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Northern Spain

Northern Spain

£1,395 per person

Grade 3 Cycle TourIntroduction

Our Northern Spain trip is in the Cantabria region of Northern Spain. Cantabria is a region interspersed with mountain ranges, emerald valleys, canyons and gorges. The rugged beautiful coastlines are a pleasure to explore, especially on a bike. However, by Spanish standards it remains relatively undeveloped.


Over six days, you will cover around 370 miles with over 27000ft of ascents. We recommend this trip is at those with experience of multi-day cycling trips and with good fitness. Our team will be available to offer guidance and encouragement with the addition of the support van, which at convenient points to provide assistance.

The trip starts in Santander where we spend one night before setting off for Reinosa and our hotel for the next 5 nights. Reinosa, set on the river Ebro, dates back to the Middle Ages and will be a delightful base with a choice of restaurants offering traditional Cantabrian food.


  • Fully Guided and Supported
  • Santander, Cantabrian Coast
  • Cycle through Parque Natural Saja-Besaya national park
  • Climbs of the Puerto de Braguia, Puerto Seguro
  • Great climbing experience to highest road El Golobar
  • Beautiful natural setting around Ebro Reservoir
  • Picturesque region of Castile and León
  • ​Small group size – max 12


Your accommodation will be on a bed and breakfast basis in hotels in Santander and Reinosa. The cost is on a twin share basis, although single rooms may be available, subject to availability, on payment of a £250 supplement.


A packed lunch will be provided but you will need to purchase your own evening meals, which are usually eaten communally although of course you are free to opt out if you wish.

We will carry emergency energy gels and bars in the support van but you are advised to bring along your own preferred sports nutrition to fuel your ride.

In the Tour Plan, (B, L, D) refers to meals included in the trip cost i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Arrival / Departure Transfers

With multiple options of flights and ferry available from UK, you are free to make your way into Santander and our crew will meet you at the hotel.

Bike Transfers

We will happily transport your bike to Santander and back at no extra charge. If you drop your bike off at our Sheffield office up to three days before departure we will carefully pack it in the support van, drive it to the start and then return it to Sheffield ready for you to collect. If that isn’t convenient then depending where you live we may be able to collect your bike on our journey from Sheffield to Portsmouth. Please get in touch with us to discuss arrangements.

​Alternatively for those not wanting to take their own it is possible to rent bikes in Santander.

Tour Plan

The Northern Spain route is flexible and should be seen as a guide only. Local conditions, weather or fitness could lead to changes in our daily plans. All times and distances are approximate.

