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Spain Picos de Europa Bike Tour
2018 Tour Dates: August 17 – 26

Our Picos de Europa Bike Tour is a magnificent combination of sea and mountains. We’ll ride from the clean, unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast of Northern Spain to the very heart of the Picos de Europa for exceptional mountain scenery.

2018 Price:€2,400 Euros/pp (double occupancy)

Single Supplement: €280 Euros

Price Includes:
  • 9 nights hotel
  • 9 breakfasts and 9 dinners
  • van support and luggage transfers
  • map with route directions
  • bilingual guide/driver, transfer to Santander at the end of the tour

Price does not include: International flights, lunches, beverages, hybrid or road bike rental – €120 Euros

“Joe and I truly enjoyed the Picos, even more so then the first time (probably better trained for it). The routes are challenging but so beautiful. We always meet wonderful, interesting people. We also always learn new little tricks about cycling from Chuck. No trip would be complete without Chuck and Judy but I know they could not do it all without their office staff. Thank you Porscha and Nelly for being helpful, patient and organized so that Joe and I never worry about any additional arrangements we have made thru the office.” ~ Cherie R.

Tour Difficulty

This is a very hilly ride. The distances are not long, but some of the climbs will be long.

  • Difficulty: Very Hilly
  • Road Conditions: Excellent paved roads
  • Recommended Bike: road or hybrid bike (road, hybrid and electric bike rentals are available)

Tour Highlights

  • Alpine and Coastal Scenery
  • Charming Country Inns
  • Snowcapped peaks
  • Historical cities

Picos de Europa Bike Tour

Join Chuck and Judy Nichols on an amazing bike tour in Spain - a magnificent combination of sea and mountains! We’ll ride from the clean, unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast of Northern Spain to the very heart of the Picos de Europa for exceptional mountain scenery. This is a trip through what is probably some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery to be found anywhere in Europe. Lush green valleys contrast with jagged limestone peaks. The Picos de Europa rise to over 2648 meters (almost 9000 feet) providing gorgeous Alpine scenery just a short distance from the sea. The area is so wild that it is still home to many rare animal species, including the wolf and the brown bear. Our route follows the perimeter of the three massifs and also gives us a chance to penetrate to the very heart of these unique mountains. This tour will be self guided in the sense that everyone will receive a map and route notes and if any of you have a GPS, we will provide GPS tracks. The group can decide on daily basis if they want to ride together (of course, riding at your own speed, and meeting up at designated places for coffee stops, lunch, etc.) or if folks want to be on their own during the day and just meet at the hotel in the late afternoon. We can be quite flexible with the daily logistics. We will have a support vehicle that will transfer our luggage from each hotel. Chuck and Judy will join the tour and be available to assist with any bike mechanical issues.

Tour Map

Tour Video

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.

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.

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. 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, beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for hotel staff. We suggest starting with a minimum of €200 EUR (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Tipping

Most restaurants include a service charge, but an additional 5-10% for exceptional service is always appreciated. We suggest a small amount for baggage and taxi service.

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 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 Picos de Europa

The Picos de Europa (literally: "Peaks of Europe", often abbreviated in English to the Picos) is a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains. The most widely accepted origin for the name is that they were the first sight of Europe for ships arriving from the Americas. ~ Wikipedia

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