The Great Northern Discovery Motorcycle Tour

Skill Level: Advanced

Touring Roads: 30%

Challenging Roads: 70%

Scenery:

History / Culture:

Riding Time: 6 to 8 hours

Asphalt:

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9
10

Mountains:

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9
10

How our rating system works →

The Great Northern Discovery Motorcycle Tour

Complete Northern Spain from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela

Catalunya | Aragon | Basque Country | Cantabria | Asturias | Galicia

This tour is for the experienced motorcyclist who wants to really delve into the incredible beauty of Northern Spain and savor all its splendor!

More than three weeks on the road through one of the grandest motorcycle paradises in the world will leave nothing undiscovered in this epic adventure from the rugged Costa Brava and its intense blue Mediterranean Sea, to the  menacing Costa da Morte and the Atlantic Ocean, where the Romans believed the world ended.

This adventure starts with the mighty Pyrenees Mountains, one of the most dreamed of destinations by motorcyclists around the world, where so many Spanish MotoGP stars honed their skills as young riders. You’ll carve through its mountain passes, from the most famous in the Tour de France, to the little-known passes in Spain and France. All its beautiful valleys full of greenery, nature and life, its lush forests, its charming villages and its wild rivers and canyons are yours to explore.

From there you’ll enter the Basque Country and follow in the footsteps of the Camino de Santiago (Saint James’s Way) pilgrims as you  immerse yourself in the fascinating history and beauty that surrounds this famous journey. Time seems not to have passed for centuries as you make your way through Cantabria, Asturias to Galicia and reach the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where legend says that your sins will be forgiven. You will cross countless Natural Parks; protected lands where nature is shown in all its splendor, majestic and full of life. Your senses will be intoxicated as you ride through an enormous diversity of vineyard regions, home to some of the best wines in Spain, that are art and history in themselves.

This trip is for special people that really want to embrace everything wonderful that a motorcycle journey has to offer and after you finish this adventure you will know what it feels like to have ridden a trip of a lifetime!

* Price includes BMW G310R

IMTBike ROUTE rating

It is essential to know the different skill levels needed to participate in the IMTBIKE TOURS that are offered to you. IMTBIKE makes sure that it offers different tours for all riding styles and levels. The IMTBIKE team always works diligently in designing our routes. This is a laborious process which entails reviewing all road choices before selecting the best option for an IMTBIKE tour.

The most experienced motorcyclists looks for roads that require technical skill; narrow twisty roads with little traffic and endless curves. But these same roads would be too difficult for a less experienced rider.

The local driving habits, the amount of traffic, the asphalt quality and the radius of the curves vary considerably from country to country and even in different regions of the same country. They will also vary depending on the season of the year. All of these factors have been studied by IMTBIKE and have been taken into consideration when rating our tours.

IMTBIKE thinks it is also important to know about the different types of roads you will be enjoying on your tour. To understand the road types easier, IMTBIKE has divided them into two categories, and we have calculated an approximate percentage of each on all of our tours.

  1. TOURING ROADS: These are wider roads comprised mainly of larger radius sweepers. They are still curvy roads but not tight mountainous twisty curves. Please remember that you will ride very few straight roads on IMTBIKE tours!
  2. CHALLENGING ROADS: These are roads that are tight twisty turns which require more technical skill. Many times they will be narrower roads without a shoulder and sometimes with steep inclines or descents. Normally they will be mountainous roads accompanied by spectacular sceneries.

If you have never ridden a motorcycle outside of your country, or if you have little experience riding on mountain roads with many curves, we recommend that you choose a tour rated moderate or intermediate. If you have any questions or doubts please do not hesitate to call or email us. We are always happy to answer your questions to make sure that you choose the best tour for your riding level.

Moderate

This route offers wider sweeping turns that are easy to maneuver. This route may have some tighter turns in a few places but this will be the exception. Regardless, even on moderate tours you must be able to ride a large cylinder motorcycle in any condition. Never plan to learn how to ride a motorcycle on an IMTBIKE tour. We recommend having a minimum of 8.000 km (5.000 miles) of experience riding a large cylinder motorcycle to participate on a MODERATE rated IMTBIKE Tour and you should ride a motorcycle on a regular basis at home.

