A great road generally but the fun really starts after you leave Rascaria. Great alpine road, well surfaced, with switchbacks, mountain vistas etc. Could be a bit full of hikers and tree huggers in the summer but on a Tues afternoon in October was almost deserted. Rockin' on a Multistrada but would suit any bike.
This is a very good alternative to the N121a - it may be a motorway but it is set among outstanding mountain scenery, climbing steadily and seemingly unendingly from San Sebastian up on to the Spanish plains. The main hazard is the frequent convoys of heavy trucks - simply because they are doing 40km/hr uphill, whereas you of course are still well within the official limit of 120km/hr and therefore not in danger of running up the back of one! The road itself is the usual Spanish velvet surface, whilst the route is one of continuous sweeping curves. Slowly but surely as you get higher and furhter inland, the scenery changes from green forests and valleys to slightly paler, more scrub covered hillsides until on the final few kilometres towards Pamplona it straightens out - so dodge the city and head east onto the short section of the (largely unoccupied, good for whatever speed you like) A21 before joining the famous N240...
start on n111 from logrono, head for soria, drive through huge red rock canyons riojan for forst 30k then up to a dam/lake, smooth, undulating, good corner speeds. half way road sudenly climbs up a mountain with a few 180 degree hairpins up to piste 1750 metres. other side of mountain is a great series of 1 in 2 hill all the way down, steep with hairpins but easy to read. at the bottom of mountain, small garage on right for coffee and recirculate the blood then straight road for 20kms 180mph possible. occasional police this side of mountain. done it every year since 99. seen many biker nationalities at the top and they all agree its ace. its a rare road that tests every aspect of bike control, and at the same time with amazing scenery. in june you go from 2 degrees on summit to 25 degrees at bottom of hill in 15 mins or so. enjoy. dont go too mad on it, ive seen bikers bin it and others go back and redo it the other way-its addictive.
The N121a begins its journey at the impressive Navarre
region capital of Pamplona and casually wanders the
70 kilometres north to the border city of Irún in
the Basque country. It winds along the Río Ultzama
and Mediano before joining with the Río Bidasoa,
which for its last 10km creates the border separating
Spain from France. It's a very green area with trees and
wildlife in abundance, along with many 'Granjas' or farms.
There are lots of traditional small Spanish villages
just off this route and you can always find a good
'Posada' for something to eat. Try the local dish of beef
cooked on coals, delicioso!
The road:- It's a fast route out of Pamplona and is typical of many routes in Spain. But the further north you go, the twistier and prettier it becomes. The surface is good from start to finish with nothing to really worry you and is ideally suited to sports and sports tourers. It's quite a busy route and you'll not have the road to yourself for long periods, but that's to be expected when you consider the geography. There is still lots of fun to be found and a rapid pace can be set if you 'feel the need for speed'. We took it relatively easy and enjoyed the scenery that you. There's not much in the way of elevation changes but if you want that sort of thing you're never far away from the mountains. There were loads of bikes travelling this road when we visited and to see other bikers enjoying the same road as me always makes me smile. Car drivers just don't get it do they?
Accommodation:- We stopped on this road at the Etxalar Hotel which is the stone building in the photos and is also shown on the map. It's a great hotel and has to be one of the best places we stayed on our trip. The staff were friendly, the rooms excellent, and the food was to die for (not literally you understand) It's right by the roadside so you can sit and listen to the bikes riding past whilst enjoying an ice cold lager. There was a traditional Spanish wedding reception taking place during our stay which was nice. The staff apologised for the noise but they needn't have. We enjoyed watching the Spanish partying as only the Spanish know how. You can have a much closer look at the Etxelar here It's their official web-site with details of activities in the area, photos, prices etc. Would I stop there again? A definite yes. Place of interest?:- Pamplona of course. You could spend a few days taking in its history and if you're there from 6th July you could join in the week long festival of San Fermin. Why not join in the Encierro The running of the bulls? If you're really lucky you could get yourself gored or trampled. How nice. I think i'll take my chances on a bike. P.s. A big Hello to Kev, the owner of the Beemer in the photos. We saw him the previous evening in Ainsa, some 250 kilometres away, and somehow ended up in the same place the following night. It was a pleasure to meet you and we'll share a few beers next time i'm in Barcelona. Hasta pronto.
the D 933 in our opinion is a very excellent ride great visibility including straights ans bends, recommend all bikers to try it, best points no speed cameras or police!!!