Cycling in Spain

The 2019 Vuelta de España - Route Preview - Eat Sleep Cycle

The 2019 Vuelta a España: Route Preview

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The Vuelta a España, the final grand tour of the 2019 cycling season, is nearly upon us. As our base is in Spain here at Eat Sleep Cycle we regard the Vuelta as our ‘home’ grand tour and last year we wrote about 10 reasons why we think the Vuelta is better than The Tour. Sure, we’re biased, but we think Spain is a unique and varied country which everyone should explore on two wheels and which also makes for some thrilling bike racing!

The 2019 Vuelta a España

2019 marks the 74th edition of the youngest grand tour and the riders will take on 3,272.2km of racing across 21 stages beginning with a team time trial which will take place in Alicante on 24th August. This year’s Vuelta a España also includes an individual time trial and eight uphill stage finishes of which five are new.

The 2019 Vuelta a España - Eat Sleep Cycle Cycling Tours

Explosive Racing

In a deviation from the script of the last few years, largely thanks to the absence of two of the biggest contenders, the Tour de France turned into an exciting battle for the yellow jersey. The Vuelta looks to be no different and sees the return of Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz to racing across three weeks. Mitchelton-Scott have announced the absence of both Yates brothers instead opting to support Esteban Chaves. Fresh off the Tour de France Podium, Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk will also be starting alongside teammate Primož Roglič who placed third in the Giro. Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez will also be one to watch.

2019 Vuelta a España – Stages to Look Out For

Stage 2: Benidorm to Calpe
Stage 2 is where the race begins in earnest following the opening TTT stage. The biggest challenge for the riders on this stage is the steep climb of Alto de Puig Llorença to Cumbre del Sol.

Vuelta a España Stage 2- Benidorm to Calpe

Stage 7: Onda to Mas de la Costa
Stage 7 from Onda to Mas de la Costa marks the first real challenge of the race with four categorised climbs and a summit finish on the first category Alto Mas de la Costa.

Vuelta a España Stage 7- Onda to Mas de la Costa

Stage 9: Andorra
Stage 9 is a short but gruelling outing into Andorra, only 95km in length but featuring a leg-destroying five categorised climbs which anyone who has ridden the La Purito Challenge will recognise!

Vuelta a España Stage 9 - Andorra

Stage 11: France to Basque Country
Stage 11 sees the race begin in France before venturing back into Spain and the rolling terrain of the Basque country. The stage is likely to suit a breakaway as GC leaders conserve energy after the previous days’ time trial and ahead of the mountains.

Vuelta a España Stage 11 - France to Basque Country

Stage 12 & 13: Basque Country
Staying in the Basque country, stage 12 from Circuito de Navarra to Bilbao is characteristic of the up-and-down nature of the region’s roads with three climbs in the final 40km before a fast descent into Bilbao. Stage 13 is one of the toughest in the race with 7 categorised climbs including a tough summit finish to Alto de Los Machuchos.

Vuelta a España Stage 12 - France to Basque Country

Vuelta a España Stage 13 - France to Basque Country

Stage 20
If the GC is still to play for at this point then the penultimate day could be a spicy one. Five mountain passes stand between the riders and Madrid although the hardest of them, Puerto de Pena Negra, is potentially too far out and the finish is potentially not challenging enough to cause too much upset.

Try Your Own La Vuelta Cycle Tour - Eat Sleep Cycle

Try Your Own La Vuelta Cycle Tour

Inspired to ride the roads of La Vuelta? Check out our Spanish Cycling Vacations and follow in the pedal strokes of the pros! Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online!

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Guide to Cycling in Barcelona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Guide to Cycling in Barcelona

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Barcelona is one of the most famous cities in the world, the Catalan capital is home to some fantastic architecture and stunning scenery and attracts an estimated 32 million tourists every year – but what is it like for cycling? A bustling city may not be the first port of call for those seeking tranquil roads and mountains to climb, however despite its size and population Barcelona has all of this in spades on its doorstep. And, after giving you a guide to cycling in Majorca and cycling in Girona it’s time to give you a guide to cycling in Barcelona!

