6-DAY COAST TO COAST, SPANISH PYRENEES

If you've always thought of Spain as dry, dusty and boring, think again. The first time we rode the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, we were simply blown away by its beauty, and the fact that it's so unspoilt and quiet. It's a real cycling Paradise!

REF: 07906

6-DAY COAST TO COAST, SPANISH PYRENEES

If you've always thought of Spain as dry, dusty and boring, think again. The first time we rode the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, we were simply blown away by its beauty, and the fact that it's so unspoilt and quiet. It's a real cycling Paradise!

  • Half board hotel
  • Pyrenees / The Spanish Pyrenees —Irun > Cervera de la Marenda
  • Activity Type
    • With guide
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 16
  • Challenging riding
  • Mountain cols
  • 100-150km/day
  • Features
    • Ensuite rooms
    • Restaurant
    • Secure bike storage
    • TV/DVD
    • Wifi

Contact the host

Service & Itinerary back to top

We cycle coast to coast across the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, sticking as close to the French/Spanish border as possible, from rolling green hills at one end, to arid, rocky slopes with neatly manicured grapevines the other, through an amazing diversity of landscapes in between.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Airport transfers.
  • Souvenir Owayo full-zip 6-Day Coast to Coast, Spanish Pyrenees jersey.
  • Good quality accommodation every night, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are sometimes available and a supplement of £250 applies.
  • Continental or buffet-style breakfasts every morning you’re with us, supplemented with muesli if needed.
  • 3-course evening meals every night with 1/3 litre of house wine per person, or a beer or soft drink.
  • Snacks to keep you going during the day, such as cereal bars, chocolate and bananas.
  • Bottled water and carbohydrate powder to put in your bottles, as well as High5 Zero electrolyte tablets.
  • Maps of the route for you to refer to as you ride.
  • GPS files for you to upload to your device.
  • A high ratio of support vehicles to riders.
  • As many photos of you as possible during your trip - usually several hundred pictures - so you can relive your journey from start to finish when you get home.
  • We accompany you closely throughout the day as you ride to make sure you don’t get lost.
  • You’ll always have access to your day bag, and there will always be tool kits and first aid kits available.
  • We will never be more than a few kilometres from you at any time, so you don’t need to carry loads of kit with you “just in case”. The van will try to be at the bottom of every climb so you can shed unwanted clothing and top up your water bottles, and at the top of every col so you can grab a windproof layer before you start your descent.

Itinerary

Arrival Day

We’ll be at the airport to meet your flight, usually coming into Biarritz, Toulouse or Carcassonne, although we may also be able to cover Bilbao. Then we’ll take you to Irun to stay in a wonderful 3* hotel full of character and charm, but with all mod cons, including air-conditioning. All the tools, stands and pumps you need will be available for you to assemble your bike, after which you can relax until dinner, perhaps exploring the lovely town of Irun with its tapas bars and ice cream parlours. Finally we’ll enjoy a great dinner while we brief you on the trip and then it’s off to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Day 1 - Irun to Roncesvalles - 126 km, climbing around 3,000 metres.

The main roads near the border of Spain and France can be very busy, so we head out of the hotel, through the town, and take a back road that keeps us well away from the traffic. The countryside round here is reminiscent of South Wales or Dorset - beautiful, rolling green hills. This is Basque country and you’ll see lots of buildings with the shallow red-tiled roofs and red-beamed gables, that are so typical of this region, both on the French and Spanish side of the border, and all the signposts will be in both Spanish and Basque, with its unique font. Before long we’re away from the built-up coastal areas and cycling along quiet roads through small towns and villages. We don’t go far before we tackle our first relatively modest climb of the day, Aritxulegi (439m), followed quite soon by Meaka (636m). Through the small town of Irurita and on up the Puerto de Artesiaga (996m), before we ride down the Eastern side of Lake Eugi. We soon come to the Puerto de Erro (801m) and Mezkiritz (922m). Finally we climb to Roncesvalles, where we stay the night.

Day 2 - Roncesvalles to Jaca - 148 km, climbing around 2,400 metres

From Roncesvalles we back-track about 4km to get back on course. We descend for a while before we start the climb to the Alto de Remendia (1047m). Down through the small towns of Ezcároz and Ochagavia, followed swiftly by Izalzu, and we’re on our way up to the Portillo de Lazar (1129m). We’re well out of Basque country now, and the scenery is changing to stone villages with cobbled streets. If you like descending, you’ll love the section from Ansó towards Hecho. We cycle south along the scenic Hecho valley for a while before we turn east again and cut across country to Aisa, across a massive plain that’s full of wild flowers in the spring and early summer. You can see the skyline of Jaca for a while, and finally we’re there and everyone can have a well-deserved dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Day 3 - Jaca to Castejon de Sos - 145 km, climbing around 2,300 metres

We start the day with a ride along one of our few main roads, but before long we turn off and it’s quieter again. Our biggest climb of the day is the Puerto de Cotefablo (1423m) which is followed by the long, fast descent to Broto, where we turn south east to Ainsa, a nice little town on the edge of a lake, intriguingly called El Humo de Muro, or Smoke from the Wall. From here we head off on the 30km undulating climb to the Collado de Foradada (1020m), at the top of which is a sculpture by an Irishman called Frank Norton. Finally, after the descent we turn north for a short while and take in the Canyon of Ventamillo to Castejon de Sos, where we’re staying. Another really interesting day with lots of stunning scenery and diverse environments. We’re halfway already!

