Raphael Daniaud. Fotolia
Cyclist. Mountain biking.
Cyclist crossing a watercourse.
Ramón Espelt. Fotolia.
Mountain biking next to a river. Galicia.
Spain is a good place for mountain biking in the great outdoors. The network of MTB (Mountain Biking) Centres is growing, so it's easier for lovers of this sport to discover amazing places safely. Come and cover hundreds of miles on your bike, with your friends or family.
You can book your MTB activities and experiences on this page. Here you'll find information on prices, the dates on which you can do the activity in question, how long it takes, what language options are available and its target public.
The excellent Spanish climate makes it perfect for mountain biking practically all year round. There are many types of landscapes, from coastal areas to high mountain areas. In fact, many of the trails run through protected natural spaces. Did you know that Spain has the second largest number of Biosphere Reserves in the world, and 15 National Parks? As well as long MTB routes (called "Gran Travesía", which take a few days), there is a growing network of MTB Centres (currently more than 50 all over the country), which give you advice on how to do specific routes. These routes generally aim to stay away from motorised vehicles, asphalted roads and two-way roads. Many of the MTB Centres in Spain organise trips, tours and courses. In Spain there are many places to stay, offering different prices (hotels, apartments, campsites, country house lodges, etc.). There are even so-called "Bike Hotels", particularly in Majorca, the Canary Islands and the Pyrenees, which offer a host of services like video surveillance for bikes, washing areas, free GPS route download, massages, special menus for sportspeople, bike hire and planned circuits. Cycling is very much part of the culture in Spain, and there is even a race that is famous all over the world: the "Vuelta Ciclista" around Spain. If you fancy, you could do one of the legs on your mountain bike.
What is an MTB Centre?
It is an outdoor area designed so that MTB users can practise the sport safely. Various routes start off from MTB Centres (either on wide tracks or less busy paths) and they usually have the following features: A place where you can find tourist information. A car park, showers, washing areas, bike repair and hire (if you don't bring your own). Technical information on each route, route level classification, and graphic materials with maps.
In the mountains there are some places with signposts that use an international system (especially in the Basque Country), but in general each area has its own signs. Many routes do not use static signs, in order to protect the countryside.
Some of the mountain biking trails you can find are the "Rutas de Gran Travesía", which are special routes that are more than 100 km long through stunning natural spaces. Some of them are quite well known: TrasAndalus: a 2,000-kilometre mountain biking route round Andalusia. La Transpirenaica: a trail crossing the Pyrenees. Canary Islands: trails crossing lava fields on volcanic islands. As for MTB Centres, there are many in Catalonia especially .
If you like mountain biking in amazing places with spectacular views, you're sure to love Bike Parks – they are different types of mountain bike circuits, normally downhill, with artificial and natural obstacles. You can find them especially in some of the ski resorts, like La Molina , Manzaneda , La Pinilla and Sierra Nevada . There are also bike parks in nature areas, such as Fenasosa . They usually hire bikes and accessories.
Take a GPS device or map of the area and a compass with you. Always wear a helmet and suitable clothing. Other important items you shouldn't forget are sunglasses and clear glasses, a toolkit and a small first aid kit if you're going on a long trip. You should always wear reflective clothing at night and in tunnels. Front and rear lights must be visible 50 metres away. Check the weather forecast before starting out. If you're going to the mountains, tell someone you trust about your plans. Choose a route that matches your physical ability. As a general rule, in Spain cyclists not allowed to ride on motorways (toll and free). Nevertheless, over-14s can cycle along the hard shoulder of toll-free motorways unless otherwise prohibited by a sign. If you come to Spain by plane and want to bring your bike, you must pack it properly. Some airline companies charge an extra for bikes. This goes for long-distance coach companies too. Take this into account before buying your tickets. It is advisable to insure your belongings and take out medical insurance and civil liability insurance if you are going mountain biking. Before coming to Spain you might choose to join your country's cycling federation and have it extend your insurance cover to Spain or you can take out travel insurance that covers medical attention and civil liability. When deciding where to stay, bear in mind that wild camping is not always allowed. For more information get in touch with the respective cycling federations in each area. You can also visit the website of the Royal Cycling Spanish Federation. You can download the route tracks from many of the official tourist websites for each Spanish region, and from specialised MTB websites. Many MTB Centres have their own websites. Various organisations and companies organise guided MTB rides. Many of them even take care of booking accommodation and luggage transfer, and provide maps of the route, GPS tracking, welcome packs, personalised timing, and many other things. Given that the recommendations and regulations provided may change, we advise you to check the requirements always before starting out on your journey.