Rider magazine is inviting its readers to join contributing editor Scott A. Williams on the IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Motorcycle Tour, taking place from Sept. 9-17, 2023, and offering riders a rich blend of spectacular and unforgettable landscapes and encounters with ancient cultures.
Based in Madrid, IMTBike specializes in tours of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), but it also offers tours in France, Italy, the Alps, and Morocco, as well as MotoGP tours (Catalunya, Jerez, and Valencia) and tours in Turkey, Thailand, Japan, and New Zealand. In 2021, IMTBike earned a coveted Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best award. In 2022, IMTBike celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Rider EIC Greg Drevenstedt, and his wife, Carrie, helped celebrate by taking the Southern Spain Andalusia tour.
Related: Iberian Escape | IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour Review
The IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Motorcycle Tour should be just as amazing. IMTBike says the tour, which is nine days total (including two travel days and one rest day), will combine “all the wonderful aromas that one expects to find in the North of Spain; from the salty azure waters of the Cantabrian Sea along the Costa Verde, to the pristine fields of verdant grass of the Basque Valleys and the crisp air of the majestic mountains of Asturias’s Picos de Europa.”
The tour will start and end in Bilbao, a former shipbuilding town that is now famous for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum and Jeff Koon’s “Puppy” sculpture. The tour will lead through the northern regions of Spain – the Basque Country, Cantabria, Castilla-León, and Asturias – on a route through small picturesque fishing villages and charming lost hamlets in the most remote mountain regions of Spain. You will visit fascinating cities such as the capitals of Asturias and the Basque Country, Oviedo, and Vitoria.
On Day 1 (or earlier, depending on your country of origin), arrive in Bilbao and take the day to explore the city. The group will meet for dinner and prepare for the journey, which begins on Day 2, when riders will enter the easternmost Cantabrian Mountains. You will ride little-known mountain roads surrounded by incredible greenery on the way to the magnificently preserved medieval town of Santillana del Mar.
Day 3 goes through the Picos de Europa mountain range, which stands out because of both the height of the mountains and their proximity to the ocean. You will visit the beautiful beaches and cliffs of the Green Coast (Costa Verde). We’ll dive into the heart of the immense Picos de Europa Mountains where you can take a cable car to the summit and ride through the narrow canyons that surround the massif.
The Day 4 destination is the Asturian capital, Oviedo. On the way, riders will visit some of the most photographed fishing villages on the Asturian coast and go along some of the most interesting local roads that run through the green mountains of eastern Asturias.
Take a rest day to explore the elegant city of Oviedo on foot, or there will be a ride to visit the western Asturian coast and the picturesque fishing village of Cudillero. IMTBike has prepared “a nice curvy route to get there.”
On Day 6, the route will start heading back to the eastern part of Northern Spain, crossing Asturias through its mining region. These mountains are full of natural resources below ground and perfect motorcycling roads above. You’ll spend the day immersed in captivating natural landscapes and cross several mountain passes before arriving in Castilla-León’s lake country at the foot of the Picos de Europa.
Day 7 takes riders to the charming Basque capital of Vitoria, passing through several mountain ranges, valleys, and beautiful remote areas, as well as a few natural parks east of the Picos de Europa and the Cantabrian Mountains before finally setting foot again in Euskadi (Basque Country).
The final riding day will be a beautiful route that crosses the entire Basque Country from south to north on the way back to Bilbao. After several mountain passes, you’ll arrive at the coast and then ride local roads that pass through authentic fishing villages while experiencing the wild landscapes of this coastline.
If you’re looking for curve-filled roads, verdant mountains, azure ocean water plus delicious gastronomy, charming cities and incredible hotels all wrapped up into a weeklong getaway, then this Essence of Northern Spain Tour has been custom made for you!
IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Motorcycle Tour daily itinerary:
- Day 1: Arrival Bilbao
- Day 2: Bilbao – Santillana del Mar
- Day 3: Santillana del Mar – Picos de Europa
- Day 4: Picos de Europa – Oviedo
- Day 5: Oviedo – rest day
- Day 6: Oviedo – Palentine Mountains
- Day 7: Palentine Mountains – Vitoria
- Day 8: Vitoria – Bilbao
- Day 9: Flight back home
Pricing starts at $3,990 per person, including a BMW G 310 R motorcycle rental for a rider in a double room (see below for what’s included in the price). See the Essence of Northern Spain tour webpage for tiered pricing for different motorcycle models as well as pricing for a passenger and a single room supplement.
IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Motorcycle Tour included services:
- Airport pickup on the first day of the tour
- Overnight accommodations in high quality hotels
- A gourmet evening meal every night (except on rest days)
- Complete buffet breakfast every morning
- New model BMW motorcycle fully equipped with three BMW cases
- Tour handbook (normally about 70 pages-very comprehensive) and highlighted map
- Expert multilingual guide on a motorcycle
- Multilingual guide in support vehicle which will carry your luggage, any oversized purchases you make; or even a passenger or two
- Tour souvenirs
Services not included:
Air ticket, lunches, gasoline, drinks, tolls, personal spending, and tips