Location: The Picos de Europa and surroundings
Number Days: 6
Number Nights: 6
Difficulty: Medium (with options to extend the route each day)
Start Location: Villaviciosa (about 45km east of Oviedo)
Finish Location: Oviedo
Meals included: Breakfast, packed lunch, evening meals
Access Start / Finish location: Oviedo is 50 km from Asturias Internation Airport, a 45 min bus ride, though route destinations are somewhat limited. Alternative Airports with a greater selection of destinations are Bilbao and Madrid, with transport to Oviedo by bus (Bilbao) or train (Madrid).
Our guided six-day Picos de Europa bike tour is one of our most picturesque cycling tours. It is also one of our most flexible – while it is rated at moderate difficulty, there is the option on most days to adapt the route or tackle an additional climb for those looking for a greater challenge. Even without the extensions, though, the undulations are constant and can be steep, and you need to be fit for this tour.
The Picos de Europa
It is said that the Picos de Europa, the ‘Peaks of Europe’, were so named as they were the first sight for sailors when returning from the New World. Up close they are even more captivating, a contrasting mix of craggy limestone peaks and green-carpeted slopes of grazing livestock. From the peaks the views stretch far back over the sea. Their expansive appearance belies a relatively contained footprint, allowing visitors to explore a satisfyingly large proportion in a short trip. Large swathes are rural havens, and it is a nature lovers paradise, full of adventurers out exploring the unique flora and fauna, which include wolves and the Cantabrian brown bear.
Picos de Europa Bike Tour Route
Our Picos de Europa bike tour passes through the beautiful National Park of the Picos de Europa itself, as well as the surrounding mountains of the Fuentes Carrionas to the east. These are both part of the Cantabrian Range, which runs along almost the entirety of the North Coast. All of the major climbs in the vicinity are included in the itinerary of the Picos de Europa bike tour, including the spectacular climb to the lakes of Covadonga, a regular highlight of the Vuelta a España. As for the weather, you may well encounter wall to wall sun, but rain and particularly morning fog are far from unusual in the North. It is advisable then to pack warm and waterproof clothing in addition to summer clothes.
Night of arrival: Meet in our rural hotel starting point in the heart of the idyllic countryside of Asturias. Prepare your equipment and meet your companions over snacks while we run through the plans for the week.
Day 1 – The trip starts with a roll along the beautiful green coast of the north of spain, before rising up into the hills and the spectacular viewpoint known as the Mirador del Fitu. Enjoy the views back over the coast and into the Picos to the north before a short ride into our 3 star hotel in the gateway to the mountains, Cangas de Onis. Alternatively those looking for an extended ride can loop back around the coast and climb back into the village from the northeast.
Distance: 55 km (35 miles), extendable to 95 km (60 miles)
Elevation gain: 1,500 meters (4,800 feet), or 3,000 meters (9,500 feet) on extended route
Day 2 – The day starts with one of the highlights of the week, the short ride to the famous basilica of Covadonga, where the Christian fightback against the Moors is said to have begun, and the start of the ascent to the famous lagos de Covadonga over a kilometer above. From the summit descend along the same road before following the valley east to the town of Arenas de Cabrales. For those with the legs there is the option to ascend a second mountain of the day, the equally challenging climb to Sotres. Accommodation is either in a city center 3-star hotel or a cosy rural house on the outskirts of the village.
Distance: 70 km (45 miles), extendable to 110 km (70 miles) if climbing to Sotres
Elevation gain: 1,800 meters (5,800 feet), or 3,500 (11,000) meters if climbing to Sotres
Day 3 – A long day, but without the leg-breaking climbs of the day before. The majority of the morning is over lightly undulating terrain, before climbing into the lush Fuentes Carriones to the east of the Picos de Europa. The afternoon tackles a long ascent to the Mirador de El Jabali, with magnificent panoramic views back over the peaks of the Picos de Europa National Park. A long descent brings us to the most pictureque village of the Picos, Potes, and our chalet-style two star hotel. In the evening we take you to a beautiful mountain lodge to try the regional speciality cocido montañes, a hearty stew
Distance: 110 km (70 miles)
Elevation gain: 2,100 meters (6,500 feet)
Day 4 – A short ride today, but a literally glorious one. A stretch of false flat leads into the steady rise to the highest point of the week at the Puerta de Gloria, the Glory Pass, with stunning views back over the green slopes. The northern side of the pass is noticeably drier, as the road snakes along the side of a reservoir to our two-star hotel overlooking the lake in the village of Riaño. This is a place with a story to tell, as it was only recently constructed after the residents were forced out of their homes to make way for the stunning reservoir, and a sense of nostalgia still hangs heavily in the air.
Distance: 55 km (35 miles)
Elevation gain: 1,950 meters (6,250 feet)
Day 5 – The final day in the high mountains follows a route on quiet roads through stunning scenery, crossing moderate mountain passes and ski resorts before a long and winding descent out of the high peaks. Our final night together is spent in a homely rural hotel in the valley, a last chance to enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings before the final push home.
Distance: 75 km (45 miles)
Elevation gain: 1,200 meters (4,000 feet)
Day 6 – The final day leaves the participants with a choice: follow a lightly undulating route over modest hills into Oviedo, or if you dare choose to divert to attempt the legendary L’Angliru, probably the toughest climb of any of the Grand Tours. Once those with adequate gearing and leg strength have returned from their attempt we continue into Oviedo where we can drop you at a convenient transport hub, or at your accommodation should you have chosen to extend your break before your trip home.
Distance: 55 km (35 miles), or 115 (70 miles) km if climbing the Angliru.
Elevation gain: 800 meters (2,500 feet)
The route of this tour is being updated for 2018. We will announce the new route and itinerary in October 2017. Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like to be informed when the new route is published.
Picos de Europa 6 day medium/hard tour (shared accomodation in twin/double): € 1, 640
- 6 nights in shared accommodation (twin / double)
- Breakfast (6 days)
- Packed lunch and evening meal (except day of drop off – 6 days total)
- Support vehicle and guide (additional guide on bicycle for groups of 6 or more)
- Bike box transfer from start to end location
- Information on route and locality
- Cultural activities along the way
- Pickup in Oviedo and transport to hotel
Single supplement: € 160
Bike hire (contact us to discuss options and pricing)