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Spain Self Guided Biking / La Rioja
Tour Dates: 8 Days, Apr-Oct

Tours run Sunday to Sunday. La Rioja Spain Bike Tours are self-guided or guided tours traveling through through the green pastures and beautiful valleys, on quiet roads from the mountains to the vineyards. Overnight in truly charming accommodations.

2016 Price: €1000 Euros/pp (double occupancy)

Single Supplement: €265 Euros

Additional charge for July and August tours: €145 Euros/per person

Bike Rentals: Hybrid Bike €100, Electric Bike €155, Road Bikes available on request

Price Includes:
  • 7 nights hotel
  • 7 breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • luggage transfers
  • transfer from Santander Airport to start of the trip on Day 1 and transfer from end of the tour on day 8 to the Bilbao Airport
Price Does Not Include:

International flights, Bike rentals, lunches, beverages, dinners on days 6 & 7

Tour Difficulty

This trip is a moderate trip. The terrain is hilly and each day you can expect 35 to 60 km (20 – 36 miles) of riding. Additional distance can easily be arranged for riders who want an extra challenge.

  • Difficulty: Moderately Hilly
  • Road Conditions: Smooth & Paved
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid or Road

Tour Highlights

  • Fabulous scenery
  • Cultural heritage
  • Incredible food and wine

Tour Overview

We begin our route along this tiny mountain stream through the green pastures and beautiful valleys of Cantabria. We’ll witness the changes in the river as it creates imposing canyons and finally we arrive in La Rioja, home of the finest wines produced in Spain. With the limestone mountains of the Sierra de Cantabria in the background, we’ll be surrounded by a sea of vineyards dotted with ancient villages, castles and wine-producing bodegas. This is a magnificent trip for those who wish to visit parts of Spain that few tourists ever see.

Charming accommodations with breakfasts as well as most dinners are included. Each day your luggage will be transferred to your hotel, so you can travel light bringing only what you will need during the day.

We offer this tour as a self guided tour for groups of 2 or more people who want the simplicity and spontaneity of riding on their own without the services of a guide. You will have a detailed route map, daily luggage transfers and great lodging waiting for you each evening.

Tour Map

PLEASE NOTE: Exact distances may vary from those stated due to local road conditions or decisions made by tour leaders. Additional mileage can be arranged for those who want more riding.

Day 1

We meet in Santander and transfer to our hotel in Campoo. Bike fitting and short ride to test bikes.

Day 2 - Fontibre – Polientes

This stage takes us through some fabulous and unspoilt scenery. From the green mountain pastures of the Cantabrian Mountains, we’ll ride along the shores of the Ebro Reservoir. We rejoin the Ebro in the Valley of Valderredible and tonight’s stop is in Polientes. Distance: 59 km (For a longer ride, you can circumnavigate the Ebro Reservoir – 97 km)

Day 3 - Polientes – Pesquera del Ebro

We begin bycycling through the open valley of Valderredible. Take the opportunity to visit the Romanesque church of San Martín de Elines and also the churches carved into the very rock which are so characteristic of this region. As we progress down the river, the sides of the valley begin to close in until we find ourselves in a marvelous canyon where eagles and vultures soar overhead. Stop to visit the fairytale village of Orbaneja del Castillo with its cascades running through the village. As we approach Pesquera, the canyon of the Ebro reaches unbelievable dimensions before we finally reach the attractive village that will be tonight’s resting-place. Distance 43 km

Day 4 - Pesquera del Ebro – Medina de Pomar

This beautiful route follows a huge bend of the river through the most picturesque and undiscovered villages. An optional extension takes us to the dramatic village of Puentedey,built on a natural rock bridge over the River Nela. Tonight we stay in the Castillian town of Medina de Pomar with its old Jewish quarter and the castle dominating the town and the surrounding landscape. 35 km (63 km – with route extension to Puentedey)

Day 5 - Medina de Pomar – Frías

From Medina, we head back to the Ebro, The route then takes us along a quiet country road running parallel to the river. We can stop for a visit to the Romanesque church of San Pedro de Tejada and soon we are cycling through yet another canyon, which then opens out into the fertile valley around Frías. This is a spectacular village built around its castle that enjoys fine views of the Ebro Valley. 58 km

Day 6 - Frías – Haro

As we leave Frías we find ourselves in another spectacular canyon. The road runs along the shores of a reservoir surrounded by high mountains and through short tunnels carved out of the rock. The route crosses the little town of Miranda del Ebro before passing through imposing peaks that signal the gateway to the enormous open valley of La Rioja. Tonight is spent in the wine-producing village of Haro, with a chance to drink a glass or two of Rioja in its birthplace. We’ll visit one of the many famous bodegas in Haro, complete with wine tasting. 62 km

Day 7 - Haro – Laguardia

We cycle through endless vineyards and numerous picturesque villages of La Rioja, with the backdrop of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains and the Ebro never too far away. We finally reach the superb walled medieval village of Laguardia where, as in Haro, wine is almost a way of life. Distance 50 km

Day 8

After breakfast, 9 am transfer to Bilbao

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions bike tour?

