Arrivals: We can arrange transfers from Bilbao or Santander airport to our hotel In Santillana del Mar for an additional cost.
Day 1- Santillana del Mar
Late afternoon meeting in the charming medieval village of Santillana del Mar. Introduction to bikes and route briefing. Spend the rest of the day walking round the cobbled streets of this beautiful village. Santander is the closest airport. We will arrange transfers from Santander. If anyone would like to arrive a day early, we can arrange additional lodging in Santillana. This is a great place to get over jet lag and even take a short warm up ride. If anyone chooses to fly into Bilbao, instead of Santander, we will arrange a transfer from Bilbao to Santillana del Mar.
Day 2 – Santillana – San Vicente
In the morning we will visit the modern museum of the Altamira Cave. This cultural landmark was the first discovery of Palaeolithic cave art, and the cave is of one of the most spectacular sites. Then we head westwards through green meadows and the hills and valleys of Cantabria with its marvelous unspoiled coastline and beaches nearby. We soon arrive at the charming village of Novales set amidst lemon groves and with its fine typical rural architecture. Next stop is the seaside village of Comillas. Here a visit to the fine beach, the small harbor and the pretty village square with its pavement tapas bars and restaurants is a must, not to mention the architectural sights of El Capricho by the famous Catalan architect Gaudí and the Palace of the Marqués de Comillas. After leaving Comillas, cycle through the Parque Natural de Oyambre and along the seashore with the beautiful beaches of Oyambre and Merón. On the last stretch we are greeted by the stunning view of San Vicente and the Picos de Europa in the distance. Distance 45 km
Day 3 – San Vicente – Arenas de Cabrales
Leaving San Vicente the route heads westwards along the coast. After a short distance, cycle around the beautiful headland of Pechón with its magnificent views of the coastline. Crossing the River Deva in Unquera we enter the province of Asturias with its markedly different flavor. The village of Colombres is home to the sumptuous villas of the indianos, emigrants to the Americas who made their fortune and returned to a life of luxury. After Colombres we return to the River Deva and head upstream along the beautiful valley to the village of Panes, gateway to the Picos de Europa. After Panes continue along the Deva. Suddenly the sides of the valley close in and the route takes us to the small village of Arenas de Cabrales. Once we reach the hotel, it is well worth the added ride up the gorge to the scenicvillage ofPuente Poncebos. Distance 60 km
Day 4 – Arenas de Cabrales – Lakes of Covadonga – Cangas de Onís
Today’s ride takes us through the Sierra de Cuera, the foothills of the Picos with magnificent views of the coastline and of the Picos themselves. Finally we descend to the ancient Asturian capital of Cangas de Onís. A trip extension takes us to the Lakes of Covadonga, within the Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa. This is a climb to some of the most beautiful and famous scenery in the Picos. Cyclists who do not wish to do the climb may take advantage of our backup vehicle to get a lift to the top. Distance 40 – 70 km
Day 5 – Cangas de Onís – Posada de Valdeón
This stage takes us from Asturias to the province of León in Castile. We take an easy ride along the River Sella and then through the Desfiladero de los Beyos, a spectacular gorge which takes us into León with the Western Massif of the Picos to our left. We then climb over two passes with beautiful scenery before descending to Posada de Valdeón. As we approach our destination, we see the village nestling in the valley surrounded by the most incredible sheer rock peaks of the Massif Central of the Picos. Distance 61 km
Day 6 – Posada de Valdeón – Riaño – Posada deValdeón
As we stay 2 nights in Posada, today we can choose from 2 options, or even do a portion of both. Our first is a circuit which takes us away from the Picos through the equally beautiful Cantabrian Mountains and the village of Riaño, rebuilt on the shores of its reservoir after the original village was flooded. From here we return to Posada to be greeted with even more spectacular views of the Picos. For our second option, we leave the bikes behind and put on our walking boots for one of the most famous walks in Spain, La Ruta del Cares. We follow the River Cares from Valdeón down through its so-called divine gorge and more fantastic scenery to the village of Puente Poncebos from where we transfer back to Posada. Distances – Cycle circuit – 73 km Cares walk – 20 km
Day 7 – Posada de Valdeón – Potes – Liebana
Leaving Posada behind, we turn our back on the Picos and cycle towards the pass of San Glorio. Here we enter the neighboring province of Cantabria. A 27 km mile descent takes us back towards the Picos and into the valley of Liébana ending in its capital, Potes. From Potes we head up the spectacular valley toward the Cordillera Cantabrica to Liebana where we spend 2 nights in a very special country inn with one of the best restaurants in the region. Distance 68 km
Day 8 – Liebana – Fuente Dé – Liebana
Fuente Dé is one of the most emblematic sites in the Picos. After a short climb from our hotel, we are suddenly confronted with its enormous sheer rock amphitheatre. From here, a cable car takes us to the top from where we can enjoy marvellous views over the surrounding mountains.We can take advantage of this privileged position to enjoy a walk through some of the high Picos and be impressed by the starkly beautiful limestone scenery before descending through the pastures of Áliva to the village of Espinama. We then return to Liebana to enjoy another evening before beginning the final stage of our journey.
Day 9 – Liebana – Cabuérniga
This is our final stage of the trip. We begin our day with a descent to Potes and then to the village of La Hermida. We then begin our climb out of the Deva Valley and through the Cantabrian Mountains. This is a route that few tourists ever see. A more challenging ride takes us through this wonderful scenery until we reach the pretty rural scener and charming villages of the valley of Cabuérniga where we have our farewell dinner. 70 km
Day 10 -Transfer to Santander
After breakfast, transfer to Santander for return flights. We can arrange transfers to the Bilbao airport for an additional cost.