top of page

Pure Pyrenees

The best mountain roads in three countries

Col du Tourmalet. Col d'Aubisque. The N260. Coll d'Ordino. Port d'Envalira. There are so many brilliant roads in the Pyrenees in France, Spain and Andorra – and all of them (and many more besides) are on this tour.

This is a flexible trip planned around the Plymouth to Santander ferry crossings. If you sail out on a Sunday, landing on Spain on a Monday, you can get a ferry back to the UK the following Sunday after seven amazing days' riding. But the tour is designed to be expanded by adding daytrip routes around the base towns, so it also works if you plan to get the ferry home on Monday – it even works if you want to stay until the following Thursday.

What’s included on the route? Each day’s route has recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops. Hotel suggestions are included too.

How long is each day’s ride? These are full days in the saddle but not arduous ones: it's a bike trip, so the emphasis is on riding brilliant roads rather than stopping for sightseeing, but it's not an endurance test. If you're on the road at nine, you should be at the next hotel before 6pm. That's allowing for lunch, coffee and photo stops along the way. Saddle-time rating: six out of 10.

What are the highlights? So many... The route is planned with minimal motorway, so it's into the mountains within half an hour of getting off the ferry, heading through Cantabria and La Rioja on the way to the Pyrenees. It heads to France first, tackling the Tourmalet and other passes made famous by the Tour de France, before hopping backwards and forwards across the border, packing in passes. The eight-day Tour Pack version adds a loop that goes all the way to the Mediterranean, before the core route heads back to Santander.​

Why seven days? This is the minimum amount of time needed to see the best of these mountains, working with the Santander ferry schedule: sail from Plymouth to dock in Spain on a Monday afternoon; board the return ferry the following Sunday. However, the full Tour Pack version is an eight-day tour – with a two-night stop at the eastern end of the mountains to extend the ride all the way to the Med. There is the option of additional multi-night stays along the way to ride other daytrip routes, so if you have two weeks off work, you can pack every day with amazing riding in the mountains.

How is it supplied? The tour is supplied as an eBook of daily notes backed up by GPX files of the routes. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Calimoto, Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. However, I strongly recommend getting the tour pack which includes a marked-up map and tankbag notes.

Download the tour

Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps. 

bottom of page