Intermediate

This route rating can have sections of very twisty curves on narrow roads with no center line to divide the road. There will also wider radius curves on these routes. Traffic conditions can be intense at times in some urban environments and the local driving habits may seem aggressive and unpredictable to you. It is imperative that you are an experienced motorcyclist. We recommend that you have a minimum of 12.000 km (7500 miles) of large cylinder motorcycle experience to participate on a INTERMEDIATE rated IMTBIKE Tour and you should ride a motorcycle on a regular basis at home.

Advanced

This route rating has long sections of technical narrow twisty roads and sometimes single lane roads. These twisty roads will often be in mountains where steep inclines and descents will be commonplace. Some riding days can be long and challenging. Traffic conditions can be intense at times in some urban environments and the local driving habits may seem aggressive and unpredictable to you. It is imperative that you are a very experienced motorcyclist on a large cylinder motorcycle. We recommend that you have a minimum of 16.000 km (10.000 miles) of large cylinder motorcycle experience on an ADVANCE rated IMTBIKE Tour and of course you should ride a motorcycle on a regular basis at home.

IMTBIKE Average Daily Riding Hours

5 to 7 hours
6 to 8 hours
7 to 9 hours

How many hours a day you ride on a tour is important information in helping you decide on the right IMTBIKE tour for you. Some tour members want to ride as many hours as possible everyday, while others prefer to stop more frequently and dedicate more time to enjoying the scenery, visiting cultural sights and arrive at the hotel earlier to relax before dinner. The daily riding hours are calculated including the coffee breaks and photo stops but they do not include the time taken for lunch.

Normally we’ll start our riding day at 9:30am and we will take about a one hour lunch break sometime between 1pm and 2pm. So if the daily riding hours for a given tour are 5-7, then you will arrive at the hotel between 3:30pm- 5:30pm depending on the average speed of the group.

Tour Facts

  • Start / End Barcelona
    Total Distance 3,231 miles / 5,200 km
  • Total Time 25 Days
    Riding Days 23 Days
  • Rest Days 4 San Sebastián, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela & Pamplona
    Breakfast 24 Included Breakfasts
  •    
    Daily Mileage 160-220 miles / 250-350 km
  • Hotel Overnights 24 Nights
    Riding Season Summer
  • Highlights:  Spanish dream towns such us Santiago de Compostela, San Sebastián, Barcelona, Oviedo, Pamplona and Vitoria. As well as the mighty Pyrenees, Picos de Europa, Costa Brava, Rias Baixas, Ribera Sacra and Green Coast.
    Accommodations:  Amazing hotels. First-class historical Paradors and a few specially selected boutique hotels with local flair. Paradors are Castles, Palaces & Fortresses converted into motorcycle-friendly hotels.
    *All IMTBIKE lodgings are hand-picked for their quality of service, local charm and strategic locations.

Daily Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Barcelona
  • Day 2: Barcelona – Costa Brava
  • Day 3: Costa Brava – La Seu d’Urgell
  • Day 4: La Seu d’Urgell - Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park
  • Day 5: Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park - Tena Valley
  • Day 6: Tena Valley - San Sebastian
  • Day 7: San Sebastian – rest day
  • Day 8: San Sebastian - Vitoria
  • Day 9: Vitoria – Cervera de Pisuerga
  • Day 10: Cervera de Pisuerga - Oviedo
  • Day 11: Oviedo – rest day
  • Day 12: Oviedo - Ribera Sacra
  • Day 13: Ribera Sacra - Rias Baixas
  • Day 14: Rias Baixas - Santiago de Compostela
  • Day 15: Santiago de Compostela – rest day
  • Day 16: Santiago de Compostela – Green Coast
  • Day 17: Green Coast – Picos de Europa
  • Day 18: Picos de Europa – Santillana del Mar
  • Day 19: Santillana del Mar – Hondarribia
  • Day 20: Hondarribia – Pamplona
  • Day 21: Pamplona - rest day
  • Day 22: Pamplona – Boi Valley
  • Day 23: Boi Valley – Cardona
  • Day 24: Cardona – Barcelona
  • Day 25: Flight home
  • Day 1: Arrival in Barcelona

    Arrival in Barcelona

    Transfer included from the Airport to the hotel. You’ll have the rest of the day to rest or explore the city of Barcelona before meeting your guides and the other tourmembers at the welcome briefing. Afterwards we’ll enjoy our welcome dinner in an excellent local restaurant.

