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Basque Country

Basque, Rioja to Biscay | CLASSIC

With its pristine coastline dotted with quaint seaside villages, rolling hills blanketed in emerald forests, and imposing mountain ranges, the Spanish Basque Country is a natural wonder.

But it’s the region’s cultural and culinary heritage that truly sets it apart. The Basque people have proudly maintained their traditions and customs to preserve a destination that is captivating, unforgettable and home to some of the finest food in Spain and Europe.

When to go

May - Oct

Price from

£3,295

What's included?

From the moment you touch down in Spain, everything is included so that while you are with us you can forget about your wallet, relax and enjoy your time in the Basque Country.

Duration

5 nights

Scheduled Journeys

Private Journeys

Journey highlights

  • Journey off the beaten track, by bike, and on foot from Rioja Alavesa to the shores of the Bay of Biscay.
  • Discover the region’s much lauded gastronomy, meeting the producers of fine wines and cheeses, sharing plates of pintxos.
  • Visit ‘Pais Vasco’, a unique and resilient community who have maintained their own distinct language and culture.
  • Stay in unique guest houses, often entertained by fascinating hosts.
  • Visit the town of Guernica, which was devastated by bombing in 1937, with a local expert guide. 
  • Enjoy our customary attention to detail. You will never be better cared for on holiday.
Slow Cyclist picnic in Spain
ON THE MOVE

On hybrid e-bikes, we will cover between 20 - 60 kms per day. The cycling, suitable for almost all levels of cyclist, consists mainly of very quiet tarmac backroads, with the occasional gravel road.

Walks will be no more than 3 hours and are not generally technical. However, you should be comfortable walking on uneven ground up and downhill. There will always be someone travelling at your pace; this is a journey to take time over.
The Slow Cyclist guide Virginia Berasategui in the Spanish Basque Country
MEET virginia, YOUR guide

Charming Virginia is one of the best Spanish female triathletes of all time. But she has recently retired, slowed down and now loves using her bike to seek out the very best food & wine experiences for our guests. 

Delicious local food on an adventure cycling holiday with The Slow Cyclist in the Spanish Basque Country.

Rioja to Biscay

We designed our Spanish Basque Country experience to be a 5-night immersion in northern Spain. Below is the itinerary, although it can easily be offered as a 6-night journey too. 

Day 1 - Arrival
Transfer 1.5 hours
 
After landing in Bilbao, you will be picked up and driven to Ábalos, a town perched at the foot of the Cantabrian mountains. Here we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and spend the afternoon walking along quiet tracks overlooking Rioja’s vineyards. Our walk will lead us to our accommodation where local family winemakers will host a delicious wine tasting and dinner for us.
Day 2 - Abalos to Virgala Mayor
Morning cycle 26km – Afternoon cycle 29km
 
In the morning we ride through vineyards in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria, stopping to admire some prehistoric megaliths. After another superb lunch in a small village, we climb a pass over the ridge and descend towards – and then through – the delightful and forested Izki Natural Park. The contrast with this morning’s landscape is stark. Our accommodation this evening is a house in the charming village of Virgala Mayor, and there’s a small pool in which we can cool off.
Day 3 - Virgala Mayor to Axpe
Morning cycle 42km – Afternoon cycle 19km
 
We begin with a short transfer to Maturana, where we jump on our bikes and head towards the sprawling Ullibarri-Gamboa reservoir, a haven for birdlife, from cormorants to herons and egrets. We will skirt its shore for much of the morning before beginning our gradual ascent towards the mountains. In Olaeta, nestled in a sheltered bowl, we will take lunch and visit a former Olympic wrestler who is now a shepherdess and makes traditional Basque cheese. In the afternoon our ride climbs further, towards the impressive jagged peaks of Urkiola, before dropping down to the picturesque village of Axpe. Despite an altitude of 200 metres above sea level, the feeling is alpine. We will spend the night at a peaceful hotel overlooking the valley.
Day 4 - Axpe to Markina
Morning cycle 15km – Afternoon cycle 24km
 
After breakfast, we set off on bikes and climb up the other side of the valley heading towards the centre of the Basque Country. Along the way, we’ll admire the towering peaks of Urkiola Natural Park surrounding us. We’ll then transfer to the gloriously situated Bodega Berroja for lunch, close to the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, where we will have our first glimpse of the sea and taste a traditional Basque white, Txakoli. After lunch we jump on our bikes again for a more gentle cycle along quiet roads and tracks, winding our way down until we join the Camino de Santiago and reach our rather special family run accommodation.
Day 5 - Markina to Ea

Morning cycle 24km – Afternoon cycle 14km

Today we start on the bikes. After negotiating a few climbs and descents along quiet backroads, we start meandering along the River Lea towards the sea towards our final destination, the historic fishing town of Lekeitio. Once we arrive we will have a celebratory drink and a well deserved lunch, before enjoying the beach and swimming in the sea. Late in the afternoon we get back on the bikes one last time to make the short journey along the coast to our guest house, owned by friendly and fascinating hosts.

Day 6 - Departure
After breakfast we will jump straight in the transfer to the airport, stopping to visit the historical town of Guernica. At the airport we will say our goodbyes.
HOW TO BOOK

There are two ways to travel with us. You can either travel on a set-date Scheduled Journey or put together your own private party.

MAKE NEW FRIENDS

Scheduled Journeys

A wonderful opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world, to meet like-minded travellers and make new friends in a group of Slow Cyclists assembled by us.

TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS

Private Journeys

If you love the look of the Spanish Basque Country and would like to experience it in a small group of family or friends, get in touch and we will explain how we can make it happen.

Upcoming Scheduled Journeys

Rioja to Biscay
June 16, 2024
5 Nights
£3,495.00
Rioja to Biscay
September 8, 2024
5 Nights
£3,495.00

Enquire Now