All gain & no pain in Spain
‘Stunning landscapes, dotted with romantic hotels set in castles’
Good rides in Spain aren’t hard to find – anything on a map of the Iberian Peninsula that seems to be wiggly will probably turn out to be constructed from the same stuff they use on racetracks, and it’ll look and grip like they laid it a week ago. Added to that it’ll more than likely run through some stunning landscapes, dotted with romantic hotels set in ancient castles, and come with enough sunshine to recharge your batteries for a year.
This particular four-hour trip north along Spain’s border with Portugal is different from the usual Spanish riding routes because it’s not an obvious north-south run – a more classic path would take you round to the east of Madrid. But if you’ve managed to get as far south as, say, the Jerez GP, then making your way up to Seville and from there to Badajoz is as good a way as any of winding up a few days later at the ferry in Bilbao or Santander.
The ride starts on the EX-110 north from Badajoz and eventually winds up towards the town of Alburquerque, perched on the top of a hill. Getting lost in the narrow side streets is fun, but pick up the EX-110 again north, heading for San Vincente de Alcantara. The road undulates through dusty, reddish Spanish scrub, then skirts San Vincente. Once on the CC-91 you’ll pass through the Sierra de San Pedro mountains. Eventually you pick up the EX-117 towards Alcantara. The run down into Ciudad Rodrigo is a gentle unwind and for the perfect somewhere to stay, the local Parador, set in a 14th century castle, is as good as it gets.