Day One – Saturday 3 September 2022
The tour starts when we meet in Portsmouth in the UK on the morning of Saturday 3 September.
We will be catching a ferry to Spain and the cost of that ferry is included in the tour price. The ferry takes slightly longer than 24 hours and so everyone will have a cabin on the ferry to sleep in. Facilities on-board include restaurants, bars, a shop and entertainment.
Day Two – Sunday 4 September 2022
We will eat lunch on-board the ferry as it arrives in Santander at 14:15.
We have 77 miles to ride to our hotel today, which is on the edge of the Picos de Europa National Park. This first afternoon of riding will give us a great introduction to riding twisty roads!
Tonight we have the tour welcome dinner at the hotel. We will be at this hotel for two nights.
Day Three – Monday 5 September 2022
We ride the entire perimeter of the Picos de Europa National Park today. Very few roads go into the park itself and we will also ride the best one of these. We ride 167 miles today.
Picos de Europa means the ‘peaks of Europe’ and are so called as they were often the first sight of land in Europe for people sailing from the Americas.
There are a number of photo stops we will take on our ride, including a stop where you can catch a cable car up to high in the mountains, for a spectacular view.
We will also stop in Potes, the capital of the Liébana valley and an interesting market town with many bars and restaurants.
Day Four – Tuesday 6 September 2022
Today we head away from the Picos and ride south-east. Our ride today will be 164 miles.
We ride through two natural parks today, the Parque Natural Saja-Besaya and the Parque Park de Los Montes Obarenes. These are areas where nature thrives and in the first, you may be lucky to spot a wolf or even a bear!
We will also ride alongside the Ebro reservoir. The Rio (river) Ebro is the second longest river in Spain.
Our hotel for the night is the splendid Parador de Argómaniz, located just to the east of Vitoria-Gasteiz. We will be at this hotel for two nights.
Day Five – Wednesday 7 September 2022
Today is a rest day, which you can choose to spend relaxing at the hotel, or you can ride into nearby Vitoria-Gasteiz and do some sightseeing. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Autonomous Community in northern Spain. This region has its own language (as well as Spanish) and you will see evidence of this as their signs contain many x’s and z’s. The centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz is characterised by narrow streets and is ranked as one of the five best places to live in Spain.
Day Six – Thursday 8 September 2022
Today we continue to ride east, to just beyond Pamplona. We do not however ride in a very straight line, for we divert to ride some of the best roads in the area.
One of the best areas to ride is the Urbasa-Andía Natural Park, an area of forest comprising beech trees and so we head to the park and ride its wonderful twisty roads.
As we head further east we enter the region of Naverre and we ride into its capital, Pamplona. Famous for its annual bull-running, the city is steeped in history, going back to Roman times. Fortifications can still be seen in parts of the city.
In the afternoon, we ride to our hotel for the night, a former monastery, with simple rooms, but heaps of character. We will have ridden 167 miles to get there.
Day Seven – Friday 9 September 2022
Today ride into the Pyrenees mountains, where we will be for the next 5 days.
Almost as soon as we leave the monastery, we begin to climb and during the morning we cross the border and enter France. The Pyrenees mountains straddle the border between Spain and France and will cross the border a few times over the coming days.
We ride 4 named mountain passes today and the first of these is the Col de la Pierre St Martin, a pass that summits at 5,790 feet / 1,766m. The climb on the Spanish side we will ride was used in the 2007 Tour de France.
The next pass we ride is the Col de Marie-Blanque, which has some sections which are quite steep, at an 11% gradient – great fun on a motorcycle!
In the afternoon, we ride the Col D’Aubisque, one of the top motorcycle roads in the Pyrenees. The pass tops out at 5,607 ft / 1,709m.
We then take a short diversion to ride the Col de Soulor.
Our hotel for the night is high up in the mountains.
Day Eight – Saturday 10 September 2022
Our 168 mile ride today takes us further into the Pyrenees and another four named mountain passes. The first of these is the Col Du Tourmalet which we ride soon after leaving the hotel this morning. At 6,939 ft / 2,115m, this is the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenees. The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France. It has been included more than any other pass. Up to 2019, the Tour has visited the Col du Tourmalet a total of 87 times.
The other passes we ride today are the Col D’Aspin, the Col de Peyresourde and the Col Du Portillon, all well-known great motorcycling roads. At the summit of the Col Du Portillon, we re-enter Spain.
Our destination for tonight is the small principality of Andorra, which at just 181 square miles is one of the smallest countries in the world.
Day Nine – Sunday 11 September 2022
Today is a rest day, spent in Andorra. This is a tax free haven, so shopping is a popular pastime here. For those who don’t want to go shopping, we might just go for a ride on our bikes, or perhaps go-kart racing at the worlds highest race-track.
Day Ten – Monday 14 September 2022
Today we ride to the furthest eastern point we go to in the Pyrenees. We ride 121 miles today.
We start the day by heading out of Andorra and in doing so, we ride the highest pass road in the Pyrenees. Called Envalira Pass, this road is at 7,900 feet / 2,408m. Oddly, there is a go-kart track located at the top of the pass.
Almost immediately we cross the border back into France and very soon after that we cross over into Spain.
We then ride a fabulous road for motorcycling, the N-260 from Urtx to Ripoll, which is the further east town we visit on the tour. After Ripoll, we will mainly be heading west.
We will then be in the region of Spain known as Catalonia.
Day Eleven – Tuesday 13 September 2022
With 220 miles to cover, this will be our longest riding day.
We will be riding all day, in Spain, in the lower Pyrenees mountains. The bigger roads in this area run north-south as they enter and leave the mountains, but we will be using smaller and often very twisty roads that run east – west across the terrain.
Day Twelve – Wednesday 14 September 2022
This is our last main day of riding and we have 182 miles to cover to get back to the Spanish coast where we will catch a ferry back to the UK from Bilbao. To help speed us along, we use some motorway today.
Our ferry departs at 17:15 and we need to check in about 2 hours before.
The ferry takes 27 hours to return to the UK and so everyone has a cabin to sleep in.
Day Thirteen – Thursday 15 September 2022
The ferry arrives back in Portsmouth at 20:45, where the tour ends. You are free to make your own way home from here, or stay locally to then start your journey home th enext morning. It’s up to you.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 120 to 220 miles. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at that evening’s hotel by around 6pm.
The hotels we stay at vary in size and quality, and where possible, we only use hotels with good off-road parking. The hotels are not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star. We don’t use large chain hotels in larger towns, but prefer smaller remote locations. On some nights on the tour, your evening meal is included within the tour price and on the rest of the evenings, you are free to eat where you like. Often, we will eat as a group, but it is really up to you.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
We like these tours to be about having a real adventure, riding on great roads with like-minded people. For that reason, we do not use a support van, but we always have a back-marker.
Each of our tours has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘challenging’. That means this tour is for experienced riders only, with say, a minimum of five years of riding large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before on many occasions and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride very fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly. The route will include many twisty roads, plus many high mountain roads with many tight hairpin bends / switchbacks. There will be some sections of road with steep drop-offs at the side and no guardrail. If you or your pillion are at all uncomfortable at riding at height, then this tour is not for you. If you are from the USA, please note some of the roads you will be riding are significantly narrower and have tighter bends than in the USA. All roads are fully paved. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph+ on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads.
Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You must be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.