Road Cycling Barcelona

One way get the most out of riding in a new place is to hire a local guide to show you the way & help you to get out of town. CycloCat is a great resource for off-road routes and ideas about where you can reach from Barcelona.

If you’re looking for more than a couple of days of cycling from Barcelona we recommend taking a 40 min train ride east and making Girona your base. Plenty of local Barcelona riders regularly make the journey to their sister city and make the most of a weekend or day-trip to add variety to their riding.

Cycling Climbs Near Barcelona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Climbs Near Barcelona

If you’re looking to get off the road and test yourself with some climbs then these are some spots near Barcelona to check out!

  • Santa Fe de Montseny
    From Sant Celoni this climb is one of the most popular in the area, whilst the gradients are not particularly challenging (4.8% average) it is the length (24km) that mean that is can be a tough climb if you do not pace your effort!
  • Montserrat
    This climb is stunning however choose the right time to attempt it as the roads can get extremely busy during peak seasons with tourists visiting the monastery at the top. The name of the climb translates from Catalan as ‘saw mountain’ due to the jagged peaks of the rock which are spectacular to see. The climb itself is 8.5km long with a somewhat challenging 6.9% average gradient and gets steeper at the top – so save energy!

Although Barcelona can be great for road cycling the best riding in the region really is further North towards the Pyrenees around Girona where there are a wealth of climbs and a mixture of terrain.

Gravel & MTB Barcelona

Of course, you could avoid the roads altogether and hit the trails! Why not explore the Serra de Collserola Natural Park, the trails on Montjuic & the limestone hills of Parc de Garraf. Cyclo Cat offers the best resource of routes & every January hold an annual gravel ride from Barcelona to Girona.

Barcelona Cycling Culture

Whilst Barcelona has amazing cyling on the road, gravel and climbs it also has a great cycling culture that can really enhance any trip to the region.

Best Bike Shops in Barcelona
One of the best bits about Barcelona is the amazing bike shops and city cycling culture. Be sure to visit Velodrom & Brompton Junction to complete your Barcelona Cycling experience.

Best bike shops in Barcelona - Eat Sleep Cycle

Best Coffee
Whether you’re stopping for coffee on a ride or just on the hunt for a caffeine fix whilst exploring the city. Check out On y Va for coffee and brunch or Nømad Coffee for a home-roasted cup.

Barcelona is packed full of incredible places to eat for cyclists on all budgets. Top of our list is Flax & Kale for a fresh, healthy feed and tiny Tapas bar La Cova Fumada to try ‘La Bomba’, a Barcelona specialty.

Barcelona Cycling Day Trip

On top of the culture Barcelona is perfect if you’re looking for a cycling day trip – either explore the city or take in some scenery.

  • Brompton Bike Tour of the Famous Sites – cruise along Barcelona’s network of cycle paths on a Sunday for a perfect day out.
  • Head to Girona – Girona is a mere 40 minutes away by train and is home to some of the best road & gravel riding in Catalunya. Rent a bike and guide from Eat Sleep Cycle and take in the scenery or simply explore the beautiful medieval city.

Barcelona Cycling Day Trip - Eat Sleep Cycle

Bike Friendly Places to Stay

If you’re racking up the km in the saddle whilst exploring Barcelona then you’re going to need good spot to rest your head (and keep your bike safe). Here are some bike friendly places to stay whilst you’re in Barcelona.

  • If you’re a cyclist on a budget stay at Bed & Bike Barcelona  a bike-friendly hostel in a great location
  • Try Hotel Villa Emilia for a spot of 4* Luxury for excellent value. Enjoy an evening on the rooftop bar & soak up the views.
  • It’s well worth spending a few nights in Girona if you’re a keen cyclist!

