Last week saw our first tour of the season in Andalucia – home to the mildest ‘winter’ climate in Europe and it proved to be one of the top European winter cycling destinations to escape the winter blues.
We spoke to Eat Sleep Cycle tour leader & partner Lee who was responsible for the arduous task of making sure everyone had a good time whilst riding their bikes in the sun. He gave us his impressions of the Southern Spanish region and what the cycling is like there.
Andalucia – Cycling In the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada
My first impression of the area was that Andalucia has the most relaxed atmosphere I have ever experienced. People love being outdoors and can be found wandering around or sat in the squares enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Everybody is friendly and welcoming.
We spent 4 of the 6 nights in Orgiva in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range as part of our Andalucia Cycle Tour. A distinctive feature of this area is the white villages built into the hillside – it’s a jaw-dropping sight! While we were there we also cycled up to the highest village in mainland Spain, Trevelez, which is located at 1,400 m and is famous for it’s dry cured ham because the air is dry and sweet in the mountains. So of course we enjoyed a Jamon Serrano bocadillo on the best sun bleached balcony in town! All day we enjoyed smooth winding roads with a perfect road surface at 1,000 m elevation in the sunshine.
“We had a small friendly group of three: one Canadian gentleman, one Swiss lady and an American lady. The delivery team consisted of Lluis, who is from Granada, Spain and myself.”
2,000 m Daily Elevation
In this area there are many hillsides with unusual sloping gardens which are used to dry out and sweeten grapes for tasty raisins (which of course, we included in our ride food) and dessert wine that we enjoyed during dinner. We cycled around 100 km with 2,000 m of elevation each day which sounds like a lot, and there’s not too much flat in that particular area, but the climbs are not steep, often averaging between 3-5%
Worry Free Descents
The descents are so much fun! To be tearing down them in December without worrying about a wet corner was simply exhilarating! There is usually good visibility around the bends so it’s great for cornering practice and we did plenty of that. We were treated to a different route every day and didn’t repeat anything. We also did not need any van transfers, which is important to Eat Sleep Cycle as we much prefer that our guests spend time riding and not sat in vans.
Dry Andalusian Air and The Unforgettable Juan
In Andalucia the air is much drier than in Girona and the region also benefits from a far milder climate. My bike was as clean after a weeks riding as it was when it left Girona. Also, Andalusian people are some of the most open people in the world and accept you in right away. For example, as we reached the small village of Guájar-Faragüit, an elderly man relaxing on a chair tapped the seat next to him, I sat down and we enjoyed a brief but life changing chat and I’ll never forget Juan and the lovely village that he was born in!
Benefits of Local Cycling Guides
Our local guide Luis added so much to the tour. One particular day he took us on a personal tour to Grenada, showed us the Alhambra from all the best view points, took us to his home and we went inside a cave house. It was unbelievable.
Cycling In Andalucia – Some of the Best in Spain
I think Andalucia has some of the best cycling in Spain and is an untapped territory for most cyclists. I wouldn’t like to ride here in the summer as the temperatures would be stifling and it would be full of tourists but I definitely intend to ride here much more in the winter!
If reading about Lee’s Andalusian adventure has you dreaming of those smooth roads and sunshine then why not take a check out our cycle tour of Andalucia or some of our our other south Spain cycle tours?
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