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Rioja

Cycle through medieval towns and rolling vineyards

Cycle through medieval towns and rolling vineyards.

Rioja is Spain’s smallest region, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in scenery, culture and most importantly, wine.

Known for being the birthplace of the Spanish language, it’s steeped in history, most evidently in the crumbling medieval villages that sit on rolling hilltops everywhere you look.

It oozes quality, from the world renowned wines it produces, such as Marques de Riscal and Muga to the authentic food on offer and the stunning hotels which perfectly juxtapose the surrounding nature and the lingering Cantabrian mountains.

Join us as we cycle along the Ebro river and through some of Spain’s most beautiful countryside.  Combined with great food and wine and luxury hotels, our Rioja tour will make for a memorable trip that you’ll never forget.

Tour Highlights

  • Luxury accommodation
  • Excellent local cuisine
  • Fine Spanish wines
  • City walking tours
  • Michelin starred restaurant
  • Wine tastings at local bodegas
  • Medieval towns and ancient monuments
  • Buildings of great religious and historical significance
  • Vineyards
  • Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum

Price

Starting at:

$ —pp Single Supplement: $ —

Good to Know

  • Duration:
    • 7 days / 6 nights (5 days cycling)
  • Start and End:
    • Bilbao to Elciego
  • Rider Level:
    • Moderate
View Itinerary

Average Weather

JUL 2016, AUG 2016

57

1.05in

Schedule

JUL 2016, AUG 2016

No tours available

Fully Booked

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Travel:
    • Arrive in Bilbao
  • Food & Drink:
    • Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Hotel Miró

Day 1 | Arrival in Bilbao.

We will begin in Bilbao, the former industrial city that has recently transformed itself into one of Europe’s major art centres.  At its heart is the Museo Guggenheim designed by Frank Gehry, whose work we will encounter more of later in the tour.

Our meeting point will be the Hotel Miró where we’ll rendezvous at around 4pm for refreshments and brief introductions followed by a short talk about Bilbao and its history.  With a list of things to see and do in Bilbao we’ll take some free time to explore the city, meeting up at 8pm to enjoy a dinner of traditional cuisine from the Basque region, then we’ll head back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep before our riding begins tomorrow.

Day 2

  • Travel:
    • Casalareina to Entrena
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Finca de los Arandinos
  • Destinations:
    • Casalareina
    • Zarratón
    • San Torcuato
    • Bañares
    • Hervías
    • Alesanco
    • Nájera
    • Ventosa
    • Hornos del Moncalvillo
    • Sojuela
    • Entrena
  • Distance:
    • 23 miles (37km)
  • Optional Pre-Ride Distance:
    • 15 miles (23km)

Day 2 | Casalareina to Entrena.

After breakfast we will leave the city of Bilbao and take a 50 minute drive to meet our bikes at the picturesque village of Casalareina.  From here, staying in the valley south of the river Ebro, we will ride east through sleepy villages and picturesque scenery.  From time to time along our route we will encounter the Camino de Santiago, the way of St. James, a spiritual path followed by millions of pilgrims over the centuries.  As we criss-cross and travel along the camino we will take a break for refreshments at Cirueña where we may meet some of the pilgrims travelling west to Santiago de Compostela.  From here we’ll head to the medieval village of Cañas, the birthplace of St. Dominic of Silos, before linking up again with the camino at Nájera where the day’s scheduled ride will end.  We will take a light lunch by the river and then leave the bikes and drive 20 minutes to our hotel, the Finca de los Arandinos, a modern hotel and spa integrated into a winery and vineyard.

For anyone who would like some more exercise after lunch there will be an optional extra ride into our hotel, 9.7km of which will actually be on the Camino de Santiago.

In the evening we will enjoy a brief tour of the winery and a private wine tasting before having dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3

  • Travel:
    • Entrena to Villabuena de Álava
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Hotel Viura
  • Destinations:
    • Entrena
    • Fuenmayor
    • Villabuena de Álava
  • Distance:
    • 25 miles (39km)

Day 3 | Entrena to Villabuena de Álava.

After breakfast we will head north towards the picturesque village of Villabuena de Álava on the opposite side of the valley.

Riding directly out of our hotel, after 13km we will again cross over the Camino de Santiago at Navarrete before crossing over the river Ebro at Lapuebla de Labarca.  Then there will be a gentle ride to the beautiful picture perfect town of Laguardia.

