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Picos & Angliru (Northern Spain)

Road Cycling Holidays in Spain

  • Experience the best cycling in the Picos de Europa by road bike
  • Climb famous Vuelta passes: Alto de l’Angliru, Gamoniteiro, Fuenta De, and Lagos de Covadonga
  • Flexible itinerary with daily route options to suit mixed-ability pairs and groups
  • Optional daily Challenge route: over 800km and 16,500m ascent across the week
  • Comfortable and friendly 2* and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • Exceptional support from two customised support vans and two expert, proactive and fun guides focused on making your holiday the best it can be

Days on the bike

6 days

I really thought that the whole trip was superb.  The route was well thought out and the support was perfect.  Both Kevin and Helen were extremely organised and interacted with the group in a really nice way.  Having guides with personality as well as competence makes a huge difference.  Thank you for putting together such a good company, you deserve your success.

S Pope

Introduction

The Picos de Europa in Northern Spain is a little-known paradise for cyclists. There are few places where the landscape is so varied: rugged limestone mountains, deep gorges, tranquil mountain pastures, and traditional Cantabrian villages. The climbs on this Marmot Classic style holiday are also diverse: from gentle and meandering to short and sharp! Then there is the infamous Alto de l’Angliru, which is just plain brutal – but optional of course!

This is a fabulous cycling holiday for pairs or groups of friends with mixed abilities, due to the variety of routes we’ve crafted for you. We’ve designed the daily Classic route so that if taken steadily, the gradients and distance between the hotels where you’ll be staying are manageable and enjoyable for most keen cyclists. However, each day there’s an optional Challenge route, comprising extra climbs and loops, increasing the possible daily ascent to between 2000m and 3600m. This makes this cycling tour also suitable for those looking to really push themselves and take on some epic cycling challenges and infamous ascents.

As with all our flexible-pace itineraries, you’ll benefit from the incomparable support of two expert (and fun!) Marmot guides whose mission is to help you achieve your goals as an individual. You can ride at your own pace, stop when you like, and take advantage of our fully kitted-out support vans loaded with snacks, water, and mechanical spares, should you need them. All you need to do is admire the scenery, turn the pedals, and enjoy the ride!

If you’d like to, you can read more about cycling in the Picos and our adventures supporting Cyclist magazine’s Big Ride feature by clicking this link.

Departure Dates & Prices

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
May
26th May - 2nd Jun
£1650.00
Single Room Sup. £340.00
Jun
2nd Jun - 9th Jun
£1650.00
Single Room Sup. £340.00
Sep
15th Sep - 22nd Sep
£1650.00
Single Room Sup. £340.00

We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts off the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):

  • Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% early bookers discount
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 7.5% group discount and, as the group organiser, receive a £150 voucher for your next holiday
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards

Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Arrival day

We offer included transfers from Bilbao (BIO) airport at scheduled times on the arrival day. Transfers take about 2hr 45min. More info can be found in our Trip Notes.

Meet your guides, assemble your bikes and have a welcome briefing and great dinner in the peaceful setting of your hotel.

Day 1: Day Ride from Potes

The Puerto de Piedrasluengas (1355m) is a great introduction to cycling in the Picos. It starts relatively gently but does have a few cheeky sections in the middle. As you climb, you eventually emerge from the trees to be treated with a stunning vista from the summit viewpoint, which overlooks the Picos to the east and the plains to the south.

From here you ride back to Potes for lunch. You can spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, visiting the historic town, or cycling into the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park. The road to Fuente Dé (1105m) is well surfaced and takes you to a cable car station, where you can enjoy the 700m breathtaking ride up in just 4 minutes – make sure you turn off Strava! Alternatively, you can enjoy the amphitheatre of limestone cliffs from the comfort of a café. Being a ‘there and back’ ride, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get to the top, but the higher you get, the longer the descent!

Classic route: 60km with 1100m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 107km with 1900m ascent [ride profile]

Day 2: Potes to Soto de Cangas

Today we head north through the deep gorge of the Desfiladero de la Hermida, almost down to sea level, before joining a beautiful road that skirts around the northern high peaks of the Picos. The most significant climb is the modest Alto de Ortiguero (443m), which should test your legs for what’s to come later in the week. After 75km we arrive at our hotel for the night, where you have the option of retiring gracefully, maybe visiting the mountain town of Cangas de Onís, or taking on the infamous Vuelta stage ending, the Lagos de Covadonga (1120m)!

