La Rioja Descent

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Visiting: Spain

Hotel & Bike

7 nights from £997 to £1247pp
Guiding Self-Guided i
Level Moderate i
Standard Superior i
Code SP003
Good For Foodies, Solo
Distance 176mi/283km !
Runs Apr - Oct
Departs Sunday
Fly to Santander !
Return from Bilbao !


What to expect

Discover the parts of Spain other tourists rarely see as you follow the country’s longest river from its source in the wild Cantabrian Mountains to the La Rioja wine region. Take your pick of the monasteries, ancient churches and stone castles to stop off at along the way and choose additional detours or shorter cycles to suit your ability.

Wide river canyons, dramatic valleys and limestone mountains are a firm feature of this tour and, as you ride through the green pastures of Cantabria and pedal alongside the River Ebro, you’ll trace the shores of a reservoir and cycle through rich Mediterranean forests. Stop off for tapas and look forward to tasting some of Spain’s finest wines when you ride into La Rioja, a region of vast vineyards, ancient villages and welcoming wine cellars known locally as bodegas.

  • Dramatic canyons, green valleys, rich forests and blue reservoirs
  • Wild mountains home to vultures and eagles
  • Monasteries, iconic churches, stone castles and mountain villages
  • Easy-going rides with adventurous detours or shorter cycles

The Trip



  • Day 1 (Sun): Arrive in Santander/Campoo

    Make your way to Santander, capital of Cantabria, and take a transfer inland to your hotel in Campoo. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 (Mon): Campoo - Polientes 38/61 miles (59/97 km)

    Cycle through unspoiled scenery from the green pastures of the Cantabrian Mountains and along the shores of the Ebro Reservoir. Pass the monastery of Montesclaros and continue to Valley of Valderredible and Polientes. For a shorter route, follow the river direct to Polientes. Dinner included

  • Day 3 (Tue): Polientes - Pesquera de Ebro 27 miles (43km)

    Cycle through the open valley of Valderredible, stopping off to visit the Romanesque church of San Martín de Elines. Follow the river as the valley begins to close in, looking up for eagles and vultures. Visit the fairytale village of Orbaneja del Castillo and pass through a spectacular canyon before reaching the pretty village of Pesquera de Ebro. Dinner included.

  • Day 4 (Wed): Pesquera de Ebro - Medina de Pomar 23/39 miles (36/63 km)

    Follow a beautiful bend in the river through the region’s most picturesque and least-visited villages. Add an extra adventure by riding to the dramatic village of Puentedey, built on a natural rock bridge over the River Nela. Spend the night in the Castillian town of Medina de Pomar with its old Jewish quarter and imposing castle. Dinner included.

  • Day 5 (Thu): Medina de Pomar - Frias 36 miles (58 km)

    Cycle along a quiet country road running parallel to the River Ebro and visit the Romanesque church of San Pedro de Tejada. Ride through another canyon which opens out into the fertile valley around Frias – a spectacular village built around a castle, with fine views of the Ebro Valley. Dinner included.

  • Day 6 (Fri): Frias - Haro 39 miles (62 km)

    The valley closes in again as you pedal through another spectacular canyon. Ride alongside the shores of a reservoir surrounded by high mountains and through short tunnels carved into the rock. Pass through the little town of Miranda del Ebro before cycling through imposing peaks at the gateway to the open valley of La Rioja. Spend the evening in the winemaking village of Haro and enjoy a glass of Rioja in its' birthplace.

  • Day 7 (Sat): Haro - Laguardia 16/31 miles (25/50 km)

    Visit one of the many famous bodegas in Haro, for a spot of wine tasting. Cycle through the vineyards and picturesque villages of La Rioja, with the backdrop of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains. Reach the walled medieval village of Laguardia and reward yourself with a glass of local wine.

  • Day 8 (Sun): Depart from Laguardia

    Check out of your hotel after breakfast, take the transfer to Bilbao at 9am or make your own onward arrangements, or extend your holiday in Spain.


2, 3 & 4* Hotels

We use a pool of 2, 3 & 4 star hotels to maximise our availability for this tour, so regardless of the time of year we do our best to secure your dates of choice. The accommodation often has a lovely local flair, with a chance to experience local life with an authentic flavour of your destination.

  • A mix of 2, 3* & 4* hotels
  • Breakfast plus five evenings meals and wine included
  • Secure bike storage
  • Luggage transferred each day

Dates & Prices

Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance 

Price includes

  • 7 nights accommodation: 2, 3 & 4 star hotels
  • Board basis: 7 x breakfasts and 5 x evening meals (Days 1 to 5 - wine included)
  • Luggage transportation
  • Maps and route information - GPS tracks available
  • Group transfer from/to Bilbao or Santander at start and finish of tour

Price excludes

  • Flights
  • Bike hire

Which hotel?

Month Selector

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  • 04 £997
  • Tour Start Date
  • Fully Booked

Bike Hire

Bike hire

Pannier, handlebar bag, repair kit, inner tube, pump and lock all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike

Mens Hybrid Bike
Hybrid Bike

24 gears 

E bike
E Bike Hire
Tandem Bike
Tandem Bike Hire
Road Bike
Carbon road bike

How to Get There

Getting there

Fly to Santander or Bilbao 

On Day 1 a transfer is provided from Santander to Campoo, please enquire if flying in to Bilbao. Please note that different arrival times may require some flexibility.

Train (Renfe) is available from both cities to Campo.

Getting back

On Day 8 a transfer is provided from Laguardia to Bilbao leaving at 9am. The ideal arrangement is to fly into Santander and out of Bilbao.

Fly from Bilbao or Santander

Train (Renfe) is available to both cities from Laguardia.

News, Reviews & FAQs


Simply click on a question to reveal the answers

Why are the hotels not listed in the itinerary?

We use a pool of hotels to maximise availability for you.


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Customer reviews

What other customers have said

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Date *
out of 5

This route is breath taking, start to finish. The landscapes of Cantabria, Burgos, Basque, and Rioja seemed continued to open up in front of us in endlessly surprising ways, and because this region of Spain is blessedly not on the main summer tourism circuit. We felt like we got to know the country and its culture more authentically than other journeys have allowed. A fantastic trip.

Adam Greenfield, USA, July 2018
out of 5

We are a small group of cyclists who have been on cycling trips for the last 15 years. We all unanimously agreed that this trip was up there with the best. Northern Spain was a revelation, with stunning scenery, dramatic cliffs, deep gorges, and quiet roads - a cyclist's dream! Although rustic, accommodation was excellent, and having meals and wine included on five nights was a bonus. Would definitely recommend, you will not be disappointed.

Diane Young, Crickhowell, Wales, September 2017

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