Location: Almeria and Granada in southeast Spain
Number Days: 6
Number Nights: 7
Start Location: Almeria
Finish Location: Granada
Meals included: Breakfast (7 days), packed lunch (5 days), evening meals (6 nights out of 7)
Access Start / Finish location: Almeria has its own international airport, if it is not accessible from your location transport from Malaga airport can be arranged at an additional cost. Granada has its own international airport, if there are no suitable flights we can arrange transfers to Malaga airport.
In this exciting new tour for 2018, ‘Chasing La Vuelta: Mountains of Granada and Almeria Bike Tour’, we team up with Pete Linsley, aka the ‘Ragtime Cyclist,’ to tackle some of the La Vuelta’s most difficult and storied climbs. Set in the dry and sunny Southeast, in addition to the iconic climbs of the Sierra Nevada near Granada the steep slopes of the Alto de Velefique and Calar Alto will be on the agenda. In addition we will be riding the slopes of the beautiful and isolated Alpujarra on the south slopes of the Sierra Nevada range, one of Spain’s best-kept secrets. Along the way Pete will, in his singular style, provide a look at the route in the rich context of pro-cycling history, with the climbs on the route having featured in La Vuelta no less than 21 times since the turn of the century.
The landscape of the Mountains of Granada and Almeria Bike Tour is extremely varied. The route kicks off in Almeria in one of the only semi-desert regions in Europe, a setting in which many of the original spaghetti western movies where filmed. Three mountain passes over 1,500 meters, including one over 2,000 meters, lead us into the lush slopes of the Alpujarra. Fed by the snow-melt from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, we will spend most of our route high up on cliffs overlooking the valley far below. We venture above 2,000 meters once more before making our way north towards the outskirts of Granada, with its rich Moorish history. The final days of our trip will be spent on the climbs up northern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, including two passes over 1,500 meters on the way up to the end of the road for motor vehicle at 2,600 meters. There is the chance for cyclists to continue towards 3,000 meters for those that want to aim for the sky.
Pete Linsley is the man behind www.ragtimecyclist.com. He is a cyclist and blogger in his early 40’s, and although he is able to hold an interesting conversation on any number of varied subjects, talk will always turn back to cycling eventually. Based in the north of England he is starved of hot, sunny cycling for much of the year, and so heads to the mountains of Europe whenever possible to ride his bike and top up on Vitamin D. After watching the likes of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome tackle the mountains of southern Spain so spectacularly in the 2017 Vuelta Espana, this was really the only destination for 2018.
Chasing La Vuelta: Mountains of Granada and Almeria Bike Tour Itinerary
Night of arrival: Make your way to our meeting point, a four star seaside hotel a few kilometers outside of Almeria city. Enjoy some time by the pool or on the beach while preparing your equipment, or stretch the legs with a short ride into the nearby National Park Cabo de Gata, formed of volcanic rock and home to some of Spain’s most picturesque virgin beaches. Before dinner we will introduce ourselves and run through the week’s itinerary.
Day 1 – One of the only transfers of the week will take us to our start point, from where a long false flat will warm up the legs before the moderate first climb of the day to the Alto de Castro at 1273m. A short descent and more false flat leads us to the main challenge of the day, the punishing 15km climb to Alto de Velefique at an average of almost 7%. Enjoy the descent before more punishing gradients take us back up to the Collado del Ramal at almost 1700 meters. From there a long descent leads to our hotel for the night, a rural guesthouse set in the countryside.
Distance: 109 km (68 miles)
Elevation gain: 3,150 meters (10,300 feet)
Day 2 – An early start for the longest day of the week, which immediately starts with the mammoth climb to Calar Alto, rising from under 700 meters altitude up to over 2100 meters over 33 severe kilometers, and including again the steep section to Collado del Ramal that you will still be having nightmares over from the day before! A descent leads us to flatter kilometers, but save your strength as the long day has a final 10 km climb before heading towards our three star rural hotel on the perimeter of the enchanting Alpujarra.
Distance: up to 137 km (85 miles)
Elevation gain: 3,150 meters (10,300 feet)
Day 3 – Today the route passes into and stays in the beautiful Alpujarra, for so long distanced from mainland society and still retaining a rural and other-worldly feel. Again we start the day again with the climb of the day, up the slopes of La Ragua, the only mountain pass over the Sierra Nevada. We then follow the rolling rather than mountainous road that passes along the summit of the valleys, in and out of woodlands with magnificent views of the entire valley. We stay the night in a snug 3-star hotel in a small white village perched up high on the mountain slopes.
Distance: 118 km (73 miles)
Elevation gain: 2,950 meters (9,700 feet)
Day 4 – We leave the Alpujarra via the captial of the region Orgiva, and make our way towards Granada via a mountain pass with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and reservoirs. Before hitting the urban sprawl around the city we turn off to pass through a number of villages to our base for the next 3 nights, a comfortable four star hotel a few kilometers from the city.
Distance: 112 km (69 miles)
Elevation gain: 2,100 meters (7,000 feet)
Day 5 – Today we propose an easy day after the exertion of the previous days, with a morning spin according to the group’s wishes, but probably tackling the climb of El Purche via Monachil on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada. After freshening up we head into the city of Granada for some sight-seeing and a late-lunch in one of the city’s numerous restaurants.
Distance: flexible, standard route 35km (22 miles)
Elevation gain: flexible, standard route 950m (3100 feet)
Day 6 – We save probably the best to last, as we tackle the epic climb to Hoya de la Mora at 2600 meters, and as far beyond towards the end of the road at 3200 meters as you want to push yourself. The temperature differential between our start point and the summit can be 25 degrees or more, and there is standing snow up top for much of the year. Once there, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the long, long descent before a celebrating the week’s events.
Distance: flexible, standard route 90 km (25 miles)
Elevation gain: 2,500 meters (5,900 feet)
Please find underneath the currently scheduled accompanied tours of this route. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to book a place on one of these tours.
|Start Date||End Date|
|Sat 29 Sep 2018||Sat 6 Oct 2018|
Total Price per person for Chasing La Vuelta: Mountains of Granada and Almeria Bike Tour – € 1,780-
7 nights accommodation
Breakfast (7 days)
Packed lunch for each day riding (5 days plus restaurant lunch on one day)
Evening meals for 6 nights (drinks not included)
Transfer Granada – Malaga Airport on day of departure
Guide and support vehicle, transport of luggage
Route descriptions and cultural information
Individual Supplement € 210
Additional transfers – priced upon request depending on trajectory and group size
Flights to Spain
Travel insurance including bike tours (required)