6 days of cycling
Approx 360 miles Age
  • Destination
  • Depart from
    Santander, Spain
  • Return from
    Santander, Spain
  • Road surfaces
    Lots of Hills. Mainly Tarmac (conditions can vary).
  • Bike Type
    Road bike
  • Included
    Northern Spain
    Cycling guide
    GPX files
    Vehicle support
    Baggage transfer
  • Not Included
    Domestic flights
    Evening meals (unless specified)
    Bike hire
    Travel to start & from finish
    International flights
    Airport transfers
    Travel insurance
    Cookie Policy (US)
    Cookie Policy (US)
Arrival Day - Meet in Santander
You can get to Santander from the UK by ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth or by flying from several airports. Meet in our hotel for an evening briefing with our guides.
Cycle from Santander to Reinosa
60 miles - 6200ft
Off we go, and a day to test your legs. Starting at sea level we gradually gain height as we head south to the mountain pass ‘Puerto de Braguia’ at 2800ft. From here we drop down to the valley of the river Pas then climb again going through the Puerto de la Magdalena before reaching today’s highest point Puerto Seguro (3300ft). Descending now we cycle along the northern side of the Ebro Reservoir, the largest freshwater site in Cantabria and home to a wide variety of birds.  We cycle along its 20km length, passing the Visitor Centre and the birdwatching centre before reaching Reinosa, our base for the next 5 nights. Hotel (B,L)
Cycle around Hoces del Ebro
73 miles - 4600ft
From Reinosa we’ll head east along the south bank of the Ebro Reservoir, crossing into Castile and León and follow this road until we reach Cilleruelo de Bezana for a coffee stop. We’ll then turn south on the N623 as far as Escalada where we cycle along the Hoces (gorges) del Ebro where we may be lucky enough to see bee eaters, eagles, griffon and Egyptian vultures to name some of the bird species found here. We continue following the Ebro to the village of Ruerrero, which produces sheep’s cheese of this name, where we leave the river and start heading north. Climbing at first gently then a bit steeper as we meet a series of switchbacks taking us through the village of Ruanales and reaching a remote plateau which we are on for about 10 miles before we join our outward route on the Ebro reservoir and head back to our hotel (B,L)
Cycle around Mataporquera
51 miles - 4000ft
We leave Reinosa via Requejo and cross the Ebro reservoir at Horna de Ebro. Before entering Arroyo we turn south and follow the course of the river Ebro before leaving it to start our first big climb of the day through a mixture of woodlands and open country. A rest at the top to enjoy the views and get our breath back and then a descent taking us through the small village of Arroyal before starting a gentler climb through Valdeprado del Río and other small hamlets before arriving in Mataporquera. We follow the river north west then head south east through the small hamlets of La Quintana and crossing the border into Castile and Leon, Cordovilla de Aguilar and at Nestar we start a 6 ½ mile gradual climb. We pass through Vallejo de Orbó a former mining town with a population now of only 77. We reach the summit of our climb 2 miles further on where we descend, crossing back into Cantabria, one final, shorter climb takes us back to Reinosa. Hotel (B,L)
Cycle from Reinosa to loop northeast and return via Los Corrales de Buelna
69 miles - 6000ft
We head east today and after a couple of miles reach the source of the Iberian Peninsula’s 2nd longest river, the Ebro (578 miles), at Fontibre. We then turn north and climb to the Puerto de Palombera at 4,100ft pedalling through the huge Parque Natural Saja-Besaya. Another area rich in birdlife, Griffon Vulture, golden eagle, black or middle spotted woodpecker among the species which can be spotted here. Passing the monument al corzo (roe deer) and the Park Visitors’ Centre we follow the course of the River Saja heading north and gradually downhill reaching Villanueva de la Peña where we leave the River Saja and head west until we join the valley of the river Besaya gradually climbing the valley back to Reinosa. Hotel (B,L)
Cycle from Reinosa to Campóo
57 miles - 4100ft
A shorter day today as we head south crossing the river Hijar into the neighbouring town of Matamorosa. Continuing we start our first climb before descending and following a gently undulating route. Look out for the standing stones as we cross into neighbouring Castile and León and continue on to the town of Aguilar de Campoó (home of Galletas Gullón factory, the largest manufacturer of biscuits in Spain!). Crossing the river Pisuerga we climb to the south of the Aguilar reservoir which we skirt round before crossing back over the river into the village of Salinas de Pisuerga. We then begin to head north and east through various small villages meeting the river Rubagón at Porquera and Barruelo de Santullán. Emerging from the towns we have a 1200ft 5 mile climb taking us through the village of Brañosera. This region of the Palencia mountains is one of the few regions where brown bear can still be found. Off to our left as we reach the summit of our climb is the highest road (PP2203) in the region culminating in the El Golobar (pictured below) mountain refuge at 1860m. This road has been used as a summit finish in the cycle races the Vuelta a Palencia and Vuelta a Castile and León if anyone fancies a 7 mile detour. ​Our descent begins here as we pass through Saldecillo and later cross the border back into Cantabria. We continue descending all the way back to the river Ebro and Reinosa. Hotel (B,L)
Cycle from Reinosa to Santander
58 miles 2800ft
Our final day in the saddle taking an alternative route back to Santander partly on a designated cycle path.. We will head out through Requejo and head north at Orzales on the banks of the Ebro reservoir. After a short, gentle climb we start our descent through Somballe to the Besaya valley. The road takes us down the gorge through small villages, ideal for a coffee stop. At Arenas de Iguña we leave the Besaya valley and head east as we start climbing up the Anievas valley, look out for the karstic rock formations. After a 6 mile climb we drop down passing through Castillo Pedroso before joining the valley of the river Pas. Crossing the river we take a cycle route up to Puente Viesgo where we join the Cycle Greenway del Pas (Via Verde del Pas). As we begin to approach Santander the villages become towns as we leave the greenway but still continue along cycle paths where possible into Santander. Time to check into our hotel and prepare for a celebratory meal. Hotel (B,L)
Departure Day
Time to say goodbye. The guides will be loading our vehicle and leaving on the afternoon ferry. (B)


Route & Rest Locations
Food & Refreshments Provided
Cycling Pace & Time in Saddle
Tour Guide & Support Crew

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Please contact us for details on when this tour will next run.