To most Brits, Spain and holidays go together like fish and chips. Or pie and chips. Or egg and chips. Or sausage and chips. Or any other British fare that’s replaced the indigenous recipes in Spanish bars, cafes and restaurants… with chips.
For keen cyclists, however, even the most relaxing and indulgent holiday can begin to get irksome. They may grow bored of sumptuous sights, fine food and gorgeous food and wine. They may find that their feet start to itch with the desire to get put into pedals and their thumbs yearn for the clicking of changing gears.
Popular cycling destinations in Spain
Whether you’re hoping to enjoy some stunning views as you languidly pump the pedals or whether you’re hoping for an opportunity to test your mettle against some of Spain’s rugged mountain ranges, you’re sure to find a wonderful cycling route in this ubiquitous holiday destination. Some of the most popular include;
The Spanish Pyrenees- The mountain range that separates Spain from France often play hosts to cyclists, with routes considered punishing even by Tour de France veterans. Stretching from the picturesque Basque country to the stunning Costa Brava you could spend days exploring their rugged beauty.
Andalucia- You may think of Andalucia and think of rugged hills and quaint hilltop villages. Yet, while this popular image comes close it does the region an injustice. You’ll find challenging climbs here, for sure. But you’ll also find stunning scenery, serene traffic-free roads and medieval streets. Not to mention some of the best paellas in Spain.
Rioja- Spain’s famous wine region also has much to offer cyclists from around the world with stunning riverside paths along the banks of the Ebro river. Here you’ll also find Museo Dinastia Vivanco where you can learn everything there is to learn about the wine-making process.
The history of cycling in Spain
While Spain was introduced to cycling in the late 19th century, the importance of cycling as a sport in Spain came to the fore in the 1940s. Today 20% of Spanish citizens regard cycling as their primary mode of transport. Several Spanish cycling athletes have even won the Tour de France, including Federico Bahamontes, Luis Ocaña, Pedro Delgado, Óscar Pereiro, Alberto Contador, Carlos Sastre and the legendary Miguel Indurain who won the iconic race for five consecutive years from 1991 to 1995.
Famous races in Spain
Spain’s equivalent to the Tour de France is the Vuelta a España but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The country also plays host to a number of other races including the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Itzulia Basque country, Vuelta a Burgos and Gran Premio Miguel Indurain to name but a few.
The best time to cycle in Spain
As most British holidaymakers know, Spain can get hot in summer. This heat may be prohibitive for cycling. Balmier yet sunny weather can be found from March through to May.