Madrid – Valencia
Great cycling through a beautiful hinterland
In this tour you go from the Spanish capital Madrid to the attractive Mediterranean city of Valencia. Between them, there is plenty of very nice scenery, nature and great places to visit. It is an easy to arrange tour between two cities with international airports and with good facilities the whole trip, but with the feeling of a real cycling adventure.
You’ll go through four different areas: first the Castilian plateau, the meseta, with its harmonious combination of grain- and sunflower fields, shrubbery and groves on undulating to hilly terrain. You then cross two big natural reserves in remote sierra’s, going through forests, mountain prairies and rocky gorges, with plenty of wildlife around.
The last two stages are mostly on a ‘Via verde’ cycle path on an former railway track. First through a still remote-feeling area, along hillsides sprinkled with juniper and holm oak. Then you descend into the orange groves around Valencia and on to the very center of the city. Beautiful historic towns as Cuenca, Albarracín and Teruel are nicely spread along the route, making the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Cycle from one great city to another. Both with plenty to see and experience
In between the two: peaceful roads through varied landscape and nature
Remote sierra's with many birds of prey and other wildlife
Old centre of Cuenca and mudéjar towers of Teruel, both UNESCO world heritage
Faded splendour charm of Huete and Moorish jewel Albarracín
Each Thursday (day 1 in itinerary) from April to June and end August to October
3 – 4 Profile varies from flat and undulating to hills and middle mountains.
Average to very good hotels, all with en suite facilities
- 290km (181 miles) Tarmac/ asphalt
- 200Km (125 miles) Via verde cycle path (asphalt and compacted gravel/dirt)
Madrid – Arganda del Rey
If you have the time it’s of course a good idea to spend a couple of days before the tour in Madrid. The bustling Spanish capital has many great museums and plenty of street life, with an enormous amount of bars and restaurants to choose from. As a complement the parks Retiro and Casa de Campo provide extensive green spaces right in the middle of the city.
Arganda del Rey lies at the edge of the metropolis and is easy to reach with the metro-underground: just under or over an hour from the centre or Madrid’s airport. Alternatively, a taxi from the airport costs € 30 to the centre or € 50 to Arganda del Rey. In Arganda itself there is little to see but the hotel has a good restaurant with terrace and there is a big supermarket nearby to buy what you would need before the cycling begins.
From here, tomorrow you are quickly out of the busy urban area and into the countryside.
34 miles/54 km 450↑m to Estremera
The first stage is almost entirely ot two Vías Verdes, cycling paths on previous railway lines. It’s a very nice ride through olive groves, a fertile valley and along hills with light forest. This nowadays peaceful environment has also an historical significance, as it was the scene of one of the key battles of the Spanish civil war, as elaborated in the route description. Estremera has a unique atmosphere on Fridays: it combines village life with urbanites from Madrid starting their weekend… a mix to which you can add as a very unusual foreign visitor!
29 miles/46 km 750↑m to Huete
The second stage is on regular, quiet roads linking small villages. If you like this kind of landscape, it’s a joy: this is the age-old Castilian plateau, with the road meandering through grain fields, shrubbery and rocky hills, often edged by rows of ancient almond trees.
After going over the first (low) mountain range in the route, the Sierra de Altamira, you’ll reach Huete, an out-of-the-way kind of place, specially appealing for those who appreciate faded glory: centuries ago it was more important than now and there are many convents, palaces and noble houses in varying states of decay, or nicely restored, A walking tour of crafts and traditions is a pleasant option in the evening
35 miles/57 km 600↑m to Cuenca
Today you ride through wide, then increasingly narrow and secluded valleys. Pine forests cover the slopes and poppies and sunflowers brighten the fields according to the season. The arrival in Cuenca is spectacular, over a footbridge taking you to the old town which is situated on a rocky spur between rivers. Our hotel is perfectly placed: in the atmospheric historic centre and just at the edge of the Serranía, the extensive natural area you’ll go into tomorrow.