Founded in the 10th century, Larguardia sits in the middle of the valley at the top of a hill.  Reaching it involves a challenging climb over a distance of about 300 metres, or alternatively you can leave your bike at the car park at the bottom of the hill and take the municipal elevator up to the level of the city walls.  The walls and its five well preserved gateways enclose several monuments, buildings and places of interest.  We will take this opportunity for a refreshment break and then meet a local historian who will give us a brief talk and tour of the town.

We will leave Laguardia through the west entrance and ride back down to the vineyards, gently winding our way along the backroads and through several small hamlets.  This will bring us to our venue for the next two nights, the Viura Hotel, a modern design of whimsically superimposed cubes overlooking the San Andreas Church and the Sierra de Cantabria.

Here we will have lunch after which there will be a free afternoon to relax before tasting local wines on the roof terrace and dining in the excellent hotel restaurant.

Day 4

  • Travel:
    • Villabuena de Álava
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Hotel Viura
  • Destinations:
    • Villabuena de Álava
    • Samaniego
    • Ábalos
    • San Vicente de la Sonsierra
    • Baños de Ebro
    • Villabuena de Álava
  • Distance:
    • Distance 23 miles (36km)

Day 4 | Villabuena de Álava.

We will leave from the hotel on a circular ride which heads out in a southerly direction to pick up the river Ebro at Mañueta.  The ride will be made a little more exhilarating by the few extra hills we’ll encounter, but that extra bit of effort will be well worth it.  Staying on the north bank we will follow the river upstream to the former fortress town of San Vicente de la Sonsierra where we’ll stop for lunch.  You’ll have the option of riding up into the old town, a steady climb over about 500m distance, or to leave your bike and walk up and down.  As well as breaking for lunch we’ll also take time out to look at the castle, its archaeological remains and the church of Santa María la Mayor.

After lunch we’ll ride on through the vineyards to Ábalos, a small village which until 1727 was owned by the town of San Vicente de la Sonsierra.  We’ll take another refreshment break and a chance to look at its three Hermitages; San Felices, San Roque and San Bartolomé, before riding back into our hotel for a relaxing afternoon by the pool.

This evening will be a free evening and you’ll be able to either dine in the hotel or dine in one of several restaurants and tapas bars in Laguardia, a 10-15 minute drive from the hotel.  We’ll be happy to drive you in and collect you later if you let us know your preferences.

Day 5

  • Travel:
    • Villabuena de Álava to Elciego
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Marques de Riscal
  • Destinations:
    • Villabuena de Álava
    • Bilar
    • La Puebla
    • Elciego
  • Distance:
    • 24 miles (38km)

Day 5 | Villabuena de Álava to Elciego.

In the morning we will say goodbye to Villabuena de Álava and the Viura Hotel and will head to our final destination, the pretty 16th century town of Elciego.  Although it’s only about 13km away as the crow flies, we’ll be taking an easterly and then southerly route on gentle backroads below the impressive mountain ridge.  Riding through a landscape that mixes vineyards, oak forests, streams and ravines, we will take our first refreshment break at Bilar, a 17th century town that sits in an area of important prehistoric remains.

From Bilar we’ll head off on a gentle 11km descent through magnificent scenery followed by a final climb up to our accommodation for the final two nights of our tour – the splendid Marques de Riscal hotel.  Designed by Frank Gehry, this hotel is a truly astonishing structure which, once inside, you may never want to leave.  Our aim will be to arrive for a light lunch allowing the afternoon for enjoying the spa facilities or the terraces overlooking the vineyards and the town.

In the evening there will be a private tour of the winery followed by a tasting and then dinner on the terrace.

Day 6

  • Travel:
    • Elciego to Barriobusto
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast / Gourmet Picnic / Dinner
  • Accommodation:
    • Marques de Riscal
  • Destinations:
    • Elciego
    • La Puebla
    • Oion
    • Moreta
    • Barriobusto
    • La Población
  • Distance:
    • 19 miles (30km)
  • Optional Extra Ride Distance:
    • 16 miles (26km)

Day 6 | Elciego to Barriobusto.

