On the 16th June 2019, I started my cycle across Spain. Leaving Santander airport , the trip saw me cycling through Spain towards Malaga airport.
The idea was to cycle through most of Spain's fantastic Nature reserves and discover the "real Spain" away from the tourist trails.
From the Parque Natural de Fuentes Carrionas e Fuente Cobre to the fabulous Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero to the peaks of Parque Natural Sierra de Hornachuelos , the the trip took me on a 1450km cycle adventure which was completed in 9 days climbing approx. 16800 meters.
Day temperatures reached 37 degrees the further south i cycled, hitting the June heatwave around Osuna.
Day# 1: Santander to Suances (36.42 km)
Day# 1 was arrival day in Santander. My plane landed around 3pm and by 5pm, I was on the road towards Suances.
Following smaller roads away from the hustle and bustle from Santander, it would be an easy enough route towards the seaside town of Suances.
Day# 2: Suances to Alba de Los Cardanos (147.47km)
Day# 2 was a day i won't forget for a long time. It was one of the toughest days I have ever cycled. Where the distance was an easy enough 147.47km, it was the continuous climbing from the morning until late at night which was the killer.
Highlights was the Cuevas de Altamira and the beautiful town of Santillana del Mar.
Heading higher and higher, I left Cantabria behind me and headed into Castile and Leon. Cycling through Parque Natural Saja- Besaya towards the small town of Cervera de Pisuerga.
From there onwards, I headed into Parque natural de Fuentes Carrionas Y Fuente towards the small hamlet of Alba de los Cardanos where i stayed for the night.
The overall climbing came close to 4000m, hence the reason I only arrived at 11pm at my destination.
Day# 3: Alba de Los Cardanos to Riello (140.60 km)
Day# 3 was another day of climbing (1657 meters of elevation gain).The day started off with a steady drop in elevation until the town of Guardo.
Following a route north of Leon, the views toward Parque National de Los Picos de Europa where more than just spectacular.
The day finished nearby the town of Riello.
Day# 4: Riello to Miranda do Douro (220km)
This long day in the saddle started in Riello towards the beautiful town of Astorga, a walled town on the crossroads of the Camino de Santiago pilgrims route and the Roman Silver road. On the list of things to see was the Episcopal Palace designed by Gaudi.
Carrying onwards seen me navigating through the flatlands towards Portugal cycling through sleepy hamlets. Or that is what I thought, continuous hills made the last 70km into a though cycle.And to make matters worse, the border was closed on my planned route, hence an additional 20 km detour to reach my end destination
Day# 5: Miranda do Douro to Salto de Saucelle (116.34 km)
Day# 5 took in the fabulous Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero, an area of extreme beauty.
One of the first stops was the beautiful medieval town of Fermoselle where the small medieval streets and stone houses made a great photo opportunity.
From here, i headed deep into Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero.
The end of the day was a spectacular decent into the Douro valley where I would stay for the night in Salto de Saucelle.
Day# 6: Salto de Saucelle to Las Mestras(141.41 km)
Day# 6 was probably my most favourite day of the entire cycle. The day started off with a long 1 hour climb out of the Douro valley. With the wind in the back, i made a quick gradual decent towards the beautiful city of Cuidad Rodrigo, a walled city with fabulous historical buildings.
After saying goodbye to this beautiful city, most of the day was spent in Parque Natural de las Batuecas. Climbing Pena de Fancia was the highlight which with it's 1727 meters was the highest point of my trip.
On this day, i said goodbye to castile and Leon and entered extremadura.
Extremadura is famous for it's historical towns, but it is also a place where you have average temperatures of well into the 30s, so keeping the head cool was important. Cycling through the pine forests towards the small town of Las Mestras was just fabulous.
Day# 7: Las Mestras to Caceres (180.2 km)
For me, this was a day where i struggled with the heat. I decided in the morning to make changes to the route as the weather forecast was for temperatures up to 36 degrees.
The route took me through the hills towards the beautiful city of Caceres, a Unesco world heritage site. The old town, Ciudad Monumental, has a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with cobbled medieval streets, fortified houses and palaces.
Day# 8: Caceres to Cazalla de la sierra (226.43km)
Day# 9: Cazalla de la sierra to Osuna (125.99km)
The trip on day#9 was clearly divided in 2 different landscapes. In the morning, I enjoyed the beautiful hills of Parque Natural Sierra de Hornachuelos , in the afternoon I cycled through the lowlands along long straight roads between sunflower fields where shade was hard to find.
My destination was Osuna which is also called the frying pan of Spain, hence the reason I left early in the morning.