Spain's Picos de Europa

      Bilbao, Biscay, Spain

      Duration: 9 days
      Group size: 1 - 16
      Spain's Picos de Europa
      Bilbao, Biscay, Spain

      Duration: 9 days
      Group size: 1 - 16

      About this trip


      It was in the Picos de Europa that the remains of ancient man have been discovered in many of its caves - Altamira,of course, being the most famous. Thousands of years later, the Romans invaded and left their inevitable roads and bridges. Most importantly though for most Spaniards, during the 8thC Christian Spain began its reconquest from the Moors under the leadership of the Visigoth king, Pelayo. It's no wonder then that the region remains one steeped in legends and miracles.

      Most of our cycling will be through the stunning gorges that dissect the Picos. While fairly easy riding throughout, there will be only one long climb of 20km/12.5m. However, the van will be ready and waiting for those wanting a lift either partially or all the way to the top. On both of our layover days we will take advantage of the superb hiking trails to enjoy the Picos from another perspective - our feet!

      The cuisine of the Picos is typical hardy mountain fare. The specialties are a wonderful bean stew called fabada, trout and salmon from the rivers, smoked meats and heavenly cheeses such as smoked Aliva and a blue cheese of almost mythical fame, Cabrales. There are no typical wines of the Picos - most natives drink the regional sidra (hard apple cider) - but the wonderful wines of other parts of Spain, such as, Rioja, Valdepeñas, Duero etc., are readily available everywhere.

      What’s included

      • All breakfasts
      • All lunches
      • 5 Dinners
      • Support Vehicle
      • Bilingual guide
      • Detailed itinerary
      • Route maps
      • Water bottle
      • All accommodations
      • 2 Guided hikes
      • All listed entrances
        including Guggenheim visit
      • Transportation
        From Bilbao to Comillas (start of riding) and from Santilliana to Bilbao (1 trip only)
      • Optional Kayaking trip

      Available Packages

      Per Person (Double Occupancy)
      Available until 15 days before departure
      Deposit: C$750
      Per Person (Single Occupancy)
      Available until 15 days before departure
      Deposit: C$750

      Available options


      Day One

       After a 10:00am meeting in Bilbao at the Barcelo Bilbao Nervion, we’ll visit the very beautiful Guggenheim Museum. Designed by the American architect, Frank O. Gehry, it has been called “the greatest building of our time”. Housing 20thC art, it has permanent collections that revolve between the foundations other museums in New York and Venice, of virtually every great name in modern and contemporary art plus many temporary exhibits. The building itself, however, is what steals the show. Built in a cubist style of lofty titanium curves that glimmer and shine, the building both astounds and delights you when you come upon it. The main entrance is home to Puppy, Jeff Koons enormous flower sculpture that was intended to be a temporary exhibit for the opening but so endeared itself to the Bilbainos that they pleaded for it to be a permanent part of the museum. It’s now inseparable from the building itself and provides a wonderful juxtaposition of sophisticated modern and corny kitsch. Inside, the building has a light-filled atrium that the galleries and walkways lead off from. The Fish Gallery is the largest in the world and intended to hold exhibits of enormous sculptures. We’ll have a audio-guided tour in English at 11:00am.

      After a quick lunch, we’ll transfer by bus 104k/65m away to the charming hotel, Marina de Campios, set in the center of the charming seaside resort town of Comillas. This is primarily dairy country but is becoming more popular as a tourist destination because of its stunning unspoiled beaches on the Cantabrian Sea. Once we get to our hotel, you’ll have the afternoon free to relax and/or enjoy a walk to the beach before your bike fitting. One of the most striking buildings in Comillas is El Capricho de Gaudi (across the street from our hotel). This is one of only 3 buildings by the famous Catalán modernista architect, Antoní Gaudi, outside of Catalunya. It was designed for the daughter of a close friend of his and is now open to visitors. You can also visit the gardens where there's a startling little statue of Gaudi sitting on a garden bench!
      Tonight's accommodation: Hotel Marina de Campios – A lovely boutique hotel in the center of town. 

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