La Vuelta cycling tour

Tour Description

[2020 Example] The final week of Vuelta racing passes through Portugal allowing us to take full advantage and create this unique Lisbon to Madrid cycling tour. Lisbon is full of history and combined with its fantastic weather and modern gastronomy it really is a must see for tourists visiting Europe. The back end of this cycling tour is where Spain´s famous professional cycling race will be showcased.

The 2020 Vuelta race features a traditional finish with the penultimate stage in the mountains just outside of Madrid. This Vuelta cycling tour provides epic cycling stages through the Serra do Mamede (Portugal), Serra da Estrela (Portugal), Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia (Spain) and Sierra de Bejar (Spain) national parks. Plus you will enjoy cycling up to the medieval fortified wall towns of Marvão, Cuidad Rodrigo and Avila!

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Daily Tour Overview

Day 1 – Lisboa to the Serra do Mamede

From Lisbon we head east into Alentejo region where the history, culture, whitewashed villages, medieval castles, peaceful rolling hills and rural lifestyle all combine to create a lasting travel impression. As you begin cycling, the Serra do Mamede mountain range will come into view. The highest point is just over 1000m elevation so it is the perfect mountain range for warming up in.

Distance: 60km / Meals: Dinner Included / Sleep: Castelo de Vide (Portugal)

Day 2 – Ride the heights of Alentejo region

Today we have all day to ride and explore the Serra do Mamede National Park. Following breakfast we set off from the hotel and begin cycling through the rolling hills that lead to the fortified village of Marvão. Be sure to be amazed by the 9th Century castle! The ride will then continue in search of the lookout ‘Mirador del Pico de Sao Mamede’. At 1025m elevation this is the highest point in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

Distance: 100km / Meals: Breakfast Incl. / Sleep: Castelo de Vide (Portugal)

Day 3 – Off to explore the Serra da Estrela

The Serra da Estrela National Park is home for the next two nights. Today you will be riding in what is a protected landscape that includes deep river valleys, forests and surrounding craggy peaks. The cycling route follows quiet winding roads into a part of Portugal that the average tourist fails to discover! The group dinner tonight will introduce you all to the mountain cuisine and of course the region`s famous ‘Queijo Serra da Estrela’ which is a rich gooey artisanal cheese.

Distance: 85km / Meals: B’fast & Dinner Incl. / Sleep: Manteigas (Portugal)

Day 4 – Cycle one of Portugal’s best!

For outdoor lovers the chance to get off the beaten track and cycle the roads used during the Serra Estrela Gran Fondo now awaits. Cycling from the hotel you will encounter one of Portugal’s most beautiful routes! The Sierra peloton will have time to absorb the landscape of endless pine trees, streams and steep agricultural terraces.

Distance: 80 or 120km / Meals: Breakfast Incl. / Sleep: Manteigas (Portugal)

Day 5 – La Vuelta a España here we come

Tomorrow La Vuelta a España takes the pro peloton along the Serra Estrela park’s northern boundary. We will take advantage of our location to ride from the hotel towards the only La Vuelta climb on tomorrow’s Stage 19 race route. The ascent to ´Alto de Guarda´ is a long 14km climb and the accommodating 4% average grade means an enjoyable Category 3 climb! Once at the top all that remains is the crossing into Spain (passport at the ready please, nah just kidding) and the thrill of cycling into Cuidad Rodrigo which will be tomorrow’s Stage 19 Vuelta finish line! 

Distance: 85 or 120km / Meals: B’fast & Dinner Incl. / Sleep: Cuidad Rodrigo

Day 6 – Stage 19 & Vuelta sprint finish

Cuidad Rodrigo is located immediately to the west of the Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia National Park which simply put is another idyllic yet unknown cycling destination. From the hotel we have a quality morning ride before later in the afternoon living the excitement of the Stage 19 Vuelta finish back in Cuidad Rodrigo. Along the route you will visit authentic small Spanish villages preparing for the arrival of La Vuelta show. From Les Mestas to La Alberca resides the climb ‘Portillo de Las Batuecas’ (15km and 5% average grade).

