and check our bikes for the adventure ahead.

Tonight we will head out to a local restaurant for a welcome meal of tasty local cuisine and wines.

Day 2
Bilbao to Galdeano
81 Miles / 131 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,000 Metres Approx.

After breakfast we head out to start this fantastic journey, taking us from the crashing Atlantic to the calm waters of the Mediterranean and the exciting capital of Catalonia, Barcelona.

From the door of the hotel we’ll head straight into the lush green valleys of the Basque country on fine country lanes, passing flower filled pastures and wooded hillsides. Soon we’ll be pedalling into the foothills of the Urkiolako Natural Park, an area of vast beauty comprising several mountain ranges and the first of the week’s many climbs with a steady start up to 600m.

Our route will then scrape the edge of the Gorbeia Natural Park. These rugged mountains are crowned by steep limestone cliffs above many rivers and streams that have sculpted deep, craggy ravines. It’s a stunning area to cycle through as we follow the Rio Barazar downstream to a string of picturesque reservoirs.

Ahead of us awaits the climb of the day and the dramatic road to the Murube pass, sitting at just over 1,000m. An exhilarating descent will see us entering another beautiful Natural Park, Urbasa and Andia, comprising vast beech forests and high pastures. We’ll soon leave the Basque region and enter another region of fiercely proud people, Navarra; With its fair share of the towering Pyrenees giving way to lush valleys of vineyards and stark plains to the south, sliced up by numerous unforgiving sierras, it’s a place of diverse beauty.

We will pedal some easy Kilometres through villages and rolling farmland to the Gamboa reservior, an ideal place for a relaxing picnic lunch, Skedaddle style. Post lunch we’ll take on the final climb to reach the Puerto de Opakua and glide along the Urederra Valley to decend a deep dramatic canyon ,to reach our base for the night, the traditional village of Galdeano with dramatic views of rocky sierras.

Day 3
Galdeano to Sos del Rey Catolico
68 Miles / 110 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,338 Metres Approx.

Back in the saddle after a delicious breakfast, we take a steady start and glide through Navarran farmland arriving at the stunning medieval village of Olite, a fortress that sits on the edge of the Navarran plains like a proud guardian. Olite produces some of Navarra’s best wines and its beautifully preserved centre is a pleasure in which to take a morning coffee.

From Olite we quickly head into the first climb of the day, a handy warm up in the shape of the Lerga pass at 732m. The descent takes us onto some beautiful open Navarran countryside on the edge of the Sierra de Izco, down towards the Bardenas Reales natural park, an arid, semi-desert region where the natural elements have carved a dramatic landscape of canyons and summits.

A descent will take us down to the medieval town of Sanguesa that spans the gushing Rio Aragon. We’ll then follow the Rio Aragon valley through rolling farmland before our final climb of the day to the picturesque, perfectly preserved medieval village of Sos del Rey Catolico, our home for the evening.

The views from the village, atop its natural rock perch are exceptional and pre-dinner drinks on the hotel terrace will be a treat.

Day 4
Sos del Rey Catolico to Loarre
55 Miles / 88 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,597 Metres Approx.

Almost straight from the door we take on the longest climb of the day which will take us to just over 1,000m and into the beautiful Sierras de Luesia, opening up great views of the High Pyrenees.

The route takes us through some stunningly beautiful scenery as we thread our way along mountain lanes, passing into the province of Aragon and into the Sierra de Santo Domingo, a range that marks the pre-Pyrenees. It’s an incredibly wild area and home to many large birds of prey including the elusive and rare, huge vulture, the Lammagier.

We’ll pass the lovely village of Uncastillo, with one castle, obviously, and no less than 6 Romanesque churches.

After a relaxing picnic with views of the dramatic sierras, and maybe a short siesta, we’ll be thrown into a thrilling twisting descent all the way to the racing Gallego river valley, which takes much needed water from the Pyrenees to the arid Aragonese interior. We’ll be treated to breath-taking views of Los Mallos de Riglos, conglomerate rock pinnacles that stretch out to the blue Aragonese skies like fingers.

