Spain by bike
Cycling through a spring landscape. Madrid.
Luna Marina. Fotolia.
Cycling on a beach in Formentera.
The Way of Saint James 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 will find information on their 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 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 second country in the world with the most Biosphere Reserves (47), 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, a route on which 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 so-called “Bike Hotels”, particularly in Majorca, the Canary Island and in the area of the Pyrenees, which offer a host of services like video surveillance for bikes, washing areas, special menus for sports people 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
Green Routes; these are over 2,000 km of old railways lines that have been converted into cycle touring itineraries. More than 100 itineraries are available with distances greatly varying in length (from 1 to 100 km). Check out the official website. Countryside Routes: there are over 8,000 km of these types of routes throughout Spain. Among them you will find old railway lines, canals, cattle routes, tracks, etc. Check out the official website where you can download GPS for several of the suggested routes. Eurovelo Itineraries. A lot of stretches along the Mediterranean coast of Spain are perfectly equipped for cycle touring. This is due, in part, to the route EuroVelo 8 which strikes out from Tarifa and ends in Athens. 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: Way of Saint James: several different routes that end up at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), such as the French Route, the Primitive Route, the Silver Route, etc. Why not check out our report “The Way of Saint James by bike” The Way of El Cid: this follows the steps of El Cid Campeador through Castile-León, Castile-La Mancha, Aragon and the Region of Valencia. Castilla Canal: an old water route and one of the most attractive in Castile-León.
As a general rule, in Spain cyclists are prohibited from using motorways (toll and free). Nevertheless, over 14's can cycle along the hard shoulder of toll-free motorways unless otherwise prohibited by a sign. 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, it must be properly packed. 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 Spanish Royal Cycling Federation. We advise you to read our practical health and safety tips. Given that the recommendations and regulations provided may change, we advise you to check the requirements always before starting out on your journey.