Day 1: Meet in Malaga at noon, or Granada for dinner
Meet in Malaga for a transfer to Granada at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in time for an independent afternoon at the Alhambra, and dinner. The Alhambra is sometimes called the most sensual architecture on earth, inspired by battle victory and incorporating water as a central theme. If you have time or arrive early, you can also take a walk through the silk markets or the Moorish neighbourhood of Albayzin. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfasts.)
Alhambra Palace Hotel (guided trips) or Hotel El Ladron de Agua, Granada (self-guided trips)
Day 2: 47 miles/76km. Granada to Periana
Ride from just outside Granada on a quiet, level road with bike lanes. After warming up, the hilliness begins, taking you into towns like Alhama de Granada, where you can visit or bathe in a cistern used to collect healing water for centuries. Alhama was built in the Caliphate style on a Roman foundation. Your lodging provides an exceptional perspective, perched on a hillside overlooking the town. BLD
Casa Rural Cantueso, Periana
Day 3: 48 miles/78km. Periana to Antequera
A rolling ride through quintessential Andalucian landscapes, today gives you ample opportunity to enjoy the route at your own pace, perhaps taking a side trip the market town of Archidona, famous for its octagonal town plaza. Tonight is spent near medieval Antequera - one of Andalucia's architectural showpieces. An optional guided walking tour of the town will give you the chance to visit the myriad gothic, baroque and renaissance monasteries and churches. BLD
Parador de Antequera or Hotel El Fuente del Sol, Joya, Antequera
Day 4: 51 miles/83km. Antequera to Ronda
Leaving Antequera, the scenery changes dramatically. Follow a remote road below towering, vulture and eagle-guarded peaks of the Sierra de Torcal, on the way to Ardales Natural Park. Enormous lakeland vistas, pine forests and exotic birdlife provide a charming background for your lakeshore picnic lunch and swim. Continue through remote countryside. Stop for a picnic lunch at a viewpoint overlooking the Sierra de las Nieves, whose peaks are often dusted with snow through much of the winter. This is a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve. Afternoon ride through Serranía de Ronda, known as a barrier resisting both the Moors and the Christians in their time. From Puerto del Viento, ride downhill all the way to the panoramic town of Ronda, famous for its September bullfights, bandits and smugglers, and a highlight of this trip. Its views are spectacular, and it is well worth spending the evening exploring the backstreets and gazing at the bridge spanning the famous gorge. BLD
Parador Ronda or Hotel Alavera de los Baños, Ronda
Day 5: Hiking near Ronda. 11 miles/17km or shorter options.
Short transfer to start hiking into the Biosphere Reserve of the Sierra de las Nieves on a long-distance footpath. Shorter alternatives are available for independent exploration from Ronda. B
Day 6: 60 miles/98km. Ronda to Arcos de la Frontera
Today’s ride takes you into what is considered one of Spain's finest wilderness areas, the Sierra de Grazalerna Nature reserve. Classified with a high conservation rating, the wealth of plantlife and woodland is surprising! Overhead are golden eagles, vultures and buzzards, and deer bound across the roads. There are vast tracts of cork oak forests, through which the slow, steady descents are sheer joy. The approach to Arcos de la Frontera - the gateway between the sierras and the plains is a fantastic sight, perched overlooking your approach. You can ride up into narrow twisting streets along the Moorish-inspired architecture, to finish with a refreshment on your terrace with splendid views over the Guadalquivir Plains. BLD
Parador Arcos de la Frontera, Arcos de la Frontera
Day 7: Up to 61 miles/100km
Today's ride takes you across the watershed of the Grazalema Sierras and through the northern edge of the Alcornocales Nature Reserve, one of Europe‘s largest forests. Follow a twisting road by lakes, through valleys of eucalyptus and palms, and over cork oak forested hills. Your lakeside picnic, on a typically warm Andalucia day, should follow or finish with a beautiful swim. Afterward, see how far you can ride toward the coast near Gibraltar before we pick you up to transfer you to Malaga for farewells. BL
Andalucia, Spain’s enchanting southern province, holds a lot to attract the serious cyclist. As long as one avoids the coast, there are fantastically quiet and stupendously beautiful rides through landscapes like no other. The roads frequently follow the landscape without alteration, providing an endlessly varied undulation of hills, descents and curves, all through mind-blowing scenery and between uniquely pretty “pueblos blancos” – Andalucia‘s white towns that contrast so beautifully with their natural surroundings. You can glide through vast nature reserves with golden eagles and buzzards overhead, shady cork oak forests, and across wide open plateaux, stopping to visit labyrinthine caves decorated with 25,000-year-old art, or to sip espressos and eat tapas on village terraces. Don Quixote tilted his windmills here, and travelling on horseback in 1750, Etienne de Silhouette described it as “the best part of all Spain, the most fertile, the richest; in short, the one in which all of Nature’s gifts have been distributed”. Landscapes apart, Andalucia is also one of the great melting-pots of the Mediterranean. It is the westernmost meeting-place of the pre-historic migrants from the Greek islands and later the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. Later came great waves of invading Moors, Berbers, and Syrians. Their kingdom,“Al-Andalus”, lasted over 700 years, leaving distinctive traditions and architecture still evident in many villages, jasmine-scented courtyards and castellated fortresses. The charm of this rural region is enhanced by abundant greetings from the impossibly polite and often outstandingly beautiful descendants of such a cosmopolitan past. We hope you can come and meet some of them with us.
We recommend arriving a day early, to acclimatize and enjoy Malaga or Granada. There are some good climbs and descents on this ride, and it’s best to feel fresh and ready at the start!
||Granada, 18:00, day one. Complimentary transfers from Malaga leave Malaga airport 11:30 or Parador Malaga Gibralfaro at noon.
||Malaga airport or Parador Malaga Gibralfaro,Malaga, 18:00, day seven. Transfers to Granada can be arranged.
||US 3135 C 3895 (per person, 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 5 dinners, luggage handling, guide and van support, maps and route notes).
||US 2855 C 3595 (per person, 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, luggage transfers, maps and route notes).
||US 785 C 970
||Hybrid: US 195 C 225 Full Carbon Racing: US 345 C 395
|2015 Guided Dates:
||By Request. (learn more)
|Self-guided & Self-supported Dates:
||You choose! We aim to confirm within 48 hours.
||Best times are October to mid-December and mid-February to late April. September can be hot, but can also allow you to see the annual bullfights in Ronda.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
“Joliane was awesome! Although this was a new route and she working with a new local guide …she did a really great job of taking care of us and anticipating our needs.” - Marci Valentine
“We loved the trip…Freewheeling did its usual outstanding job.”
– Cas and Anne
“As a tour operator and a trainer for the tourism industry, I can say whole heartedly the service from start to end has been top notch. I appreciate the professionalism, the friendly notes/phone calls from the office, and going above and beyond to make this trip happen for us. Thank you. This company's staff will be used as an example of service excellence in my next training workshop.”
– Rosanna S.
“The trip was very well organized and we felt special everyday as we were treated so well. We liked that the guides were very attentive to the bikes each day and made the necessary changes with ease.”
- Tracy & Ken L.