37 miles/60 km 890↑m to Tragacete
And indeed… today you go ‘into the wild’ with just a village after the first climb and further on just pure, unspoilt nature the whole way. There are good chances to spot wildlife as deer, boar and mouflon, or griffon vultures and eagles high above. Tragacete is busy with visitors on weekends, but on a Monday, just a nice quiet village to have a good rest.
34 miles/55 km 700↑m or 38 miles/61 km 950↑m to Albarracín
A wonderful day starts with a climb to the border of the regions Castile and Aragon, in surprising alpine-like surroundings. You then have the choice of taking the straightforward route to Albarracín, or going for a slightly longer and more mountainous option on back roads. Both alternatives go through fabulous landscape. Underway there are features as the source of the Tagus river or the village of Guadalaviar, where the old ‘transhumancia’ tradition of taking the sheep on a yearly migration is still maintained. At the end of a river gorge you reach the stunning village of Albarracín, in the middle ages a small, independent Moorish kingdom and today an engrossing place to explore in the afternoon-evening.
26 miles/42 km 430↑m to Teruel
This relatively short stage starts with some cheeky climbs through a natural park. There is pretty scenery, with old pine forests and ocher-coloured outcrops. Then comes a stepwise descent, with the pleasant combination of green-yellow grainfields, flowery bushes at the edges and patches of forest that is typical of Teruel’s province. The town of Teruel itself is Spain’s smallest provincial capital and a very nice place to stroll around. It has fine examples of Mudéjar architecture (the art of islamitic craftsmen under christian rule from the 11th century onwards) including four beautiful towers declared UNESCO world heritage.
30 miles/48 km 430↑m to Albentosa
From Teruel you ride for the most part on the Vía Verde de Ojos Negros, the longest cycle path/track in Spain.
The Vía Verde goes first gradually up along rocky slopes sprinkled with juniper and holm oak. It’s then mostly flat and undulating through a kind of wide, high valley until you reach a small farmhouse-hotel which is your overnight address. The owner, also a truffle producer, likes to tell about daily life in this rural area.
40 miles/64 km 170↑m to Segorbe
It’s just a delight to start in the morning pushing your bike up a few metres from the farmhouse fields to the Vía Verde and continuing the ride among nothing but nature, clean air and the chirping of birds. You’ll most likely meet nobody for tens of kilometres, just far views of villages down the valley or across a ravine.
A key point in the route is when you reach the pass that separates the rugged hinterland from the softer Mediterranean environment near the coast. Once in the gradual descent, you’ll notice the change while on your bike.
40 miles/65 km 260↑m to Valencia
A varied ride to complete the tour, mostly descent with some short climbs and then flat to and through Valencia.
The environment keeps changing, as pine forests give way to orange groves and these to vegetable gardens between the villages of the coastal plain.
After a triumphant arrival to the city, where you choose to follow the route to the sea and port or going directly to the center, the route ends at an agreed point where you deliver our bikes and retrieve your luggage.
The accommodation in Valencia is of your own choice, booking and payment. That seemed the best option given the wide range of choice in this city and the preferences of each traveler (city centre or beach, hotel or b&b, offers for several days’ stay, etc.) There are several hotels at a short walk’s distance from the end point, or an average taxi ride in the city is about € 10.
Alternatively, you can book the accommodation in Valencia through us and end the stage at the hotel.
In the evening, with a diner in one of the famous paella restaurants at the beach you can celebrate the completion of a wonderful tour!
Price per person, on double room basis: € 970
- 9 nights hotel accommodation
- 9 x breakfast
- Route description in English, maps and GPS tracks. All sent digitally to your e-mail address.
- Luggage transport
- Telephone assistance
Excluded: accommodation Valencia and all items not mentioned in ‘included’ above
Options and supplements
- Rental bicycle, trekking hybrid…………………. €150
- Rental e-bike …………………………………………….. €250
(both including drop-off Valencia)
- Supplement for single room ………………… €290
- Hotel in Valencia quoted upon request
- Extra nights quoted upon request
Rental bikes are delivered with panier, small handlebar bag, repair set, pump and lock. If you don’t bring your own, a helmet can be hired for € 30
This offer is covered by the STO Garant guarantee.
You can find the conditions for this guarantee scheme on STO Garant’s website (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads)