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Spain End to End: Santander to Cape Trafalgar

Spain End to End: Santander to Cape Trafalgar

September 2020

Ride from the Bay of Biscay to Cape Trafalgar near the historic city of Cadiz on our epic two week ride south through Spain. This carefully crafted route embraces the best that this wonderful country has to offer and is timed to avoid the heat, instead enjoying the late summer warmth and offering a fantastic late season excursion to savour before hanging up the bike for winter!

Spain is a wonderful country for cycling with wide well maintained roads almost completely devoid of traffic; what little there is tends to be very courteous to cyclists.

Imagine the satisfaction of ending your ride gazing at Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar. For a true traveller there can be few more evocative endings to a fantastic journey!

Our new Spanish end to end ride will take you across fantastic countryside from the beautiful Picos de Europa in the north all the way to the south western tip at Cape Trafalgar, where you can wistfully gaze across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco on the other side. We will take you to some of the most sublime countryside, some of the best climbs, longest views and most impressive mediaeval towns along the way, passing some of the finest castles and fortresses and staying in historic palaces, monasteries and other interesting hotels – of which we are particularly proud on this trip. With an average of 71 miles a day over this 13-day epic you will climb some 17,000m (Elevation charts). It tends to take the format of a couple of harder days followed by a couple of easier ones. You can see this broken down daily and we have also introduced a CQ (‘Climbing Quotient’) figure – see our FAQ page for what this is and how it is used as a measure of difficulty. 13 nights' bed and breakfast accommodation in good quality hotels, 11 dinners, 5 picnic lunches included.

Your Next Adventure Awaits

What you need to know...


Start Location
Santander


Finish Location
Cape Trafalgar, Cadiz


Region of France
End to End (UK and European rides)


Grading
Expert


Shortest Day
52 miles / 83 km


Longest Day
89 miles / 143 km


Total Days
14


Total Miles
933 miles / 1,493 km

Departure Dates & Prices

MonthDatesTour PriceSingle Supplement*Bike Hire FromEnquireBook
September 202028th September to 11th October 202028/9/20 to 11/10/20£2,495£695Check AvailabilityBook Now

*A single supplement is only payable if you would like a guaranteed room to yourself. If you are happy to share with another traveller of the same gender, no supplement is payable.

Itinerary

Day 1

From Santander the route tracks the coast with glimpses of the sea. It is hilly here with sharp, but short, lumps to negotiate. Once in Arces it is flatter for 10 miles or so. After this there are 3 good climbs. The gradients are not steep but they are longer – typically 4 or 5 miles. The last 20 miles to the overnight stop is through simply incredible countryside which makes you understand why the Picos have such a reputation for natural beauty. The extremely nice hotel is a spa from bygone times, and has all of the charm that one would expect of it. (79 miles / 127km. Ascent: 3248m CQ: 25.6 )

Day 2

It is gentle to the outskirts of Potes, travelling though a deep gorge which eventually opens out. From the turn at about 8 miles it is a long and steady climb to coffee; the gradient is a manageable 5% so it is one for finding a gear and keeping the pedals turning – it would be a surprise if you were in your easiest gear at this point. From the summit there is plenty of time for your cake to digest as a prolonged descent takes you through more unbelievably beautiful countryside. After lunch, it is more or less flat all the way to the finish. (65 miles / 105km. Ascent: 1980m CQ: 18.9)

Day 3

After the climbs of the last 2 days the high hills are now behind us for a while. We are now on the high level plateau that is the Meseta with big skies and wide horizons. It is not completely flat but there is nothing to be concerned about in climbing terms. Our destination town is on the Camino de Santiago and has been an important centre for centuries; our hotel is in an old abbey. (68 miles / 110km. Ascent: 869m CQ: 7.9)

Day 4

The first 24 miles are straightforward, along long, straight (but empty) roads. It is a long day so save something for the afternoon which is a little hillier, but not excessively so. Our super hotel tonight is housed in an old monastery with views of the wonderful castle which sits on a hill the other side of the river. (80 miles / 128km. Ascent: 1071m CQ: 8.4)

Day 5

More gently undulating countryside again today, and you should continue to make good progress with a decent average speed. Of course, our coffee stops will bring that average down a little, but the cake is there to be eaten! It is a slightly longer day today due to the need to avoid the busy roads into Segovia, but once there you are sure to agree it was well worth it. This fantastic town is famous for the Alcazar (Royal Palace) which is often named the most beautiful building in Spain. There is also an awe-inspiring Roman aqueduct and a very impressive cathedral – a beautiful city skyscape which can be admired from our hotel on the other side of the valley. (64 miles / 103km. Ascent: 899m CQ: 8.7)

