Day 1: Transfer to Santillana. Pick up from arrival point and transfer to the charming medieval village of Santillana del Mar. Introduction to bikes and route briefing. Spend the rest of the day walking round the cobbled streets of this beautiful village, visit the modern museum of the Altamira Caves or enjoy a ride around the country lanes and down to the coastline. Distance: 40 km (25 miles).
Day 2: Santillana - San Vicente. Leaving Santillana our route heads westwards through green meadows and the hills and valleys of Cantabria with its marvelous unspoilt coastline and beaches nearby. We soon arrive at the charming village of Novales set amidst lemon groves and with its fine typical rural architecture. Next stop is the seaside village of Comillas. Here a visit to the fine beach, the small harbor and the pretty village square with its pavement tapas bars and restaurants is a must, not to mention the architectural sights of El Capricho by the famous Catalan architect Gaudí and the Palace of the Marqués de Comillas. After leaving Comillas, cycle through the Parque Natural de Oyambre and along the seashore with the beautiful beaches of Oyambre and Merón. On the last stretch we are greeted by the stunning view of San Vicente and the Picos de Europa in the distance. Distance: 36km (23 miles).
Day 3: San Vicente. Spend time getting to know this pretty fishing village with its many seafood restaurants and magnificent setting. Take a ride on one of the free day routes through the charming unspoilt countryside behind San Vicente. You may just prefer to spend a lazy afternoon on the beach, or enjoying a fine meal in one of the local restaurants.
Day 4: San Vicente – Llanes. Leaving San Vicente the route heads westwards along the coast. After a short distance, cycle around the beautiful headland of Pechón with its magnificent views of the coastline. Crossing the River Deva in Unquera we enter the province of Asturias with its markedly different flavor. The village of Colombres is home to the sumptuous villas of the indianos, emigrants to the Americas who made their fortune and returned to show it off at home. From here the route continues between the coast and the dramatic mountain backdrop of the Sierra de Cuera, foothills of the magnificent Picos de Europa. A beautiful descent through eucalyptus forests brings us back to the coast where we cycle past beautiful and unspoilt beaches, so typical of Asturias, to arrive at the charming fishing village of Llanes. Distance: 46 km (29 miles).
Days 5-6: Free days in Llanes
Cycle westwards and visit a string of fine beaches, including the incredible landlocked beach of Gulpiyuri. Another beautiful route takes us through the most beautiful hills and valleys behind Llanes. Alternatively, we can give the bikes a rest and take a canoeing trip on the Deva or Sella Rivers, or a hike through the dramatic and renowned Cares Gorge in the very heart of the Picos de Europa. Take a train to Ribadasella and visit the Caves of Tito Bustillo with their prehistoric paintings, before cycling back to Llanes. Enjoy the busy atmosphere of the fishing village of Llanes, so popular with Spanish tourists.
Day 7: Llanes – Cabrales - Potes
After breakfast we take a short transfer to the head of the Valley of Cabrales at 420 metres / 1378 feet From here we begin a fine descent with the most spectacular scenery as we follow the course of the River Cares, the Sierra de Cuera to our left and the imposing Western, Central and Eastern Massifs of the Picos de Europa to our right. In Panes, the Cares flows into the Deva and we follow the latter upstream to the mountain village of Potes. Suddenly the sides of the valley close in and the route runs through the incredible rocky gorge of La Hermida. Mountains tower around us as we cycle Potes and the valley of La Liébana, completely encircled by mountains. This is a longer stage but easy – downhill to Panes and then a barely perceptible ascent to Liébana and the village of Potes.
62 km – 39 miles
Days 8&9: Free days in Potes.
Cycle along any of the three valleys that meet in Potes. Take a trip on the cable car at Fuente Dé to enjoy breathtaking views of the Cantabrian Mountains, where the brown bear and wolves still roam. Enjoy a walk through the lush green valleys or the higher mountains. Spend time in the bustling market village of Potes with its peculiar mix of local farmers, tourists and mountaineers. Visit the many other picturesque villages dotted around the area. Cycle up to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, home to the largest surviving fragment of the True Cross or to the charming country monastery of Piasca. There’s no shortage of things to do in this magnificent setting.
Day 10: Potes - Miera Valley Descent - Somo
Today we transfer to the Cantabrian Mountains, and begin our descent of the Miera Valley to our final stop in Somo. Pick up after breakfast and drive to the starting point at 822 metres / 2697 feet above sea level. From here, a marvellous ride through the stunning limestone valley of the River Miera takes us down to the farmland around Somo and the Bay of Santander. Visit the mountain village of San Roque de Riomiera and the spa village of Liérganes with its charming old quarter.
44km – 28 miles
Day 11 & 12: Free day in Somo.
Enjoy the marvellous beach, miles of golden sand. Take a short boat ride across the Bay to visit the lively and elegant city of Santander, capital of the province of Cantabria. Enjoy the belle époque atmosphere of El Sardinero, the beach resort of the city where Alfonso XIII and his court spent the summer months in the early 20th century. Or stroll around the town centre for some last minute shopping. Take one of the free day routes to visit the beautiful beaches of Loredo, Langre or Galizano. Ride through the green country lanes, where a surprise awaits you round every corner, to the village of Ajo where the speciality of the restaurants is that classic Spanish dish, paella.. Try the freshly grilled sardines in the seaside restaurants of nearby Pedreña.
Day 13: Transfer Somo. Pick up from Somo hotel and transfer to departure point.
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Europe Spain Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey