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Cycling in La Rioja

Cycle through the most famous wine-making region in Spain



At a glance

5 days cycling with 90% vehicle support

Cycle through the most famous wine-making region in Spain

La Rioja is a broad valley of undulating vineyards and craggy hills, where
walled hilltop towns reflect the turbulent times of earlier centuries. Our
exploration on two wheels starts in the beautiful Ebro valley before heading
into the heart of the Demanda mountain range and the fertile land of La
Rioja. Surrounded by vineyards, we cycle across the gentle rolling
countryside seeking out the tastiest tapas and juiciest grapes as we make our
way between ancient monasteries and world renowned wineries before finally
ending our tour in the beautiful city of Bilbao where we have a day to
explore the many museums and narrow streets.

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

Food:
All breakfasts are included.

Please note that mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries;
dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30. The Rioja region is famous
for its excellent wines, however this trip also allows us to indulge in some
of Spain’s amazing cuisine, featuring mouth watering Tapas, tasty menestras
(vegetable stews), as well as succulent meats, such as goat and lamb. The
influence of the nearby Basque Region and its world famous 3 Michelin Star
restaurants can be seen everywhere and the standards of food are very high
everywhere we go. The Pinchos are also a great experience. Bars serve a great
selection of small, elaborate Pinchos to be had with a glass of wine. Pinchos
are normally displayed on dishes and are always a selection of delicacies
presented on top of a slice of bread and held together by a little tooth
pick.

Start destination:

End destination:

Cycling profile

Day 1

Start Bilbao; transfer to Sala de los Infantes (approx. 2.5hrs). Once in Sala
we have the rest of the day to relax in this beautiful old town. Here there
are several small bars and Pinchos restaurants where we can go for a drink
and bite to eat.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 2

In the morning we set up our bikes before heading north into the Sierra de la
Demanda Mountains and make our way towards the Ebro Valley. After a couple of
short climbs we have a lovely long descent all the way down to our overnight
accommodation in Viniegra de Abajo.
Cycle approx. 54km with 800m of ascent
*Standard Hotel*

Day 3

Today we have a spectacular ride which mainly follows the Najerilla River. We
make a small detour to cycle up a valley to the remote monastery of Valvanera
before continuing to the town of San Millan de la Cogolla. Here we can visit
its impressive monastery which is home to the first records of the Spanish
language.
Cycle approx. 49km with 800m of ascent
*Standard Hotel*

Day 4

Today we officially enter the wine growing region of La Rioja as we make our
way towards the small town of Briones where we visit the museum of wine and
culture and the Bodega de Disasia Vivanco (€9 payable locally). From here
we get back on the bikes and continue to our overnight destination of Haro;
this town is home to many of the most famous wineries in La Rioja so once
checked in to our accommodation we will go and visit one and maybe try a
glass or two of wine.
Cycle approx. 53km with 800m of ascent
*Standard Hotel*

Day 5

Today we cycle through beautiful small villages and across the main wine
growing region of La Rioja as we continue to follow the Ebro River. Today’s
ride ends in the fascinating town of Laguardia where we visit the famous
Marques de Riscal winery to take a tour around the spectacular building which
was designed by Frank Gehry in a similar style to his most famous building,
the Gugghenheim Museum.
Cycle approx. 40km with 600m of ascent
*Standard Hotel*

Day 6

For our final day on the bikes we head to the capital of the Rioja region,
Logrono. Here we will go for lunch on the well known street of Calle Laurel
and indulge in the amazing Tapas and Pinchos. After lunch we complete our
ride back to Logrono to get changed and go out for an evening meal. Cycle
approx. 30km with 400m of ascent
*Standard Hotel*

Day 7

After breakfast we transfer to the centre of Bilbao (approx. 1.5hrs), upon
arrival we can check into our hotel before heading out into the city where we
have a free day to explore. Surrounded by green mountains, Bilbao has to be
one of the prettiest cities in the world and the views from the bridges over
the river are truly spectacular. We recommend visiting some of the famous
sights like the Guggenheim Museum, the old quarter of the Casco Viejo, the
Santiago Cathedral, the Basilica of Begona and the Plaza Nueva. Or spend the
day wondering the old streets and sampling food from the many amazing
restaurants and cafes. In the evening we will go out for a final meal as a
group and maybe a few celebratory drinks.
*Standard Hotel*

Day 8

After breakfast the trip ends in Bilbao.