  • Day 2: Barcelona – Costa Brava

    Barcelona – Costa Brava

    The first day will be a perfect chance for us to get used to our motorcycles in some of the local biker “sanctuaries” of Cataluña. Leaving Barcelona we’ll head straight for the Sierra de Montseny and its famous curves. This has always been a favorite spot for local motorcyclists and is usually full of riders on the weekends. We’ll ride out to the coast to another one of the most famous roads in the country which will take us to our hotel perched high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Day 3: Costa Brava – La Seu d’Urgell

    Costa Brava – La Seu d’Urgell

    This will be our first day riding in the Pyrenees. We’ll discover more fantastic local favorites like Banyoles Lake, the green volcanic region of La Garrotxa and one of the most famous mountain passes of the region across the Sierra del Cadí Mountains.

  • Day 4: La Seu d’Urgell - Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park

    La Seu d’Urgell - Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park

    Another day of legendary mountain passes including the Col del Cantó and the majestic Port de la Bonaigua which will be our entry into the Valle de Arán. Then we’ll cross into France for some more passes and slightly different scenery. The Bielsa Tunnel will be our re-entry point into Spain where we’ll find our hotel for the night, located at the foot of the impressive Ordesa & Monte Perdido Natural Park.

  • Day 5: Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park - Tena Valley

    Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park - Tena Valley

    You’ll wake up to fresh mountain air, and the sound of waterfalls. Don’t forget to take advantage of the sumptuous breakfast; you have a full day of riding ahead of you. You’ll cross many mountain passes all of which offer breath-taking beauty and pristine road quality. Many of today’s roads are the same that are pedaled in the Tour de France bicycle race. Today’s overnight will be mountains surrounded by some of the best ski areas in the Pyrenees.

  • Day 6: Tena Valley - San Sebastian

    Tena Valley - San Sebastian

    Today we’ll arrive at the northern coast in the heart of the Basque Country. Our day will be full of excitement and breathtaking landscapes not easily forgotten. Today we’ll have the privilege of following part of the famous “Camino de Santiago” pilgrimage passing through Roncesvalles on our way to the Northern side of the French Pyrenees. We’ll soon arrive in San Sebastian but only after crossing the lush green Basque Mountains.

  • Day 7: San Sebastian – rest day

    San Sebastian – rest day

    For the rest day in Donostia (San Sebastian) there are tons of options. You can take a swim in the “Bahia de la Concha” (Shell Bay), explore the old city and taste the famous “Pintxos” (Basque tapas). You can also try one of the Michelin starred restaurants in a city home to some of the greatest chefs in the world. Your guides also have a special route planned if you would like to ride into the hills to discover the small villages and endless forests in the area.

  • Day 8: San Sebastian - Vitoria

    San Sebastian - Vitoria

    Today we will head to the Basque capital, Vitoria, a small city with a lot of charm. We will ride some of the most beautiful little-known mountain passes in the Basque Country with verdant forests and incredible aromas, and then ride through the Natural Park Urkiola before arriving in Vitoria.

  • Day 9: Vitoria – Cervera de Pisuerga

    Vitoria – Cervera de Pisuerga

    Today’s ride brings us westward as we cross numerous mountain passes and valleys through sparsely populated areas. We will ride through the Saja-Besaya Natural Park and enjoy countless curves in the Picos de Europa before arriving in Cervera de Pisuerga.

  • Day 10: Cervera de Pisuerga - Oviedo

    Cervera de Pisuerga - Oviedo

    Today we will ride along the banks of several reservoirs included the most famous, Riaño. We will enjoy incredible sweepers at the foot of the Pico de Europa Mountains and cross Asturias before arriving in the monumental city of Oviedo with its famous cathedral.

  • Day 11: Oviedo – rest day

    Oviedo – rest day

    Today we will enjoy a rest day in Oviedo. You can go for a ride in the Asturian countryside or enjoy the many wonders Oviedo offers, for example its Cathedral.

  • Day 12: Oviedo - Ribera Sacra

    Oviedo - Ribera Sacra

    Today we ride the Asturian Mountains of the National Park of Somiedo and see the National Park Ancares Leoneses. Then we will cross into Galicia and arrive finally in Monforte de Lemos.

  • Day 13: Ribera Sacra - Rias Baixas

    Ribera Sacra - Rias Baixas

    Today we will see some of the most spectacular landscapes as we ride though the Sil Canyon. Then we will ride along the Miño River which forms the border between Spain and Portugal to the quaint town of Cambado, in the Rías Baixas.

