Best Places for a Bike Trip in Spain: Exploring the Basque Country and Bilbao

Spain is a paradise for cycling enthusiasts, boasting diverse landscapes, rich culture, and a favorable climate. Among its many regions, the Basque Country stands out as a premier destination for cyclists. With its rugged coastlines, verdant mountains, and vibrant cities, this area offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty and urban charm. At the heart of the Basque Country lies Bilbao, a city that has seamlessly merged its industrial past with modern, avant-garde architecture. Join me as we explore the best places for a bike trip in Spain, with a special focus on the enchanting Basque Country and the dynamic city of Bilbao.
best places bike trip spain

Why Choose the Basque Country for Your Bike Trip?

The Basque Country, or Euskadi, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, from the rolling hills of the interior to the dramatic cliffs along the coast. Cycling here means you’ll experience a mix of challenging climbs, exhilarating descents, and leisurely rides through picturesque villages. The region is also famous for its gastronomy, with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and local pintxos bars offering delicious refueling options.

Climate and Terrain

The Basque Country enjoys a mild climate, making it suitable for cycling almost year-round. Spring and autumn are particularly pleasant, with moderate temperatures and less rainfall. The terrain varies from coastal roads to mountain passes, catering to cyclists of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a casual rider, you’ll find routes that match your abilities and interests.

Bilbao: The Perfect Starting Point

Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country, serves as an excellent base for your cycling adventures. Known for the iconic Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao combines a rich cultural heritage with a contemporary vibe. The city is bike-friendly, with numerous cycling paths and rental shops. From Bilbao, you can easily access a variety of routes that showcase the region’s diverse landscapes.

Must-Visit Cycling Routes Around Bilbao

1. The Green Ring (Anillo Verde)

The Green Ring is a network of cycling paths encircling Bilbao, offering a scenic and leisurely ride through parks, riversides, and urban areas. This route is ideal for families and those looking for a relaxed introduction to cycling in the city. Highlights include the Doña Casilda Park and the stunning views of the Nervión River.

2. Bilbao to Bakio

For a more challenging ride, consider the route from Bilbao to Bakio. This 30-kilometer journey takes you through lush countryside and coastal scenery. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming villages like Mungia and enjoy breathtaking views of the Bay of Biscay. Bakio, known for its beautiful beach, is a great place to relax after a day of cycling.

3. The Iron Belt (Cinturón de Hierro)

History buffs will appreciate the Iron Belt route, which follows the defensive line built during the Spanish Civil War. This path offers a mix of history and natural beauty, with panoramic views of Bilbao and the surrounding valleys. The route includes several challenging climbs, making it suitable for more experienced cyclists.

4. The Camino de Santiago Coastal Route

For those seeking a longer adventure, the coastal route of the Camino de Santiago is a fantastic option. Starting from Bilbao, this path follows the northern coast of Spain, offering stunning ocean views and a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage. This route can be adapted to fit your schedule, whether you’re looking for a day trip or a multi-day journey.

Essential Tips for Cycling in Bilbao and the Basque Country

  1. Stay Hydrated and Fueled: The Basque Country’s varied terrain can be demanding, so make sure to carry plenty of water and snacks. Local bakeries and bars offer excellent refueling options, from fresh pastries to hearty pintxos.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Weather in the Basque Country can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains. Layered clothing and a good rain jacket are essential.
  3. Respect Local Traffic Rules: While many areas have dedicated cycling paths, you’ll likely share the road with cars at times. Be sure to follow traffic rules and stay alert.
  4. Plan Your Route: With so many beautiful places to explore, planning your route in advance will help you make the most of your trip. Local cycling maps and apps can be very helpful.
  5. Embrace the Culture: The Basque Country is known for its unique culture and friendly locals. Take the time to explore off your bike, visit museums, and enjoy the local cuisine.


A bike trip in Spain, particularly in the Basque Country and Bilbao, promises an unforgettable experience. The region’s diverse routes, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage make it a top destination for cyclists. Whether you’re navigating the urban paths of Bilbao, conquering the coastal climbs, or embarking on the historic Iron Belt, you’ll find plenty of adventures waiting for you. So, pack your cycling gear, prepare your route, and get ready to discover one of Spain’s most captivating regions on two wheels. Happy cycling!

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