Cycling and Culture in Bilbao, with Nadezhda
Our road cycling lead editor, Nadezhda explore the Basque area on 2-wheels
Bilbao, located in the heart of the Basque Country in northern Spain, is a paradise for road cyclists. With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and delicious Pintxos, it offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Close to the city and its surroundings, there are a variety of superb road bike rides that will take you through picturesque villages, along breath-taking coastal roads, and up challenging mountain passes. The routes range from hilly and rolling to the unique “Bilbao flat” terrain, which refers to the continuous mix of climbs, descents, and undulating roads. This adds an extra element of challenge and excitement for cyclists who enjoy a varied terrain. In this article, we will explore some of the best road bike rides around Bilbao.
I spent some time in the city and surrounding area recently, looking at the rides, so that we can show you the very best road cycling routes in Bilbao. Here’s my selection then; and, all that you need to do is to enjoy them! Over the next few weeks, we’ll produce maps of each of the routes, individually, with full descriptions on our website. For now though, join me, Nadezhda, as we ride around the amazing coastline and city of Bilbao.
My favourite Bilbao routes
1. Coastline: This scenic ride takes you along the stunning coastline from Bilbao to the town of Getxo, Sopela, and Pletzia. The route offers breath-taking views of the Bay of Biscay and takes you through charming seaside towns and picturesque beaches. One highlight of this ride is the Castle De Butron, a majestic medieval castle. The route can be found on Strava – Click Here
2. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: This ride is a must-do for any cyclist visiting Bilbao. The highlight of this route is the climb up to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe viewpoint , a small hermitage perched on a rocky island. The hermitage, dedicated to San Juan Bautista, dates back to the 10th century and is located on top of a rocky islet connected to the coast by a stone bridge with 241 steps. From the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe viewpoint, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea and the island. This route can be found on Komoot – Click Here
3. Zumaia to San Sebastian: This road bike ride takes you along the beautiful coastline from the town of Zumaia to the vibrant city of San Sebastian. The route offers stunning views of the rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and crystal-clear waters of the Bay of Biscay. As you cycle along the coast, you will pass through charming fishing villages such as Orio and Getaria, known for their delicious seafood. Once you reach San Sebastian, take some time to explore its charming old town and visit the famous La Concha beach. This route can be found on Bikemap – Click Here
4. Bilbao to Gordexola Loop: This ride takes you through the beautiful countryside surrounding Bilbao. The route starts in Bilbao and passes through the towns of Sodupe, Guenes, Galdames, Mercadillo, Balmaseda, Mimetiz, and Gordexola. Along the way, you will encounter rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and quaint villages. This route can be found on Strava – Click Here
Hotel Gran Bilbao is a great option. They offer a special bike room ( you can have your bike with you in your room also) and have water points on every floor to refill your water bottle. They also offer healthy sports options for breakfast and have a strong commitment to the environment. Use the discount code “NADEZHDA” to get up to 25% off your reservation.
You can make your reservation by using this link here, where you will also benefit from a NADEZHDA discount 🙂 : Click Here for Discounted Reservation
For a coffee stop, use the Amatter cafe, which you can find by clicking this link: Click Here
The best Pinxos in Bilbao are at Guretoki, in Plaza Nueva.
These are just a few examples of the many road bike rides available around Bilbao. Whether you prefer coastal routes, mountain climbs, or countryside loops, Bilbao and its surroundings have something for every cyclist. So grab your bike, explore the stunning landscapes, and experience the thrill of cycling in one of Spain’s most beautiful regions. And don’t forget to be prepared for the continuous mix of climbs, descents, and undulating roads that make up the unique “Bilbao flat” terrain.
I’ve got lots more road cycling routes in the Basque Region and in the north of Spain, to share with you this year. With my cycling trips to Girona, Bilbao, Santander and the Spain-France border area, I’ll share my cycling adventures with you.
Why not book a flight and take a trip here, or to nearby Barcelona, where I’m based. Pedalnorth is the best place online for great cycling routes in northern Spain and the Basque – so join me on my cycling adventures!