Cycling Trip to Barcelona - Eat Sleep Cycle Tour

Cycling Trip to Barcelona

We hope the above has piqued some interest in a cycling trip to Barcelona or has helped you plan out some of your next tour when here. If you’ve any questions about cycling in Barcelona or would like to find out more about our Barcelona cycling tours then us give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info.

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Girona Biking: Get off the Beaten Track this Spring

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As temperatures start to nudge towards Spring cyclists all over the world are dreaming of ripping off the leg warmers and indulging in some quality legs-out cycling. Here in our Girona HQ that dream is already coming true with the early arrival of Spring in mid-February.

Girona Biking in Spring

Whilst most cyclists choose to visit Girona in April, May & June, February & March also offer great cycling. Whilst temperatures are ‘fresh’ in the mornings they climb steadily during the day to often reach 20 degress by lunchtime – perfect riding conditions. They are also ‘dry’ months with much less rainfall than the warmer months that follow. Add to this the quiet roads, yet to be filled by holiday makers heading to the Coast, early Spring is one of the best times of the year to enjoy cycling in Girona.

Enjoy Girona Off-Season

Avoiding the peak Girona cycling season has many benefits:

  1. Accommodation is more widely available and can often be secured at a cheaper rate
  2. Pro-Spotting can begin as professional riders return to their Euopean base for the race season
  3. The Costa Brava is divine with empty beaches and empty roads
  4. Have your pick of the rental bikes on offer – lower demand for bikes in February & March means your bike of choice is highly likely to be available
  5. Enjoy the pick of the best restaurants in town – less visitors means restaurants which can be fully booked in the peak times are available for you to enjoy.

Our Favourite Spring Girona Cycling Routes

It’s a tough one to call but February & March are the perfect time of year to explore the Empordà region and the beautiful coastline of the Costa Brava. Both these areas can get a little congested as temperatures warm and should be avoided completely by cyclists in July & August (unless riding at sunrise, which is still stunning!)

Hidden Costa Brava

From Girona cycle south through the lanes to San Andreu Salou and on to Llaostera. From here climb up to San Grau and swing a left when the road hits the Mediterranean. Enjoy the rollercoaster of one of the best roads in the world to San Feliu where you can choose an elegant coffee at the harbour or keep going a little further to the secuded beach at S’Agaro. From here there are many options  depening on how long of a ride you’re looking for. One option is to keep hugging the coast as far as Platja D’Aro. Here you can visit the cake shop Dulce Pikka for a caffeine & sugar hit ahead of tackling the super-steep climb up to the golf course. Descend and head home via Llagostera –  a nice option is to take the Via Verde from here back to Girona.

Empordà & the Begur Hills

Another treat of a ride taking in the lanes of the Empordà region. Ride north out of Girona and skirt around the mountains to the farmlands around Celrà. Climb up to Foixa and drop down to the flatlands of the Empordà. Set a course east through a myriad of lanes, taking care to avoid the main roads. Emerge in Palau-Sator, Ultramort and continue on to the medieveal village of Pals. It’s here that the fun starts with a steady climb to the Begur headland. Here enjoy a series of short, sharp climbs which navigate the coves & beaches around Begur. Pause in Tamariu for lunch and set a course home via Palafrugell and the lanes to Calonge. From here choose your climb – Rumanya or Calonge and make your way back on lanes to Girona.

Girona Biking Events in Spring

There’s plenty happening on the local cycling scene for all to get involved in.

International Women’s Day Rides, 8th March 2019

One for the ladies and supporters of gender equality! We’re hosting a day of rides for cyclists of all levels to celebrate women in cycling.

Rocacorba Gravel Gran Fondo, 17th March 2019

If gravel’s your thing this is one of the best new events in town with a challenging off-road route to reach the summit of Rocacorba.

Rocacorba Gran Fondo, 25th May 2019

A new event this year this is set to become a Girona Cycling Classic, with a route designed around conquering the mighty Rocacorba.

Terra de Remences, 12th May 2019

An incredible ride exploring the region west of Girona. Packed full of climbing the parcour includes the Capsacosta, Col de Canes and the 1st Cat Col de Bracons. Find out more on the Terra de Remences site.

Travelling to Girona in Spring

March is the month when Girona Airport starts to welcome direct flights from all over Europe for super cheap prices. Flying direct into Girona means a travel day can also be a bike ride day as the airport is just a 20 min transfer from the city centre. If that’s not an option for you Barcelona welcomes flights from all over the world and a well timed flight can also leave you time to pedal up Els Àngels before sundown.

Inspired to Visit Girona this Spring?

If you’re planning to cycle in Girona check out our Spring cycling tours, including our Girona Ride CampWomen’s Camp, Tour of the Costa Brava & Girona Classic Climbs. Or why not contact us and we can arrange anything from a full custom package to sorting you out with your dream bike rental.

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Guide to Cycling in Majorca - Eat Sleep Cycle

Guide to Cycling in Majorca

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Majorca (or Mallorca as they say in Spanish) is arguably one of cycling’s most popular winter cycling destinations for getaways and is synonymous with pre-season training camps as teams escape to catch some early-season sun and take advantage of the smooth, well-maintained roads. The best times to visit the island are spring and autumn when the weather is not too hot but is warm enough to get those cyclist tan-lines going.

The Mallorca 312

The island even hosts its very own sportive the hugely popular Mallorca 312 – the course of which originally traversed the entire 312km lap of the island but now maintains the same distance but varies in terms of parcours year-on-year.

Majorca Cycling Highlights

Because so many cyclists have been coming to the island for such a long time the locals are accustomed to them frequenting the roads and as such give them due respect, which makes enjoying some of the fantastic cycling in Mallorca even more enjoyable. Here are some of the standout rides that Mallorca has to offer!

Majorca Cycling Tour Highlights - Eat Sleep Cycle

Sa Calobra
Stats: 9.4km at 7%
Sa Calobra is the most well-known climb on the island and one of the most well-known roads in Europe, famous for its spaghetti-like switchbacks the road was designed by Italian engineer Antonio Parietti and built manually in 1932.

Cap de Formentor
Stats: 17km at 2.8%
From Pollenca this climb is more of a series of kickers than one long climb, however gradients remain mostly low making it a steady ride with spectacular views up to the iconic lighthouse. It is the Northernmost point of the island and is known as ‘the meeting point of the winds’ and the wind can indeed get quite strong at the top.

Col de Soller
Stats: North 7.4km at 6%, South 5km at 5%
The Southern side of Col de Soller from Bunyola is the most popular and easier side to climb with a gentle and consistent gradient owing to the many hairpins, no longer the main road to Soller since a tunnel was built in the 1990s the road is usually empty of cars barring a few.

The Northern side of the climb is slightly harder although still not hugely challenging once again thanks to numerous hairpins of which there are more than Alpe d’Huez!

Puig Major
Stats: 14km at 5.9%
The only thing which could make this climb challenging is its length. Highest climb in Mallorca, located within the Tramuntana mountains and as such is largely sheltered within woodlands.

Off The Beaten Track Riding in Mallorca

The next set of spots for cycling in Mallorca are a bit more off the beaten track than the previous ones but are still worth the ride.

Stats: 5km at 7%
If you want to take the road less pedalled whilst still experiencing what’s best about Mallorca then Valldemossa is the place to go. Steeper than the majority of other climbs but also much quieter so in our opinion it’s worth it!

Tramuntana Coastal Road
Through the Tramuntana mountains along the Southern coastline from the town of Esporles to Andratx is the rolling route of the Tramuntana coastal road. As you ride along this road the Mediterranean sea is visible on your right and the Galatzo peak is on your let making for stunning views. The road surface is high-quality and there is very little traffic making this one of the most enjoyable routes on the island.

