There is something magical about feeling the wind on your face and being surrounded by nature or by a different landscape every now and then. Even when your legs are tired and about to give up, you want to keep going, keep seeing, keep feeling, keep cycling.
Discovering a new place on two wheels gives us a unique feeling of freedom. It is such a good feeling that we are already dreaming of our next bike holiday. Cycling in Spain is on our travel bucket list and I’m more than excited to share with you all about it.
Cycling holidays are a new thing for us. We started traveling and cycling only a few years back, but I can tell you that it is quite addictive. As addictive as visiting Spain, a country we love and keep going back to almost every year since 2014.
We have been to Spain so many times, visiting from beaches and islands to magnificent cities and historical towns. However, I have never done a multi-day bike touring in Spain, at least not just yet. But Rob did. His first cycling trip ever was from the Pyrenees to Costa Brava in the Catalonia region.
Since then he never stopped going on this kind of trip, and he convinced me to follow him on bike adventures across the globe. We cycled Taiwan’s East Coast, conquered some mountains in Alpe Cimbra, cycled over a frozen river in Rovaniemi, Finland, and got all the way up to Mirador Es Colomer in Mallorca on a bike.
Although it sounds like we have a lot of experience, let’s be honest and say we are just bike and travel enthusiasts. It means that if we can go biking in Spain, so can you. So that is why we are here to share the cycling routes in Spain we’ve already been to, and some that we simply can’t wait to experience.
Dreaming of cycling in Spain yet? So be prepared, here is the ultimate guide for inspiring routes and travel tips! Put your helmet on, get your bottle of water and be ready for stunning landscapes, charming towns, gorgeous beaches and some bumpy roads. Because any adventure in Spain is a dream trip for sure.
Cycling in Spain – What to expect
Spain is a country of cyclists and for cyclists. There are plenty of cycling routes along the coasts, through the cities and on the mountains. It really doesn’t matter what level your cycling abilities and techniques are, Spain has cycling routes for everyone, from seasoned to amateur cyclists.
Bike riding in Spain is safe. For those who are afraid of sharing the road with other vehicles, the good news is that in Spain you can cycle through Vías Verdes, or Greenways in English. They are old train tracks that have been converted into only cycling and walking paths covering over 2,700 km with more than 120 routes from 1 to 100 km in length. If these quiet roads sound like the perfect bike path for you, check all the information to plan your cycling trip at Vías Verdes website.
Another option of bike paths in Spain is the Caminos Naturales, or Natural Trails, over 10,300 km of green tracks, canals, forests, farms and more. At Caminos Naturales website, you can find practical information and download the GPS route info easy peasy.
Have you ever heard of EuroVelo? It’s a network of routes, roads, and paths that crosses the whole European continent, and of course, it passes throughout Spain. Among all the Spanish cycling routes, EuroVelo 8 is one of the most famous ones, as it goes from Cadiz in Spain to Athens in Greece.
All of them, Vias Verdes, Caminos Naturales and EuroVelo, have marked cycling routes, paths, or roads you can follow. But your cycling trip in Spain can go beyond that, as there are plenty of cycling opportunities for mountain biking, road biking and even e-biking (electric bikes), it’s your call. You can also bike in Spain on your own, or book a private or a small group tour.
There are so many amazing destinations to visit by bike, that you can go cycling in Spain once a month, and after a year you still haven’t seen half of the country’s nature, history and culture. And let’s not forget the Spanish cuisine, which is, for many travelers, the best part of bicycling in Spain.
Before we jump right into bike routes in Spain we dream of conquering, let me share a bit of what we have already done, just in case you want to follow our trail, which I totally recommend.
I lost count of how many times we traveled to Spain. We already visited Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Mallorca, Ibiza, small towns in Catalonia and Andalusia. But we have done only three cycling experiences, and here they are.
Spanish cycling holidays – What we did
Our first cycling tour in Spain was back in 2015 when Rob and I decided to experience different sides of the Catalonia region. He went for a 3-day cycling trip that started in San Joan de les Abadesses, an old town with a picturesque monastery that dates back to the IV century. After riding down the Pyrenees, cycling through a natural park and a medieval castle, his bike tour ended at Llançá, a beach town in Costa Brava. No doubt it was a breathtaking experience!
You can read about Rob’s bike touring in Catalonia here.
