As a person that loves traveling, going on new adventures and leisure cycling I was very excited to go on a walking and cycling trip on the Camino del Norte, I knew it was my kind of holiday. But, what I did not know is that it was going to exceed my expectations completely.
When I travel to new destinations I try to fit in as many attractions, towns, cities and landmarks as possible on my schedule. I always think that I may not have the chance to go back to these places and that I have to make the most out of them. Thanks to my hectic schedules while travelling, I have gotten to know many places in a short period of time. If you share my way of thinking the cycling tour I am going to tell you about will suit you perfect.
I went on this trip with Claire, Emmet and Arturo, my colleagues from Caminoways. Our tour started in the facto-capital of the Basque Country; Bilbao. This city is surrounded by green mountains, it has a lovely old town and it is also home of one of the Guggenheim’s museums. Our first destination was Castro Urdilaes so the following morning we started our journey early; we walked along the side of the Nervion River and passed the stunning Guggenheim museum. As the distance we had to cover that day was too long we took the train to Portugalete where we admired the incredible Vizcaya Bridge and then we kept going to Playa Las Arenas. We started walking along the beach, the Camino led us to a lovely cliff walk from where we could admire the mountains from Bilbao and the contrast with the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to the good weather every picture we took looked like a postcard.
After some kilometers the Camino became inland and took us to lovely little towns located in small valleys. The towns were picturesque, quiet and peaceful. You could admire the charming white houses with orange clay tiles and the big fig trees when coming down the mountains. The weather was superb; no wind, sunny and mild temperature, everything you would hope for while walking. When we reached the outskirts of Castro Urdiales I realized that the magic of the tour was going to be the sense of accomplishment you get every time you reach your destination. You almost forget that you are tired, hungry and that your legs ache. Not only getting to the finish line of that day’s walk was great, it was also the town where we arrived to. I thought Castro Urdiales was a small town but it was nothing like that. Castro Urdiales is a summer destination for many Spanish people, it has a beautiful marina and nice beach were you could go for a swim or deep in your feet after a long walk. We found a restaurant and enjoyed some beers, croquetas and traditional Spanish food for very little money. I could not have asked for more.
The cycling bit started the next morning. Even though I cycle every day to work I was a bit concerned about the distances and terrains we had to cover, however those concerns are rapidly forgotten once you get on the bike and start enjoying the road. That road became a trail and it took us over mountains, which was though, but it also meant that on the other side we would have very enjoyable slopes. When cycling down the trail between trees and farmlands you do not think about anything, you just enjoy the moment and appreciate the landscape, you disconnect from everything else and before you even realize you have reached the next town. The next town was Laredo. Again, I had it pictured in my head as a small coastal town, but it wasn’t. Laredo is a beautiful town with a historical city center and a stunning 5-kilometer beach. That day was a bit chilly, it wasn’t sunny and it had rain a little bit, but the good thing about a cycling holiday is that you are always warm from all the activity you have done. We went to ‘la marina’ a well-ranked restaurant that offered an extensive menu for just e13 including wine. We had done so much cycling that day, we really deserved a great meal; my colleagues had risotto and beef, I order bull tail burger and we were all very pleased with our choices. This holiday was coming to and end, as the next destination was our last destination.
Our last cycling day started early. It was 8:30am and it was pitch-black, the sun had not come out yet but I think it may have had been waiting for us to start cycling to show its magnificent shades. We started cycling along the coast of Laredo and the morning started showing its color. We had to stop to take pictures and make videos, it was one of the must stunning sunrises I have seen. Strong red and vivid yellows, it was almost like a combination between sunrise and sunset, it was a marvellous way to start the day. We kept cycling to our destination, Santander. To get there we took two ferry’s so at that point we had fly, walked, cycled and travelled by boat. We also had been in three different towns and covered around 100km, we had done so many things in such a short time!
The second ferry took us to Santander, our last destination. We were tired, we had cycled around 45 kilometers that day and we had another 5 or 7 to cover to get to our hotel. The ferry left us in this welcoming beautiful coastal city with tall buildings, the cycling path was along the shore so those last 5 or 7 kilometers we had to cover were just perfect to end a challenging cycling tour. The adventure came to an end but the feeling of accomplishment compensated the sadness you could feel when something great comes to an end, it is like you get invisible congratulations certificate. The best part of this trip was the hugs and smiles of my group when we arrived to our hotel in Santander.
This trip was magnificent; it was great way to experience the northern coast of Spain.
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