Why Mountain Bike Riding in Galicia Spain should be on your list

 Galicia Spain

Why Mountain Bike Riding in Galicia Spain should be on your list

I recently read a quote on a blog from Sacred Rides founder, Mike Brcic that said: “A bad day on a mountain bike always beats a good day in the office.”  Mountain Bike riding isn’t just a sport or hobby to many it is a way of life and after my recent press trip to Galicia Spain, I completely understand why people love it so much. It allows you to connect with nature, escape a desk job, breathe fresh air, go on an adventure, explore a new place and have fun. Not to mention it is great for your health, as it strengthens one’s self physically and mentally while being challenged.

Galicia Spain

Overlooking the Sil River Cayon from the viewing deck, Galicia Spain

BTT Galicia has launched a product called the MTB Centres, which are based around creating environmentally-friend tourism (keeping it green) through Mountain Bike Riding. It is a network of centres with designated routes designed to enable riders to discover the stunning rural landscapes, at their own pace. You can do it on your own or enjoy it with friends.

Galicia Spain

Sil River Cayon, Galicia Spain

Each MTB Centre has combined routes that make up a total of 100 klms, which range in degrees of difficulty depending on your physical and technical abilities. Everything has been clearly thought out to make sure that you don’t get lost and that you have a safe and pleasurable time. All the routes were clearly sign posted and the welcome points parking areas have toilets and showers, as well as bicycle washing.

Galicia Spain

Marked Sign Post, Galicia Spain

Eco Bike ( Electric/E-bike)

I have been asked a few times now what is an Eco Bike (also known as Electric or E bikeand to be honest, I would have asked the same thing before I rode one. The best why to describe it is an integrated electric motor that works with the gears on your bike to assist and give you more power when pushing forward. It is like having an extra pair of legs that does all the hard work for you when pedalling, making your life easier especially when going up a hill.

Galicia Spain

Resting above the Sil Canyon, Galicia Spain

Eco Bike are not used just for Mountain Bike Riding and are becoming more and more popular being used as everyday transport. Apart from being great fun to ride Eco Bike are good for the environment, compared to motorcycles and cars.

You still get the benefits of exercise when using an Eco Bike but if you want to work harder and get your heart pumping. Then all you do is turn off the motor and you’ve got yourself a regular mountain bike.

Galicia Spain

Right up a hill Galicia Spain

The TBC Center routes.

Over the course of the trip, we rode sections of two different MTB Centres. Both very different experiences with very different scenery. One was part of the MTB Centre of O Salnes through the beautiful green forest and the other MTB Centre of Ribeira Sacra, across the open spaces atop the mountains overlooking the Sil Canyon.

Galicia Spain

Our Galicia Guide explaining where we rode, Galicia Spain

Bike Route 1 MTB Centre of O Salnes 

We only completed a small section (only 8klms) of the MTB Centre of O Salnes route on the first day because when we woke, there were thunderstorms and it was pouring with rain. Unfortunately, it does not matter how much you can prepare for something you can not control the weather. As the weather cleared the guides had a discussion and comprised a new planned route. We set off on a flat path (also shared with pedestrians) through the forest along a stream, stopping at a little man made village in a park used as a picnic area with a small waterfall.

Galicia Spain

Riding through the forest, Galicia Spain

Then it was time for the hard part and the bit I was not expecting, we climbed 6 (or maybe more) steep sections and I fell right off the bike in the mud. But to be honest, I was still getting used to working the electric gears with the normal gears and I did not really know what I was doing yet. I ended up putting the bike in walk mode (yes, there is a gear to help you push the bike along) and walking up the steep sections with another rider.

After this, it was back to flatter ground through a village and past a winery, before finishing at the Mosteiro de Santa María da Armenteira.  We were picked up and taken to the golf course to shower (one of the services offered at the MTB Centres) before our wine tour at Mar de Frades Vineyard

Galicia Spain

Mosteiro de Santa María da Armenteira, Galicia Spain

On our 2nd day, we completed some of MTB Centre of Ribeira Sacra sections covering 35klms in open wide spaces up above the Sil River Cayon. We rode through some spectacular landscapes and had some stunning views, which at some points remind me a little of the Fjords in Norway, especially from the viewing point.

Galicia Spain

Parador de Santo Estevo, Galicia Spain

We started our route from the Parador de Santo Estevo, a famous converted monastery with a beautiful courtyard which when lit up at night looked magical. From there it was all uphill through the forest but not overly steep like the day before. I was struggling a little and I could not think why as I had worked out how to use the gears correctly. As we got into the open spaces, the guide realised that I had a punctured tire, once fixed, it was all uphill from there 🙂

Galicia Spain

Wind turbines over the Sil Canyon Galicia Spain

We passed the wind turbines and made out way to the viewing point to overlook the Sil Canyon, where we stopped to take in the views and take pictures. From there, we made our way back down to the meeting point where the Van was waiting to pick us up. I thought coming down a mountain on a bike would be much easier than going up but I was wrong. It took more concentration and I think more control not to put the brakes too much and flip the backend out. For a second,  I forgot how powerful these mountain bikes were with the electric gears and I flipped right off into a puddle. This did not discourage me though and I was back on the bike, continuing my ride down the mountain to our pick up spot.

Galicia Spain

Viewing point overlooking Sil Canyon Galicia Spain

Location

Galicia in the north-west part of Spain and has 3 international airports Santiago de Compostela airport, La Coruna Airport and Vigo airport. Flights from London are roughly 2hrs to any of these airports, making it super easy to get to and great if you want to go for a weekend trip.

Beware though that flights are not as regular from La Coruna or Vigo airport and tend to be more expensive than from Santiago de Compostela airport. There are also more options in regards to transport and car hire from Santiago de Compostela airport

Galicia Spain

Overlooking Santiago de Compostela from the cathedral, Galicia Spain

Tip

You can download the cycle routes and make your own itinerary

It is compulsory to wear a helmet, which can be hired if you don’t have one.

If you have time, spend a few days in the capital of Galicia Santiago before or after your bike trip. It is definitely worth it.

Galicia Spain

On top of the Cathedral roof Galicia Spain

Select the appropriate routes based on your physical and technical abilities. Not only will it make it more enjoyable for you but it is less risk of getting into trouble.

Take one of the boat tours along the River Sil and River Mino canyons to discover incredible scenery, especially if you are doing one of the routes in the MTB Centre of Ribeira Sacra

Galicia Spain

Our boat arriving for our cruise down the Sil river Galicia Spain

Just like when you go hiking, let someone know what route you’re going to take and roughly how long it will take

Try to fit in a visit to one of the many wineries in the region, like Mar de Frades Vineyard (Not recommend while riding though :-)).

Galicia Spain

Testing the wine at winery, Galicia Spain

Stay at Parador Santo Estevo and wander around the beautiful Monasterio. It is truly a beautiful place overlooking the mountains.

Be prepared and carry a repair kit, water and a mobile phone.

Galicia Spain

The guide’s repairing my puncher tier, Galicia Spain

Recommend

I have to admit, I am usually a hiker when it comes to going up mountains and exploring the open spaces. I love bike riding but I have never really gone mountain bike riding too much before. When I was approached about exploring the new MTB Centres on a mountain bike I jumped at the chance. Once I figured out how to use the two sets of gears correctly, I really enjoyed it a lot. So much so that I am already planning my next eco bike trip next month.

From waterfalls and monasteries to the spectacular views of Sil Canyon, there are hundreds of reason why you should try Mountain Bike Riding on the eco bikes through Galicia.  If you are worried that you can’t read a map not a problem because there are graphical maps, technical information and tourist attractions for each route that you can share with friends.

Galicia Spain

A group selfie Galicia Spain

For more information, please feel free to visit Galicia Spain

Have you been to Galicia before or Mountain Bike ride? I would love it if you share your experience in the comments below.

Galicia Spain

Galicia Spain

Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the Spanish Tourism Office. All views are my own and based on my own experience.

 

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62 Comments

  1. I have really learned a lot from reading this post. Like you, I do not have a lot of experience when it comes to riding a bike out in this type of terrain or over long distances. The thought of tackling roads with steep hills is not something that thrills me. However, I also haven’t yet tried using an eco-bike and these sound like a really great way to explore some beautiful landscapes. Definitely worth a go and I just love Galicia as a destination and the photos you shared just show how lovely this place is.