Folks who enjoy our tours are a spirited mix of singles and couples of ALL ages from all corners of the US, Canada and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. Most folks are recreational riders and all seem to share the common bond of an active lifestyle, an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for fun. We will gladly supply references if you wish to speak with someone who has recently been on this trip.

Can I charter this tour?

Yes! You bring the people and we will take care of all the details! This tour can be chartered as either a Guided Tour or Self Guided Tour. Call us for details and availability, 800-648-8488.

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The Food

You will be staying in hotels and inns that serve great food! The meals are tasty and there is enough variety at each meal to please everyone. As per the itinerary, breakfasts and 4 dinners are included and lunches are on your own. Vegetarian and other dietary restrictions can usually be accommodated with advanced notice.

Weather

Weather can be changeable, so be prepared for riding in both sun and showers. Daytime temperatures are 55 º to 75º F. and nights are 40º to 60º F. There is always the chance of rain, so to ensure your personal comfort please make sure you have a good quality rain jacket with a hood and rain pants, too. For the sunny days, we recommend using SPF 30 sunscreen and lip screen. If you are really sun sensitive, we suggest sun-blocking clothing.

Rental Bikes

We rent good quality hybrid bikes with a bike bag, a water bottle cage and flat pedals without toe clips and straps. You are welcomed to bring your own pedals and seat. We will supply full mechanical support during the tour. Road bike rentals are also available upon request. NOTE: You will need to provide your own water bottle and helmet.

Camera Gear

Whether you shoot a digital or film camera, bring more media storage cards or film than you think you need! A portable hard drive may be the answer for digital storage. Other useful items are plenty of extra batteries, lens cleaner, lens tissue, lens brush, a mini tabletop tripod and a clean toothbrush to remove grit from your camera.

Language

You do not need to be able to speak Spanish, but it can be lots of fun, and our Spanish guide can always help you with the finer points of the language. A small dictionary and some creative sign language are helpful, and many people at airports and hotels speak English.

Money

The currency of Spain is the Euro. You will need Euros for lunches, meals before and after the tour, beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for the Spanish staff. We suggest exchanging a minimum of €250 Euros (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Tipping

We suggest 10% for good service in restaurants and a small amount for baggage and taxi workers.

Cash & Credit Cards

US CASH: bring only NEW bills with NO tears. You can exchange money at the airport and in major towns. CREDIT CARDS: bring 2 or more Visa or Master Cards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATMs in most of the towns on the tour. To use your Credit Card to get Euros at an ATM, each Credit Card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. We do not recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Passport

You must have a current Passport. Make sure your PASSPORT DOES NOT EXPIRE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMPLETION OF YOUR TOUR. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel!

Make copies of your passport! We recommend making 2 photocopies of your passport’s photo page and any other valuable documents you might carry with you on the tour. Travel with one copy stored separately from your passport. Leave the other copy at home with a relative or friend (ideally the same person you gave as your emergency contact). In the event that any of your documents are lost or stolen, this will greatly assist the process of replacement.

Additional hotel lodging

Let us know if you would like us to make additional hotel reservations for you at the start or end of the tour.

Travel Information

THIS TOUR BEGINS AND ENDS IN SANTANDER. Madrid is the most convenient international airport and some airlines offer joint fares with Spanish airlines into Santander. Another great option is flying Ryan Air from London or Madrid to Santander. http:www.ryanair.com

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to travel delays or other contingencies we are unable to control. For international flights, arrive at least 2-3 hours prior to departure (check with your air carrier for their requirements) and allow ample time between connecting flights. If you miss your flight and you need a special shuttle to meet up with the group, you will be responsible for the cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About La Rioja

La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province in Spain, located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera. It has an estimated population of 322,415 inhabitants.

It covers part of the Ebro valley towards its north and the Iberian Range in the south. The community is a single province, so there is no County Council and it is organized into 174 municipalities. It borders the Basque Country (province of Álava) to the north, Navarre to the northeast, Aragón to the southeast (province of Zaragoza), and Castilla y León to the west and south (provinces of Burgos and Soria).

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