  • Day 14: Rias Baixas - Santiago de Compostela

    Rias Baixas - Santiago de Compostela

    This riding day is full of excitement! After leaving the Rías Baixas, we will head to Galicia's famous "Costa da Morte" (Coast of Death) so named as many a fishing boat has met its demise in these treacherous waters. We will also stop in Finisterre, where the Romans thought the world ended before returning to Santiago de Compostela on little-traveled local roads. In Santiago we will have the chance to enjoy some excellent local seafood during our farewell dinner.

  • Day 15: Santiago de Compostela – rest day

    Santiago de Compostela – rest day

    The Galician capital is presented as one of the ideal places to take rest day and enjoy its many charms or simply walk its old streets, mixing with the innumerable pilgrims who end there the prestigious "Camino de Santiago".

  • Day 16: Santiago de Compostela – Green Coast

    Santiago de Compostela – Green Coast

    This riding day will bring us up to Northern Galicia through green rolling hills and along the rocky coast with steep cliffs and quaint fishing villages. Our hotel for the night is right on the coast.

  • Day 17: Green Coast – Picos de Europa

    Green Coast – Picos de Europa

    Today we will enter into Asturias, known as Spain’s “Natural Paradise.” We will ride on little known curve-filled roads through the Asturian Mountains and past small hamlets. We will return to the coast and then return near the Picos de Europa Mountains for the night.

  • Day 18: Picos de Europa – Santillana del Mar

    Picos de Europa – Santillana del Mar

    Today we will take a famous canyon road to Fuente Dé where you can take a cable car to dizzying heights at the top of the mountain. We will return through the canyon to the coast and ride to the medieval town of Santillana del Mar. This town has not changed in 600 years!

  • Day 19: Santillana del Mar – Hondarribia

    Santillana del Mar – Hondarribia

    Today we will arrive in the Basque Country, with its friendly people, green mountains, famous coastline and mouth-watering cuisine! We will stop in Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Museum and then ride along the coast past colorful fishing villages to Hondarribia, just in front of the river Bidasoa, that border with France.

  • Day 20: Hondarribia – Pamplona

    Hondarribia – Pamplona

    We’ll leave Hondarribia for a attractive and welcoming as well as legendary city, Pamplona. And we’ll do it on a carefully selected series of back roads, winding and twisting our way through the beautiful countryside. In the Navarran capital we’ll stay right in the historical center.

  • Day 21: Pamplona - rest day

    Pamplona - rest day

    The historic capital of the old Kingdom of Navarra is well worth an extra day to explore it calmly. Pamplona is world renown for “San Fermines” its annual Running of the Bulls festival in July. During this weeklong festival hundreds of brave locals and some daring foreigners run through its streets in front of “Bravo Bulls” that will be used in the bullfights that afternoon. But Pamplona offers much more such as beautiful parks, squares and streets full of life where you can enjoy elaborate gastronomy and delicious wines and beers.

  • Day 22: Pamplona – Boi Valley

    Pamplona – Boi Valley

    We’ll continue our return journey back to the Mediterranean Sea along the most prestigious roads of the Spanish Pyrenees; beautiful sections with almost no traffic that we’ll enjoy to the fullest, a perfect day putting our bikes to the test and enjoying all they have to offer. Most of the day we’ll ride the lands of Aragón where we’ll also sleep for the night, resting up in preparation for the many curves that are still to come.

  • Day 23: Boi Valley – Cardona

    Boi Valley – Cardona

    Crossing into Cataluña from Aragón, two ancient medieval kingdoms, we’ll conquer more mountain passes, lower in altitude but with excellent riding qualities. We’ll also ride through some incredible canyons that at times seem like they are going to close in around us. It’s a day of changing landscapes and contrasts on routes tailored for riders like us. At the end of the day we’ll stop for the night in a medieval castle perched on top of a hill.

  • Day 24: Cardona – Barcelona

    Cardona – Barcelona

    Not even the last day will be free from incredible motorcycling roads. The sacred rocky mountain of Montserrat awaits us for one final, yet unforgettable, section of twisties. After saying goodbye to our reliable machines we’ll head to the hotel. In the evening we'll all get together with the guides for our farewell dinner in a delicious local restaurant where we’ll reminisce about the journey and have a final toast to more adventures in the future. ¡Hasta pronto amigos!

  • Day 25: Flight home

    Flight home

    Today it’s time to head to the airport and board your flight home. We’ll see you on your next motorcycle adventure!

* Price includes BMW G310R