    1. Eco-bike were a lot of fun and think they are great for people, who don’t usually go bike riding. In regards to Galicia, I thought it was stunning too and I would love to go back.

  2. Great post! I like that you really took your time and didn’t push to hard each day. The scenery is worth slowing down for I say! Also, I now undertstand what an ebike is, and can totally get why people would want to use them (uphill cycling is not my fave!!!)

    1. I would mind getting an eco-bike myself especially to use around London. I love fact the motor gives you that push when you need it. Galicia is such a beautiful place and definitely was worth the visit.

  3. I’m so intrigued by the eco bike! I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a child and have been too intimidated to try a bike ride while traveling. But, now I’m wondering if an eco bike might be the solution for me!

    1. I have to admit I was a little intimidated by big bikes too but once I was on it and learnt how to use everything correctly. I realised that it was a lot of fun and there was nothing to worry about.

  4. I feel like mountain biking wouldn’t be complete without a little tumble into some mud. And at least it wasn’t into rocks haha. I’ve never been inclined to mountain bike mostly due to the tumbles, but you do make it sound interesting.

    1. I thought the same thing that I was lucky it was not in the rubble. Both falls were into the mountain, afterwards, I look like a little kid who had been rolling around in mud. 🙂 The eco bikes were a lot of fun and definitely great for going up the hills and taking that hard work away.

  5. This is a great place to do mountain bike riding. The adventure is enhanced because of the incredibly lovely terrain and the spectacular views on the way. I can see that you had a geat experience. Hope to do this some day.

  6. I love the idea of the eco bikes, and Galicia looks so picturesque. Sounds like a great way to see the scenery. Nice that you got to sample the local wine too

    1. You would love these eco bikes, I reckon they would be great to use through the villages through in England. I do love the fact that you can stop off at any point and take pictures.

  7. The view of Sil Canyon from Galicia viewpoint is incredible. Also the monastery and nearby surrounding area is so beautiful. I would like to ride eco bike.

    1. The views were stunning especially from the top, I think the pictures did not do it justice how beautiful it was. I stayed in that monastery and all I can say is wow… Definitely, recommend both.

  8. To ride through these beautiful mountains and villages sounds like a dream. Bicycling is a perfect option, at least for me. Walking is too slow, driving too fast. I have wanted to try out an E-bike for years. Hills kill me.

  9. That canyon looks really stunning, what a beautiful area to cycle. Actually I wanted to buy an electric bike before and everybody was laughing because it was for elderly people. You just took it to a whole new level, literally!

  10. We’ve never been mountain biking before but it’s definitely something we’d love to try – the views from your post look fantastic, especially from Galicia viewpoint wow! Never heard of an E-bike before so thanks for sharing some information on that!

  11. Incredible views. I would certainly love to try it after seeing your pictures and hearing about it in this article. I am going to Spain next week actually!

  12. Wow, you’ve convinced me! I have never done mountain biking but I am willing to try it so I can see those views! Biking seems like the perfect pace to take it all in!

  13. Wow so going to add this to my To Do List for Spain. Look the idea of the Eco bikes to!
    Can see the beautiful sites and great vineyards along the way. Sold

  14. While I’m not a mountain biker, this article just put Galicia, Spain on my radar! What an incredibly beautiful area to explore deeper, and so very different from the main touristic towns that attract most visitors to Spain. Would love to visit!

    1. I was really impressed on how beautiful Galicia was especially the Sil Canyon. When we were on a boat cursing down the river it reminded me of Fjords, Norway.

  15. I have always wanted to try the electric bike and this would be the perfect place to do it! The scenery is magnificent and although it would be my first-time mountain biking, I’m sure I would love it 🙂

    1. Once I figured out how to use the electric gears with the normal gears, I really enjoyed it a lot. There was all different types of routes depending on your ability, so you would not have a problem.

  16. I have always wanted to try mountain biking, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’m in shape enough to truly enjoy this. Even though it looks so stunning! I love that stone bridge through the forest. It looks like magic!