From Ayerbe we’ll take a steady final climb into the Sierra de Caballera, passing vineyards to the fantastically situated Loarre with its magnificent 11th century castle. Time permitting we should have time to take a walk to this fantastic fort, before having dinner together in the village below.

Day 5
Loarre to Alquezar
58 Miles / 93 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,166 Metres Approx.

The route swings south heading out of the sierra on a 30km descent with views of numerous fortifications, leading us past pretty river valleys and villages to the regional capital of Huesca, to soak up some town life and have a drink in one of the town’s squares.

The other side of the town leads us into the Pre-Pyrenean Sierra de Guara, a thinly inhabited region of huge canyons, sculpted gorges, painted prehistoric caves, enchanting villages and mile upon mile of smooth, quiet mountain roads. The sierra is known to be the canyoning capital of Europe, but don’t worry we’ll be sticking firmly to the roads in this wild area!

The route has many highs and lows as it twists and contours around the complex hillsides, taking in short climbs and winding descents until we reach the eastern gateway to the Guara, Alquezar. Sitting high above the banks of the River Vero canyon, this atmospheric village culminates in its 8th century Moorish citadel.

Alquezar is also one of the main centres of the Somontano wine region, giving us the chance to taste the local mountain cuisine with the best of its local wines tonight.

Day 6
Alquezar to Os de Balaguer
71 Miles / 115 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,348 Metres Approx.

Today is one of the easiest days on paper in terms of ascent with less than 1,000 metres, but there are still plenty of miles of fantastic riding ahead, with plenty of opportunity to ride in a group, each taking turns to front the peloton!

First off is a fantastic 20km descent out of the Sierra de Guara, winding our way down the Rio Vera, through the Somontano wine region to its capital Barbastro. From here we swing north up the River Cuica valley and onto some fantastic country lanes, passing numerous medieval villages.

At Fonz, a dramatic hilltop village, we’ll take a mid morning coffee before winding our way through the foothills of the Sierra de Carrodeilla and onto the southern edge of the Serra Llarga with its curious semi-desert appearance lying in the shadow of the mighty Pyrenean ranges. We are now in Catalonia and the last province of this adventure.

We’ll shoot out of the dramatic sierra on a long steady descent, passing the monumental town of Balaguer, before we embark on our last climb of the day, heading up the Farfanya river valley towards our destination, the Monastery Avellanes in Os de Balaguer.

It’s a fantastic approach to the monastery and a privileged place to stay, a 12th century working monastery with a Romanesque cloister. It makes for a very peaceful stay to contemplate the rest of our journey ahead.

Day 7
Os de Balaguer to Oliana
74 Miles / 119 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,079 Metres Approx.

After breakfast we leave our grand accommodation and head out on what could be the toughest and most stunning ride of the route.

Rolling along steadily into the lofty and dramatic Sierras de Montsec, we climb towards the Ager Pass and the village of the same name, an ideal spot for a morning breather. The descent takes us deeper into this dramatic landscape and into the magnificent Terradets Gorge. Cliffs on either side of the gorge rise up sheer for 600m plus and are a hotspot for sport climbing in Europe.

On reaching the Terradets reservoir our tempo will change as we turn due east into the eastern massif of the Sierra de Montsec. It´s possible to see bonelli´s and booted eagles and if lucky the huge lammagier vulture searching for prey.

Passing the tiny settlements of Solana and Tolo we´ll reach the Coll de Comiols pass for some much needed sustenance and some of the best views of the week over the high Pyrenees and the National Park of Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. Post lunch, a never ending descent will drop us into the Rio Segre valley before our day ends close to the pretty town of Oliana on the edge of the Coster de Segre wine region, deep into Catalan territory. The evening can be spent tasting the produce of this little known Catalan wine region.

Day 8
Oliana to Monserrat
70 Miles / 112 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,043 Metres Approx.

The first obstacle of the day is to get over the Solsona Pass which will offer its reward in the views over the superb Serra de Cadi rising up to well over 2,500m. The road ahead is a ribbon of traffic-free asphalt that descends steadily for almost the next 30km, with just a few cheeky climbs to take us out of the saddle.

