Spain Wine & Biking Adventure (with e-bike option)

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September 22, 2019 (Sun)

La Rioja
Haro, Ezcaray, Laguardia
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888-758-8687 ext 1

Cost: $2,950

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We pick you up at 1:00 PM in Bilbao, capital of the Basque lands, allowing you to fly in that morning or arrive the day before. We then shuttle south to the border of Rioja where we'll meet up with our bicycles and take our first ride. You'll have the option to start in the valley just outside Rioja, crossing up and over the hills to earn an incredible first sight of the most famous vineyards in Spain, or do the short route option by starting on the ridge top. Our ride will take us past López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, where we'll take what might be the best wine tour we have ever experienced, and then on to our first night stay in the wine capital of Haro. Distances: 17 kilometers


Today we have a loop ride through the valley floor, visiting towns such as San Torcuato, La Concepción, and Briones before heading back to Haro. You can choose to stop in any of the small towns for lunch and can opt to visit one of the world's best wine museums, the Dinastia Vivanco Museo de la Cultura del Vino. A longer ride will take you to even more quaint towns, including Tirgo,  Herramelluri,  Villalobar, and Banaras. This evening we will join the Spaniards in one of their most famous customs, eating dinner at local tapas bars in the city center. Distances: 42 or 76 kilometers


One of the things that makes Rioja so interesting for biking is a long, paved bike path running down the middle of the valley. We ride this path today for a good 20 kilometers to the walled town of Santo Domingo for lunch. In the afternoon, we get off the path and take small side roads as we continue to our next hotel in the town of Ezcaray, a ski resort in the winter. You'll have plenty of time to relax in the hotel's accommodating bar or, if you choose, to test yourself on the grueling uphill climb to the ski resort itself. It's a beautiful area and you'll enjoy it, whatever you do. Distances: 36, 57, or 71 kilometers


Today is the longest ride of the week, although you will of course have the chance to take a van shuttle and make it a shorter route. Our main route runs a full 76 kilometers from Ezcaray to our next hotel in the walled city of Laguardia. The scenery en route is beautiful and we pass a number of small towns, have the option to visit the monastery at San Millan de la Cogolla, and definitely stop at the famous Marqués de Riscal winery in Elciego.  Our hotel in Laguardia is just outside the town's walls and we walk into the center for dinner tonight. Distances: 42, 76, or 87 kilometers


Our loop ride from Laguardia highlights what is the most idyllic scenery anywhere in Rioja. The route has a few ups and downs but is definitely manageable, and this undulation gives us great views of the valley, turn after turn. We reach San Vicente at mid-day, a fantastic town with a main plaza, outdoor restaurants, and a castle on top of the hill. It's a perfect place to relax a few hours before catching a van back to Laguardia (short route) or riding back via a different route. Tonight we celebrate our cycling (and wine drinking) successes with a final dinner. Distances: 26, 50, or 58 kilometers


You can choose between two loop routes this morning, both heading out to the other side of Laguardia from where we cycled the day before. We then return to our hotel for a shower and, after checking out, catch a bus back to Bilbao for our onward journeys. Distances: 20 or 26 kilometers

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