While we were apart, I also got my first taste of cycling in Spain. My itinerary was all about discovering things to do outside Barcelona. And, between zip lines, wine tasting, off-road segway tours, and flying on a hot air balloon, I got the chance to cycle around the Natural Park of Montseny, a biosphere reserve.
These bike experiences were enough to give us the taste of “I want some more of this”, and that’s how we discovered cycling tourism and bikepacking. So it makes sense that one of our dream trips is going back to Spain for a cycling holiday.
Let me share another bike tour in Spain we did, this time in Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands. We went to Mallorca to discover the natural beauty of the island (of course) and also to get in shape.
We joined a fitness bootcamp in Mallorca, a week packed with exercises, outdoor activities and healthy food. Between one training session and another, we managed to squeeze a couple of bike rides along the coast, near Puerto Pollensa, Pollensa and Alcudia towns.
On our day off, we went from Puerto Pollensa to Mirador d’es Colomer located over 300 meters above sea level. This stunning viewpoint is one of Tramuntana Mountain range peaks, which means a steep road with winding curves. The views from the top were magnificent, enough to make me forget my sore muscles.
This little taste of cycling in Mallorca ignited a new desire, to go back to the island to cycle the Tramuntana Route, but this time with some proper gear and for several days.
Bike routes in Spain – cycling trips of our dreams
As we searched for cycling routes in Spain, we found a couple of trips that look inspiring and challenging. We would love to go for them all, but if we get to cycle one of them, I’m already happy..
– Crossing the Serra de Tramuntana
We start our Spanish cycling tours wishlist with Serra de Tramuntana, a known route. As we have already cycled in Mallorca and have done a couple of hikes in the Serra de Tramuntana (in English, Tramuntana Mountains), we can’t wait to go back and face this bike challenge known for its iconic climbs.
You can cycle as much as you can and want, but we found out that 5 to 6 days are enough to see and do a lot there. These bike routes on Serra de Tramuntana offer amazing views, from seaside roads to olive plantations and charming villages.
– Cycling the TransAndalus
This is a dream cycling trip for anyone who loves nature, history and wants to go cycling in Southern Spain.
The TransAndalus is a 2,000 km bike route that covers all Andalusia region. It’s a loop cycling path that passes through 8 provinces and their natural wonders, like the stunning Cabo de Gata Natural Park, which we have already visited and fallen in love with (read our guide to Cabo de Gata in Costa Almeria here).
This route is not only about the sea and the mountains. You can also add stops to cities like Malaga, Granada, Seville and Cordoba, which will bring a lot of history, culture, and great cuisine to your Andalusia cycling experience.
It would take weeks or months to complete this mountain bike adventure. I’m not sure if we would be able to cycle the whole route, but just doing a bit of it would be a dream come true.
All the information you need to go biking in Andalusia is on the Transandalus website.
– Following Don Quixote steps
If you have a thing for literature, or if you just want to make your cycling holiday in Spain a lifetime story to tell, get your bike and follow the steps of Don Quixote de La Mancha. This is a unique opportunity to see some of the most beautiful Spanish landscapes that have been perpetuated by Miguel de Cervantes.
This isn’t our normal bike tour, the route that covers over 2,000 kilometers passes by 148 towns in 5 provinces of Castilla-La Mancha region. The difficulty level is challenging, which means that if we ever get the chance to do it, we will surely need to get prepared for it.
When searching for this bike route, I discovered that it passes by historical places as Toledo – Spain’s former capital, 12 natural reserves, six natural parks and many windmills. So you know there will be plenty of stunning nature to admire and Don Quixote inspired places to visit.
– Camino de Santiago – St. James Way by bike
We all have heard of Camino de Santiago. Some travelers face this pilgrimage route walking from Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, as others start on the border of Spain and France. This north-west route covers up to 800 km and is exactly what we wish to cover on two wheels.
Most travelers walk the Camino de Santiago, we want to cycle it. It won’t be an easy cycling trip, but it will most definitely be a rewarding one. Not only for the historical and religious side of it, but also because of the beauty you find along the way, and the possibility to cross paths with other travelers and cyclists.
You can cycle the St. James Way at your own pace, but if you want to get the Compostela certification that proves you’ve completed the Camino, you must cycle at least 200 km of the official route. And you must collect the stamps at each stage.
Compared to the other routes we have mentioned, this one has some well established infrastructure for travelers. The Camino is well known for its hostels, local accommodation, and restaurants that welcome pilgrims from all around the world.
