Northern Spain/pyrenees

Discussion in 'Touring' started by Groundhog, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. I'm off to Northern Spain. Arriving Santander and heading to the Pyrenees in mid June next year for a week. I was wondering whether to pre book hotels for my route or just find somewhere each night? I would prefer not to pre book to keep flexibility. Any advice on how easy or difficult this might be would be appreciated. Also I arrive in Santander 18.15pm and want to pre book a hotel for the first night, preferably just out of Santander, any suggestions? One last thing (Columbo style) how is bike security in the area as a whole, as in do I need to make sure of secure parking? Any other tips most welcome. Cheers
  2. I've done that trip a couple of times never bothered booking hotels there's plenty of hotels
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. We booked a package with Brittany that included b&bs , worked out about same price as booking just the ferry - brittany ferries great to deal with over phone and have been hit by brexit so maybe deals to be done - they are launching new boat next year to

    Couple hotels I can recommend as been

    If you take the inclusive route
    Hotel Infantao Potes (has underground car park)

    Hotel Le Cepada Cangas des Onis

    Or here if you go independent

    Hotel el Pieron - Sos del Ray Catolica (if your heading east but too far for first night)

    Tbh never stopped in a bad hotel and never felt like I needed to hide my bike away

    Have a fab time !!!

    Brush up on your Spanish :)
    • Like Like x 1
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Might as well ride into Picos de Europa first night as already suggested, Potes is a good option. I've stayed there, Tama just up the road and Fuente De much higher up on different visits.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. We booked all the accommodation in advance, that way you can enjoy the roads and your trip not worrying about hotels with secure parking, plus you get that well deserved beer sooner!
    Either way it’s a fabulous place to visit,
    have s good trip.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Mid June you should be OK not having to pre book so long as there aren't too many of you. Spanish hotels away from the Med coast are very grateful for your custom these days and are mostly all but empty from my experience.

    Having said that; personally I prefer having hotels booked in advance as that gives structure to the trip and prevents wandering relatively aimlessly as well as having to spend time planning the next days ride each evening. Whilst seat-of-the-pants planning is maybe more adventurous and you do have the chance of discovering to occasional nice road, a carefully pre planned route using all the great tools available to us these days is far more enjoyable IMHO. Also I find it a good way to spend the winter evenings working up anticipation for the trip ahead.

    Back in 2014 we stayed in the Hotel Montecristo in Laredo to the East of Santander. Reasonably priced, parking in a closed courtyard/garden and a short walk to the old town on the hill to the East for beers and bit to eat in the evening. Next morning got onto some great minor roads just back off the main coast road and headed East for the Pyrenees.
    #6 Bumpkin, Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. +1 for booking hotels and planing routes in advance, as @Bumpkin says
    The hotels I've used when arriving on the ferry at Santander in the early evening are:
    • Going West (direction of Picos de Europa): Hotel Las Ruedas, Treto. Private parking at the rear, some under cover. They were very welcoming even though we turned up at midnight, dripping wet - after the ferry docked 4 hours late in thunderstorm.
    • Going East (direction of Pyrenees: Hotel San Marcos, Santillna del Mar. Private parking at the front. Easy walk into a very pretty town.
    Loads of good riding. Use a Michelin map and string as many scenic roads together as you can (they are marked with green highlighting to one side).

    As @Char says
    , definitely a good idea when stopping in the smaller towns and villages away from the coast.

    Regarding safe riding; be ready to avoid oncoming cars/vans/trucks using a fair chunk of your side of the road on blind corners.

    Have a great tour.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Thanks everyone for the answers and tips:upyeah:I rode over the Pyrenees from France into Spain en route to Estoril in Portugal for the Moto GP about ten years ago and have wanted to go back for a proper look around ever since, can't wait! This hotel business on bike trips is new to me, all my previous trips abroad have been camping, but the old bones need a bit more comfort these days:) It is also my first solo trip abroad.
    I'm still undecided on pre booked hotels, or not. As I am on my own, slipping in quietly sounds like it shouldn't be a problem if I just turn up. I also like the idea of having a daily destination sorted out, and enjoy planning all the routes over the winter. However not pre booking gives me the flexibility to change my plans to avoid bad weather or for a change of mind. Decisions, Decisions!! Learning a bit of Spanish is something I really must do. Trev
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Suggest that you book the first hotel when you arrive in Santander as it'll be about 5.30pm arrival from memory. Something like: Casa del Puente, Regules or good suggestions above.

    We often have a few routes planned but follow the best weather as the Northern Spain can be very wet. We have no problems finding good places and book up through the previous evening.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Yeah booking first nights hotel def recommended. Takes pressure off. When riding we typically opt to book the hotels for the whole trip and sort route out so we know where headed and no drama when we get there - especially when time is limiting factor and you have multiple folks to please. That said when did a gap year i only ever booked first night and went from there so if just you and out of season likely a good option. Alternatively you might want to have a couple of options up your sleeve that you’ve researched ahead of time so you have a safety net and it might help you research the areas you want to ride better. Look forward to the pics next year!!!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Best tip, fresh good tyres . N 260.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. I have booked the Casa Zalama for the first and last nights, thanks for the suggestion it's a great looking place:upyeah:I'm not booking anything else for now. I am looking at two alternative routes, one east to the Pyrenees and one further south. So I may not book anything else so that I have the flexibility to do either, or just change on the fly to avoid any bad weather. Either way I will be spending plenty of winter evenings checking out routes and destinations:)
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Must say, that looks like a real gem of a place. Thanks for bringing that to our attention Char :upyeah:
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Somewhere near Sort or Solsona would give access to loads of great roads.

    Coll de Nargo ( small pass) a cracker if you like hundreds of corners and barely time to click in to 2nd gear before the next hairpin :)
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Jaca well situated with quite a few places to stay.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  16. Going east, Bilbao is an easy reach wit the time of the boat and the Lopez de Haro is in the centre and has a car park. Expensive, nice bar, don't bother with the restaurant. Go down the N623 towards Burgos and Santo Domingo is a good stop - two Paradors and some nice restaurants. This year, we stayed at San Anton Abad, because our hotel was closed for repairs and this was offered as a replacement, whilst we were on route (which is something to recommend about; this is right on the N-120 - quirky but good value; lots of walkers.

    I like the monastery at San Millan de Cogolla, but possible not to everyone's taste. Why not the Hotel Arrope in Haro, where you can visit one of the 19 bodegas. No parking, but hey might be able to fit you in to a local garage nearby or your bike would be safe in the street, I guess. I stopped once at the Villa Abalos which has private & secure parking, wonderful home cooked food and the owners own wine. This is very nice, but very quiet.

    Agree with comments above that having the first night booked can take the pressure off. I always book everything in advance, as I'm normally in a group.

    Inland hotels around here are very welcoming and fabulous value. Learn a few Spanish phrases before you go. I reckon these are some of the best roads in Europe.
  17. Apologies. Just re-read the OP (properly, this time) and all of the above places are too far for a 6:15 arrival. I am so used to the boat arriving at midday, I didn't think any further. Remember, it will take around at least an hour to get off the boat and through passport control.

    I've never stayed in Santander. If you want easy, look at turning right off the boat to the beaches. But you'll get a better deal inland and if you like authentic, try the Casas Rurales.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Thanks for that, and all the other replies:upyeah: I have booked the first and last night close to Santander, and the rest I will book as I go to keep flexibility. Already started to try and learn a bit of basic Spanish...…..try being the operative word!!