The Basque Coast Cycling Holiday
- Self-Guided 6 Nights
- Arrival - Bilbao
- Departure - San Sebastian
- Difficulty - Medium
- Price - From €1150
- Dates - May to October
This self guided cycling holiday around the Basque Country crosses some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain. Starting from Bilbao, the tour follows a coastal route through picturesque fishing villages, past vast, empty beaches and visits the most iconic sights in the region.
The Basque Country is the gastronomic capital of Spain and you will be able to sample incredible food and wine throughout the tour. The holiday also visits the iconic cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian, as well as historically important towns, such as Gernika and Getaria.
The route follows rolling country lanes and has short minimum daily distances, but with the option to do more challenging extensions, making it an ideal cycling tour for riders of all abilites.
Day 1 - BilbaoThe tour begins in Bilbao; the largest city in the Basque country and one that combines modernity with historic culture.
We will transfer you from Bilbao airport or train station to the hotel, from where you can explore the impressive Guggenheim Museum, or wander around the narrow streets of the Old Town - home to many great pintxos bars.
Day 2 – Gernika & Monte Oiz (29-44km)The first day in the saddle has two options, depending on how for you wish to ride. The longer and more challenging route leaves Bilbao on quiet roads, climbing out of the valley and into the picturesque countryside of the Biscay region. The route follows rolling terrain through a mixture of forests and open green pasture before arriving in the historic town of Gernika.
The alternative route leaves Bilbao by train, avoiding the steep climb out of the city, and follows a beautiful circular route around Gernika. This option is very gently rolling and tours around beautiful orchards and through charming villages, all with the impressive Oiz Mountain providing a scenic backdrop.
Gernika is a small town immortalised by Picasso's depiction of the Spanish Civil War, and was the former capital of the Basque region.
Day 3 – Lekeitio (36-50km)The cycling holiday continues by heading into Gernika; a small town immortalised by Picasso's depiction of the Spanish Civil War.
From Gernika, you head back to the coast, passing the fantastic beach at Laida, before following a quiet road overlooking the coast into Lekeitio.
Lekeitio is a lively fishing town with many excellent restaurants serving the catch of the day.
Day 4 – Getaria (28-57km)You continue along the coast, passing through the charming towns of Ondarroa and Deba along a rolling route.
There is the option to extend the route inland to the Caves of Ekain - home to some of the best preserved cave paintings in Spain.
The destination for the evening is in the charming village of Getaria, situated on a striking small peninsula. Here you will stay in a traditional vineyard overlooking the sea. Here you can undertake a tasting session of the locally produced txakoli wine.
Day 5 – Pagoeta Natural Park (43km)Depending on how your legs feel, there is option to take a rest day today as you will stay another night in the beautiful village of Getaria. Here you can spend time on the beach, wandering around the stunning old town, or visit the Balenciaga fashion museum.
If you would prefer to cycle, however, there is the possibility of riding an excellent circular route. It begins heading inland through the charming vineyards which line the slopes around Getaria; you then enter the Pagoeta Natural Park, a picturesque rural area with very pleasant and quiet lanes for cycling. The ride returns to Getaria through the town of Zarautz, home to one of the largest and most impressive beaches in Northern Spain.
Day 6 – San Sebastian (29-63km)From Getaria you will cycle along one route of the Camino de Santiago, passing through the popular surfing town of Zarautz.
From Zarautz there is a short climb up to Monte Igeldo, home to what the Basque people claim is the 'best view in the world'. This delightful route is a quiet and scenic way into San Sebastian, with stunning views of the coast, before descending to sea level and following a cycle lane along the beach in San Sebastian.
The day finishes in San Sebastian - undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Aside from its superb beaches and charming old town, San Sebastian also contains some of the finest restaurants in the world.
Day 7The holiday comes to an end after breakfast, and we will transfer you to one of the departure points.
If you wish to extend the holiday further, we would be happy to arrange for extra nights in San Sebastian, Bilbao, or another destination in the area.
Prices & Dates
|Price (per person)||Single Supplement||Bike Hire (Optional)|
|May, June, October||€1150||€350||€100|
|July & September||€1250||€360||€100|
*Based on two people sharing a double or twin room. If you would prefer to stay in a single room, the single supplement is applicable.
Guided TourGroups of six people or more contact us to arrange a private guided tour starting on any date.
The following is included in the tour:
- Six nights accommodation in double, twin or single room with en-suite. Please see price list for details of single supplement.
- Transfer to and from the arrival/departure point
- Continental breakfast every day
- Luggage transferred between hotels
- Detailed maps and route information for each day, with clearly marked points of interest.
- Route extensions every day for those of you who wish to cycle
The following are optional extras available for an additional charge:
The following is not included in the tour
- Lunches and Dinners
- Any transfers not stated above
- Travel Insurance
- Entry to any attractions (e.g. museums, churches) except were explicitly stated
Frequently Asked Questions
Please browse through some of the frequently asked questions about this cycling tour. If you have any further questions, or would like any more information, please contact us and we will answer by email.
How far do I cycle each day on this tour?
There are two options on each day, one shorter route and one which is more challenging. The shorter route averages around 30km and is rolling, with largely gentle climbs and descents.
