Classic Cols of the Picos & L’Angliru

Picos

• The best of the Picos by road bike

• Flexible itinerary to suit mixed ability groups with optional extras for those looking for a challenge

• Climb the infamous Vuelta passes including Fuente Dé and Lagos de Covadonga

• Optional challenge routes: over 800km and 16,000m ascent

• Comfortable and friendly 2 and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists

• Excellent support from 2 customised support vans and 2 experienced, proactive 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 with so much variety: rugged limestone mountains, deep gorges, ancient forests, mountain pastures and unspoilt villages. The climbs are also varied: gentle and meandering or short and sharp, and then there is the Alto de l’Angliru, which is just brutal (and thankfully optional!).

We have designed the Classic route so that the distance and gradients between the hotels is manageable and enjoyable for most cyclists, if taken steadily. However, each day there are ‘optional extras’ increasing the possible daily ascent to between 2000m & 3600m, so this holiday is also suitable for those looking to really push themselves and take on our Challenge route.

It is important to us that you book the right holiday for you, so do read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works: food, accommodation & travel…

Read more about the area and our adventures supporting Cyclist Magazine’s Big Ride feature by clicking this link.

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Departure Dates & Prices

Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
Aug
11th Aug - 18th Aug
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
18th Aug - 25th Aug
£1200.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
Month
Departure
Amount
Single Room Supplement
May
10th May - 17th May
£1180.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
17th May - 24th May
£1180.00
Single Room Sup. £280.00
Jul
26th Jul - 2nd Aug
£1220.00
Single Room Sup. £315.00
Aug
16th Aug - 23rd Aug
£1220.00
Single Room Sup. £315.00

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

  • Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of your holiday for our 5% Early Bookers discount.
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 10% Group discount
  • Group organisers of 6+ are eligible for a £50 discount voucher

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

Map

Itinerary

Day 0: Travel Out

We offer included transfers from and back to Bilbao BIO airport at scheduled times on the arrival and departure days. 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 our hotel.

Day 1: Day Ride from Potes

The Puerto de Piedrasluengas (1355m) is a great introduction to the Picos. It starts off ‘relatively’ kindly but does have a few cheeky sections in the middle. As you climb up, you eventually emerge from the trees to be treated with a great view from the Mirador (view point) overlooking the Picos to the East and the plains to the South.

From here you head back to Potes for lunch. The afternoon can be spent 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 could enjoy the breathtaking ride up 700m in just 4 minutes (make sure you turn Strava off!). Alternatively, you can enjoy the amphitheatre of limestone cliffs from the comfort of a café. Being a ‘there and back’, it does not matter if you don’t get to the top, but the higher you get, the longer the descent!

Classic route: Piedrasluengas  (60km, 1100m ascent) [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Piedrasluengas + Fuente Dé (107km, 1900m ascent) [Ride Profile]

Day 2: Potes to Soto de Cangas

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 North high peaks of the Picos. Your only real significant climb is the Alto de Ortiguero (443m), which should test the legs for what is to come later in the week. After 75km we pass our hotel for the night, where you have the option of retiring gracefully, maybe visiting the mountain town of Cangas de Onís or to take on the recommended and 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 / café at the top before free wheeling most of the way back to the hotel. If that is not enough cycling (!?) then the Alto de Riensena/Torno (534m) would be a fitting finale to the day.

Easier option: Ortiguero (75km, 400m ascent)
Classic route: Ortiguero + Lagos de Covadonga (114km, 1600m ascent)  [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Ortiguero + Lagos de Covadonga + Riensena (150km, 2400m ascent)  [Ride Profile]

Day 3: Soto de Cangas to Riaño

It’s worth a post-breakfast churro today before starting the climb of the Puerto del Pontón (1280m). 46km long, its gradients are kind (mostly!) and the constantly changing scenery is bound to keep you motivated 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 narrow roads through some very rural countryside.

Easier route: Pontón (69km, 1300m ascent)
Classic route: Los Bedules + Pontón (90km, 1950m ascent) [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Pontón + Cazo + Les Bedules (106km, 2600m ascent) [Ride Profile]

Day 4: Riaño to Santa Cristina de Lena

We traverse the high plateau West of Riaño, over several small mountain passes, 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. Options here: retiring gracefully to the hotel in the small hamlet of St Christiana de Lena or taking on one of two great climbs…

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

Classic route: Valdeteja + Cármenes + Pajares (132km, 1400m ascent)  [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Valdeteja + Cármenes + Pajares + Gamoniteiro (171km, 3100m ascent) [Ride Profile]

Day 5: Santa Cristina de Lena to Riaño

What goes down, must go up again! The Alto de San Isidro (1520m) is another epic climb, going on for the best part of 30km. Next up is the beautiful, gentle climb to the Puerto de Las Señales (1625m) before rolling back down to the reservoir and Riaño hotel. For those on the Classic route, a detour up the Alto de la Collaona (850m) early in the day is well worthwhile.

Foolhardy masochists 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 7 km, 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: San Isidro + Las Señales  (115km, 1800m ascent) [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: El Cordal + Angliru + San Isidro + Las Señales (170km, 3600m ascent) [Ride Profile]

Day 6: Riaño to Potes

Today is a day of narrow gorges, towering limestone cliffs and lush green meadows in the heart of the Picos. Start gently with the understated Puerto de Panderruedas (1450m), descending to the mountain town of Posada de Valdeón. Enjoy a coffee whilst you contemplate the Challenge route option of taking on the most famous ‘tourist road’ in the Picos – the narrow gorge to Caín de Valdeón. Unusually, you descend to Caín where the road turns into a narrow path, so you turn around and face the climb back up! The road is narrow and our support vehicles cannot get down here so it’s a committed decision.

Next ‘up’ is the Puerto de Pandetrave (1562m), a cheeky climb that leads on to the Puerto de San Glorio (1608m) and a fun descent back to Potes and the hotel pool!

Classic route: Panderruedas + Pandetrave + San Glorio (91km, 1400m ascent)  [Ride Profile]
Challenge route: Panderruedas + Caín + Pandetrave + San Glorio (109km, 2300m ascent)  [Ride Profile]

Day 7: Travel Back

We offer included transfers at scheduled times from Potes to Bilbao Airport.

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