Cyclists on a Picos de Europa gorge in Spain

Gorgeous Gorges of Spain, 3 gorge routes you must cycle this year

Spain has some pretty magnificent gorges, problem is many riders don’t know what or where they are. We will show you three gorgeous gorges from three very different parts of Spain and the tours you can do to add them into a superb cycling tour route you will never forget. Charge your camera up, we are going gorge hunting!
A steel pedestrain walkway constructed between the walls of the Cares Gorge in Asturias in Spain

What is a Gorge?

Coming from the French word for throat or neck, A gorge is a narrow valley with rocky, steep walls that was created by the weathering and erosion of a river.

A gorge is often smaller than a canyon, although both words are used to describe deep, narrow valleys with a stream or river running along their bottom.

Our Top Three Gorge Cycling Destinations in Spain

1 Asturias / Picos de Europa

In the north of Spain between the rolling farmland of celtic Galicia and the stellar surf coast of Santander and the Basque Country, lies Asturias. A well kept secret with some jaw-dropping natural attractions, one of which being the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe).

The Picos de Europa are a mountain range extending for about 20 km, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain near the Cantabrian coast. The highest peak is Torre de Cerredo, with an elevation of 2650 m, it is safe to say this area will take your breath away.

When cycling the Picos it is not unusual to find something spectacular around every corner. Two of these being the Cares gorge and Beyos gorge.

Cycling in the Cares gorge in Spain

Cares is a 12 kilometre / 7.4 mile long gorge with a hiking path carved into the rock face of one side. It does not have railings for the most part but is a stunning walk if you can manage the distance - it is an easy gradient mostly and has lots of nice places to stop for picnics or snacks, and pet some friendly mountain goats along the way.

The Beyos gorge stretches out across the provinces of Leon in Castile and León and Asturias. The gorge is traversed by the twisty N625 road and lies between the small towns of Sames and Oseja de Sajambre.

Bike touring on a beautiful gorge in the Picos de Europa in Spain

This road is can be cycled and is very exciting, although sometimes very exposed with innumerable curves and majestic mountain backdrops around every turn.

The road is smooth tarmac but extremely narrow in places. It is characterized by the sheer vertical walls of the gorge and the narrowing of the valley produced by erosion from the Sella River.

The rock erosion caused by the action of the river, has helped in creating a gorge with steep walls that line the river, making for some epic scenery and photo opportunities - don’t forget to bring your GoPro!

For more information about how you can come and ride these gorges take a look at our Picos de Europa tour.

Cyclists riding on a tamac road in the Beyos Gorge, Asturias, Spain 

2 Andalucía

At the other end of Spain, heading to the deep south, in dreamy Andalucia, you will find a gorge known as the Despeñaperros (the cliff where dogs plunge) which is carved out by the Despeñaperros River. It is located in the municipality of Santa Elena in the northern portion of the province of Jaén, Spain.

The gorge has steep walls, some reaching more than 500 metres (1,600 ft) in height. It has historically been used by humans as a natural pass through the Sierra Morena mountains, creating a principal path of connection between Andalusia, the Meseta Central, Castille La Mancha and the rest of Spain.

A panoramic view of the Despeñaperros Train and A4 Autovia in Andalusia, Spain.

3 Galicia

The Sil Canyon is a gorge in Galicia, north western Spain, formed by the Sil river. It covers the last 50 km before the Sil enters the Miño river. The scenery is considered to be some of the most spectacular in Galicia.

The walls of the canyon rise almost vertically up to 500 m from water level. Due to the extraordinary terrain, the local climate differs from surrounding areas and allows the growth of Mediterranean types of vegetation, such as olive trees and grape vines.

The river cliffs have been terraced to allow production of wine grape vines. Wine production started in this area as far back as Roman times.

The area is called the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbank) wine region, and it is the only place in Galicia that produces more red than the typical white wine varietals of Albariño, Ribeiro and Godello.

Riding in Galicia is tough but most rewarding, find out more here...

A panoraic view of the Sil River, Galicia, Spain

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