There’s nothing like experiencing a county by bike to get lost in its scenery and culture. The sights, sounds, and smells of a place are felt a thousand times more while biking.
The thrill of tackling new challenges and terrains only adds to the satisfaction. Falling into bed at night, exhausted and elated in equal measure – is there anything better? Exploring Asturias by mountain bike delivers all this and more.
Iconic mountain biking climbs
Located on the northwest coast of Spain, Asturias is a tapestry of green valleys, crystal lakes, and rugged snow-capped mountains, which cover 80 percent of the region.
The area boasts brutal gradients of up to 23.5 percent on routes such as the notorious Alto del Angliru. This 7.8-mile stretch ascends to 1,570m and is a key stage in the famous Vuelta Ciclista España, one of Europe’s biggest international multi-stage biking events.
The race welcomes athletes from all over the world to take up the 1,800-mile challenge each year. Competitors race through some of Spain’s most incredible mountain-biking country. The real jewel in the crown, though, is biking Asturias’ challenging mountain routes.
Famous mountain biking routes
The area’s extreme peaks and high mountain passes include the Alto del Angliru, the Lagos de Covadonga (1,094m) located in the Picos de Europa National Park, and the Alto de la Farrapona (1,708m), located in Somiedo Natural Park amid the Cantabrian Mountains.
These iconic routes offer keen cyclists more than a test of endurance and bragging rights, though. The views are simply stunning. Hulking, jagged rocks collide with rolling hills and an endless skyline, to create a mountain-biking paradise.
The Lagos de Covadonga culminates in a beautiful collection of lakes that give the route its name, while Somiedo Natural Park spans five valleys and nearly 500 square miles of untouched landscape.
Relaxing rides around Asturias
Of course, cycling isn’t all about thigh-burning ascents and tricky trails. If you’re new to biking, want a family break, or something more lowkey, Asturias has plenty of gentler routes to explore.
The Vias Verde’ (literally ‘Green Ways’) is a network of disused converted railway lines. These trails weave their way through miles of beautiful, natural parkland. Ranging from around a mile to just over 20 miles in length, The Vias Verde connects small townships and is ideal to explore by bike or on foot.
A popular route for families and newcomers to biking is the Senda del Oso (Bear’s Path). Built on the tracks of an old mining railroad, this easily accessible trail starts in the village of Tuñón and runs for around 18 miles. You can finish the trail in either Cueva Huerta or Ricabo depending on which fork you take.
The ride offers historical and cultural points of interest along the way, as well as places to hire bikes, sample local food, and see its eponymous bears in Buyrea Park.
Asturias’ Coastal trails
The Senda Costera offers riders a cycle route taking in nearly 250 miles of the best-preserved coastline in Spain. Dramatic cliffs, capes, and ancient forests all feature along various sections of the path. There are also some spectacular ocean views. There’s even some off-roading to be had for adrenaline junkies who like a bit of the rough stuff.
This route is ideal for a longer, laidback touring break that can be done over several days. It also gives you plenty of opportunities to soak up the local culture and hospitality along the way. With over 3,000 miles of roads to explore in Asturias, it’s easy to find adventure on those less travelled.
Whether you’re an experienced mountain biker in search of your next challenge, or a keen traveller looking for cycle paths to explore, Asturias is a gem among the mountains of Northern Spain.
Discover more about this two-wheeled paradise HERE or watch this short vid, to get a glimpse of what’s on offer in the Asturias.