6 of the best cycling routes in Spain

When considering a cycling holiday in Spain, many sports enthusiasts automatically think about the famous route to the pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostela. And while that’s certainly worth doing, Spain has plenty of beautiful routes for cyclists all over the country. What about cycling part of the Vuelta 2017? We’ve selected six fun routes for you to try. 

More than half of the Iberian Peninsula consists of mountains or mountainous areas, with the highlands, known as the meseta, between them. That means you’ll be doing lots of heavy pedalling, but they are quiet roads, where you can enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. And along Spain’s vast coastline, it’s usually less hilly and therefore perfect for cycling. Vamos!

1. The Pirinexus: cycle from France to Spain

If you want to bike a lot in Catalonia, then don’t miss out on the famous Pirinexus. This versatile route is a total of 350 kilometres, of which a small part is in France, and the majority is in Spain. In between, you’ll find the imposing Pyrenees. The route is well-signposted, and will take you past beautiful landscapes and charming villages. If you want to take a dip along the way, then head for Platja de Castell, a beautiful beach on the Costa Brava.

2. 120 green trails through the countryside

The Vias Verdes proves that there are great cycling routes all over Spain. Pieces of old railways have been converted into green trails, with a total length of 2,200 kilometres. That’s where the name comes from: it means ‘green trails’. A great choice for nature lovers who want to enjoy the scenery from their saddle. On the way, you may also meet people hiking the route.

3. The Andalusia Route

This route from Girona in the north, through the impressive interior of Spain, right to the royal cities of the Southern province of Andalusia is no less than 1700 kilometres long. The further south you cycle, the more you’ll encounter Moorish influences. You can stop over in Teruel or Cuenca.

4. Via Verde de la Sierra

In the heart of Andalusia, this route is a unique chance to get to know the loveliest places in the region. In addition to rugged nature at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, this trail also takes you to the city of Ronda.

5. Silver route to the pilgrimage site

It’s 1,000 kilometres of cycling from the west of Spain, from Seville to Santiago de Compostela. We’re talking about the popular pilgrimage route: the Silver route. On the way, you can discover green landscapes, medieval towns, and many birds in the Extramadura. But the origin of this route goes back to Roman times, when there was a road from Seville to Astorga.

6. El Cid: from Burgos to Valencia

Ready for an interesting piece of history? Then follow the footsteps of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, also known as El Cid. In 1094, this legendary Spanish knight went on a 1,000-kilometre field trip past castles, monasteries and churches. On the bike, you’ll discover one interesting destination after another.

Ride part of the Vuelta yourself

If you’re talking about cycling in Spain, there’s a fair chance that the topic of the Vuelta will come up. Just like it’s big brother the Tour De France, this route is a big challenge. But it’s also very beautiful. So, for those who want to give their calf muscles a good workout, cycling part of the Vuelta is a must-do. The best thing is that the Vuelta goes through many parts of Spain.

Camping along the way

Cycling and camping fit together well in Spain. There are great campsites all over Spain. Along the coast, in the Pyrenees, in nature reserves, or in the larger cities. For those who want to take all their luggage, including their tent, with them on the bike, there’s almost always a pitch available on campsites in the low season. For those who prefer to head off without pre-booking, the ACSI Campsites Europe App is a handy partner to have. Lightweight, and full of campsites located on your favourite cycling route!

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Anouk Hulsman
  • Author: Anouk Hulsman
  • Impressive countryside, beautiful towns and cities, nice beaches or villages rich in history, there is nowhere that Anouk wouldn't consider visiting in her motorhome. As an experienced camper, she is always happy to share her tips for an unforgettable holiday.

    4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for this really helpful review! I would appreciate your thoughts on a few questions. I would like to take a 7-8 day round trip to and from Barcelona in July. I am wondering about trying to bike along the coast to Sant Feliu de Guixols and then doing the loop of the PIrinexus. Do you think this is a feasible trip to do in a week (I can very comfortably do 60-70 miles days on flat terrain, but I imagine much of the Pirinexus has much more elevation change)? Also, would you recommend reserving campsites in advance given that it will be July, or could we likely just arrive and find space? Appreciate any thoughts!

    • Avatar

      I completed Pirinexus last year. It is amazing but not flat. The sections over the Pyrenees are long and grinding. It took us 5 days on loaded touring bikes to do Pirinexus from Griona to Girona, so you might be able to go from Barcelona to Girona, around Pirinexus and then back to Barcelona in 7-8 days. There are quite a few areas where it is flat once you are on either side of the Pyrenees. Don’t forget to print out the free guide with maps for each section on the web site. The GPS file on the web site was incomplete for us, but they may have corrected it by now. I would say go for it and enjoy.

  2. Avatar

    Which routes would be best for skinny tire bikes.

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