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Cantabria

Spain | europe

Mountains, beaches, and perfect roads

SPANISH GEM OF THE NORTH WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED

Cantabria is a quiet and small region on the north coast of Spain, washed by the Bay of Biscay. You can cross it in the car in less than one hour in all directions. Thankfully, it takes much longer by bike as it is definitely worth taking the scenic route.

The coastline is mesmerising. Cliffs, bays, and rural fishing ports are some of the beautiful features you can discover by bike. Winter storms can be raging here, and even in the summer weather is unreliable. But this makes for excellent cycling conditions escaping the suffocating August Spanish sun. Many Spaniards seek out this refreshing climate as a heat relief.

Why cycle Cantabria? The main treasure lies in the mountain range that is called Cordillera Cantabria. It’s a slice of landscape, mixed with long green valleys and rivers, millennial stone-built towns, and 2,000 meter high peaks to climb.

A WILD COASTLINE

Take your time to ride through one of the coastal towns or up to a viewpoint. You will be rewarded with views of high cliffs reaching into the Bay of Biscay, with wild and remote beaches nestled in between.

Discover the unspoilt green coast of Spain and take a moment to breathe in some fresh, sea air. Feel at peace.

From Santillana, you have relatively easy access into Basque Country and San Sebastián for more coastal adventures.

HIGH PEAKS AND GREEN VALLEYS

The Cantabrian Mountains may be less spoken about that Pyrenees, but these national parks are of unique beauty and special interest for cyclists. If you don’t have much time, head to Picos de Europa where you’ll find some world-class climbing. This includes some long, gradual routes and also some gruelling short walls to conquer on a bike.

Looking for the toughest climb in Spain? Alto del Angliru is a cycling pilgrimage that has to be on everyone’s bucket list.

LA VUELTA HERITAGE

As we’ve already mentioned, this region has some incredible climbs. Almost every year La Vuelta passes through Cantabria making these routes truly iconic.

Legend has it that mega-steep climbing in grand cycling tours started right here in Cantabria. The Spanish Loop started to experiment with some brutal passes, like Alto del  Angliru, known to be the signature climb of Alberto Contador.

Biking in Cantabria is a rite of passage for cyclists, filled with the raw essence of the sport.

DON'T MISS THIS

Spain's Northern region is full of some epic cycling routes and locations. Here are some must-see places to check off the list if you find yourself riding in this area.

1.

ALTO DEL ANGLIRU

One of Spain's toughest climbs is tucked away from the crowds, deep in the mountains of the Cantabria region. Take on a series of challenging roads, finishing with a 6km climb that really ramps up the incline. The roads are practically empty making for some highly enjoyable riding.

2.

PICO DE EUROPA

A National Park that reflects both the beauty and the diverse wildlife of the area. Pico de Europa is accessible from most major cities, including Madrid to the south, and offers some epic routes to mix up your cycling trip. Great climbs, stunning scenery, and plenty of things to keep you busy in between rides - this is a must-visit place.

3.

VIA VERDE DEL PAS

Enjoy a gentle and relaxing trail ride through the heart of the countryside. Take in the landscape and scenery over 35km of riding on an old reclaimed train line. Pass through quaint villages and soak up the elements of the region.

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