Join us to experience the best of Spain, with our 14 day cycling tour of Europe. Includes Madrid, Northern Spain, East to Andorra plus more…

La Vuelta a España – Madrid to Andorra! 04-17 September 2018

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

The 2018 La Vuelta route has a jam packed final week of racing in northern Spain. We are looking forward to showcasing key Vuelta stages in Cantabria, Basque Country and Andorra!! Traditionally La Vuelta has been decided in the big mountains just north of Madrid. However, in recent years the Vuelta race organizers have set themselves logistical challenges leading into the Stage 21 finale in Madrid by selecting the most beautiful locations and physically demanding climbs. In 2018 it will be no different with a penultimate stage deep in Andorra (nestled between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains) and you too will be there for all the live action!

To get the best cycling and overall Spanish travel experience we have essentially split the tour for you into two parts. Part 1 follows mythical routes of La Vuelta from Madrid through to the La Rioja wine region (a glass of tempranillo anyone) that will not be raced during the 2018 edition. Does the name Miguel Indurain ring a bell? Well to conclude Part 1 we are taking you deep into the Irati Forest in Navarra province for a special Gran Fondo ride on Big Mig’s very own training routes!

Part 2 of the trip begins in Basque Country with some time in San Sebastian alongside its famous Concha beach. Surfs up! Hopefully you are now ready for La Vuelta ….. The Stage 16 Individual Time Trial is going to be fantastic as you get up close and personal with all the riders and teams. You will have the chance to ride on-course for Stages 17, 19 and 20 with two spectacular summit finishes.

The tough finish to the 2018 Vuelta will see the cycling world spotlight well and truly set on Andorra. The racing through this province, perched high in the Pyrenees mountains, will prove decisive for the overall general classification result. We cannot wait to witness all the live action with you and share the amazing race atmosphere on Coll de la Gallina, the final climb and Stage 20 summit finish! Who is going to win La Vuelta?

To return full circle and you will be back roadside cheering on the riders from Madrid’s leafy promenades during the twilight race finish. Viva La Vuelta!

Tour Highlights

  • Cycle by Roman aqueducts, medieval walled towns, terraced vineyards, remote forests and natural parks!
  • Cycle the road less travelled as Ride Holidays shows you central and northern Spain through the eyes of a local; Castile & Leon, La Rioja, Navarra, Basque Country & Catalonia provences!
  • Escape into Andorra and the high Pyrenees mountains!
  • Test yourself on the most famous European cols, including Navafria, Bola del Mundo, Piedra de San Martin, Larra Larrau & Coll de la Gallina!
  • Impressive Spanish gastronomy including paella, fresh produce & jamon serrano!
  • Witness 5 stages of the 2018 La Vuelta during the race defining final week!
  • Soak up the Stage 21 finale and perhaps consider a luxury VIP package in Madrid

Our Vuelta a España Cycle Tour Itinerary

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Day 1, Tuesday 4 September 2018 Madrid, Spain

We will be available to collect you from Madrid Airport around 12 noon. Feel free to arrive the night before. Karl will help with airport accommodation. From Madrid there will be a 1hr drive to the outskirts of Segovia where we will set up the bikes in the beautiful settings and grounds of the Royal Palace of Rio Frío. It is a short ride today to test the bikes in preparation for a classic and historic Vuelta route tomorrow through the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains!

Meals: Dinner included
Today’s Ride: 35km cycling (400m elevation gain)
Accommodation: Segovia (Spain)

Day 2, Wednesday 5 September Sierra de Guadarrama

Now you are in the land of Castile & Leon where 1st Century Roman aqueducts and medieval walled towns dominate the landscape. The fun begins with a group photo under the towering aqueduct in the town centre! The first 50km are easy today as you cycle the backroads out to Pedraza. This medieval walled town is in excellent condition and the old plaza is the perfect place for a coffee stop before the mountain climbing begins.

Traditionally the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range plays host to the penultimate stages of La Vuelta. Climbs, such as, Navafria, Cotos, Navacerrada and Bola del Mundo are written in Vuelta folklore. The Navafria and Cotos climbs, while both approximately 15km long, are very achievable as they remain a steady 5% grade. When you arrive at the Navacerrada ski station (1800m) you are cycling in the altitude training base for Spanish pro outfit Movistar.