Prices & Dates

Trip code:

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Customer Feedback

La Rioja – a delightful trip

Summary:
If you love cycling in stunning surroundings; wonderful wine and food;
exceptional leader and mechanic/drive (picnic maker); and fun people to share
the experience with, then this is the trip for you.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Every day was a joy – it’s really difficult to pick out one moment. Spending
six sunny days with such lovely ladies and a gentle Spanish guide who
shepherded us through spectacular countryside was a trip I will remember for
a long time. Very happy cycling!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Alfonso was a delight. From the moment he picked us up at the airport to the
last evening, we were gently shepherded on the road, stopping at little local
cafes for coffee/ refreshments; highlights of the area were visited; wildlife
spotted and many stories and tales exchanged en route. It was a great
pleasure to spend 6 wonderful days cycling and chatting with him.
Exceptional!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you are considering doing this trip – please don’t hesitate. It’s a great
joy. You’ll have fun.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
You will definitely get the most out of this trip if you do some training
before you go.

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Rioja Cycling and Wine

Summary:
Very well run and invigorating cycling trip to lovely unspoilt part of Spain

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The sweeping landscapes and the feeling of wide open space with traffic light
roads and beautiful light

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Group leader Alfonso and driver Jose lovely guys. Very obliging, kind and
helpful in dealing with an inexperienced cyclist like me.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The first 2 days of this trip quite long up to 60k. Some of the distances in
brochure not that accurate…Nevertheless was still quite suitable for
occasional cyclist like me. Prices in restaurants very reasonable compared to
some other parts of Europe

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Cycling and Rioja

Summary:
The North of Spain is a very beautiful, green area. It is very like the
Scottish countryside, but with heat, sun and vineyards! It is a super area
for cycling as it is quiet and relatively traffic free. The food is rustic
and fantastic. Food and wine is not too expensive – I was pleasantly
surprised. For cycling it is perfect. Undulating but the hills are not too
steep. The cycling is through hilly countryside, beside rivers, and amongst
vineyards. The wine tasting was fabulous! All the hotels were well chosen and
very comfortable.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Probably being in the Rioja region and being able to sample such beautiful
wines, especially at the Marques de Riscal bodega.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader Alfonso was a lovely young man. Warm and friendly, genuinely
interested in the people in his group and very helpful at all times. He was
a great leader, catering for all levels of cycling ability in the group. He
was also very knowledgable about the area we were cycling through. His
vehicle support man Hose deserves a mention as he was also a lovely man with
endless patience and always willing to help.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take layers including waterproof trousers. The week started warm and sunny
then changed and cooled down considerably. We also had some rain.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone. It was a revelation and
education to me about an area of Spain I knew nothing about. You would not be
disappointed. I loved it. The food was great. The wine was lovely. The
scenery was beautiful and it was just an all round good experience.

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Cycling and wine

Summary:
A great trip with a lovely bunch of people.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The longish hill climb, descent to lovely hotel and then a fabulous picnic in
a wonderful setting. Also riding along the Green Route and a short stretch
of the Camino.
I also loved the wine tasting.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We had a great time with Danny who we had met previously on the Camino de
Santiago. Alfonso, the driver on this trip, had a great sense of humour too.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
There are some climbs on this trip so – especially when the wind meant you
had to pedal downhill – it didn’t feel like leisurely cycling! I think the
route and the grading are changing for next year, though.
Pack as light as you can as it is easier when you are moving from hotel to
hotel. Also, it means you have room to take back more bottles of Rioja!