Els Vergers/Sobremunt
Stats: 7km at 10%
Crowned by the GCN show as the ‘hardest climb on the island’ this rough stretch of road ramps up to a maximum gradient of 25% and averages 10% – with downhill sections included. At the top is a restaurant which gives the climb it’s name and is well off the regular cyclist trail.

Mallorcan Culture

We believe that a huge part of taking a cycling vacation is discovering a new culture, cuisine, architecture and unique character of each place. So many European destinations are steeped in history just waiting to be discovered and Mallorca is no exception and there are lots of spots worth visiting whilst there.

  • Palma
    Head to Palma on a rest day for a spot of shopping or to dip in and out of the numerous cafes and tapas bars. La Seu cathedral is a must-see the Gothic building is the focal piece of architecture in the city and is truly stunning to see.
  • Alfàbia Gardens
    Go for a stroll in these multiculturally influenced gardens in Bunyola in the North of the island and therefore within a close distance of the most popular places for cyclists to stay. The gardens contain exotic plants as well as orange and lemon trees.
  • Deià
    We would recommend staying in this picturesque village if you can, but if that’s not an option then a visit is certainly needed anyway just to see how stunning it is. Whilst there, visit the house of Robert Graves – the British poet and author of I,Claudius who lived in the village, which is now a museum.

Mallorcan Culture - Majorca Cylce Tour - Eat Sleep Cycle

Mallorcan Food

To go with the Mallorcan culture there is also the Mallocan cuisine which has to be tasted to be believed. There are a number of Michelin Star restaurants dotted around the island, a sign of the refined palettes that frequent the island and worth visiting if you can.

Where To Stay in Mallorca

Most cyclist visitors to Mallorca stay in the North of the island, far removed from cities like Magaluf to the South which are renowned more for partying than pedalling. In the North Port de Pollença and Alcudia are most popular as these areas are on the coast and close to the UNESCO World Heritage site Tramuntana Mountains – the highest point of which is the tip of Puig Major. The versatility of flat riding along the coast and the challenge of the  mountains are what makes the area attractive.

The number of cyclists that visit the island each year (in the hundreds of thousands) means that most hotels are bike friendly with many offering places to store bikes.

In the Cycling Hub:
If you want to be around more cyclists than just regular tourists then the cycling hub of Hotel Hoposa Bahía in Pollenca should be considered.

For Something Different:
And for those of you who would like something a little bit different you should check out Hotel Des Puig in Deia.

Where To Stay In Majorca - Cycling Tour - Eat Sleep Cycle

When (and how) to Travel to Mallorca

The best times to visit the island are spring and autumn when the weather is not too hot but is warm enough to get those cyclist tan-lines going! You can fly into Palma airport – the island’ capital of Palma hosts the island’s main airport. You can also get a ferry from mainland Spain (although beware that this could take up to 8 hours).

Cycling in Majorca

If the above has piqued your interest for a trip to one of the de facto cycling Meccas of Europe then we’ve got the perfect tour for you. Check out our Majorca Experience to really discover the island or take a look at our Mallorca Ride Camp to rack up those quality miles. If interested give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to give you more info about it!

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Secret Pyrenees: El Castell de La Pobla de Lillet

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The Pyrenees are best known for the iconic cols of the Tour de France where epic battles are played out between the best riders of the pro peloton. The headline climbs such as the Tourmalet steal the show and are on many cyclist’s bucket lists. But some of best riding and more in the Pyrenees is off the beaten track, hidden amongst the tiny towns and villages dotted in the mountains.

Culture and History Meet Epic Riding

The Catalan Pyrenees are a perfect example of this and one such place is La Pobla de Lillet. A picturesque village in the comarca of Berguedà around 114km north-west of Girona with a rich artistic and industrial history; La Pobla is home to the Artigas Gardens designed by Antoni Gaudí in the 1900s as well as a cement train – a remnant of the industrial revolution in the area which still runs today. 

