Cycling vacations in Spain

Spain’s not just for package tours and city breaks. It’s also a top cycling destination, particularly for the pros who love nothing better than to test their mettle on the hills of Catalonia and Andalucìa. Not to worry, though. For the layperson, cycling vacations in Spain are not just about punishing your thighs on undulating hills; they’re more to do with peacefully exploring landscapes beyond the reach of self drivers and package tourists. And the country is covered in paved paths, quiet roads and gentle tracks – perfect for revelling in scenery that includes shaded forests, a twisting coastline, hilltop villages and ancient vineyards.

Where can I cycle in Spain?

Spain’s unspoiled scenery and traditional villages are brilliantly set up for exploring by bike, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to planning your two-wheeled adventure. Andalucía’s coastline might be tourism central, but head east and inland to Almeria and you’ll find challenging mountain biking in the Sierra de los Filabres, as well as easy routes through the foothills.

Inland Alicante has plenty of quiet roads and mountain trails that are perfect for both novices and experienced riders in search of a challenge, plus the added bonus of Moorish history and tranquil mountain villages.

To exercise your spirit as well as your legs, you could follow one of the world’s oldest pilgrimages, the Camino de Santiago. You can’t complete the whole thing in a short vacation, but covering the leg from Leon to Santiago is doable, with mountain vistas and monasteries to spur you on along the way.

Cycling in Catalonia brings Gothic basilicas, extinct volcanoes, sunflower fields and winding coastal paths leading to quiet bays. Numerous cycling routes include disused railway lines and dirt tracks. The area’s best cycling routes are clustered in the northeastern province of Girona. Its namesake medieval city or one of the nearby villages make an excellent base from which to explore.

What do cycling vacations entail?

Cycling vacations in Spain include guided small group breaks and self-guided tailor made trips. Most provide all the equipment, including bikes, while expert tour leaders and hosts ensure everything’s in working order.
Joining a small group of 12 to 16 likeminded cyclists means that you don’t have to worry about organising anything yourself. These trips are well suited to cyclists who like to make friends along the trails. You’ll be accompanied by an expert tour leader who’ll help out with any bumps in the road, and support vehicles are often provided, so you’ll have backup if things get too tough.
Prefer to cycle independently and at your own pace? An organised self-guided cycling vacation takes all the work out of it for you, providing maps, notes, accommodation, luggage transfers and food. So all you have to do is cycle. You could try a center-based trip, riding out to explore every day, but returning to the same guesthouse or hotel every night. Or go village to village, with luggage transfers and lots of local advice included.

How tough is a cycling vacation?

Many professional cycling teams base themselves in Spain, drawn by the opportunity to train across a variety of terrain. But while our Spanish cycling vacations do offer some challenging options, for the most part they’re about getting out and about in the countryside. Small group tours tend to be tougher, purely because you’re going at the pace of the group rather than your own. Most have a minimum age of 14 to 16, and you’ll cover distances of between 20km and 100km daily.

Centre-based cycling vacations are totally flexible. You don’t have a set distance to cover, allowing you to go at your own pace or even throw in the towel and spend the day at the beach. Point to point tours allow you to get from A to B at your own pace, with as many stops for rest, exploring or sampling paella and Rioja as you see fit. Both types of vacations are suited to families.

Many roads in rural Spain are quiet, but you may not even need to use them. There are great cycle trails everywhere, including the Vias Verdes (Greenways) – a 2,400km network of flat, car-free routes built on disused railways.

Our top Spain Vacation

Catalonia family self guided biking holiday, Spain

Catalonia family self guided biking vacation, Spain

Customised road cycling tour in Girona, Catalonia

From 314 to438 8 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Spain or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Where will I stay?

Forget swanky, sprawling hotels and resorts. Rural fincas and rustic cottages are the way to go in Spain, and families will find plenty of self-catering options available. Your accommodation will be locally run, allowing you to get to know your hosts and the surrounding community, as well as enjoying some spectacular homecooked Spanish food.

What about food?

Cycling in Spain is made all the more enjoyable by the smorgasboard of delicious foodie treats on offer. You’ll not only get to sample fresh produce like cherries, locally cured meats and cold cava – you’ll also get to meet the farmers, vineyard owners and restaurateurs who produce it all. You can even go for a specially tailored foodie trip, where visiting markets, wine trails and tapas bars is the main event.

When’s the best time to cycle in Spain?

Spain is a year-round destination for cyclists – you just have to choose your area wisely. Spring provides the best conditions overall. It’s warm but not too hot, and wildflowers are in bloom across the country. Southern Spain is perfect for winter cycling, when it’s dry and mild. However, it’s best avoided in the summer vacation season, when it’s crowded, expensive and temperatures reach a scalding 40°C-plus. If you do want to cycle in Spain in July and August, it’s best to turn to the cool, fresh mountains and coastline of northern Spain.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Steven Straiton] [Top box: sam.romilly] [Family cycling in Besalu: Mas Pelegri] [Best time to go: Mas Pelegri]
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