Ride across the simply staggering Cordillera Cantabrica mountain chain that runs along Spain’s serene Northern coast.
Thomson Bike Tours is uniquely qualified to introduce you to this mind-blowing Grand Tour terrain. Cantabria is home to the highest climbs of the Vuelta a España and we’ve ridden them all. Conquer the notorious Alto el Angliru (the toughest climb in the Grand Tours) and the spectacular Lagos de Covadonga among many others. Enjoy luxury accommodations and the distinctive regional fare. Cantabria, with it’s non-existent traffic and extreme geographic profile, is one of the best kept secrets in European cycling!
Bienvenidos a España!
Our trip starts at Bilbao airport where our staff will be there to welcome you before the short transfer to our hotel in Villacarriedo.
After lunch, orientation meeting and bike build-up, we’ll enjoy our first ride in Cantabria. A short climb up to San Martin precedes the beautiful ride along the Toranzo valley. From the Torranzo Valley we ride alongside the Rio Pas to Vega where we start the Puerto de la Braguia climb. From the Braguia it’s a short downhill ride all the way to the hotel.
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 9:30am - either at Bilbao Airport or at the Holiday Inn Express Bilbao Airport
Vuelta a España Favorites
One of our Top 5 European rides and definitely one for the climbers! Today’s ride includes 5 categorized climbs with a total of over 3350 m elevation gain.
First up is the Alto El Caracol followed by a fantastic 25 km descent before we tackle the Puerto de Alisas. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance from Alisas before setting off for our next climb, the 20 km Puerto de la Sia. The Lunada is next with an absolutely spectacular descent before tackling the Caracol from the opposite side. Finally, we’ll drop down to our hotel in Villacarriedo
Saja Natural Park
Today’s ride takes us into the Saja Natural Park. On leaving the hotel we climb up the Puerto de Braguia from the opposite side. After the Braguia descent we take a single-track road which leads through San Pedro to the Puerto de la Matanela. Enjoy the rare 25 km of flat along the Ebro reservoir before the final climb of the day to the Puerto de Palombera.
From the Palombera there’s a magnificent 25 km descent with beautiful views of the Saja Natural Park - all the way down to the hotel!
The spectacular Collado de Hoz
Today’s ride follows the route of Stage 17 of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana where Alberto Contador attacked on the Collado de Hoz to eventually win the stage and take over the race leaders jersey.
From the hotel, 3 climbs come in quick succession, the last of which is the spectacular Collado de Hoz. After the superb descent from the Collado de Hoz we are into the canyons and gorges of the La Hermida, which leads to the final climb to our hotel in Fuente De.
Picos de Europa
Today we head into the Picos de Europa National Park - one of the most remote wildernesses in western Europe. The day starts off nicely with a 25 km descent to Potes. What goes down must come up! We’re quickly onto the 25 km climb to the Puerto San Glorio.
From the San Glorio we head into the Picos National Park on a traffic-free, single-track road. The Puerto de Panderuedas, at 90 km, signals the start of the spectacular 50 km descent to our hotel in Cangas de Onis. Enjoy!
Lagos de Covadonga
Pray for good weather today as the climb up to Lagos de Covadonga is possibly one of the most spectacular climbs in Europe. From the summit you can view the Atlantic Ocean to the north, to the south there’s a magnificent view of the rugged peaks that form the Picos de Europa.
For stronger riders there’s an additional loop after the Covadonga that winds its way over the Alto del Torno and down to the Atlantic before climbing back over the Alto del Mazuco and back to our hotel in Cangas.
Test your climbing legs on the 23.5% slopes of the dreaded Angliru. The Angliru, along with the Zoncolan in Italy, is considered the toughest climb in the European Grand Tours.
We’ll have a short van transfer to our hotel in Las Caldas close to the Angliru. From the hotel we follow a single track road over the Alfilorios climb which should warm up the climbing legs for the Angliru. The short descent from Alfilorios takes us down to La Vega where the 13 km assault on the Angliru begins. Fuerza!
Unfortunately, our trip must come to an end. Our shuttle will take you to Bilbao Airport, arriving at approximately 10:00am.