Hug the coast on cycling holidays in Spain

The downside of some cycling holidays in Spain is the heat. Certainly the popular resort regions of the south are not really conducive to an energetic cycling holiday in the summer months. For a cooler route that combines mountains and coastal routes, consider a trip through the northern regions of Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.

Bring your own bike

Serious cyclists heading off for cycling holidays in Spain will prefer to take their own bicycles. Most airlines will transport bikes if they are boxed or bagged, with handlebars packed flat and tyres deflated, but this can be expensive. The advantage of touring through central Spain is that you can take the ferry to Santander in Cantabria from Portsmouth or Plymouth, and hit the road straight from the ferry port.

From Santander you can choose to head west along the coastal roads or south towards the nearby Picos De Europa. For tough cyclists, the mountain routes in the Picos offer spectacular scenery and fascinating villages.

Dedicated cycle routes are rare, although occasionally it is possible to cycle along stretches of the 'Camino', the pilgrimage route towards Santiago De Compostela in Galicia.

The highways in the north are recently constructed, fast and not suitable for cyclists. This is advantageous as most of the heavy traffic uses the motorway, leaving the old roads relatively quiet and safer for cyclists.

Asturias and northern Galicia are studded with numerous small coastal towns and fishing villages where you can take a break for a day or two and enjoy the coves and idyllic beaches. Highlights include Cudillero and Luarca in Asturias and Viveiro and Ortigueira in Galicia.

Spares and repairs

The Spanish take their cycling seriously, and if you encounter problems on your cycling holidays in Spain, most towns will have a repair shop or a place to buy spares. One unusual potential puncture hazard to be aware of when cycling along coastal paths is caused by mussel shells scattered by seabirds.

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