Basque Mountains Cycling Holiday
Basque Flag Spanish FlagSpain


Self-Guided Cycling Holiday

Basque Flag Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Tour
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging to Hard
Price:from €1,480 EUR
This self-guided cycling holiday crosses the Basque Country region in the north of Spain. It is a challenging tour through the hills and mountains of the region, tackling the most scenic and toughest road climbs. Highlights include some of the best known climbs in cycling, such as Arrate, Jaizkibel and Puerto de Urkiola.

As well as riding climbing through beautiful mountain scenery, you will also ride along the Basque coastline, enjoying fantastic views looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. You will stay in excellent hotels in the most charming towns, including Lekeitio, Getaria and San Sebastian.

There are multiple route options each day, so that you can choose how far you wish to ride, but whichever option you choose, you will discover the charms and beauty of this unique region. Check out the itinerary and the other tabs below for the full details of this tour.

We also run a more leisurely cycling holiday in the Basque Country, if you would prefer an itinerary with fewer hills!
Basque Coast Tour Map
Click on the map to view in full screen

Tour Availability


Day 1 - Arrival to the Basque Country

We will pick you up from Bilbao airport or train station and transfer you to the historic town of Durango, where the tour begins.

Depending on your arrival time, there is the opportunity to do a circular ride in the hills around the town. Or you can explore the center of one of the Basque Country's oldest towns.

The charming streets of the old town are lined with bars and restaurants where you can sample the local tapas and pintxos!
Basque Pintxos
Basque Pintxos

Day 2 - Puerto de Urkiola & Arrate

On the first full day in the saddle you will tackle the most iconic climb in the Basque Country - Arrate. Located near the Orbea bike factory, Arrate is a short and steep climb which has been used in professional cycling races for nearly a century. In recent years it has been a prestigious stage finish on the Tour of the Basque Country race, often deciding the winner of the race.

Arrate is just a part of this great route though, which crosses several other minor hills in the central Basque region, including a beautiful ascent to the village of Elgeta.

The longer route includes an additional climb to Puerto de Urkiola, another challenging ascent which has featured many times in the Vuelta a España race. Both routes then return to the boutique hotel in Durango.

Cycle Routes:

Short Route: 60km / 1,400m elevation (37 miles / 4,600 ft)

Long Route: 91km / 2,200m elevation (57 miles / 7,200 ft)

Day 3 - Gernika & Basque Coastline

The ride today begins by crossing the Balcón de Bizkaia, a picturesque viewpoint in the heart of the Biscay region. A long descent then takes you to Gernika, the former capital of the Basque country and a charming city, immortalized in a painting by Pablo Picasso.

From Gernika, the route follows a beautiful road around the Urdaibai Reserve, before heading along the spectacular coastline to the town of Lekeitio. A charming fishing village, Lekeitio has both excellent restaurants and beaches - making it an ideal destination for two nights.

The longer route includes an additional loop around the Armintza pensinula, which visits the impressive 10th century monastery of Gaztelugatxe.

Cycle Routes:

Short Route: 76km / 1,450m (47 miles / 4,800 ft)

Long Route: 115km / 2,250m (72 miles / 7,400 ft)
The Urdaibai Biosphere
The Urdaibai UNESCO Biosphere

Day 4 - Monte Oiz & Urkarregi

The ride today begins by conquering the highest and most challenging climb in the Basque Country - the legendary Monte Oiz. A star climb in recent editions of the Vuelta a España, Monte Oiz is characterized by steep gradients and spectacular scenery as you ascend the narrow road to the very top of the mountain.

From Oiz, the route is mostly downhill back to Lekeitio; however, there are still a couple more smaller climbs - Gontzegaraigane and Santa Eufemia. On the way you will also pass through the charming village of Ziortza - whose claim to fame is being the ancestral home of Simon Bolivar - the liberator of the South America.

The longer route includes a really enjoyable extra loop over the climbs Ixua and Urkarregi. These are fun ascents and descents with fairly gentle gradients and lots of sweeping bends.

