Fly to Madrid; transfer to the town of Guadarrama.
We follow the famous Camino de Santiago (Pilgrimage route) along the foothills of the Guadarrama mountain range to the city of Segovia. The route begins with a long but gradual climb through pine wood forests up to the ancient mountain pass of La Fuenfria at 1800m above sea level. The Romans formerly used this route to travel across the mountain range and built an impressive highway that remains in good condition. After reaching the pass we enjoy a downhill ride to the town of Valsain at the foot of the mountains. We stay here for 2 nights, just 12km from Segovia, and with the opportunity to visit the famous baroque palace and royal gardens of nearby La Granja. Ride approx. 34km
A stunning morning ride through pretty countryside and the hunting palace of Riofrio takes us into the city of Segovia, which is one of the most quaint and beautiful cities of the Spanish mainland. Within the mediaeval wall surrounding the city is a wealth of beautiful Moorish, Christian and Jewish architecture to be discovered amongst the twisting alleyways and narrow winding streets. Segovia's main industries are now agriculture and tourism and it was declared a 'Heritage of Mankind' by UNESCO in 1985. Not to be missed is the world renowned Roman Aqueduct, the largest and best preserved of its kind anywhere, and the impressive 16th Century cathedral, all in the shadow of the dramatic Guadarrama Mountains. Ride approx. 46km
Today is a longer day of cycling to the mountain village of Arcones, following beautiful backroads and ancient grazing routes. We follow mostly flat and beautiful single-track roads passing many quaint villages full of history. The traditional way of life is obvious here as we see many shepherds tending to their flock and looking for fresh pastures. We spend 2 nights in Arcones and the surrounding area is famous for its delicious roast lamb, cooked in clay ovens with wooden fires. Ride approx. 58km
After a short ride we arrive in Pedraza, one of Spain's most beautiful walled mediaeval villages. It's history dates as far back as the 15th Century when the castle was rebuilt, and wandering around the narrow cobbled streets will reveal the stunning architecture and history of this enchanting village. In the afternoon we explore more of the countryside surrounding Pedraza, passing through the exquisite Romanesque church of San Juan Bautista. Ride approx. 29km
We cycle away from the mountains through quiet country lanes going past immense fields of sunflowers and cereals towards the picturesque town of Sepulveda. The Romanesque influence is obvious in the monuments and streets and for over 5,000 years the town has been a refuge for many people, and all have left their mark in the landscape, traditions and buildings of this impressive area. Ride approx. 32km
Just a few kilometres from Sepulveda is the dramatic limestone canyon of Duraton. Carved over millions of years by the slow action of the waters of the river Duraton, it is now a protected nature reserve and the wildlife is of national importance. The area is a place of special conservation for birds and amongst its most visible are a large colony of nesting vultures, golden eagles and peregrine falcons. We begin by picking up a quiet road to reach the top of the canyon and enjoy the most spectacular views from the San Frutos Monastery. After a picnic lunch by the river, we follow the canyon along a small winding track for 10km, under the shade of willow and poplar trees. Ride approx. 39km
Transfer to Madrid; fly to London.