La Bahia de Concha on the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain. Photo by Patrick Hickey.

Cobbled streets of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the start of Camino Francés, France. Photo via Flickr:Giovanni Riccardi
5/5 (1 rating)

Classic Basque Country Bike Tour

Spain Bike Tours

A self-guided or supported bike tour including San Sebastian, Pamplona, and Bilbao

  • The Basque Country is an ancient land and this bike tour will provide a cycling adventure that you will not soon forget! This relatively unknown area of Spain has some of the best scenery and the most marvelous cities in Spain, not to mention one of the finest cuisines in the world. The circuit combines both inland and beautiful coastal scenery, along with the fine cities of Vitoria, Pamplona, San Sebastián and Bilbao. Part of the route leads along the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) as you cross the Pyrenees for a brief incursion into France, before returning to the coast.

    Highlights:

    • Coastal views
    • Mountain landscapes
    • Basque culture and cuisine
    • San Sebastian
    • Center of art and architecture, Bilbao
    • Guernica
    • Guggenheim

    The exquisite cuisine and the wonderful people of the region are two of the main reasons cyclists from all over the world come to the Basque Country. Be sure to check out our other bike tours in Spain.

  • 2020:

    Self-guided

    Low season:
    Twin/double:  $ 1623 £ 845 $ 1,469 982 $ 1695 kr 10469 $ 1,115 Single supplement: $ 479 £ 249 $ 434 290 $ 500 kr 3092 $ 329 High season:
    Twin/double:  $ 1871 £ 974 $ 1,693 1132 $ 1954 kr 12068 $ 1,286 Single supplement: $ 496 £ 258 $ 449 300 $ 518 kr 3198 $ 341 *High season:
    Tour starts: July 4 - through August 28. (August 29 starts low season) 

    Supported

    Twin/double:  $ 2065 £ 1075 $ 1,869 1249 $ 2155 kr 13315 $ 1,418 Single supplement: $ 258 £ 134 $ 233 156 $ 269 kr 1663 $ 177

    extra options

    Electric bike: $ 53 £ 28 $ 48 32 $ 55 kr 341 $ 36

    Road bike: $ 74 £ 39 $ 67 45 $ 78 kr 480 $ 51 Tandem bike, DISCOUNT: $ 55 £ 28 $ 49 33 $ 57 kr 352 $ 37 Please ask us for extra night pricing.

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Bilbao International Airport

    Local Travel

    This tour begins in Vitoria. Transfers are provided from the center of Bilbao or the airport to tour start. Riders are also free to make their own way to Vitoria to which there are good rail and bus connections from major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. The tour ends in Bilbao. Self-guided clients can simply take a taxi.

    Climate

    Please check local conditions before your arrival. A good website to visit to research high/low temperatures, average rainfall and other information is weatherbase.com.

    Documents

    Before you travel, please check your country's passport and visa requirements and the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.


Skill Level

This tour is rated moderate. Included in the supported tour is a backup vehicle and staff member support for all cycling stages, but do note that the guide does not ride with the group. Cyclists choose whether they cycle alone or with other cyclists. Some days offer a shorter option for those cyclists who do not wish to cycle the full stage. Non-cyclists may also participate in using the transfer service.

Where You’ll Stay

Hotels range from small posadas, Casas rurales, Casas de labranza* or country inn type accommodation to three and four-star hotels. They are, wherever possible, small establishments, each with its charm and character and are chosen for their unique situation, regional atmosphere and comfort, Please note that many of these types of accommodation do not use the hotel star rating system as they are classed as country inns by local Tourist Boards.

What’s Included

  • Self-guided:
  • Accommodation in double, twin, or single room with en-suite bathroom
  • Breakfast
  • Trek hybrid rental bike with handlebar bag, rear rack, one or two panniers, pump, spare tube, water bottle, bike lock, and basic toolkit
  • Information packet with route details and maps
  • GPS tracks on request
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • Transfer from Bilbao to Vitoria
  • Supported
  • All the above
  • Tour leader (does not cycle with group)
  • Support vehicle
  • Airport transfer at the end of the tour

What’s Not Included

TourBike
TypeSelf Guided
SkillModerate
Length8 days
From982 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Tour Dates

2020

Saturdays, from April to October 2020

(Other start dates or supported tours are possible for groups of 4 or more, please ask)