Day 6

Once out of Segovia a lovely section of road twists and turns on the way south. Where it emerges there is a busy section before El Espinal, but after that some truly sublime cycling along deserted roads with quite superb views. There are a couple of long climbs (4-5 miles),  with steady gradients, but the views more than compensate for any energy exerted. Avila is a fantastic old city and we stay in its heart, within the old walls which are the longest of any in Spain. (69 miles / 111km. Ascent: 1873m CQ: 16.9)

Day 7

There are some good climbs today including one featured regularly in the Vuelta including Hinault's classic ride in 1983. It has its moments but the 16 mile descent afterwards is sublime and is a watershed moment on this ride as suddenly you are in the land of figs and olives; psychologically today is the day you will start to realise that this ride is within your grasp. The last 20 miles are flat and there are some long descents. (89 miles / 143km. Ascent: 2311m  CQ: 16.2)

Day 8

A fast start to the day will soon see 10 miles under your belt without any effort and will help eliminate any residual stiffness from yesterday’s long stage. The middle third is the section with the most climbing with one longer one; again, the countryside is beautiful with great views of mountains which we manage to avoid; Trujillo is an ancient town where many of the New World Conquistadors were born; they returned home in their latter years and built many palacios which make this one of the prettiest towns in Spain; indeed the mediaeval square is often described as the prettiest in the country. We stay in a wonderful old monastery 20 yards from the square. Of all the nice towns we stay in, this may well be your pick of the crop. It is quite simply lovely. (79 miles / 127km. Ascent: 1972m CQ: 15.5)

Day 9

A straightforward day across easy countryside, with fine views to the sides of mountains which we manage to avoid. Our hotel is in a larger town and the shorter day means plenty of time to explore or just relax. (62 miles / 100km. Ascent: 518m CQ: 5.2)

Day 10

A nice day over gently undulating countryside with long roads, long views and easy navigation including some very strangely shaped but interesting ripple-like hills. Tonight's hotel is a former palacio with great rooms and a good breakfast (as Spanish ones tend to be); the main square of this small town is a one-minute walk away and has bars with shaded arcades in which to sit and relax. (68 miles / 110km. Ascent: 1319m CQ: 12)

Day 11

Generally an easy day with a long gentle climb to Guadalcanal and then into the Andalusian hills where there is a lovely gently rolling road past the gates to impressive Fincas. Our overnight stop is a fantastic hotel in a lovely old town, with plenty of small squares in which to enjoy refreshments and to watch the world go by in the warm evening. (74 miles / 119km. Ascent 1220m: CQ: 10.3)

Day 12

Coming off the hilltop from Carmona you will see the plain stretching out before you and can be confident that no mountains lurk unseen along the way! As you approach Jerez there are a couple of smaller hills but by and large this is a flat and fast day that will see you in the capital of sherry in good time to enjoy a schooner or two. (78 miles / 126km. Ascent: 474m CQ: 3.8)

Day 13

An easy last day will get you to Cape Trafalgar in good time to enjoy an afternoon on the beach or taking refreshments in one of the beach bars with views over the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. We stay in a typical Andalusian white village not far away and will enjoy a fun evening eating outside and enjoying the climate, reliving the adventures of the last fortnight with hills getting smaller and easier with each telling. (52 miles / 84km. Ascent: 679m CQ: 8.1)

Some Tour Photos...

Travel Information

Travel out: The easiest way to get to Santander is on the ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth. It is worth arriving a day in advance if possible as the town justifies it. You could also fly to Bilbao or Biarritz (France), or alternatively Madrid which is about 4 hours from Santander by direct train. We start riding on Monday 28 September so you will need to arrive before then; the Saturday ferry from Portsmouth to Santander would be perfect but be aware this route always sells out quickly. We can suggest accommodation in Santander near the start.

Going back, we will have limited spaces available in the van for riders and their bikes, sold on a first come first served basis with full payment at the time of reservation to enable us to secure the necessary cabins on what is a very popular ferry route that always sells out quickly. These bikes will take priority. These spaces will be sold on a ‘return travel pack’ basis and include: van transport from Cape Trafalgar to Santander, overnight hotel in Salamanca (including breakfast) to break the journey (it is a 10-12 hour drive), ferry passenger fare and cabin on board. You will have an afternoon and evening to explore Salamanca which is probably Spain’s most beautiful city. Single supplement rate: £250 per person; Double / twin rate £175 per person. You would arrive back in Portsmouth on Tuesday 13th October afternoon.

For those flying back there will be an early morning transfer to Cadiz and Seville airports on Sunday 11th October. Those returning by train can be dropped at Cadiz station at the same time.

We finish riding on Saturday 10 October, staying that night near Cape Trafalgar (included in holiday price).

Subject to space as described above we can transfer bikes back to our UK base for a fee of £50 per bike. If you are unable to collect them we can arrange for them to be couriered to your home at cost (usually £40-£50 per bike).

Click here for our Travel Information page.