The longer route is over 50km each day and also contains more climbing, including a couple of longer more challenging ascents. Both options start and finish in the same place, so it is possible to choose each day which route you prefer to take.
In addition, there are optional extensions available each day in case you wish to cycle further.
How difficult is this tour?
This is rated as easy-medium difficulty. That means that it is suitable for a first time cycling holiday, but is slightly more challenging than our easiest tours. The minimum daily distances are fairly low and the route is mostly undulating.
Apart from on the final day, there are no hills longer than around 2km, and there are no steep sections. A reasonable level of cycling fitness is required; however, a few weekend rides in the weeks before the holiday should be enough to allow most cyclists to comfortably complete the route.
The tour, however, can be made more challenging by including the daily route extensions. These are entirely optional, but include more sustained and difficult climbing inland from the coast.
How busy are the roads?
The vast majority of this tour is on narrow country lanes and quiet routes through Natural Parks.
There are short transition sections on slightly busier roads, but these do not last long and cars in this region are extremely respectful of cyclists (the Basque country is, by a distance, the cycling capital of Spain).
Can I personalize or change aspects of this tour?
Absolutely! We have designed a tour that we feel strikes a great balance between cycling routes, accommodation and interesting towns. However, if, for example, you would like to do the tour
for a different number of days, stay in a different level of accommodation, or extend the route to a different location, we would be happy to discuss the options with you.
What is a single supplement?
Our prices are based on two people sharing a hotel room (in a double or twin room). For cyclists that wish to stay in their own room, the single supplement is payable.
The cost is made up of the extra cost of accommodation when the room is single occupancy and also the greater cost of the transfers (luggage and people) when it is not split between two or more cyclists. We have made every effort to keep this to a minimum wherever possible.
What are the arrival and departure points?
The tour begins in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque region. Bilbao has an international airport and is also accessible by train from both Madrid and Barcelona.
Departure is from San Sebastian. The train station has regular connections to several major Spanish and French cities, while San Sebastian airport has daily flights, mostly to Madrid and Barcelona.
As part of the holiday, we transfer you to and from the required airport or train station at the start and end of the tour.
What type of bikes do you provide?
For this tour we recommend hybrid bikes, although we can also provide road bikes. The fairly low distances and lack of steep hills make hybrid bikes a good choice, allowing you to go at a leisurely pace and fully appreciate the surroundings.
Please see our bicycles page for further details.
When can I do this tour?
This tour is available starting on any date from the the start of May until the end of October. We may also be able to run this tour outside this period on request (please contact us for more details).
If you wish to do the tour in late July and August, we recommend booking as early as possible as availability of accommodation is limited during this period. August is also by far the most expensive time to visit, because the hotels put their prices up markedly in this month.
What is the weather like on this tour?
The Basque Country is on the Cantabrian Sea and has its weather heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. This generally means wet winters and early spring, with warm and sunny summers. This is the main reason why we run the tour only in the summer months.
The north coast of Spain is the coolest region, with average daily temperatures of around 25 degrees celsius in the summer, which makes it almost perfect conditions for cycling.
Rain is a possibility, although it is less likely in the summer when it normally comes in occasional showers, rather than persisting throughout the day.
What are the altitude profiles for each day?
Below are the altitide profiles for both the shorter and longer route each day (the shorter one is always first). In addition to this there are optional extensions, with a lot more climbing available!
Please don't be put off by these profiles. Although they may look like something out of the Tour de France, the scale on the left is low and so the routes are not as steep or challenging as they may seem.
Please click on a profile to see it in more detail
We believe that the hotels that you stay in are just as important as the towns that you visit and the scenery that you ride through. On this tour we have chosen accommodation that
is of a high quality and is typical to the area.
In the larger towns, these are luxurious hotels set in a prime location for exploring the city. In the smaller villages we use high quality independent hotels with charm and local character.
BilbaoIn Bilbao you stay in a excellent **** hotel which is less than a ten minute walk from both the historic old town and the Guggenheim Museum. It is a comfortable, modern building with excellent facilities and is a perfect base for exploring the city.
GernikaIn Gernika you stay in a very pleasant *** hotel situated just 150m from the Picasso mosaic and the peace museum. It is just a short walk from the main boulevard which is teeming with excellent bars and restaurants.
LekeitioHere you stay in a small boutique hotel, housed in an 18th century mansion, and situated just a short walk from the beach. It is traditionally styled and decorated and has beautiful gardens.
GetariaIn Getaria you spend two nights in another locally run Boutique hotel - one of our favourites in the whole of Spain. The small hotel is set in a 15th century tower and offers incredibly picturesque views of the coast.
San SebastianIn San Sebastian you stay in a comfortable *** hotel situated just five minutes from the cathedral and within easy walking distance of the beach and the old town (where you can find the hundreds of pintxos bars for which the city is famous).
To find out more about how we select our hotels, please see our accommodation page.
To reserve a place on the tour, please follow the link below to continue to our reservation form.
Once we have received the form, we will be in contact to confirm the booking and to arrange for the payment of the deposit.
If you would like to do this tour in a group of more than six people as a guided tour, please contact us and we can arrange a private guided cycling holiday.