As this will be our last full day on the tour, and we will be staying in such a special hotel, this day will offer a slightly varied routine.  We will offer you the alternative of a morning ride, an afternoon ride, or both.  Of course, if you’d rather do neither and spend the day chilling out in the hotel spa or wandering around the town, that’s entirely up to you – just tell us your plans for the day during breakfast.  Even if you change your mind during the morning and would like to join the afternoon ride, just let us know and we’ll be there.

As this will be our last evening together, we will enjoy it in style at the hotel’s renowned Michelin-starred restaurant.  Here we’ll take the opportunity to reminisce about our personal tour highlights while sampling exquisite food and sumptuous wines from the region.

Morning ride – after a drive of approximately 30 minutes to the village of Barriobusto we will enjoy a 10km descent followed by 15km of rolling countryside and a final climb to work up an appetite for dinner as we ride back into the hotel.

Afternoon ride – after a drive of approximately 30 minutes to the village of La Población we will take a beautiful gentle 26km ride, descending all the way back to the hotel and stopping for refreshments and photographs along the way.

 

Day 7

  • Travel:
    • Depart Elciego
  • Food & Drink:
    • Breakfast

Day 7 | Depart for Home.

After a leisurely breakfast we will say our farewells and head our separate ways.  If you need help getting to the train or bus stations, or with transportation to your return airport, please let us let know.

Hotels

Finca de los Arandinos

Set amongst vineyards and olive groves, Finca de los Arandinos offers impressive views of the La Rioja countryside.  Designed and decorated by the well-known fashion designer David Delfín, it offers luxurious accommodation in a sophisticated atmosphere.

  • Day 1

Hotel Miró

Located on Bilbao´s Golden Mile, Hotel Miró is the perfect place to get to know the city. Decorated by Barcelona fashion designer Antonio Miró, it is ideally positioned opposite the Guggenheim, offering stunning views of the world famous museum.

  • Day 2

Hotel Viura

Set against the backdrop of a traditional Spanish village, Viura is an architecturally flamboyant, modern hotel with dramatic mountain views of the Sierra de Cantabria.  With a fine dining restaurant, a bar, a wine cellar and a gym, this avant-garde hotel is the perfect place to relax and unravel the mysteries of the Rioja Alavesa […]

  • Day 3 and 4

Marques de Riscal

Since its unveiling in 2006, this masterpiece created by Frank Gehry to house the Hotel Marqués de Riscal winery, has become a highly sought after contemporary, luxury retreat. Design, art, gastronomy, wine and the lush landscape all combine to create a memorable stay in Elciego, The City of Wine.

  • Day 5 and 6

What's Included

What's Included

What's Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Luxury and exclusive accommodations
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • Lunches
  • Exclusive dinners with wine
  • Specialist guides
  • Extra activities described on program (monuments, wine tastings, etc.)
  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Full technical support vehicle along tour
What's Included

What's Not Included:

  • Air fares
  • Transfers from airport to first hotel
  • Transfers from final hotel to airport
  • Personal medical
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities for guides
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages other than those served with meals and at other scheduled activities on the tour

Prices & Dates

Go Private

If you'd prefer to have us all to yourself we offer private tours to each of our destinations. Wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go, let us know and we'll work with you to make it happen!

Alternate dates and prices

Below is a selection of alternate dates and prices for our Rioja tour. Once our tours are advertised, they're confirmed.

Rider Levels

Gentle

Moderate

Energetic

If you're in any doubt about whether a trip is right for you, contact us and we'll call you back to talk it through.

Bikes

Bikes

Bikes used on the tour.

On day one we’ll introduce you to your bike, make sure you’re familiar with its features and operation, and make any adjustments that are required to suit your personal riding preferences. If you ride with cleats and would like to bring your own pedals along we’ll fit them for you and return them to you at the end of the tour. If you’d like a rear view mirror fitted let us know and we’ll attach one for you. If your saddle isn’t quite as comfortable as you’re used to, tell us and we’ll offer you an alternative.

Every morning while you’re enjoying breakfast and loosening up for the ride ahead at least one of us will be checking your bikes to ensure they’re in tip-top condition for the ride ahead.

Hopefully not required, but nice to know they’re available, an extensive range of tools and spares with be travelling along with you, out of sight and at a discreet distance so we can quickly get you back in the saddle in the event of a problem. Should you have a problem that takes a little longer to fix, don’t worry we’ll also be carrying a couple of spare bikes that we can adjust to your preferences and get you riding again in a matter of minutes.

For more information on the bikes we use click here.

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