When winter approached in November 2021 I desperately wanted a last bike trip of the year, so I took the train south from Stockholm. I tried to see where it wasn’t raining and ended up in Bayonne on the southern Atlantic coast of France. This is the surfing mecca of Europe, so I passed by many beaches with sometimes hundreds of surfers waiting patiently for the right wave.
The first part of this coast is gorgeous, up until and a bit beyond Bilbao, then it gets a bit flat and boring when you approach Santander.
Road surfaces are perfect, even a lot of dedicated bike lanes, and traffic is sometimes beyond civilized, so biking in Spain is very pleasant. There’s enough hills around here to challenge the toughest biker, while careful planning can bring you on gentler paths.
Food is perhaps the best in the world, with San Sebastian (population 200 000) having an insane number of restaurants with Michelin stars. Bilbao is a bit of a hard city to love, but has a colossal museum for modern art.
It was cloudy most of the trip, and rain was hovering as a threat. I just hate biking in cold rain, so after three days I abandoned this project. I heard May is a great month for biking in this part of the world, so I might come back and finish it.
Tour details (grading from 1 to 5)
- Time of year: April to October
- Difficulty: 3 (but you can adjust it from 2 to 4 by choosing the right road)
- Duration: At least a 1 week (but I have only done the first 3 days)
- Scenery: 3
- Comments: The rainiest part of Spain