Cycle Routes:

Short Route: 64km / 1,700m (40 miles / 5,700 ft)

Long Route: 102km / 2,600 (63 miles / 8,600 ft)
Monte Oiz
Monte Oiz

Day 5 - Azurki & Getaria

You will begin today by riding along a gently rolling coastal road lined with fragrant eucalyptus trees. The first significant climb of the day is the short but fairly steep climb to Kalbario.

From Kalbario you head inland, riding along beautiful country lanes through small, picturesque villages. The big climb of the day is the ascent to Azurki, one of the most spectacular ascents in the Basque region.

The shorter route finishes the day with a long, gentle downhill and ride along the coast to the town of Getaria - famous for its txakoli wine and excellent beaches.

The longer route includes the lesser known, but very scenic climb to Etumeta, before descending through the vineyards down to the charming hotel in Getaria.

Cycle Routes:

Short Route: 78km / 1,650m (48 miles / 5,600 ft)

Long Route: 92km / 2,350m (57 miles / 7,800 ft)
Getaria Vineyards
Getaria Vineyards

Day 6 - San Sebastian

The final day in the saddle follows roads based on the San Sebastian classic cycling race. Highlights include the climbs of Monte Igueldo and Jaizkibel, both of which overlook the stunning Atlantic coastline.

You will also tackle the climb to Garate and there is the possibility to take on two of the steepest climbs in the Basque region - Bordako Tontorra and the notorious Aia.

All routes end in San Sebastian - the most celebrated Basque city. Known primarily for its spectacular beaches and incredible food scene, it is a great place to celebrate on the last night of the holiday.

Cycle Routes:

Short Route: 58km / 1,400m (36 miles / 4,700 ft)

Medium Route: 95km / 1,900m (59 miles / 6,500 ft)

Long Route: 117km / 2,400m (73 miles 7,800 ft)
Monte Igueldo
Monte Igueldo

Day 7 - Departure or Extension

The cycling holiday ends after breakfast. However, if you would like to stay for extra nights in San Sebastian, please let us know and we can happily arrange it for you.

Another popular option is to extend the stay in Bilbao.

To find out more information about this holiday; including practical information, prices, dates and more tour highlights; return to the top of the page and click on the various tabs.

The tour can be extended if you wish to spend more time in the region

This tour explores the beautiful mountain scenery of the Basque country. But there is more to the holiday than just the cycling; you will also visit some of the region's most important historic and cultural sights: including Durango, Gernika, Gaztelugatxe, Getaria, Loyola and San Sebastian.

You ride through the Basque country's finest natural scenery both on the coast and inland, and will learn about the key role that the sea has played in the development of the region. Best of all, you will also have ample opportunity to enjoy the famous Basque gastronomy; from pintxos and the cider house, to fine dining restaurants. We show you the real Basque country!

Check out just a few of the many highlights in our tour photo album below.

  • Six Nights Accommodation (see the Hotels section for more details)
  • Continental breakfast each day in the hotel
  • Transfers to and from the arrival / departure point (see below for more information)
  • Luggage transferred between hotels
  • GPS tracks and mobile app to follow the routes stress free
  • Detailed information pack
Not Included:
  • Bicycle Rental (optional extra - see below)
  • Other Meals not detailed above
  • Flights
  • Tour Extensions (optional extra)
  • Travel Insurance

Bicycle hire is an optional extra for this holiday.

We provide full carbon road bikes, with 11 speed Shimano groupsets (105 or Ultegra) and disc brakes. All bikes are equipped with a compact chainset (50/34 teeth) and a generous cassette for climbing (11-32 or 11-34).

For this tour we typically use locally made BH bicycles, produced in the Basque region. The exact model depends on availability, so please get in touch if you would like more information.
Road Bicycle Road Bicycles

Difficulty Level & Roads
This is a tour which crosses the mountains of the Basque region and is rated as Challenging - Hard difficulty.

All routes involve a significant amount of climbing, with a wide range of gradients. This is a holiday for experienced cyclists who enjoy climbing and descending, and who want to challenge themselves by riding the most scenic and toughest ascents in the region.

If you would be interested in a less challenging cycling holiday in the region, check out our Basque Coast tour.

The routes are on paved roads throughout. We hate riding alongside cars and so avoid it as much as possible!

Find out more about our tour difficulty levels.

Arrival and Departure
The arrival point is Bilbao, which is accessible from many domestic and international destinations.

