Spain by bike
Cycling through a spring landscape. Madrid.
Luna Marina. Fotolia.
Cycling on a beach in Formentera.
St James’ Way by bike.
Cycling and holidays are more than compatible in Spain. Whether you just want to cycle around between visits or you want to go on cycling excursions for a couple of hours, you will find perfectly adapted routes and cycle touring and bike hire companies all over Spain.
You can book your cycle touring activities and experiences on this page. Here you'll find information on prices, the dates when you can do the activity, how long it takes, what language options are available and its target public.
The excellent Spanish climate makes it easier to go cycling practically all year round. There are numerous routes and trails through the countryside for all levels in Spain. The impressive scenery you will encounter on the routes is really worth seeing. In fact, Spain is the country with the most Biosphere Reserves (52), not to mention its 15 National Parks, as well as some of the most beautiful and best signposted routes in Europe (such as the Way of Saint James, where you can even find hostels that are free of charge). Numerous routes run through destinations of immense cultural and gastronomic interest. Spain abounds in charming, easygoing villages to visit by bike (both along the coast as well as inland). Accommodation wise, you have a wide selection to choose from: hotels, country house lodges, campsites, hostels, etc. There are even “Bikefriendly Hotels”, particularly in Mallorca, the Canary Islands and around the Pyrenees, which offer a host of services like video surveillance for bikes, washing areas, special menus for athletes, and bike hire.
Best times of the year
Even though you can go cycling practically all year round, bear in mind that in summer the temperatures can get very high in certain areas (even topping the 35 ºC mark). A lot of cycling tourists prefer to travel in the low season (thus avoiding July and August), when there are less people on the trails.
Some types of routes
Vías Verdes (Greenways): these are over 2,000 km of old railways lines that have been converted into cycle touring itineraries. More than 120 routes are available with distances greatly varying in length (from 1 to 100 km). You can visit their official website. Nature Trails: there are over 10,200 km of these trails throughout Spain. Among them you will find old railway lines, canals, cattle routes, tracks, etc. On the official website you can download GPS files for several of the suggested routes. EuroVelo Routes. A lot of stretches along the Mediterranean coast of Spain are perfectly equipped for cycle touring. One of the reasons for this is EuroVelo 8, the Mediterranean Route from Cadiz to Athens, which is about 5,400 kilometres long. In addition to all of these routes, you will find other types of tracks, rural pathways, etc. along the way. Saddlebag cycle touring is all the rage if you are into cycling routes that take several days to complete. Use a hybrid bike fitted out for transporting packs to carry your luggage.
There are particularly famous cycle touring routes you might like to do. Here are a few examples: St James’ Way: the famous Camino comprises several different routes ending at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (Galicia), including the French Way, the Primitive Way, the English Way, etc. You might be interested in our report on “St James’ Way by bike”. The Way of El Cid: this route follows in the footsteps of El Cid Campeador through Castilla-León, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragon and the Region of Valencia. Canal de Castilla: once a major transport artery, this canal is now one of the most attractive routes in Castilla y León.
As a general rule, in Spain cyclists not allowed to ride on motorways (unless otherwise indicated in the signage). Road rules make the wearing of a reflective garment compulsory at night and in tunnels, as well as the use front and back lights can be seen at a distance of 50 m. When it comes to cycle touring, before coming to Spain (and particularly if you are going to do one of the long or more difficult routes) 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 public liability. 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. If you are travelling by train, according to the Spanish National Train Network (RENFE), as long as the bike dimensions are greater than those established for hand luggage, they will be admitted in the following services: AVE, Long Distance and Avant for national routes under the following terms and conditions: The bike is folded or dismantled and in a bag which must not exceed the following maximum dimensions: 120 x 90 x 40 cm (long-high-wide). The pedals have been dismantled and the handlebar rotated by 90º. For more information on cycle touring visit the tourist offices in each area or get in touch with their respective cycling federations. You can also visit the website of the Royal Cycling Spanish Federation. We recommend you read our practical health and safety tips. Given that the recommendations and regulations provided may change, we advise you always to check the requirements before starting out on your journey.
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