The challenge comes 7km from the lakes when there is an 800m section of 15%! Your reward? A justifiable lie on the grass by the side of a beautiful lake and café at the top, before freewheeling most of the way back to the hotel. If that’s not enough cycling, then the Alto de Riensena/Torno (534m) is a great finale to the day.

Easier option: (Ortiguero only) 75km with 400m ascent
Classic route: 114km with 1600m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 150km with 2400m ascent [ride profile]

Day 3: Soto de Cangas to Riaño

Fuel up with a mid-morning churro and coffee today before starting the climb of the Puerto del Pontón (1280m). Although 46km long, its gradients are mostly kind and the ever-changing scenery will keep you motivated all the way to the top. You are now on the high plateau of the Picos, a landscape of small forested peaks, surrounded by lush fields that have been laboriously levelled from this otherwise harsh, rocky land.

Our destination is the new town of Riaño, built on a rocky peninsula after the old town was flooded under the huge reservoir. Our hotel offers classic hospitality and its kitchen produces some excellent local cuisine.

Today’s optional extras are at the start of the day – the Alto de Cazo (653m) and the Alto de Les Bedules (933m). Both are beautiful climbs on small roads through some pretty rural countryside.

Easier route: 69km with 1300m ascent
Classic route: 90km with 1950m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 106km, 2600m ascent [ride profile]

Day 4: Riaño to Campomanes

Today we traverse the high plateau to the west of Riaño over several small mountain passes, cycling through narrow gorges, remote villages, and terraced hillsides. It is a truly stunning ride and the descent from the Passo Pajares (1378m) is a real treat. You have options from here: retiring gracefully to our rustic hotel with its atmospheric bar in Campomanes or taking on one of two great climbs …

The Alto de la Cobertoria (1173m) is no stranger to the Vuelta with good tarmac and stunning views, and despite being fairly tough, it’s bound to be a highlight of your holiday! Those wanting even more can then add on the Alto del Gamoniteiro (1772m) – this is often known as the Ventoux of Spain and it’s a brutal climb to the top of the mountain, but the views are mind-blowing!

Classic route: 129km with 1330m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: up to 168km with 3080m ascent [ride profile]

Day 5: Campomanes to Riaño

What goes down, must go up again! The Alto de San Isidro (1520m) is an epic climb, lasting the best part of 30km! Next up, you’ll climb the beautiful and gentle Puerto de Las Señales (1625m) before descending to the reservoir and our hotel in Riaño. For those on the Classic route, a detour up the Alto de la Colladona (850m) early in the day is well worthwhile.

Those really wanting to test their mettle might want to take on the gradients of the mighty Alto de l’Angliru (1570m) today – a climb that rivals Alpe d’Huez and Mortirolo as one of the most demanding in professional cycling. The main ascent is only 7km, but has an average gradient of 14% and an extended section of 24% – ouch! In order to get to the Angliru you must first endure the Alto de El Cordal (789m) which serves as a good warm-up!

Classic route: 115km with 1800m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 171km with 3600m ascent [ride profile]

Day 6: Riaño to Potes

Today you’ll enjoy riding through narrow gorges, towering limestone cliffs and lush green meadows in the heart of the Picos. Start gently with the understated Puerto de Panderruedas (1450m), then you’ll descend to the mountain town of Posada de Valdeón. Enjoy a coffee whilst you contemplate whether or not to cycle the Challenge route, which takes in the most visited road in the Picos: the narrow gorge to Caín de Valdeón. Unusually, this optional extra descends to Caín (where the road turns into a narrow path), so you must turn around at the end and climb back up! The road is narrow and our support vehicles cannot get down there, so it’s a decision you’ll need to commit to!

Next up is the Puerto de Pandetrave (1562m); a cheeky climb that leads to the Puerto de San Glorio (1608m) and a fun descent to Potes and the hotel pool! It’s a fantastic end to an incredible week of cycling.

Classic route: 91km with 1400m ascent [ride profile]
Challenge route: 109km with 2300m ascent [ride profile]

Day 7: Departure day

We offer included transfers at scheduled times from Potes to Bilbao (BIO) airport (2hr 45min).

Full travel advice and airport transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.