Of course all climbs are special but we have a surprise waiting for those who are keen - Bola del Mundo! From the ski station 3km of narrow concrete road head to the heavens with 20% ramps on offer! This peak is not included on the below profile (we didn´t want you to faint) but we will wait and see who is game for it on the day! The final 30km down to the hotel in Segovia top off what will be an amazing day on the bikes

Meals: Breakfast included
Today’s Ride: 70km, 100km or 140km cycling (2200m elevation gain)
Accommodation: Segovia (Spain)

Day 3, Thursday 6 September La Rioja Wine Region

There is a 2.5hr van transfer this morning which places us on the outskirts of Burgos. We have designed today’s route for the sprinters in the group! Still though there are a couple of blips to first get over. El Matorro and Alto de Pradilla are 5km climbs with gentle gradients and were last used in tandem during the 2013 La Vuelta race edition. The flowing descent takes you straight into La Rioja wine region home of the tempranillo grape! This evening you will experience all the delights of La Rioja with an award winning meal in a world renowned winery!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Today’s Ride: 70km & 120km cycling (1000m elevation gain)
Accommodation: La Rioja (Spain)

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Day 4, Friday 7 September Rioja to Estella

This morning we ride out of the terraced vineyards and pass over the Puerto de Herrera climb which is commonly referred to as the ‘Balcony of La Rioja’. The views looking down over this amazing geographical landscape come to life with every switchback consumed! Puerto de Herrera, while only short, is remarkably a Category 1 climb and its fame extends from the Tour of Basque Country professional race and the Orbea Vitoria Gran Fondo ride held every May. Hope you have your brakes in good working order because the descent through the woods is fast and furious!

On arrival in Estella check out the pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James). Don`t leave your bike lying around though as the 800km walk across northern Spain can be sped up considerably on two wheels! Some might decide to call it a day in Estella with the epic Larra Larrau gran fondo ride tomorrow. But we strongly recommend you to keep pedaling! The Urbasa climb, national park and open switchback descent is one of the best cycling experiences in all of Europe!

Meals: Breakfast included
Today’s Ride: 85km & 125km cycling (1600m elevation gain)
Accommodation: Isaba (Spain)

Day 5, Saturday 8 September Larra Larrau Gran Fondo

That name Miguel Indurain keeps popping up again and again! Well today the Larra Larrau gran fondo ride follows the training roads made famous by Big Mig. There are 100km (2600m) and 145km (3800m) ride options available that criss-cross their way back and forwards over the Spanish and French sides of the Pyrenees. The Irati forest still is a Spanish road cycling secret, however, it began to recently receive more attention after Chris Froome won Stage 10 of the Tour de France on the brutal but picturesque ‘Piedra de San Martin` summit finish on the Spain/France border. Which distance are you going to sign up for?

The Ride Holidays support crew will also be on-hand to assist any guests looking for a more general ride through this amazing national park. You might prefer an 80km loop cycling by gorges, fast flowing rivers and with the all important coffee pit stops!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Today’s Ride: 100km & 145km Gran Fondo options
Accommodation: Isaba (Spain)

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Day 6, Sunday 9 September Irati Forest!

It’s not every day you get to explore the Irati Forest so we must continue to take advantage of this pristine environment. After your heroic efforts yesterday let’s still ride but use it as a good recovery ride!

The cycling will depart through the winding roads of the Roncal Valley which is also famous for the local cheese made from raw sheep milk from the Rasa and Lacha breeds. To keep the good times rolling the ride today continues all the way into Pamplona. Got your red handkerchief ready? Well don’t wave it too hard as you don’t want to excite the local bulls! Pamplona is home to the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival and we will actually ride the route and explain some of its history and quirky facts to you.

From Pamplona there is a 1hr transfer through to San Sebastian. Now you are in Basque Country! Go and dip the legs in the Concha beach before enjoying a fresh fish and seafood dinner on the harbour!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Today’s Ride: 95km cycling (1000m elevation gain)
Accommodation: San Sebastian (Spain)

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Day 7, Monday 10 September San Sebastián

The local roads are home every July to the San Sebastián Classic one day cycling race. There will be the chance to ride parts of the course as you cycle into the adjacent hills. The contrast between spectacular beach and lush green mountains is sure to leave a lasting impression! For those of you who have watched the race you will know that the arrival to San Sebastian follows a fun descent through beautiful tree lined roads down to the city centre!