La Pobla de Lillet is also surrounded by some fantastic riding including climbs to test even the strongest of riders such as the killer Vallter 2000 – a climb up to a ski station at 2,000m consisting of 11km at an average gradient of 7%. Col de la Crueta is also a must-climb for the amazing views from where you can see the mountain of Pedraforca, named as such because its three points resemble a fork.

And that’s just on the road – hidden amongst the forest are some fantastic mountain bike trails too as well as plenty of trails for running or hiking.

A Guest House with a Story

Located in La Pobla de Lillet is an incredible guesthouse with a long and interesting history. El Castell, run by couple Alvaro & Montse, was originally built in 1927 and they have transformed it into a stunning place to stay with an open kitchen, spa and beautiful mountain views. We sat down with them to learn more about both them and El Castell.

Montse, tell us about the history of El Castell? When was it built and how long has it been a hotel?

The original Castell dates back to 1297. At the beginning of the ’90s, my parents bought the building of El Castell, which was absolutely in ruins.. After almost 4 years of work, we finally have the finished result!  A hotel of 9 rooms, a spa area with massage service and a show-cooking service for the foodies. We think it’s a perfect spot for groups (to celebrate or just to come together) or even for businesses who want to make a retreat to do team building, meetings, etc. But when there’s no group bookings, it’s a perfect place for those couples who want to relax and enjoy a few days in nature.

Alvaro, where are you both from?

I am from the south of Spain and Montse is from the Berguedà region. In 2015 we got married here in the Artigas Garden and started a new phase at El Castell as managers. 

Why did you choose to live & Pobla de Lillet and run El Castell?

Montse: For 7 years my parents were in charge of managing el Castell, but when they retired we took over and dedicated ourselves exclusively to renovate it and spread the word about this fantastic place that deserves to be discovered!

Alvaro: I studied gastronomy and cooking has always been his passion. I loved that the kitchen was open to the public meaning that showcasing the cooking was inevitable which would mean a transparency and communication between the cook and the guests.  

Montse: I love the Berguedà area and discovering new corners of it to recommend to guests. Making the change to come and live in La Pobla de Lillet is one of the best decisions we have ever made!

Alvaro, you are the chef, tell us about your inspiration to cook? Describe your food…

The combinations and concoctions that are possible with cooking are infinite! I love to discover new products and to cook from different points of view.

Our objective is to make sure that the food we serve in el Castell is kilometre zero – so from local producers, growers, farmers and cooked with love!

But without doubt the best aspect is seeing the faces of pleasure and surprise from our guests when they try our taster menu of seasonal products and our surprise menu!

Montse, you are the hostess, tell us about how you like to welcome your guests & the experience you want them to have at El Castell?

We like to receive our guests like family or friends when they visit us. We make sure they know about all of the unmissable places in our area. If they like walking we can give then routes on the Catllaràs. If they like romanesque architecture there are plenty of churches, monasteries and sanctuaries in the area. If they would like to learn about the industrial history of the area then the Cement Museum is unmissable – a factory that began the industrial revolution here! It’s amazing how much there is to discover here!

Thanks to Alvaro & Montse for the insight into their guesthouse and their home town!

Inspired to explore the Secret Pyrenees? Our Pyrenees Mini-Break is a three day trip from Girona to La Pobla de Lillet with two nights in El Castell. La Pobla de Lillet is also the first stop on our Trans Pyrenees Challenge and our Gourmet Tour of Catalunya!


Cycling in Andalucia – Experiencing Is Believing

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Andalucia is a region which captures the very essence of Spain. With a rich, long & often bloody history the architecture & landscapes are punctuated with Moorish & Christian sites. The Alhambra palace in Granada, the Alcazar Castle in Seville & Còrdoba’s Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral are three iconic landmarks which alone make a visit to the region worthwhile. Add in flamenco culture, wine, sherry & olive oil making and Andalucia offers an intoxicating experience – and that’s without the incredible Andalucian cycling experience.