Day 4 - Castejon de Sos to La Seu d’Urgell - 154 km, climbing around 3,000 metres

We start climbing this morning more or less straight out of the hotel, up a fairly steep climb to the Coll de Fadas (1470m), and then over the top and down to Pont de Suert, taking in the Coll de l’Espina (1407m) on the descent. We turn east to the Viu de Llevata (1230m) and almost immediately on to the Coll de Creu de Perves (1335m). The soil here is red, and there are lots of pine trees but foliage is less lush, and you can see that the ground is more arid than we’ve seen so far. Down into La Pobla de Segur and we cross the river, heading along another shady gorge, the Congost de Collegats towards Sort, famous for white-water rafting; in fact, the World Championships were held here a few years ago. At Sort we head east again, starting the climb to the highest point on the route, the Coll del Cantó (1725m). We descend into Adrall and continue to La Seu d’Urgell, where we’ll be staying the night.

Day 5 - La Seu d’Urgell to Ripoll - 137 km, climbing around 3,000 metres

From La Seu d’Urgell we head across country, cycling through small, rural lanes, and before long we’re on a 16km climb up to the Col de la Traba (1491m). Now we’re quite high and for a long time we’re looking down on the surrounding countryside, including La Seu d’Urgell. Although at first the road surface is rather uneven, it does get better and after a while you’re cycling on brand new, smooth tarmac. The second climb is up to the Coll de Port (1685m), and as you descend to Sant Llorenç de Morunys you can see the massive trefoil-shaped lake. This is probably a good place to get some lunch and then we climb again, taking in another small climb, the Coll de Mina (1200m), with a small tunnel on top. Finally we descend into Berga and then cross another large lake, the Pantà de la Baells. The road rises again before we descend into Ripoll, famous in the middle ages as a centre for the manufacturer of firearms. It was almost totally destroyed by civil war in 1839.

Day 6 - Ripoll to Cerbere - 152 km, climbing around 1,700 metres

It’s our last day and as we leave the mountains, we’re back to rendered houses with low-pitched terracotta tiled roofs. This is Catalan country, where the people are fiercely patriotic and proud of their heritage; all the signposts will show you place names in both Spanish and Catalan. Still a bit of climbing to do today, but only a couple of minor cols. We start from Ripoll and on level ground for a bit, before we climb up to the Coll de Canes (1120m). Then down the other side before our route kicks up again and takes in the Coll de Coubet (1010m). That’s the last of the real climbs on the route, but we follow an undulating path, taking in the town of Olot and then Banyoles. From here we cut across country, cycling past fields of fruit, vines and sunflowers, until we get close to the coast. We join the main road for a while, and then we’re at Llança and you can see the sea again, but this time the Mediterranean. We follow the coast for a while to Portbou and then ride over the top and into France, where we stop just after the Spanish border at Cerbère. Time for a celebration beer, and then we pack up the bikes and get ready for a wonderful dinner.

Departure Day

After breakfast we head to Perpignan, Carcassonne or Toulouse to drop you off in time for your flight.

Accommodation back to top

Good quality accommodation every night, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are sometimes available and a supplement applies.

Dates & Prices back to top

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Trip Photos

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The first time we rode the Spanish side of the Pyrenees we were literally stunned by its beauty. The cols may not be as high as the French side, but the climbs are just as challenging, although perhaps they lack the cachet that comes with some of the more famous French names, such as the Tourmalet. The scenery is very diverse and nothing like you would imagine. If you’ve climbed the famous French cols and you want to do something a bit different, we’d definitely recommend the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.

The views are stunning, the people are charming and the roads are quiet. The Spanish revere cyclists and when you do come across any traffic, you’re likely to get people waving and tooting in encouragement. When you stop on the top of a col, everyone wants to admire your bike and find out what you’re doing.

There are a number of tunnels along the route, some tiny, not much more than an archway of rock; many that you ride around and over rather than through; some longer and darker, so we do recommend that you bring lights. The good thing is that, in general, the roads are virtually empty, and if you’re at all nervous about the tunnels, or if we feel that circumstances demand it, we’ll escort you through to make sure you get safely to the other side.

If you compare the profiles to the descriptions of each day, you’ll see that there are more peaks than named cols. The Spanish side of the Pyrenees is far less developed than the French side, and there are definite mountain tops that are only marked by a refuge or a sculpture.

About Pyrenees

Picturesque and quieter than the Alps, no less ferocious!

About The Spanish Pyrenees

Less cycled than the French side, no less dramatic.

About Girona

Playground and permanent home of many of the top pro riders

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Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Energy Snacks
  • Guide
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Route Maps/Gps
  • Transfers
  • Vehicle Support

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