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Advice for travelling safely
Cyclist on mountain bike

Mountain biking in Spain

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Spain is great for mountain biking in natural settings. The network of mountain biking (MTB) centres is growing all the time, making it easier for enthusiasts to discover amazing places with the safety and facilities they need. Come and cover hundreds of miles on your bike, with your friends or family.

WHY SPAIN

The excellent Spanish climate makes it perfect for mountain biking practically all year round.There are many types of landscapes, from coastal areas to mountainous highlands. In fact, many of the trails run through protected natural spaces. Did you know that Spain has the most Biosphere Reserves in the world, and 15 National Parks?As well as long mountain biking and hiking routes, called "Gran Travesía", which take a few days, there is a growing network of MTB Centres, which can advise you 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.

Cyclists in nature

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 Mallorca, the Canary Islands and the Pyrenees, which offer a host of services like bike parking areas with security cameras, bike washing areas, free downloads of GPS routes, massages, special menus for athletes, 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 a España. If you fancy, you could do one of the legs on your mountain bike.

Vuelta Ciclista cycle race around Spain

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.

Family mountain biking in Tenerife above a sea of clouds

SIGNAGE

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.

AREAS

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 around Andalusia.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.

Cyclists on the Silver Route passing through Asturias

BIKE PARKS

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. Most of them are in ski resorts such as La Molina, Manzaneda, La Pinilla and Sierra Nevada. There are also others in natural spaces, such as Fenasosa. They usually offer bikes and accessories for hire.

Cyclist on mountain bike

HANDY TIPS

  • 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.
  • At night and in tunnels, always wear a reflective or high-vis garment.
  • Front and rear lights must be visible 50 metres away.
  • Check the weather forecast before starting out. If you're going to the wilderness, 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 Spanish Royal Cycling 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 always to check the requirements before starting out on your journey.