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Ride and savor the absolute best of Spain's glorious, gorgeous Basque Country. From the Spanish Pyrenees to the San Sebastian seashore, this tour offers the region's very best riding, lodging, feasting and drinking. Start off with 3 nights in Isaba, a noble town in the foothills of western Spain's Pyrenees. Ride from here across the border into the French Pyrenees for more iconic climbs. Explore Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls. Feast on regional specialties. Sample local wines. Finish off with three nights in seaside San Sebastian. From glorious mountains to flower-filled vineyards to salty seashore, the memories from this trip will stay with you forever.
Meet us in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. After a bike fitting in the seaside town of San Sebastian, it's on to Isaba for the night.
Fly to Bilbao a day or two early so you have time to explore Bilbao, de facto capital of Spain's Basque region. Spend a few hours at its gleaming Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum. Meet us on Sunday morning for the transfer to Isaba. Tucked into the Spanish Pyrenees in the valley of Roncal lies Isaba. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with steep-roofed stone mansions are hemmed in by rugged mountain peaks. Isaba's historic town center boasts the 16th-century church-fortress of San Cipriano. In this region of Navarra's Pyrenees, the higher peaks begin, making for stunningly beautiful cycling and few cars. Stay three nights here at Hostal Lola, near the town center.
Ride a warm-up loop in the Navarra Pyrenees, from Isaba to Zuriza to Anso to Puerto de Matamachos - then north again to Garde and back to Isaba.
Bicycle a loop from Isaba through the gorgeous Navarra Pyrenees to Matamachos col today. Rolling roads wind through stunning mountain vistas. Pedal south, west, then north again to Isaba's cobbled streets. Stop along the way for a typical Spanish 'pintxos' (similar to tapas) lunch. Today's ride is about 60 km.
Choose between two options for the group today: Somewhat challenging...or seriously challenging.
The group will choose between two great rides today:
Option one: The Laza col is a view-filled 70-75 km loop through the hillsides from Isaba to Puerto de Laza (with a 4 km climb to the summit), then down again to Otsagabía, Navascués, then a 7 km climb up to Puerto las Coronas - and back again to Isaba.
Option two: Head north into France for a 90-km hilly loop tackling some of the tougher climbs in the Pyrenees, including Larrau and Arette La Pierre Saint-Martin, one of the finish points of the 2015 Tour de France. Stunning views that even your legs will remember!
Transfer to Pamplona. Explore the streets where the running of the bulls takes place during the San Fermín festival. Revel in tonight's dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant.
Transfer to Pamplona this morning to explore the city of the Running of the Bulls. Meet pilgrims and hear their stories as you stand atop the ancient city walls and gaze out over the 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. Relish dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant frequented by legendary pro cyclist Miguel Indurain. Tonight: Stay at the modern Hotel Leyre.
Take on the 8% grades of the Puerto de la Herrera climb through the heart of the Sierra Cantabria.
Take on a beloved local climb today, over the Puerto de la Herrera Pass through the Cantabrian Mountains. Pass through one of the stops of the Camino de Santiago: the village of Viana, where Cesare Borgia is buried. En route to San Sebastian, stop to explore the fabulous Marques de Riscal winery, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. Today's ride is 65 km.
Bicycle the Route of the Fish and Wine - an 80 km ancient cultural trade route. Stop for a visit at its famous museum.
Ride 80 km today along the Route of the Fish and Wine - a fascinating commercial route that in the past was well known and much traveled. Bicycle sheltered roads with matchless views and the sea at your side, through tiny fishing ports and acres of vineyards. The history of the Basque Country - one of wine and fish - is inextricably linked to the ocean. This region is especially well known for Txakoli grapes, which produce an exuberant, bright, sometimes fizzy white wine. Today's ride is one you'll remember forever.
Ride part of the circuit of the Clasica de San Sebastian. Feast at one of the oldest restaurants in Basque Country.
The Clásica San Sebastián bicycle race has a place in the mind of every lover of cycling. The route runs along the San Sebastian seashore through the city and includes a climb up the Alto de Jaizkibel - the defining moment where all is bet. Ride a 70 km section of the race route today, including this don't-miss climb with incredible views. Tonight's feast is at one of the Basque Country's oldest restaurants: Casa Camara, housed in a 17th century mansion with its dining room overlooking the sea.
Pedal the Urumea River Valley to the foothills above San Sebastian today.
Ride the peaceful, tree-lined Urumea River Valley through the towns of Goizeta, Leiza, Berastigi and Tolosa into the foothills above San Sebastian. Stay one last night at the Hotel Codina.
Sleep in, have breakfast at the hotel, then head to the airport at your leisure.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.