Late avail:Spaces available on 3rd June and 19 August departures
“An 8 day guided cycling holiday through Rioja wine region, staying in lovely rural hotels along the way. ”
Sierra de la Demanda Mountains | Ebro Valley | Valvanera monastery | San Millan de la Cogolla | Briones wine museum | Bodega de Disasia Vivanco | Haro wineries | Laguardia | Marques de Riscal winery | Logrono | Bilbao
Description of Rioja cycling holiday in Spain
On this week long Rioja cycling holiday, we take a journey around some of Spain’s most stunning wine valleys and wineries, as well as enjoying the dramatic landscapes of the Demanda Mountains.
Flying in and out of Bilbao, with a day for you to explore this wonderful city at your own pace, our cycling begins in Sala de los Infantes, from where we take on the Ebro Valley. With five days of cycling between 30-55km per day, we cycle from one pretty rural hotel to another through this idyllic Spanish countryside. All at a leisurely to moderate pace.
En route we visit a fine mix of local cultural and natural heritage. Such as the ancient Valvanera and San Millan de la Cogolla monasteries. Or the Marques de Riscal winery, famously designed by Frank Gehry. One of our cycles includes a stunning circuit from Laguardia via Logrono, the capitol of the La Rioja region. Here we take time to visit the beautiful old town, with wonderful churches including the church of Santiago that is visited by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. And, as with everywhere we go on this holiday, we enjoy wonderful Spanish tapas and of course plenty of fine wine.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Rioja cycling holiday in Spain
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!) although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of Rioja. We also visit the Yuso Monastery, the Musueum of Wine Culture in Briones and a few wineries where our entry fees contribute to the upkeep of these places.
Water: Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Our guides can advise where to fill them and where to recycle litter.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation & Meals: We will spend the week in a variety of small, rural hotels throughout the trip. By spreading our commerce to several different local businesses, we are providing more financial benefit to the local community. Food is a massive part of Spanish culture and so where meals are provided (all breakfasts), our local staff are enthusiastic about showcasing fresh produce from the area. Your guides can make sure you’re acquainted with local restaurants and cafes, which is a great chance to both support the community and to get an authentic experience. The Rioja region is known for superb wines, but we also enjoy mouthwatering tapas, pinchos, menestras (vegetable stews) and succulent meats like goat and lamb.
Charity: We support a local charity called RAIS Fundacion, which works with homeless people in the area to provide housing and training opportunities. Annually, we arrange activities every year with RAIS so that groups working with the charity can experience cycling and walking day trips with us.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
1 Reviews of Rioja cycling holiday in Spain
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 10 Apr 2005 by Chris Povah
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable part of the holiday was the environment of Andalucia itself. The main thing that contributed to the success of the trip was the group leader, Shaun Allan, who I cannot recommend highly enough.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
The cycling was just the right side of challenging but I would warn other travellers to make sure they can cope - a couple within our group struggled.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
The group did spend money locally on food, drink etc and I would guess the environmental impact was minimal.
4. Any other comments?
Overall I would rate the holiday as ****, although Shaun Allan was *****!
Chris travelled with this company but on a slightly different cycling holiday in Spain.