During the afternoon why not go for a walk along the famous Concha beach, perhaps even a dip if the weather is kind and enjoy dinner in the old town hopping from one ‘pintxo’ bar to another. If you are curious Pintxo = Tapa in Basque language!

Meals: Breakfast included
Today’s Ride: 120km cycling (1850m elevation gain)
Accommodation: San Sebastian (Spain)

Day 8, Tuesday 11 September ITT

After 6 consecutive days on the bikes it is now time to rest-up and enjoy La Vuelta! This morning we will arrive to Santillana del Mar with plenty of time to watch the riders warming up in front of the team buses. This will be one of the best moments to access the race. Here is your chance to get those photos with your favourite riders. Yes, it will be that easy!

Ride Holidays prides itself on having multiple options for its guests. Some of you will want to watch all the riders heading out on course while some others might want to watch a few and then visit the Altamira Cave. Remember we have multiple vehicles so we are flexible! The Altamira Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first place in the world where the existence of rock art from the Upper Paleolithic age was identified. Bison, horses, deer, hands, and mysterious signs were painted or engraved up to 35,600 years ago. That’s a big number. How old is NZ again?

Mid afternoon we will all transfer 1.5hr to Bilbao so we are perfectly positioned for tomorrow´s Stage 17 of La Vuelta! If we have any architect enthusiasts in the house we can even organise an early evening visit to the legendary Guggenheim museum. The museum remains open until 8pm and many people travel to Spain just to see this modern Frank Gehry masterpiece!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Destinations: La Vuelta Stage 16
Accommodation: Bilbao (Spain)

Day 9, Wednesday 12 September Monte Oiz

With up to a century of race tradition it is not often that the three European grand tour races roll out new stage summit finishes. So count yourself lucky as the 2018 Vuelta is ready to show off to the world the Monte Oiz climb for the first time. The 8.5km climb rises 730m and on paper does not look too scary with an 8.5% average grade. What these statistics don’t show though are the 18% ramps and the 3000m of elevation gain the pro peloton will cover during Stage 17!

Monte Oiz sits immediately south east of Guernika which has a passionate road cycling community. Crowds of super-cycling fans will line the sides of the road today and the Basque flag will be out on display. You have probably seen the Basque flag out on display while watching the TV and the big Tour de France Pyrenees climbs. Well picture that and multiply it by 100! Today they have a home match so expect an incredible roadside show!

Meals: Breakfast included
Today’s Ride: 60km or 90km cycling (2000m elevation gain)
Accommodation: Bilbao (Spain)

Day 10, Thursday 13 September

We have a big transfer today to move us from Basque Country to Catalonia on the Spain/Andorra border. 600km of transfer in fact! But don’t sweat because we will organise an early morning train to take you from Bilbao to Lleida (5hr). Around 12 noon the tour vans will be waiting for you at Lleida train station. You should have been comfortable and able to get some valuable shut eye on the train trip.

As you can probably imagine, Stage 18 of La Vuelta, is a long flat transition stage today. We will skip Stage 18. By arriving by train in Lleida you will be in prime position to ride up to 125km of tomorrow’s Stage 19 Vuelta route through to our hotel in La Seu d’Urgell! Multiple ride distances are on offer today and with no time restrictions the riding will be very relaxed. For those who want to ride we get there when we get there! Are we there yet?

If you follow the below ride profile you will probably get the feeling that we are slowly creeping towards something big! Something big like the Pyrenees!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included

Today’s Ride: 70km, 100km or 130km cycling (1675m elevation gain)
Accommodation: La Seu d’Urgell (Spain)

Day 11, Friday 14 September La Vuelta Stage 19 - Andorra

Our Catalonian base in La Seu d’Urgell is located only 10km from the Spain/Andorra border. With the 2018 Vuelta having Stage 19 and 20 summit finishes just inside the Andorra border we are perfectly based to access all the thrilling race action.