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The hills are alive

Summary:
Loved this trip. It’s classified as ‘leisurely/moderate’ but for me and my
fitness level i would say it’s more moderate and actually challenging because
only the tables are flat in Spain! So expect plenty of undulation, some
steep hill climbs with plenty of down hill too. If you do accomplish the
hills you feel great. Food and hotels were good, all with wi-fi so i can
upload my photos etc. Stunning scenery from riding in the forest, lakes and
around the vineyards. The rides were not too long 9.30am -4/5pm.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Having the lung capacity to complete the hill climbs! The scenery is just
spectacular.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Alfonso is a very good experienced leader. Sometimes he lead from the start,
other times he stayed back with the slower riders (me) and showed us the way
back to hotel. Always smiley and encouraging us to do more. Dare I say I
might start to like hills, and plan to attempt a few climbs in Aylesbury that
i haven’t dared to do before. Danny the driver/bike fixer also gave us much
needed biking tips!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Train before you come on the trips. I only did an or or so on the weekends
and it wasn’t enough. Also I have never cycled up that many hills in my
entire life. I had hayfever and forgot to take anti-histamine pills, but went
to a pharmacy when we got to a town centre. Beautiful flowers everywhere.
Bring snacks with you.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Enjoy the rides, and be willing to push yourself.

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Cycling in the Rioja

Summary:
A wonderful week of cycling (nothing too difficult) in a beautiful area of
Spain. The leader and driver extremely helpful and knowledgeable. The wine
tastings were great. A wonderful time was had even with the rainy day.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling through the vineyards. No worries about traffic. They were starting
the harvest and the locals were friendly and even giving us grapes to eat.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Friendly outgoing gentleman who loves Spain and cycling and gave us a great
experience.

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Karl

Summary:
Great itinerary through a unique part of Spain and it was a real pleasure
to be able to cycle from hotel to hotel each day. The cycling took us
through really varied terrain. The visits to the wineries were informative
and very enjoyable. The food was unbelievably good value and served with
great local wine!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Travelling along the Camino de Santiago.
Cycling the off road Green Route .

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader was very knowledgeable about the local culture and
environment. Very supportive and helped to bring and keep the group
together, supporting and encouraging individuals along the way. Also was
responsive to request and tweaked the itinerary to the conditions.
Instrumental in making the whole trip a real pleasure.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The cycling is very enjoyable but slightly more challenging than the rating
may lead you to believe . Make sure you have cash rather than rely on credit
cards. Good quality Bikes and certainly the ones we were provided had
panniers (check for your particular trip but they were very useful)

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Cycling in La Rioja

Summary:
An amazing variety of everything you want from a holiday on two wheels,
satisfied completely – spectacular scenery, fantastically tasty food,
authentic quaint accommodation, vino tinto-tastic!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The food and wine! Also significantly inspiring me for more cycling (with
wines) good times.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The group leader and driver were both very experienced, considerate,
confident and responsible, allowing you to have the best possible time. They
were always looking after our safety and happiness.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Spend some time on the bike before your trip to condition your body (your
toosh!) so you can enjoy every magical moment.
Don’t hesitate in doing this trip. All levels catered for.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
A trip that ticks all the boxes!
Wine not?!

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Rioja: Cycling and wine

Summary:
Another fantastic Exodus holiday! Stunning and varied scenery throughout the
trip viewed from quiet roads and traffic-free tracks. Plentiful stops along
the way in beautiful towns and villages to sample the delicious local tapas
and wonderful wine.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
It’s difficult to pick out a single moment, but will always remember the
afternoon we frantically out-pedalled an approaching rain shower as we cycled
through rolling vineyards away from the dramatic mountain landscape.

The quality of the local food and wine has to be a real highlight of the
trip!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The group leader and driver were both excellent – very welcoming,
knowledgeable and enthusiastic throughout the trip, really going the extra
mile to ensure that we got the most from the holiday.

They very effectively took care of all the daily organisation, leaving us to
concern ourselves with nothing more than how to both over-indulge in the
gourmet food and wonderful wine AND complete the remaining miles.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Cash points are a bit thin on the ground in the more remote areas on the
early part of the trip so it’s worth getting enough money out on day 1 or 2
to cover until day 5, when you reach Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I’d thoroughly recommend this holiday!

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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