  17. I am not in great shape at all and have never tried mountain biking, but this looks like an amazing experience! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous and that one part of the route does indeed look similar to the Norwegian fjords! Wow. I already love visiting Spain, and this would be a completely new way for me to explore the country – and I’d see so much that I wouldn’t otherwise see. Beautiful sites, landmarks, vineyards, you got the whole package there!

    1. I really enjoyed the eco-bikes and I think they are great for everyone because the electric gears are there to give you a boost up the mountains and to help in hard sections. I never realised that Galicia was so beautiful until I was there.

  18. What a nice journey! I live in Copenhagen so I love biking. However, I haven’t biked really long distance to travel. This area is so beautiful to discover, so I will put it in my bucket list so I can explore it some days.

    1. I love Copenhagen you guys love bikes. I really enjoyed using an eco bike for mountain bike riding, I don’t think I would have made it up the hill otherwise.

  19. Did you rent a mountain bike when you arrived in Spain? Or did you bring your own? The bike in the picture looks pretty advanced so I would assume it is your own. The bike trails are really beautiful. I think if I was on it I would have wanted to stop every few feet to take another picture!

    1. I was on a press trip, so the bikes were sorted for us when we got there. You can hire them when you are there though. I ended up being behind because I was taking pictures.

  20. I will visit Galicia, Spain later this year so it’s perfect to read a little about the area, I’ll probably stop in Santiago de Compostela. The bike routes look well sign posted with useful maps. Would they be easy to take without the guide? It looks like a good workout, even more so with a flat tyre, good job the guide saw it. The electronic gears sound interesting, I’m old and have never ridden a bike with electronic gears so would take time to work them out.

    1. You will love Galicia, especially Santiago de Compostela it is such a beautiful place. I think it would be easy without a guide and you can download the map to your phone, to keep track of where you are going.

  21. Oh this sounds super interesting, and a unique way to explore a new area. I love that the bikes have motors to help you out and that their are clear tracks so you can’t get lost. What a fantastic way to explore a beautiful area. I would love to do this one day.

    1. Once I figured out those gears I really really enjoyed it. I would definitely do it again especially in a city. I think its a great way to see a city and take pictures.

  22. Galicia is such a beautiful place to do mountain biking and it is wonderful they have different routes suiting for people with different degree of mentality and physically, so everyone in Galicia has a chance to discover its beauty through the biking trip. The scenery on the road is beautiful as well and the view of the Sil River Cayon isso green and peaceful. Parador de Santo Estevo Cathedral in Galicia has some amazing architecture, and because of it I will definitely visit the capital.

  23. Sounds like an awesome things to do! Its been ages since I went on cycling! Good to know about the Electric Bike! I’ve known of Electric cars but now bikes! Taking the bike and riding it in your own pace, enjoying such a beautiful landscape in a stunning terrain – its just perfect!

  24. Wow! This is definitely another way to see a new place. And even if I was in your position, all those failed attempts at biking won’t break my spirit especially if a whole new experience was waiting for me. Putting this on my bucket list for when I visit spain someday 🙂

  25. I tell you what – I like the sound of the wine tour 😉 but I’ve gotta say – that scenery is so beautiful, even I would consider hiring an eco bike. Looks like you had a lotta fun Mel

  26. I would love to do it. I love cycling and this trail seems to have all sorts of epic sights. Cycling uphill of course is hard but rolling down has its own pleasures!

  27. Being very very lazy I love the idea of the ECO bike!! I would really enjoy this sort of thing especially if I didn’t have to work too hard!!

    I really would love to see more of Spain so it was great to find out about Galicia not a region I was at all familiar with!

    1. You still have to work but it is so nice to have a bike that takes away a lot of the pressure. I was not familiar with Galicia either but it is beautiful, I was impressed.

  28. This is a great post – super helpful! I’m definitely adding this to my list of future places to visit. I love the opportunity to be active when exploring a new place.

  29. I am soooo not one to mountain bike, I can barely ride a bike to be honest, but this adventure sounds like so much fun! Is there a 4X4 option with champagne included? 😉

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