Most visitors to Madrid spend all of their time within the limits of the Metro’s Circular Line – a shame when you consider that, not even an hour out of the city, one of the most important natural areas in central Spain stretches out.
Love the outdoors but still want a good dose of culture and history on a cycling tour? This trip combines the peaceful landscapes of the South of Madrid with its extending fields of olives trees, the amazing natural environment of the Sierra de Guadarrama and some of the area’s most important monuments – the Aranjuez Palace, the really authentic medieval central place of Chinchon, the monasteries of El Escorial and Rascafría, the castle of Manzanares el Real and the medieval town of Buitrago de Lozoya, with its city walls and Picasso Museum. Combined with Madrid’s sunny spring, summer weather and unbeatable fall colors, this is a perfect introduction to attractions and charms that lie just outside Madrid’s city limits.
Enjoy the memorable Spanish food, appreciate the culture and history of Spain, visit some of the best paintings museums, see wonderful palaces and historic buildings and ride by beautiful roads in a sunny place with a bright blue sky all year around.
Day 1: Madrid – Chinchon (Madrid)
Accomodation: La Casa de la Marquesa
Guests of Bike Spain Tours are taken by van to the town of Chinchon. Once we arrive at the hotel and have had a chance to unpack, we’ll have a welcome drink, fit your bikes and provide you with the road book and maps for the tour. Time for a short bike ride and after take time to visit this charming town and enjoy the restaurants around the main square.
Day 2: Chinchon – Aranjuez
Route: 54 kms
Elevation: 320 m
Accommodation: NH Collection Palacio Aranjuez
Today you ride loking always to beautiful olives trees and ancient vineyards, on a Andalusian landscape. In the town of Colmenar de Oreja, take time to visit one of the famous wineries. Continue down to the river Tajus until Aranjuez, where you can visit the Royal Palace and its gardens, the old bullring, and eat in one of the famous restaurants. Even one Michelin star.
Day 3: Buitrago de Lozoya-Rascafría
Route: 35/50 km
Elevation: 400 m
Accomodation: El Caseron de los Trastamara
We do a van transfer from Aranjuez to Buitrago. At arrival, you can visit the Picasso museum and after you bike self guided to Rascafría.
Today’s route follows the Lozoya Valley along the southern flanks of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range to the town of Rascafría, home of the El Paular Monastery, founded in the fourteenth century. The monastery’s architecture reflects the mishmash of cultures which have invaded this part of the country – everything from Gothic to Baroque.
Day 4: El Escorial
Route: 51 km
Elevation: 900 m
Accomodation: Exe Victoria Palace
We start the morning with a leisurely climb to the south face of the Guadarrama mountains. From the Navacerrada Pass (great for photo opportunities!) there’s an amazing ride down through some mountainside villages to the town of San Lorenzo del Escorial, with the impressive monastery. Built between 1563 and 1584, the Monastery of El Escorial was the biggest building of the Renaissance period.
Day 5: Escorial – Soto del Real
Route: 43 km
Elevation: 347 m
Accomodation: Hotel Prado Real
From El Escorial, we travel through some of the towns on the southern slopes of the mountains. As we approach Soto, we’ll pass through (and visit, if time permits) the Castle of Manzanares el Real – which, despite appearances, is an authentic fifteenth-century castle, owned by the Duke of Santillana and leased to the Madrid region. For cyclists who’d like a bit more time in the saddle, there’s the opportunity to head into and explore the La Pedriza Nature Reserve.
Day 6: Soto del Real – Madrid
Route: 47 km
Elevation: +203 m
Accommodation: Hotel Quatro Puerta del Sol
In 2005, motivated by the needs of cyclists who wanted to go to the Sierra but who didn’t want to have to use their cars, the Madrid regional government opened a 40 kilometre-long bike path that links the sierra with the city. We’ll use it to return to the city, savouring the expansive views over the plains, and be back in town by lunchtime to give guests the chance to explore more of Madrid on their own.
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, end of the trip.