To get our day started on a positive note we have an unforgettable ride through the Spanish Cadi-Moixero National Park. This east-west mountain range is actually part of the Pre-Pyrenees and its limestone geology and abrupt relief actually resembles the Italian Dolomites. Our cycling route will follow the southern face of this emblematic Catalonian natural reserve. They are a very proud lot the Catalonians and here you will have cycled one of their truly symbolic mountains!

Continuing the Ride Holidays tradition of providing flexible travel plans for our guests this afternoon you have two post-ride Vuelta viewing options. The race passes by our hotel with only 30km to the stage finish (20km of those are vertically challenged!). Feel free to relax and watch the peloton pass by the hotel before retreating to the bar and the TV screen. Otherwise jump in one of our vans to follow the wheel path the peloton will take up to Col de la Rabassa (2015m elevation) and watch the stage live on the mountain!

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Today’s Ride: 50km or 80km cycling (1750m elevation gain)
Accommodation: La Seu d’Urgell (Spain)

Day 12, Saturday 15 September La Vuelta Stage 20 - Andorra

Expect fireworks during Stage 20 of the 2018 La Vuelta. Six categorized climbs over only 105km of racing and a jaw dropping 3500m of climbing! The profile goes something like; up, down and then push repeat!

It may be the final day on the bikes for you all but the spectacular scenery does not let up! We will split our ride between Spain and Andorra today. The Category 1 climb to Coll de la Gallina is a Vuelta favourite but using it for the race defining and final climb is going to be simply awesome. Who will be practicing popping some champagne tonight before tomorrow’s main event in Madrid?

All of the team buses, race officials and many cycling enthusiasts have a big trip back to Madrid tonight. We will wait for the crowds to disperse before starting our drive towards Zaragoza. Zaragoza is a 3hr drive and half-way back to Madrid. We will also find a good spot for a bite to eat so on hotel arrival you have nothing more to do than rest-up!

Meals: Breakfast included
Today’s Ride: 45km or 95km cycling (1950m elevation gain)
Accommodation: Zaragoza (Spain)

Day 13, Sunday 16 September Madrid

Following breakfast there is a final 3hr drive back to Madrid. The tour hotel is located right on the finish line and VIP race areas. There will be time to pack up your bikes, lunch and even a final siesta before the race rolls into the city centre.

The race finish will be a twilight event. Our guides will be available to help direct anyone with pre-purchased VIP tickets in the right direction.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
Accommodation: Madrid (Spain)

Day 14, Monday 17 September Goodbye

Following breakfast our guides will be available to organise a complimentary transfer to Madrid Airport. If you need help with additional nights in Madrid please let us know.

Meals: Breakfast included

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Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Vuelta a Espana | Our 14 Day Cycling Tour of Spain, Europe 2018

Tour Highlights & Inclusions

  • Experience and view 4-5 days and stages of the great Vuelta a Espana bike race.
  • Larra Larrau gran fondo. Choose between 100km or 145km
  • Ride at your pace. No pressure. Multiple ride options daily: cappuccino, latte and espresso ride options.
  • 13 nights' accommodation using quality 3 & 4* hotels
  • 10 week professional training program
  • 2-3 vehicles which allows for flexibility
  • Train from Bilbao to Lleida
  • All breakfasts, 8 dinners and all cycling food and drink
  • 4 to 5 supporting staff depending on final numbers. Min 14 cyclists, maximum 22
  • Tips included for all staff as well as for the meals included
  • Souvenir booklet, itinerary included
  • RIDE Holidays cycling jersey
  • GPS assistance & physical maps

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

Tour Exclusions

(Although Karl can take care of these for you)

  • Airfares and extra accommodation
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory!
  • Madrid Vuelta a Espana V.I.P grandstand ticket. NZD390.00
  • Option V.I.P Andorra Mountain Top grandstand ticket. NZD250.00
  • Plus all meals, alcohol not indicated in your tour itinerary

Tour Cost (per person)

All prices stated are in New Zealand Dollars

$7,900.00 NZD per person (Twin Share)

Want your own room? Single room supplement $1,200.00 NZD

Bike Hire:
$650.00 NZD (we can arrange this for you)

Deposits Required

  • Total non-refundable deposit for this trip is NZD2000.00 per person. Quite a few people have paid a holding deposit of $750.00 which means that an additional $1250.00 is required. The balance is required 90 days prior to departure.

Vuelta a España - Spain Cycle Tour

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