A time machine exists – your bicycle. Cycling along the north-south axis of the Silver Route through Spain is a journey through time. The road was formed over 2,000 years ago, shaped by the cultures that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula. Today, the region is home to seven monumental cities, as well as villages and landscapes where time seems to have stood still.
In the 7th century BC, the Tartessians used the natural south-north corridor through the west of the peninsula to trade with the north of the plateau. The Romans connected the provinces of Emerita Augusta (Mérida) and Asturica Augusta (Astorga) with a road, extended the Via Carisa to Gijón and constructed another road to Seville. The transit of troops, traders and travellers spread Roman culture across the peninsula. The Arabs gave it the name of ‘balat’ or ‘paved road’, which is where the name Vía de la Plata comes from today.
The road now runs along a dual carriageway so the N-630 state road, along which you cycle, is almost traffic-free. A range of secondary and regional roads are very quiet too.
The official route leads from Seville to Gijón, but I suggest cycling from north to south. It might be counter-intuitive, but riding south has more downhill than uphill and the distances are friendlier. I’ve divided the 920 kilometres (570 mi) into 12 stages, each ending in a town where you can eat and sleep. The stages are relaxed so you don’t miss any of the monuments, cities, towns, villages and landscapes that make this route so great. If you want to make it a more challenging, you can mix up the stages as you like and ride at your own pace.
What I like most about travelling by bike is being able to observe the surroundings while riding. Even when you’re pedalling fast, you can still enjoy everything that you would miss in a car. On your bike, you can stop anywhere and locals are often more open towards cyclists.
This route passes through seven of the most impressive cities in Spain: León, Zamora, Salamanca, Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida and Seville. The list of Roman, Moorish, Romanesque, Gothic and other historical and monumental sites is endless.
You can ride along the N-630 without a care in the world as many stretches have hardly any traffic. Cycling along lanes and paved country roads, you really feel free. You discover a Spain you never imagined as you pass through historic villages and ruins that bear witness to those who shaped the lands through which you travel today.
The best times for this route are early spring and mid–autumn. The temperatures in the north and south can be very different: on the same day, the dawn in León or Zamora is 5º C, whilst the sun sets at 30º C in Cáceres or Seville.
To reach the starting point, hop on any bus that arrives in Gijón and return in the same way from Seville. Your bicycle can travel in the hold with your luggage.
In terms of clothing, pack your cycling attire, a couple of changes of clothes for off the bike and a light jacket for the mornings and evenings.
By bike, you travel at the same pace as old travellers on the Vía de la Plata, stopping wherever you need to and savouring the journey.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: September 21, 2022
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
This stage takes you through the most typical of cycling in Asturias. You leave the beach, in Gijón, and go through its characteristic industrial belt, before plunging into narrow roads, on a green approach to Oviedo. It is worth a brief stop at the museum and circuit of the two-time Formula 1 champion…
The passage to the Castilian plateau is marked by the necessary ascent of the Asturian mountains. The Pajares pass is a cycling classic in Spain. It begins gradually in Asturias on roads carved into its typical greenery and hardens as you climb. After cresting it, the road to León is a perfect rolling…
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This route is very affordable, ideal for you to enjoy the bicycle and the landscape. The negative slope exceeds the positive so it is practically downhill. Many of the sections of the N-630 are straight where you can increase your pace and average speed.
Between the cathedral, San Marcos, the Roman walls…
A relaxed day through the fields of Zamora. They are kilometers and kilometers of pleasant and affordable pedaling between fields of cereals and other crops. If you want to take advantage and enjoy the best of Zamora, at the end of the day, you can pick up the pace as much as you want and enjoy the speed…
When leaving through the stone bridge, the view of Zamora and its wall is engraved in your memory. This image will accompany you as you head down back roads and through towns frozen in time.
Calzada de Valdunciel is one of those towns. On its outskirts you can find a stretch of Roman road and its milestones…
Very quiet stage designed for you to enjoy an unforgettable day of cycling. The route moves away from the N-630 and enters the fields of Salamanca along unpainted roads. The stage is short and only has the climb to Frades de la Sierra, just over 2 kilometers with a maximum incline of 7%. Before arriving…
Another day to enjoy the bike and the tour. As it is practically all downhill, it gives you time to visit the Jewish quarters of Baños de Montemayor and Hervás and to enjoy their historical ensembles full of medieval vestiges. The N-630 will let you roll at a good pace and enjoy the air on your face…
This route runs almost entirely along the N-630, leaving behind Plasencia and its monumental historic center. The road immerses you in Extremadura and its contrasts.
In a few kilometers you will find the ruins of the Roman bridge of Alconétar, saved from the waters of the Tagus reservoir, the longest…
This stage is designed to enjoy the best of Extremadura, its products, its landscapes and its monuments. If your diet allows it, do not miss the opportunity to try the magnificent torta del casar, a creamy cheese that is eaten by opening the lid of the cured crust itself and soaking bread inside, a delight…
The Roman heritage in Spain is incalculable and Extremadura is one of its cradles. This stage moves away from the N-630 to visit the Proserpina reservoir built by the Romans. And it returns to the route a little later to cross Mérida and its treasures, such as its aqueduct, its theater, the temple of…
This is the longest stage of the adventure along the Vía de la Plata. Zafra is one of the most unexpected places on this monumental tour, as a whole it is a perfect mix of a rural commercial enclave with a medieval walled city. Its central town offers a glimpse of the style of the neighboring white villages…
To finish our tour, you leave the country landscape of the northern mountains of Seville, you pass through the Itálica amphitheater as a prelude and you arrive at Plaza de España in Seville as the icing on the cake of an unforgettable adventure.
Seville deserves several days of visit to appreciate all…
Road Cycling Collection by Pilar Puebla
Road Cycling Collection by Alvaro Hernandez
Hiking Collection by adidas TERREX
Mountain Biking Collection by Schladming-Dachstein