If you can not get a direct flight to Bilbao, there are also regular trains running there from San Sebastian, Madrid and Barcelona. We will collect you from the airport, train station or another hotel in Bilbao at the start of the tour.

The departure point is San Sebastian. We will transfer you to the train station or airport. Please let us know if you would prefer to be transferred to another destination nearby (e.g. Bilbao, Biarritz) and we can help to arrange it for you.

Please contact us if you would like any advice or more information regarding getting to and from Bilbao or San Sebastian.
Basque Arrivals and Departure Map

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.

Should I do the longer or shorter routes?

This depends entirely on you! The longer and shorter routes all start and finish at the same place, and so you can decide on any given day which you would prefer to do. There is no need to commit until the day of the ride itself.

On the longer routes you able to see more and tackle more of the climbs, while the shorter routes may give you more time to explore places along the route.

What is the weather like?

In the Basque Country the weather is a bit less reliable than in most of Spain. More often than not it is bright and sunny, but cloudy days with some rain are not uncommon.

It is a good idea to bring a light jacket for cycling in case we get caught in a shower. But even if it does rain, the temperatures usually remain warm, and it's not long before the sun reappears.

It is possible to do this tour year round, but be aware that in winter, temperatures can get quite cold (the average high in San Sebastian in January is around 12°C (53°F) - and it can be even cooler in the mountains). The ideal time to ride is from May to October.

Can I extend the tour?

Yes, we would be happy to arrange any tour extensions for you. Popular options are to stay extra nights in Bilbao or San Sebastian.

But it's also possible to stay extra nights in the French Basque country (Biarritz), the Pyrenees, or several other great places nearby. Please contact us if you would like to know more about the different options.

Can I do this as a private guided tour?

Yes, we can run this as a private tour for groups of six or more people. Please get in contact with us to discuss dates and any changes you would like to make.

What is your cancellation policy?

The full cancellation policy can be found in our terms and conditions.

Why book with us?

We are a small and independent company who are locally based, which offers several advantages:

- We have a lot personal experience of all of our tours, which have been refined over many years. We believe we are genuine experts in the regions where we run tours, and we are also close at hand to offer support and a personalized service.

- We are flexible and can tailor our itineraries to suit your requirements.

- We have low overheads. We don't spend money on advertising and don't use third party agents. We only sell our tours through this website.

By cutting out the middle man, you can be sure that more of what you pay is being spent on the important things: like hotels, equipment and other services.

- We are a registered and fully bonded tour operator in accordance with EU regulations.

Where can I find more information about the region?

We have plenty more detailed information on the website.

Check out our pages on Bilbao or San Sebastian for more information about the main cities on the tour.

We also have some more in dpeth articles looking more at the fascinating history of the Basque Country:

Gran Hotel
Durango HOtel
This stylish 4-star hotel is situated in the historic center of Durango.

It is housed inside a stunning palace and has large rooms as well as a swimming pool and spa facilities.
Palacio Uribarren
Hotel Lekeitio
A charming boutique hotel with a stunning location.

Situated in the center of Lekeitio right next to the delightful beach, this is a great place to relax on the terrace or to explore the narrow streets of the old town.
Hotel Saiaz
Hotel Saiaz - Getaria
This boutique hotel in Getaria is housed in a 15th century Gothic palace in the heart of the old town.

It is stunningly decorated and has impressive views looking out over the ocean.
Hotel Sercotel Europa
Hotel San Sebastian
This impressive *** hotel, with classic decor, is situated just a few metres from San Sebastian's La Concha beach, and also just a short walk from the Cathedral and picturesque old town.

It's ideal for exploring the city and has comfortable and well equipped rooms.

Tour Starting Date Price (per person)¹ Single Supplement Bike Hire
1st July - 17th September €1,640 EUR €690 EUR €200
All other Dates €1,480 EUR €600 EUR €200

¹Price is 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.

To reserve a place on the tour, click the button above and complete the reservation form. We will then get back to you within 24 hours to confirm the reservation, and to arrange for payment of the deposit.

For more details on the booking process, please check out our Reservations page.

²Other Dates
Groups of eight people or more contact us to arrange a private guided tour starting on any date.

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