Heading through the Serra de Castelltallat we reach the historical town of Manresa on the banks of the River Cardener, watched over by its grand 13th century Basilica, Santa Maria de la Seu. Out of the other side of the town we skirt the edge of one of the cava producing regions and begin climbing into the Serra del Rubio. The landscape is rolling and forested and as we gain height you catch glimpses of our iconic destination, the Parc Natural de Montserrat.

By the time we reach the Puerto Les Brucs Pass (620m) the Parc will be showing its full splendour. The striking pink granite reaches high above in dramatic series of saw-toothed mountaintops, visible for miles around. For many Catalans this is their spiritual home. Once over the pass the road weaves and contours along the mountainside following the shape of the rock formations until our hotel for the evening is reached. An amazing place to ponder our final day and destination.

Day 9
Monserrat to Barcelona
45 Miles / 74 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,000 Metres Approx.

The final day of this fantastic ride, taking you from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, is a beauty, taking us through the stunning Sierras of the Catalan countryside, through medieval villages and hilltop fortresses to the exciting city of Barcelona.

The views in the morning light from Montserrat are wonderful over this heartland of Catalonia, through the cava region to the south all the way to the Mediterranean.

It’s an easy start to the day with a fantastic descent down curving back lanes to the deep Llobergat Valley. We’ll head north a short distance before picking up a fantastic route through the picturesque Parc Natural de Sant Llorec del Munt that takes us almost 900m above the Mediterranean through unspoiled craggy sierras.

The great descent down to the town of Terrassa sees us linking up various small towns before the final climb of the whole trip from Sant Cugat into the Parc Natural de Collserola. As we reach the pass our ultimate destination opens out in front of us, reaching out to the sea. We’ll be able to see the Guadi’s stunning Sagrada Familia and Barcelona’s Cathedral spread out far below.

With a grin opening on our faces we’ll speed down out of the Parc and into the sprawl of the great city centre itself, with some exhilarating urban riding through the city streets which will wind us past great monuments all the way to the Mediterranean for a celebratory dip and obligatory glass of cava (or 2!).

The evening will be celebrated in style in a traditional Catalan eatery and maybe we’ll have enough energy to seek out some traditional cava bars?

Day 10
Departure: Barcelona Airport
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

For those leaving on flights today, transport will be given to Barcelona Airport.

Barcelona is an ideal place to extend your trip, with its vibrant street life and many monuments. So why not stay for a few days and unwind after your hard work in the saddle?

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The Cycling

Terrain

Our route is carefully chosen to take in picturesque quiet roads and so the rural regions we pass through mean traffic is quite light until we reach the approach to Barcelona.

Although this is a mountainous region we largely avoid the higher passes, however we do still take in a few climbs and on most days there is between 1,000m/3280ft and 1,500m/5000ft of total ascent.

Surfaces are largely in good condition with well maintained roads.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 - 4: Moderate/ Challenging

Distances between 50-75 miles / 80-120km per day

For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time

Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities

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. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cylo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good 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 might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.

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Guides made it a very personal experience! Great hotels and places to stay and great value for money overall. Clearly the routes and logistics had all been researched with care and attention.

Jill, UK

Dates & Prices

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.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
15/05/2021
Return Date
24/05/2021
Duration
10 days
Price
$2,675.00
Start Date
17/07/2021
Return Date
26/07/2021
Duration
10 days
Price
$2,675.00

Whats Included Tick

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

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

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

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

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

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

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

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (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

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Bilbao airport (BIO) between mid-morning and mid-afternoon for your group transfer.

At the end of the tour we will transfer the group to Barcelona airport (BCN), with an estimated arrival time of 09:00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual 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 all with unique touches.

Bike Hire

If you have opted to hire then your bike will typically be a Giant Contend with Giant/Liv Avails (alu frames) available for those preferring a women’s specific frame. They are great bikes with good quality components and generally come equipped with at least one bottle cage, a saddle bag and a small pump. We can also include a helmet which should be requested at 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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