Spain by bike essential guide – Travel tips and how to plan your cycling trip
Now that you already know some of the best bike routes in Spain and your legs are probably itching to hit the road, let’s talk about some practical stuff.
A cycling holiday in Spain must be planned in advance. The first three things you need to think of are your fitness level, your cycling experience (these two you can improve before your trip), and where in Spain you want to cycle.
Once you get these three topics sorted out you can start planning your cycling trip in Spain. Below there is a quick guide on what you need to organize.
– When to cycle in Spain?
When to cycle is directly related to where you want to go cycling. Spain is a big country and the climate varies a lot from region to region. In general, it is recommended to avoid the summer warmer months (July and August) as the temperatures can easily go over 35ºC.
If your bike trip is during Winter, proper clothing is necessary and a well planned route with stops along the way is a must.
Spring and Autumn are good seasons to cycle in Spain, check the weather forecast of the region you are visiting to avoid the rainy periods, if possible.
– Do I need to have a bike and cycling gear?
We have been traveling and cycling without even having a proper bike with us. I’m saying that so that you know that you don’t need to have or buy a mountain, road, or touring bike to go on a cycling trip in Spain.
There are many companies that are specialized in bike trips worldwide and some local operators that can provide bikes, helmets, GPS, safety gear and experienced guides. You just need to bring your clothes (cycling clothes, of course) and a lot of strength on your legs.
If you have your own bike, you can bring it with you. Keep in mind that you must pack it properly to check-in it on a plane, or to carry on trains across Spain.
When renting a bike in Spain, the bike hire company can also provide other types of equipment to you. If you decide to take your bike with you, don’t forget to bring all the gear, spare parts, safety lights, hydration bottles and so on.
Spanish road rules say that you must wear a reflective garment at night and in tunnels. Front and backlights are mandatory and they should be strong enough to be seen at a 50-meter distance.
– Going solo or joining a cycling tour in Spain?
We love mountain bike and road cycling tours, not only because you have more people to share the fun, but also because it helps a lot with planning as they organize almost everything for you. There are many companies offering bike tours in Spain, from one-day to multi-day trips, with guides or self-guided cycling experiences.
Rob used the bikes and guide services from Centre Logistic de Bicicletes during his cycling trip in the Pyrenees. For day trips you can have a look at GetYourGuide website, as they offer bike tours in several holiday destinations across Spain. I’ve also found a multi-day bike trip in Tenerife offered by them that seems to be like an amazing adventure.
– Travel Insurance is a must!
Good travel insurance is as important as a good bike. We used three travel insurances that we feel confident to recommend. They have slightly different coverages, but all three offer great customer service, and every time we had to use them it was a smooth process where our safety and health were priorities.
Have a look at Word Nomad, SafetyWing and HeyMondo. If you have doubts about which one to choose, read our travel insurance guide.
If you are looking for safety information and how to ride on Spanish roads, I recommend visiting the Spanish Cycling Federations website.
– How to find bike-friendly accommodation in Spain?
A good night of sleep is essential in any cycling holiday, and in Spain, you will be sorted. All cycling routes we mentioned in this guide have bike-friendly hotels or Bed & Breakfasts. Even if they don’t mention it on their website, most of the accommodation along the bike paths can accommodate your bike, maybe not in the room, but surely in a safe place.
My suggestion is, after defining your cycling route and the cities you want to stop for the night, use Booking.com or Agoda to find the best accommodations. Choose the hotels you want to stay in and then send them a message asking if you can take your bike with you. That will save time on your arrival, plus it will give you peace of mind that you and your bike can both have a good night’s sleep.
You can find more tips on how to book the perfect stay on our Accommodation Guide.
– How to get to Spain?
Getting to Spain will be the easiest part of your cycling holiday. The country is connected to the world via many airports, ports, trains, and bus stations. Depending on where you are coming from and your destination in Spain, it will be faster, cheaper, or even easier to fly there. In this case, do some research for the best flights to Spain using Skyscanner or Kiwi.com.
Use OMIO website for bus and train trips. It gives you all the options so that you can compare prices, duration, timetables. And then you’ll be able to choose if you want to catch a bus or a train to Spain.
And that’s about it, guys! Hope you feel inspired to cycle in Spain as much as we do. And hopefully, we can all do it soon. If you need more info about cycling or traveling in Spain, drop us a message below.
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This post is part of #SpainOnMyMind campaign, a partnership between Iambassador, the Spain Tourist Office and Love and Road.