Distance: 90km / Meals: Breakfast Included / Sleep: Cuidad Rodrigo (Spain)

Day 7 – Queen cycling stage to Avila

All tours have a Queen stage and today is your big day! The ride we have in store only measures 85km but yes it includes a whopping 2150m of elevation gain for those ready to go! Stage 20 of the 2020 Vuelta immerses itself right in the heart of the Sierra de Bejar mountains. Being on the mountain to witness this race defining stage will provide long lasting memories. Who will wear the Red Jersey into Madrid?

The main challenge for our cycling group today begins as we intersect La Vuelta race route. The 20km climb up to ´Alto de La Covatilla´ finishes at 1960m elevation and our highest point on tour. To provide some context and and ‘La Covatilla’ is considered by many locals as Spain’s Mont Ventoux! While La Covatilla does not have the name or stature of the mythical ‘Geant du Provence` this Sierra de Bejar mountain also towers over the surrounding Salamanca landscape much like Ventoux in Provence. It also has snow in winter, excessive sun during summer and the wind is sure to blow.

Distance: 85km / Meals: Breakfast Included / Sleep: Avila (Spain)

Day 8 – Road bikes, monasteries & kings

This morning we ride from the hotel in search of the royal monastery in nearby San Lorenzo el Escorial. Here one marvels at this architectural masterpiece which dates back to the late 16th Century and King Felipe II and includes a royal palace, church, pantheon, library and school. Before arriving to ‘El Escorial’ our cyclists will enjoy an undulating ride including two small climbs and wonderful winding roads through dense pine forest. From Robledo de Chavela we round out what has been a fantastic week on the bikes with another very achievable climb up to Puerto de la Cruz Verde (9km and 4% average grade). This is a well known climb amongst local Madrilenian cyclists.

Following lunch there will be a 1hr transfer to our hotel in central Madrid which is only 5 minutes walking distance to the city centre race course. There is no better way to finish your tour than watching the peloton cut hot laps during the twilight race around Plaza de Cibeles. As the professional riders get set for a well deserved rest you will reflect and celebrate your cycling achievements over a quality paella dinner and glass of sangria at one of our favourite Spanish restaurants!

Distance: 90km / Meals: Breakfast & Dinner Included / Sleep: Madrid

Day 9 – Hasta pronto!

Following breakfast the Sierra guides will be available to transfer you to Madrid Airport. If you would like to continue your stay in Madrid or need Spain travel information please ask us.

Meals: Breakfast included


Dates & Prices

Dates2021 dates subject to Covid-19
Duration8 nights / 9 days
Price (per person)3100€ (twin share)
Bike Hire300€
Single Room Supplement500€

5% Discount for Groups of 4 or more!

Go Private: Round-up some Friends & Ask Us for a Customised Package!


Cycling Souvenirs

Visit our Online Shop for this Exclusive La Vuelta cycling souvenir!

Click here to download our Sierra cycling clothing catalogue


Client Reviews (La Vuelta)

Julie (Esperance, WA, Australia)

Can’t recommend the tour highly enough! Fabulous cycling, fabulous scenery, fabulous food, fabulous racing.

David (Melbourne, VIC, Australia)

I did my first serious cycling tour with Sierra in Spain and the experience was fantastic – great scenery and cycle routes that went to places off the beaten track to see the real Spain as well as riding through iconic towns full of culture and history, and we got up close to La Vuelta on the final 5 days for some memorable experiences. The organization was first rate – the van and cycling support, the accommodation, food and wine, and the overall thought that went into making the week not just a cycling event but a great tourist experience. The cycling experience and knowledge of our tour hosts, Paul and Andrea, was my other highlight helping me to learn much more about cycling and myself.

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