Here we attempt to capture the essence of Andalucia: the views, the climbs, the warmth, the relaxed way of life and the wonderfully welcoming locals but to fully appreciate it has to be experienced!

Location, Location, Location: Where is Andalucia?

Located in the south of Spain Andalucia is made up of 8 provinces – Cadiz, Almeria, Malaga & Granada bordering the south coast & Huelva, Seville, Còrdoba & Jaen inland. Within these provinces are numerous protected reserves, including the Sierra Nevada, Cabo de Gata & the Montes de Málaga. In other words, numerous playgrounds for cyclists. If the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada (which includes the highest paved road in Europe, the Pico de Veleta) aren’t enough to tempt you, now factor in the Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical, Costa de la Luz & Costa Almeria. 50% of Andalucia borders with the Mediterranean sea – cue delicious seafood, long white beaches and winter sun-seekers (Andalucia boasts more than 325 days of sun a year and is an ideal spot for a European winter cycling holiday!).


Cycling in Andalucia: The Highlights

Smooth roads and sunshine characterise Andalucia – so it’s no wonder that it’s such an attractive location for those seeking to ride in winter sun when Northern Europe freezes over. Additionally, traffic is sparse and drivers are respectful – the area is essentially everything you could want as a cyclist.

Carretera del Cabra: The Goat’s Path is a must-see climb for any cyclist visiting the area. Just to the west of the Sierra Nevada mountains the road was built to connect Granada to the fishing boats on the coast in the village of Almuñuecar. The pass is 17 km long and maxes out at a gradient of 11% and boasts captivating views of the mediterranean.

Puerto del León: Rising from the city of Malaga over 16 kms to 940 m altitude the Puerto del León features steady gradients which average 5.5% and, you guessed it, picturesque views in all directions. A regular feature of local club runs out of Malaga the climb also featured in the Vuelta España in 2015 when Peter Sagan won the stage.

Caminito del Rey: The 2015 Vuelta was the first road race to visit the ‘Pathway of the King’. Short and sweet is the best way to describe this 4 km climb. With ramps of up to 15% legs are likely to sting as the road winds its way up to a restaurant and a dead end.

Puerto de La Ragua: A pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains this is a challenging ascent when climbed from the south. At 25 km long the pass takes the rider to over 2,000 m altitude and boasts a comforting maximum gradient of 8%.

Torcal de Antequera: 10.5 kms takes the cyclist to 1,200 m elevation at a decent average gradient of 7.6 % with great views pretty much all the way up. At the top take in the beautiful rock formations which give the climb its name.

Pico de Veleta: No post on cycling in Andalucia would be complete without featuring the mighty Pico de Veleta. Veleta means ‘weather vane’ and the weather is main difficulty for the cyclist to overcome to make it to the top. Up to 2,500 m (29 km into the climb) the road is in excellent condition. From the notorious ‘barrier’ the cyclists rides beyond civilisation along a poorly surfaced road. The last 200 m (if you’re lucky enough to make it that far) are not passable on a road bike and must be walked. Often scorching hot in the valley and freezing cold at the top it’s worth waiting for perfect conditions before attempting the 40 km climb.

Andalucian Food For Cyclists - Eat Sleep Cycle Tours

Fuel the Ride: Andalucian Food

Like many areas in Spain, Andalucía has its own selection of local delicacies that are to die for. Being situated in the south and catching almost year-round sun means that the area is known for growing plenty of fruit and vegetables, in particular olives, avocados, oranges and raisins (which we used to fuel our rides on our most recent visit)!

Of course, the classic Spanish dish of Paella is a must, and being so close to the sea means delicious fresh fish! Other fishy offerings include pescaito frito (literally, fried fish), a local speciality. Jamon will likewise need to be sampled, air-cured in the mountains these wafer thin slices of ham will melt in your mouth!

