"Take the High Road Tour"
8 Days Self Guided Cycling Tour in Spain
Andalucian White Villages Cycling Tour
START: Ronda FINISH: Ronda
|Duration*||8 days||7 nights||6 cycling days|
|Distance||202 km total||37 km daily avg - max 55km - min 20km|
|Grading||Moderate to Challenging - route includes some hills each day (460m-960m per day), including 2 days with significant climbs into the mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Route uses a mix of quiet roads, unsurfaced roads and tracks to keep you away from traffic as far as possible.|
|Availability**||All year round. Avoid Easter due to inflated accommodation costs|
|Price***||€895 per person based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room (en-suite)|
* Tour duration can be extended by adding rest days along the tour; let us know your preferences when you enquire.
** Check out the local annual weather conditions here. Start on any day of the week.
*** Solo traveller and single occupancy prices available upon request.
Enjoy a self guided Andalucian cycling adventure; cycle at your own pace through beautiful, unspoilt countryside, visiting some of western Andalucia’s most charming “pueblos blancos”. Stunning views, quiet roads and delicious local produce offer something special on every day of this week-long self guided cycle tour, giving you a delightful picture of rural Andalucian life.
You will cycle through 3 Andalucian provinces – Malaga, Sevilla and Cadiz - and pass through the heart of the protected area of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. You will enjoy a variety of mountain, valley, river and forest landscapes and see the different character and unique feel of many small white villages. This “High Road” tour includes two challenging and spectacular climbs through the high passes of “Puerto de Las Palomas” and “Puerto del Boyar”, so you can experience the full beauty and drama of the Sierra de Grazalema mountains.
Day 1 - Arrival in Ronda
Welcome to Ronda
Check in to your hotel and enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful clifftop town of Ronda. Briefing and bike set up will take place on your first evening
Day 2 Ronda to Olvera
35km - 461m ascent
From Ronda cycle northwards, past vineyards and olive groves. Lunch in Setenil de las Bodegas, under huge overhanging limestone cliffs. Ancient "cave houses" built into the rock form the basis of many village houses, shops and cafes. Cycle on through limestone gorge and farmland, up into Torre Alhaquime village, with great views across to Olvera's striking skyline of Arab fortress and twin-towered Renaissance church. A final section through the olives brings you to your overnight accommodation in a traditional Andalucian style hotel.
Day 3 - Olvera to Montellano
38km - 823m ascent
Today you ride along the Via Verde de la Sierra, a disused railway line through the mountains and olive groves, with long tunnels (automatic lighting), viaducts and a griffon vulture colony, perched high up on the rocks above the track. Lunch at one of the old station buildings before climbing up into the hills to your overnight hacienda. Peaceful, exclusive and with a hint of luxury. A table will be reserved for you in the hacienda restaurant for dinner.
Day 4 - Montellano to El Bosque
56km - 649m ascent
Ride through farmland, passing through olive, sunflower and cotton fields. Lunch in the small village of Prado del Rey - lots of little tapas bars and cafes close to the picturesque village square. Ride on past an area of natural inland salt deposits, Las Salinas de Iptuci, managed as salt flats since Roman times and where 300 tonnes of salt are still produced evey year. Overnight in El Bosque in a traditional village hotel; an old mill wheel and fountain on the village square provide a lovely spot for dinner.
Day 5 - El Bosque to Grazalema
20km - 959m ascent
Today's ride includes a steady 15km climb up "The Beast of El Boyar" to a high elevation of 1103m. The climb is tough and not to be taken lightly but it doesn't have to be tackled at race-pace, so should be perfectly do-able if you take your time. Enjoy the views along the way and you'll forget about the climb! Continue on to Grazalema, set beneath dramatic mountains with fabulous views out into the valley below. You will stay in the centre of the village, which is picturesque and well maintained with quite grand houses and a large central plaza and church. The village has lots of good restaurants for evening dining.
Day 6 - Grazalema to Montecorto
28km - 681m ascent
Another good but shorter climb today, up to Las Palomas Pass (1189m). Going in this direction, from Grazalema, is the easier way to enjoy this high Pass, as you ride up for 5km out of Grazalema and then have a fantastic 11km twisting descent down to the village of Zahara de la Sierra. All the way down you will have fabulous views of the beautiful blue lake below the village. Take a lunchtime stop here and then continue via an undulating road around the lake's edge to your spa cortijo accommodation, overlooking the lake. A table will be reserved for you for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Spa treatments can be pre-booked for you on request.
Day 7 - Montecorto to Ronda
33km - 942m ascent
Head back towards Ronda via Montejaque, a village nestled into the mountains with a lovely central square. Continue on to the Cueva del Gato ("Cat Cave"), a local beauty spot with a year-round waterfall which cascades from a cave mouth into a crystal clear, blue pool of water. From here it is a gradual climb back up to Ronda. You can shorten this day by either taking the train back to Ronda from a station near the Cat Cave or choosing to stay one night in a country boutique hotel with pool at the bottom of the hill up to Ronda. We will drive you to Ronda next day.
Day 8 - Depart Ronda
Safe Trip Home
Check out from your hotel and have a safe trip home or to your next destination.
Included in our prices:
Will I be fit enough?
Our self-guided tours are designed for leisure cyclists rather than cycling experts or people looking for large daily mileages. There are hills throughout the region which will need to be tackled but we keep daily distances manageable, particularly on days with more hills. Climbing up "The Beast" to Grazalema and then up to Las Palomas Pass is a challenge but take things at your own pace and anyone who is reasonably fit and happy to be on a bike for 4+ hours a day will enjoy this tour.
Just remember that in summer, higher temperatures can make cycling seem harder so we suggest starting soon after 9am and aiming to finish before 2pm.
Where will you be staying?
Double or twin room with en suite facilities in all locations.
Ronda hotel is normally 4****. In most of the villages you will stay in traditional, family-run Andalucian-style hotels close to the village centre, tapas bars and cafes.
Highlights are the hilltop hacienda near Montellano and the cortijo spa hotel overlooking Zahara lake.
In summer we prioritise hotels with pools.
What to Bring
The essential kit to enjoy your cycling holiday
- Helmet (bring you own or use ours - free of charge)
- Padded cycling shorts (essential kit for staying comfortable over a few days' riding)
- Your own saddle if you prefer - let us know if you are bringing one
- Cycling gloves
- Cycling tops or T shirts
- Sports bra (ladies only!)
- Cycling shoes (let us know if you want clip-in pedals) or trainers - firm soles are best.
- Sun cream and after-sun lotion
- Casual clothes, swimwear and footwear
- Health insurance policy document (for UK travellers, a European Health Insurance Card, EHIC, will give you access to reduced cost medical services in Spain but it is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as mountain rescue, repatriation costs or lost or stolen property. Therefore it is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy. Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC and many will waive the excess if you have one. https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startapplication.do
For winter riding
- extra body layers with long sleeves (thin thermal tops are great)
- leggings or cycling tights
- light waterproof/windproof jacket
- neck scarf / snood (great as sweat bands in the summer and for warmth in the winter)
- warm fleece and jacket for the evenings