Tag Archives: mountain biking

12 hours in… Santiago de Chile!

Welcome to Santiago! Located in between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, this city is surrounded by some of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, yet often gets overlooked, until now! From museums to markets, and spectacular views of the mountains all around, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In a nutshell…
Santiago de Chile is the capital of Chile, and encompasses a whopping 40% of all Chileans within its boundaries. This makes it the 5th most populous city on the continent! It is widely recognised as the cultural hub of Chile, filled with many theatres, cinemas, museums and restaurants, for both locals and tourists to enjoy. All of this is accompanied by a breath-taking backdrop of snow-capped mountains, so you’re constantly reminded of the country’s famed natural beauty.

Sights not to miss…
Plaza de Armas is the central hub to all things in Santiago, as the main square in the middle of the city, it’s a a great place for some people-watching too, buzzing with activity no matter what time of the day or year. You can sit on the benches under the cover of the palm trees and observe, or grab a refreshment at one of the many nearby bars or cafes.

Cerro Santa Lucia is a hill right in the centre of the city! Believe it or not, but it actually used to be a volcano! It’s been extinct for at least 15 million years now, so no worries on that front. The hill itself is actually not very big, but it is packed with wonderful facades, fountains and stairways, and even two small castles (or forts) built by one of the most distinguished military engineers in the history of Chile, Manuel Olaguer Feliú. At 69 meters high, it also provides one of the best views of the Santiago’s skyline and the Andean mountains. The park on the hill is essentially vertical, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes!

Rebuilt five times due to fires and earthquakes, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a must-see due to its astonishing architecture. Make sure you take time to appreciate the ornate frescos on the ceiling and the building’s gilded columns. Also, the Palacio de La Moneda (Chilean President’s Palace) is only 10 minutes’ walk away from here.

National Museum of Natural History is the ideal place to learn more about the country. It contains a wealth of information and anyone interested in history will enjoy the visit. But to learn more about the countries recent history, head to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights! It’s a museum founded to reflect on and remember the regime led by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The visit to this museum won’t leave you indifferent.

Barrio Bellavista is a colourful and charming neighbourhood in Santiago. It is a very popular area with many restaurants, bars, and clubs. This really is the perfect place to get a taste for authentic Chilean nightlife.

Flavours of Santiago…
Santiago is well known for its fantastically flavoursome dishes, but also has quite a good reputation for deserts. Ice cream shops such as Emporio la Rosa, who offer weird and wonderful flavour combinations such as raspberry & mint, orange & ginger and of course with the classic vanilla, you can’t go wrong.

Foodies will also enjoy the Mercado Central market, which although busy, is the best place to enjoy the variety of fresh seafood (voted ‘5th best market in the world’ by the National Geographic)!

Dishes to try…
Empanadas, like the Latin American version of a Greggs pasty, but a lot more cultured! The name is derived from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread and they are generally filled with combinations of meats and cheeses. The local artisans will create some unique flavours you will struggle to recreate elsewhere!

Caldillo de Congrio is one for the more gastronomically adventurous… this eel soup dish is a classic in this region, with the preparation involving the boiling of eel fish heads with onion, garlic, coriander, carrots and peppers.

Our team says…
‘I love Santiago! On a Sunday morning, the main street along the river is closed to traffic as bikes take over and you can join hundreds of locals for a morning cycle up to the cable car at San Cristobal.’ – Lizzie, Family Cycling Expert

‘Make sure to visit the ‘Museum of Memory and Human Rights’ and the Augusto Pinochet museum in Vitacura, to get the true understanding of the country’s history. The museums give you a great overview of different perspectives!’ – Steve, Chief Guide

‘My favourite day trip from Santiago is visiting Valparaíso. I like to wander around here, it’s a very vibrant city! Also, definitely check out the bar scene while in Santiago.’ – Andrew, Cycling Adventures Expert

Feeling inspired? Experience Santiago de Chile yourself…
Chile holds a special place in the heart of Skedaddle, this is where the idea of the company was born. With this in mind it’s only fitting we have a great range of guided cycling holidays here, so that you too can experience this amazing country and its lively capital! Most of our trips exploring Chile start or end close to Santiago, so we strongly recommend you come early or stay a bit longer after the tour has ended.

If a landscape of snow-capped volcanoes, deep valleys, lakes and monkey puzzle tree forests set against the awesome Andes sounds great to you, then join us in exploring magnificent Lake District on our cycling adventure in Chile and Argentina. Alternatively, come along on our gastronomic adventure discovering the world-famous Chile’s Wine Country that is home to some of the finest new-world wines currently produced.

Or, if you are eager to take a journey across some of the world’s last true wilderness regions, then our Wild Patagonia mountain biking holiday is the one for you!

If road cycling is more your cup of tea, then we got you covered too! Based on the success of our mountain bike holidays in this region, we have introduced a road cycling version of the Lake District Explorer. It’s a perfect and accessible choice for those cyclists looking for a spectacular destination.

Bike the best of Spain and Portugal

Escape with us to Portugal or Spain for your chance enjoy some late season fun in the sun! If the lure of tasty tapas and sun-kissed trails isn’t enough, what about these tempting biking opportunities still up for grabs this season?

Best for: The chance to tackle a variety of terrain
Trip: Atlantic Trails, Portugal | Grade: 3 to 4
Trail Highlights: 
Riders can expect a range of great biking experiences, from soaking up epic vistas on the cliffs of the Atlantic Coast to fun forest tracks in the beautiful Arribida and Sintra Natural Parks!

Best for: A coastal adventure bursting with singletrack trails
Trip: Cami de Cavalls Menorca, Spain | Grade: 4
We say:
 With a high percentage of this 200k journey comprising singletrack, this is a fun journey for regular riders looking to test their skills out on an open air playground…complete with stunning views across the Mediterranean Sea.

Best for: Experienced riders seeking exhilarating riding in the mountains
Trip: Sensational Sierra Nevada, Spain | Grade: 4 to 5
We say: 
Welcome to arguably Spain’s most dramatic mountain range (and certainly the highest!) With demanding climbs and thrilling descents this is a trip for the seasoned mountain bikers amongst us – prepare for an exhilarating biking experience.

Keen to join us? Check out our mountain biking expert Matt Cain’s latest blog to help you make the most of the late season riding opportunities this year.

5 tips before your autumn biking adventure

Hopefully you’re coming out of summer with a decent number of miles in your legs, but with our busiest month of the year approaching there is always scope for some last minute preparation. Here are a few tips from our very own mountain biking guru, Matt Cain, for making the most of the last few weeks before your big trip…

  1. Make sure your bike is sorted. Get it serviced to make sure everything is good to go. Fresh tyres and brake pads are a great idea. Just don’t leave this to the last day or two before you go.
  2. Stay rested. Ride your bike and keep your legs active but don’t overdo your training at this late stage. I tend not to focus on big miles, but instead try to ride regularly and on as many consecutive days as possible. Commuting by bike is a good way to achieve this.
  3. Retail therapy. Get those last few items you need well in time. Check you have tubes, brake pads and suitable chain lubricant. Some new riding shorts can make all the difference once you are into days 3, 4, 5 of your tour!
  4. Prepare for everything. Late summer and autumn in the mountains can dish up any weather. Think about sunscreen and a hydration pack, but also waterproofs and baselayers!
  5. Pace yourself. Take it easy on the first few days of the trip as suffering an injury or minor accident early on can ruin your whole holiday. Your guides will give you plenty of info on what to expect each day so you can adjust your efforts accordingly.

Still haven’t decided on your autumn mountain biking destination? Don’t worry, there’s still time! Check out our range of MTB holidays for inspiration.