Where to eat:

Cycling in Andalucia Review - Eat Sleep Cycle

From the Rider’s Mouth: Steve’s Review

Steve from Toronto, Canada joined us in the Costa del Sol & Sierra Nevada mountains in November 2018, here’s what he had to say about his Costa del Sol & Sierra Nevada Tour

“Fantastic trip. Top riding, guiding and routes. Great local knowledge. All in a very good time. Highly recommended.”

El Andaluz: The Eat Sleep Cycle Guide

We spoke to Luis, olive oil & winemaker & our local guide for our Andalucia tours. Luis is the expert on Andalucia culture, food and roads and we asked him what makes him tick:

What is your name?
Luis Duritz

Where are you from?
From Cordoba, Andalucía! I was raised in Sevilla studied at the University in Granada, I lived in Málaga for 8 years and now I’m back home in Córdoba and sharing a house with friends in Granada.

Where do you live?
Part of the year in Granada, and the most of the time in Guadalmoral, my mother`s farm, near Córdoba.

How long have you lived there?
The last five years.

What drew you to cycling and why?
Watching the final kilometres of stage 16 of the 1990 Tour de France when Miguel Indurain and Greg LeMond battled up the Luz Ardiden! I was inspired also because on the same stage Andaluz rider Miguel Ángel Martínez Torres came third at 59” back to such giants of the sport!

What is your favourite thing about guiding?
Everything that happens from when I wake up till I go to sleep. To deal with unexpected situations.

Meet The Eat Sleep Cycle Guide in Andalucia - Luis Duritz

Describe your favourite ride or favourite place in Andalucia…
The MTB ride from my grandparents farm, crossing the Subbéticas Natural Park on dirt roads and paths arriving to Zuheros, an Andalusian white village, with a hilltop castle, where I have a house.

What do you like to do when you’re not on a tour?
Off season, everyday is different, but my perfect day is: to wake up in the farm, have a good coffee, take a walk along the vineyard, the olive orchard and the creek, do some physical work and finish the day in the city, having a glass of natural wine in @quierojugovivo, in Córdoba.

What’s the best meal you’ve enjoyed in in Andalucia?
Only one!? Impossible… but to mention two that I had working with ESC: the grilled sardines in a picnic in Lújar (Granada), seeing the Mediterranean sea from the hills, and a veggie menu in @restaurantelaboca with a spinach and pea stew to die for.

Take Me There! How to get to Andalucia

Malaga airport is the fourth biggest in Spain and is easily accessible from most of Europe, (flights from other parts of the world are likely to require transfers at Madrid or another major connecting airport). Transport to and from the airport is easily accessible and within a 90 min transfer of most of the most popular cycling locations. Almeria Airport is also an option for those looking to explore the eastern Sierra Nevada.

It is also possible to arrive by train from other parts of Spain and even Europe. Other parts of the Southern region of Spain are easily accessible by car or transport so you could take advantage of your location and explore other areas whilst there. (like the Calpe ride camp).

Join the Ride – Cycle in Andalucia

If you like what you’ve read and want to experience cycling in Andalucia for yourself check out our 3 Andaluz itineraires:

  1. Andalucia Experience – take in the riding and sites of Granada (includes a Pico de Veleta attempt), Antequera & Ronda.
  2. Trans Andalucia – ride the whole thing, from Almeria, across the Sierra Nevada to Granada, on to Antequera, Ronda, Arcos de La Frontera and to the finish in Seville.
  3. Costa del Sol Ride Camp – discover Màlaga, the Puerto del Leon, the Carrertera del Cabra & finish in the low Sierra Nevada.

Cycle in Andalucia - Cycling Tours of Spain - Eat Sleep Cycle

All of our cycle tours in Andalucia will allow you to sample and enjoy the delights that Southern Spain has to offer. We can also tailor the tour to your needs with our custom cycle tour options so if you’re interested give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online to find out more!

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