La Rioja and Basque Country cycle trip
Still largely undiscovered in the international cycling world, La Rioja and the Basque Country are cycling gems. Our tour starts in the La Rioja region of Northern Spain which is now nearly synonymous with the Rioja wine. Modern bodegas, verdant vineyards, small wine roads and sleepy villages dot the cycling routes.
The terrain is largely fast and flat in the Ebro river valley, with undulating and challenging hills to the north. Moving along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail east, we’ll enter Spanish Basque Country and the excitement of Pamplona. The trip finishes crossing the Pyrenees into the gorgeous countryside of the French Basque Country where small villages come to life with unique Basque architecture, AOC peppers and the heady buzz of the Basque Atlantic Coast.
Note:Dates don’t work or you have a special group of friends? This trip is excellent almost any time of year and can be customized to meet your group’s cycling and traveling dreams.
This trip is being offered on a private basis. So grab your family or group of friends and tell us your preferred dates. The pricing could change depending upon the time of year and number of people in your group. Call or email our trip consultants (email@example.com ) to personalize and book your very own vacation.
- 5.5 days cycling
- 300 miles+ (average 55-60 miles/day)
- Stay in Frank Gehry’s surreal luxury hotel in rural Elciego, Spain
- Ride along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail
- Test your legs on Basque Pyrenean cols (optional)
- Pamplona tapa-bar hopping!
Our La Rioja and Basque Country Trip Includes:
- Six nights luxury accommodation;
- Breakfast daily (except arrival day);
- 4 dinners and 2 lunches;
- Airport pick-up, luggage transfer and van support;
- Energy snacks and hydration products;
- Cycling route maps, route instructions and distances;
- Ride Strong Travel Planner; and
- Services of two smiling domestiques (i.e. guides) equipped with cell phone.
Travel and Bikes
- You are responsible for travel expenses to and from the arrival and departure city. We’ll send you a travel planner to help with all of the logistics of getting there;
- Many clients bring their own bike and helmet. Contact us during the registration process if you’d like to rent a bike from our local suppliers; and
- Passports are needed for all international tours.
Travel Insurance & Cancellations
Ride Strong Bike Tours strongly recommends purchasing peace of mind travel insurance for unexpected trip cancellations or any necessary medical insurance covering you during international travel. We’ll provide you with information about insurance plans upon receipt of your completed registration form and deposit. Please also see our Terms and Cancellation Policy. Ride Strong Bike Tours reserves the right to make modifications to hotels, dates, routes or tour pending confirmation of our hotels and registrations. We will notify you of any material modifications at our earliest possible convenience. Ride Strong Bike Tours also reserves the right to cancel a tour in the unlikely event of insufficient registrations, inclement weather, wars or other matters outside of our control.
Basque Country and Rioja Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival in Bilbao – Elciego, Spain.
Arrive at the Bilbao airport where we’ll whisk you to our retreat, one of Frank Gehry’s fascinating masterpieces located in the small wine town of Elciego, Spain, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal . The afternoon is dedicated to bike fit and assembly and indulging in the hotel’s pool. We recommend a relaxing dinner tonight in the hotel’s dining room.
Day 2 – Elciego Loop.
We’ll explore the remarkable history and roads south of Elciego. A moderately challenging loop visiting the two fascinating UNESCO listed monastaries in the picturesque-setting of San Millan de la Cogolla: Monasterio de Yuso and Monasterio de Suso. We’ll return north via Santo Domingo de la Calzadea, with it’s impressive cathedral, old mansions and excellent options for lunch before continuing on the via verde for a relatively easy coast back to our hotel. Recommend tapas, tastings and dinner in Laguardia. Ride: 65 km or more.
Day 3 – Elciego to Puente la Reina.
Farmland, vineyards and bodegas dominate the route as we move east from La Rioja to the Navarra region. We’ll pass through several little towns including the medieval town of Estella where we can visit the atmospheric old village along the River Ega. Our home for the next 2 nights, Puente de la Reina (‘Bride of the Queen’) is an exceedingly picturesque town of 2,000. It’s perhaps best known as the convergence point in Spain for the various pilgrim’s routes. Your refuge is a luxurious boutique hotel for two nights.We recommend an afternoon of relaxing before dinner out on the town. Ride: 120 km, undulating terrain.
Day 4 – Puente la Reina (loop ride to Olite).
An optional day-off or ride south deeper into Navarra to explore the picturesque medieval towns of Olite and Ujue and the 12th century Monasterio de la Oliva. There are short or longer options to loop back up to our sanctuary el Peregrino following the River Arga. We’ll dine in the hotel tonight where the chef uses the freshest ingredients to create Basque-La Riojan feasts. Ride: 75km or 90km.
Day 5 – Puente la Reina to Bidarray, France.
Today is a challenging ride north to the port of Spain crossing either at Puerto de Izpegui or Puerto de Otxondo. From El Plazaola, we follow an old train line into Leitza and southern Basque country where we’ll stop for lunch before entering the stunning and scenic Basque villages. After we cross the port of Spain/France it’s a relatively easy jaunt to our special French country boutique hotel. Surrounded by the lush Basque countryside along the River Nive, we’ll spend the next two nights in this full-service country hotel . We recommend dinner at the hotel tonight.
Day 6 – Bidarray Loop via Esplette and St. Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Optional day off OR discover the beautiful Basque country cycling all around. There are several options for riding challenging cols or stay on the undulating hills through the charming Basque villages. A natural and delightful stop for lunch is in the walled village of St Jean Pied-de-Port. Perhaps the most important town in all of France for pilgrims on their way to Compostella, St. Jean Pied-de-Port retains all of it’s medieval charm and strong Basque heritage. We have a special excursion to a family farm for a different kind of gastronomic feast. Ride: 60 km or more.
Day 7 – Homeward Bound.
After breakfast, we’ll offer shuttles to the Bayonne-Biarritz airport for your journey home!
Book this Tour
Registering for a Ride Strong bike tour is simple and secure. To make a booking for one of our cycling tours, please complete our online registration form. Your booking will be confirmed by email. For any questions with your registration, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A single registration form may be used for up to four riders paying together with one credit card and with the same mailing address.
Selected Tour: La Rioja and Basque Country – Luxe Private available
We will have great memories of the trip for a lifetime. I was thrilled with the entire trip.Rhonda Gessow, CA. Mallorca 2015