Fueled with Breton Galette to the Meseta Central

Brest - Madrid

Country

France, Spain

Region

Brittany

Distance

1387km

Time

11 days

Elevation

12000hm

Difficulty

Medium

Contributor

Anna E.

Short Description

Embarking on a cycling odyssey from Brest to Madrid, my journey unfolded with scenic delights, unexpected challenges, and cultural treasures. Pedaling through Brittany’s diverse landscapes, from charming towns like Concarneau to historic sites in Segovia, each day brought new adventures. Navigating pine-filled routes, conquering headwinds, and savoring coastal pleasures, the ride culminated with a triumphant ascent in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This tour seamlessly blended physical exertion, cultural exploration, and the joy of rediscovery, creating memories etched in the wheels of my cycling escapade.

Due to time pressure to catch a flight, we skipped a stage. This part is marked as not ridden.

Route overview

Insights

Adjustability route

In France, easy to adjust, in Spain a bit more difficult

Recommended time of year

March to October, in summer, it can get too hot

Anything to consider?

Quite some ferries on the way!

Travel to start

Train to Brest

Travel from finish

Train, flight from Madrid

Highlights

Brittany, San Sebastián

Food

Mostly easy to get, in Spain, past Burgos, shops tend to be quite far from each other.

Road Surface

Mostly good, with some off road section
Reommended Bike Type

Recommended Bike Type

All possible, even the off road parts were doable with a road bike (not necessarily fun though).
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Brest

Stop

Concarneau

Distance

100km

Elevation

1450hm

Embarking on this cycling journey from Brest to Madrid, I couldn’t have asked for a better start. The weather was on my side, the scenery breathtaking, and the track smooth as silk. Even the challenge of lugging around a laptop bag on my bike didn’t dampen my spirits. Pedaling through the picturesque landscapes of Brittany, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty around me. As I set out, little did I know that the adventure had just begun.

Additional Info:

  • Not far from Concarneau, be sure to explore the charming town of Pont-Aven, known for its association with the art movement of Synthetism.
  • Along the way, make a pit stop at the iconic Ville Close, a walled town in Concarneau that offers a glimpse into the region’s rich maritime history.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Concarneau

Stop

Vannes

Distance

104km

Elevation

820hm

Another day, another stretch of road to conquer. The persistent headwind made this ride a bit challenging, preventing it from earning a spot in my top 10, but it was still an incredible day. Brittany continued to showcase its diverse landscapes, treating me to a visual feast. As I pedaled towards Vannes, I couldn’t help but appreciate the region’s unique charm.

Additional Info:

  • In Vannes, explore the well-preserved medieval architecture of the Old Town, especially the stunning Vannes Cathedral.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Vannes

Stop

Nantes

Distance

112km

Elevation

680hm

Today’s journey may have seemed a bit monotonous compared to the previous days, with the unrelenting wind and the constant proximity to a major road, but it still had its moments. Nantes awaits, promising a change of scenery and a continuation of the unfolding saga.

Additional Info:

  • Nantes is home to the Machines of the Isle of Nantes, an artistic and mechanical project featuring giant, imaginative creatures. Don’t miss the Grand Elephant!
  • Explore the historic Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes, a fortress that bears witness to centuries of history.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Nantes

Stop

Luçon

Distance

101km

Elevation

510hm

The pedals turned smoothly, and the kilometers melted away as I enjoyed another great day on the bike. The last 40 kilometers were a highlight, offering a delightful mix of landscapes that showcased the diversity of the French countryside.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Luçon

Stop

Royan

Distance

116km

Elevation

290hm

Today’s ride was a perfect embodiment of why bike touring is both interesting and fun. From a flat tire to blocked roads and a unique hover ferry bridge, every challenge was a story to tell. The stunning landscape served as a backdrop to a day filled with unexpected adventures.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Royan

Stop

Le Cap-Ferret

Distance

121km

Elevation

220hm

Navigating through the pine-filled landscapes, today’s ride was a true pleasure. The absence of traffic, though occasionally bumpy, allowed me to fully appreciate the beauty of the route. And the constant undulations made the experience feel more challenging than the elevation suggested. The ultimate reward? Taking a refreshing plunge into the Atlantic at the end of the day.

Additional Info:

  • Explore the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune, located near Cap Ferret, offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit the oyster farms in Cap Ferret and indulge in the freshest seafood straight from the Arcachon Bay.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Le Cap-Ferret

Stop

Moliets Plage

Distance

126km

Elevation

410hm

Today’s ride was both tough and fun, perhaps influenced by a beer too many the night before. Nevertheless, the absence of traffic and the constant undulating terrain made for a great cycling experience. Twenty-two years ago, I was here learning to surf, and returning as a cyclist brought back nostalgic memories.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Moliets Plage

Stop

San Sebastián

Distance

105km

Elevation

880hm

Leaving the coast behind, today’s journey took me from Moliets to the vibrant city of San Sebastián. The diverse landscapes and the challenging terrain made for an exhilarating ride. Perhaps it was the beer from the night before, but every uphill battle and downhill rush felt like a personal triumph.

Additional Info:

  • In San Sebastián, savor the renowned pintxos (small snacks) in the historic Old Town, known for its culinary delights.
  • Walk along La Concha Beach in San Sebastián, one of the most iconic and beautiful urban beaches in Europe.
Stage

Stage

We needed to catch a flight and didn’t cycle this part. It was possible, but not so easy to take the bike on the train. Somehow, nobody knew the rules, so we just went on a direct train from San Sebastián to Burgos and hoped for the best. And it worked out…

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Burgos

Stop

Aranda de Duero

Distance

106km

Elevation

1050hm

Today’s ride was a bit peculiar, with an amazing landscape and a great track, interrupted only by a pleasant gravel detour. However, finding my rhythm after a rest day proved to be a challenge, making it a day of mixed emotions.

Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Aranda de Duero

Stop

Segovia

Distance

100km

Elevation

930hm

Undoubtedly the toughest day so far, with a relentless headwind and a straight route that seemed to stretch into eternity. The scenic landscapes provided some solace, but it was a day that tested both my physical and mental endurance.

Additional Info:

  • Visit the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, an engineering marvel and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the Alcázar of Segovia, a medieval fortress that offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Stage

Stage

Travel to start

Segovia

Stop

San Lorenzo El Escorial

Distance

57km

Elevation

1140hm

The final climb marked the end of this incredible journey. The sense of accomplishment surged as I conquered the ascent. Now, it’s time to celebrate not only the completion of another tour but also my friend’s birthday in the historic town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Additional Info:

  • Explore the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a monumental complex with a rich history and stunning architecture.
  • Walk through the beautiful Gardens of the Friars in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, offering a peaceful retreat with fountains and greenery.