Cycling in La Rioja

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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 9 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
MWZ
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
7–16

Cycle through the Rioja wine region

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.

Highlights

Cycle through the Rioja wine region Visit the beautiful historic towns of Burgos and Laguardia Sample the fabulous local wines Indulge in the exquisite local tapas and 'Pinchos'

Key information

5 days cycling with 90% vehicle support

Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Day by day breakdown
Day 254.0km/33.0miles
Day 349.0km/30.0miles
Day 453.0km/32.0miles
Day 540.0km/24.0miles
Day 630.0km/18.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Bilbao; transfer to Sala de los Infantes.

    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

    Cycle into the Ebro Valley from Sala de los Infantes to Viniegra de Abajo.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Follow the Najerilla River to the monastery of Valvanera; continue to San Millan de la Cogolla.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Cycle through the heart of the wine region; visit the wine museum in Briones and an amazing winery in Haro.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Stunning ride alongside the Ebro River; afternoon visit to the Marques de Riscal wine estate.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Circular ride from Laguardia via Logrono, the capitol of the La Rioja region.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning transfer to Bilbao; explore the city at your own pace.

    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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Bilbao airport; fly home.

    After breakfast the trip ends in Bilbao.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

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.

Weather

The climate throughout the year in this region is quite warm. During the summer, average high temperatures range from 20-35C, but usually don’t drop lower than 15C. During the winter, average high temperatures are between10-20C, and average low temperatures range from 5-10C. Rain fall is most likely during the late autumn and winter months of November, December, and January. Precipitation is lowest during the summer, especially in July and August, months that also coincide with the hottest season in Segovia.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) 5 days cycling with 90% vehicle support and local tour leader cycling with the group 100% tarmac roads with some gentle climbs to be expected During the week we cycle 226km and daily distances vary from 30 to 55km. There are no transfers to or from hotels on this trip: all the rides are designed to be door-to-door. We cycle along quiet roads on a mix of tarmac, dirt tracks and on an old railway track converted into a cycle path. Please see the introductory pages of the cycling brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us. Please note that wearing a cycling helmet is compulsory on all Exodus cycling holidays.

Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We have 6 nights in rural hotels and 1 night in a small city hotel in Bilbao. On day 4 we spend the night in a very pretty rural hotel situated just 5 minutes from the stunning Yuso Monastery, which is known as the birthplace of the modern Spanish language. Please note that in some of our smaller accommodations a bathroom might have to be shared between two rooms.

Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Forget feeling lethargic on your travels – cycling is one of the easiest ways to blend cultural and active expl

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Julie Gibbs

    La Rioja - a delightful trip

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    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!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are considering doing this trip - please don't hesitate. It's a great joy. You'll have fun.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will definitely get the most out of this trip if you do some training before you go.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Derek Mckay

    Rioja Cycling and Wine

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

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

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

    What did you think of your group leader?

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

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Julie Armstrong

    Cycling and Rioja

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

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

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

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

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    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.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Delia Cox

    Cycling and wine

    A great trip with a lovely bunch of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    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.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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!
  • Reviewed June 2016
    cindy chan

    The hills are alive

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

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

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the rides, and be willing to push yourself.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Sheila Tanner

    Cycling in the Rioja

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    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.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly outgoing gentleman who loves Spain and cycling and gave us a great experience.
  • Reviewed May 2015
    Karl Pedder

    Karl

    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!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

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

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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)
  • Reviewed July 2014
    A Lowe

    Cycling in La Rioja

    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!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

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

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A trip that ticks all the boxes! Wine not?!
  • Reviewed June 2014
    Kay Winter

    Rioja: Cycling and wine

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    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!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    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.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    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.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd thoroughly recommend this holiday!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on (354) 567 8978