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Classic Basque Country Map

Day 1: Vitoria
Day 2: Vitoria - Estella, 60 mi. (96 km), Elevation gain 3'526 ft (1'075 m)
Day 3: Estella - Pamplona, 30 mi. (48 km), Elevation gain 2'870 ft (875 m)
Day 4: Pamplona - St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, 48mi. (77 km), Elevation gain 4'183 ft (1275 m)
Day 5: St-Jean-Pied-de-Port - San Sebastían, 49 or 64 mi. (78 or 102 km), Elevation gain 3067 ft (935 m)
Day 6: San Sebastían - Lekeitio, 45 mi. (72 km), Elevation gain 4'878 ft (1487 m)
Day 7: Lekeitio - Bilbao, 22 or 69 mi. (35 or 110 km), Elevation gain 4'757 ft (1450 m)
Day 8: Bilbao

All distances are approximate.

Day 1: Vitoria
Your tour begins in the capital of the Basque Country, a delightful and unpretentious city with something for everyone. The environmentalist will delight that Vitoria was named the European Green Capital in 2012 due to the series of interconnecting parks, ponds, and marshes linked by cycle paths. The old quarter dates back more than 8 centuries and showcases historical treasures such as the Cathedral of Santa María or the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. Stroll the medieval streets and be sure to visit one (or more) of the renowned tapas bars in the city center!

Day 2: Vitoria - Estella, 60 mi. (96 km)
Leaving Vitoria, you will pedal eastward towards Pamplona. The day's itinerary begins by circumnavigating the reservoir of Ullibarri- Gamboa. The Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Urbasa y Andía, with a side trip to the beautiful source of the Urederra, is a beautiful ride! The day's destination is the  town of Estella, situated on the Camino de Santiago, the famous old pilgrimage route known as the Way of St James.

Day 3: Estella - Pamplona, 30 mi. (48 km)
A shorter ride is on the agenda today which will lead to  neighboring Navarra and the capital of the region, Pamplona. Of course, most will know Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls during the legendary festival of San Fermin. Hemingway immortalized the city as well in his novel, The Sun Also Rises. There is plenty to explore here especially the atmospheric old quarter!

Day 4: Pamplona - St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, 43 or 54 mi. (70 or 87 km)
You will continue pedaling along the Camino De Santiago towards France. Your backdrop will be the incredible scenery of the lower Pyrenees. As you descend, you will enter the village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a beautiful and bustling French market town nestled in the foothills. 

Day 5: St-Jean-Pied-de-Port - San Sebastían, 49 mi. or 64 mi. (78 or 102 km)
The day is spent cycling on the northern side of the Pyrenees through France, reaching the French Basque coast by Saint-Jean-de-Luz. It is possible to take a short train transfer from Hendaye to San Sebastián (but those who wish to ride there may do so). This beautiful city has a fine bay, beaches, Old Quarter and fishing harbor. Last but not least, it offers incomparable gastronomy, second to none, where the multitudes of tapas bars compete with some of the best restaurants in the world.

Day 6: San Sebastían - Lekeitio, 45 mi. (72 km)
The route turns westward and follows the coast in the direction of Bilbao. It has been said that this stretch offers the finest coastal scenery in Spain. At times, you will ride along the water's edge and other times, you will ride high above it with impressive views of the coast, interspersed with charming villages. The overnight this evening is Lekeitio, a small, charming fishing village located on the Bay of Biscay. 

Day 7: Lekeitio - Bilbao, 20 or 68 mi. (35 or 110 km)
The last cycling day is another ride along the impressive coastline.  En route, you pass fishing villages in dramatic settings such as Elantxobe, surrounded by high cliffs. The route leads around the estuary of Urdaibai to finally reach the town of Guernica, subject of the painting by Picasso which depicted the horrors of war. From Guernica, a short train ride follows to Bilbao to explore this fascinating city. Be sure to visit the world-famous Guggenheim Museum!

Day 8: Departure

 If you’re looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike tours in Europe or view all our featured bicycle tours, specials, and news.

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Tour Reviews

  • Terry C. 2 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    The Classic Basque Country tour was well organized with excellent support. Northern Spain presents beautiful countryside, lovely villages and cities....very pretty. We enjoyed the whole experience.
    This was billed as a "moderate"tour. Many of the climbs and long daily cycles suggested (to me) the tour should be described as moderate-difficult.
    We had GPS tracks; could not have easily found our way if we had to rely on paper maps.
    Iberocycle ran an excellent tour.

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