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Spain

Sierras Explorer

Self-Guided Mountain Bike Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

7 days

Prices from

£1,195 P.P.
Spain

Sierras Explorer

Self-Guided Mountain Bike Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

7 days

Prices from

£1,195 P.P.
BOOK NOW
A fun and flexible mountain biking holiday, taking you from the impressive mountain town of Ronda in the high sierras to the lively historical town of Tarifa on the wild Costa de la Luz. On a mixture of enjoyable single-track and dirt tracks, this relaxed week of biking has an emphasis on appreciating this beautiful area by bike. That said there are some decent climbs to get your legs into and earn your post ride vino.
The route takes in many contrasting landscapes of this western area of Andalucia including the awesome limestone mountains of the Grazelema Natural Park, one of the first protected areas on the peninsular, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977.
You’ll traverse the Alcornocales Natural Park, a vast area of wilderness, home to the peninsula’s largest cork oak forest that disappears across rolling hills as far as the eye can see. You’ll arrive at the coast at the western end of the Straits of Gibraltar, a coastal reserve blessed with stunning vistas across to Morocco. The Costa de la Luz boasts wild, white sandy beaches and dunes backed by pine-clad forests and rocky outcrops.
Having triumphantly completed four days of biking, you’ll eventually reach the most southerly point of continental Europe and the ancient port of Tarifa. This attractive fun-loving town is perfect for a final celebration, with its winding cobbled lanes filled with an eclectic mix of inviting bars and restaurants. Along the route there will be chance to spend some rewarding time in Ronda to marvel at the Tajo Gorge and amazing Moorish architecture. A visit to the important Palaeolithic art of the Pileta caves, and a stroll around the ancient tombs of Bacinete will give you a unique insight into the civilisations that have lived in this fascinating corner of Spain.
Aimed at a wide range of riders this holiday demands a moderate level of fitness but with added uplift transfers on key days we make sure to showcase the most enjoyable riding from the region. The technical riding is of a modest level, so very achievable by regular mountain bikers.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Exploring the historical town of Ronda
  • Riding the slick Guadiaro single-track
  • The incredible descent through the Alcornocales to the white hilltop town of Jimena
  • Spending a night in the beautiful setting of a 13th century Moorish castle.
  • Riding the shores of the Straits of Gibraltar past secluded coves and ancient watchtowers
  • Tapas bar hopping in the fun-filled town of Tarifa

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Malaga Airport - Transfer to Ronda

Following your flights into Malaga, your Skedaddle representative will meet you for your transfer to the magnificent town of Ronda, dramatically perched on the side of the El Tajo gorge.

After bike fitting (if renting) and/or assembly, you’ll hopefully have some time to explore Ronda at your leisure. The old town is a beautiful example of Moorish architecture. Cobbled streets wind between the imposing white walls of palaces and grand residences, clinging to sandstone cliffs. Visit the museum of the infamous bandoleros, follow the history of bullfighting at Ronda’s bullring or relax on one of the many café terraces and watch the world go by in true Andaluz style.

Day 2
Ronda to Jimera de Libar
20 Miles / 32 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast you’ll embark on your adventure. Descending down to the Arab bridge and baths you’ll take in a totally different view of the Tajo, until you descend along the clifftops through pines on sandstone single-track. The views of clifftop Ronda are unforgettable in the morning light.

The trail drops swiftly to the banks of the Rio Guadiaro where the first decent climb will take you onto a limestone plateau and the Ermita de Montejaque. The views into the Grazalema mountains are stunning as well as the descent down through broom lines single-track deep into the Guadiaro valley to the Cueva del Gato (Cat’s Cave) where you can take a breather for lunch. Many enjoy a dip in the cooling pools that are fed from this impressive resurgence cave!

After a lazy lunch it’s back on the bikes for an afternoon classic that takes in the Guadiaro flow single-tracks, giving exhilarating section after section, hemmed in between lofty limestone peaks. There are plenty of options for the afternoon. Climb and descend great trails until you can’t descend anymore or chill back at the hotel.

Jimera de Libar, home for the night, is a beautiful, ancient white village that hugs the valley side and offers charming rural accommodation and fabulous local produce to re-fuel.

Day 3
Jimera de Libar to Colmenar
28 Miles / 45 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast we gently ease you into the day by sliding into snaking trails that glide down the valley, taking in the odd climb that’ll set you up for the next trail. Passing the pretty hillside villages of Atajate and Cortes de la Frontera you’ll traverse through beautiful scenery, before tackling the climb of the day up above 1000metres to a mountain ridge and the dramatically situated village of Gaucin.

Gaucin is known as ‘El Balcon de la Sierra’ for good reason! The village looks out across the mountains to the Mediterranean and beyond to the Riff mountains in Morocco. Looking inland, the Serrania de Ronda, the limestone Grazalema range and the vast Alcornocales forest park take centre stage.

Following lunch, entering the beautiful densely-forested Los Alcornocales Natural Park, you may see wild boar, deer or griffon vultures and a variety of eagles soaring on thermals overhead.

The series of trails that drop into the bottom of the valley are fun-filled and twist and wind through the forest with ease. On the last climb you’ll meander your way past the Palancar de Pulgar gorge until you drop on a series of switchbacks to the cork cutters village of El Colmenar on the River Guadiaro. Bed for the night is a rural inn with an exquisite organic kitchen!

Day 4
Colmenar to Castillo de Castellar
30 Miles / 48 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Following breakfast you’ll say goodbye to your lovely hosts and transfer in a minibus high into the dense forest. A wild and undulating trail through dense cork oaks and you’ll arrive at the Penones Pass. The magnificent views of the Alcornocales forest park blanketed over the never ending ridges stretch as far as the eyes can see. A fast undulating traverse along a high ridge will set you up for the incredible 800 metre long sweeping descent through virgin forest. You’ll be laughing all the way down to the stunning rhododendron-lined Hozgarganta river for a delicious picnic lunch.

You’ll cruise into Jimena de la Frontera, a white hill town topped by a magnificent Moorish castle with great views across the surrounding sierras. A steep climb to the castle introduces you to a fun rocky descent into the lush river valley where you’ll pass 10th century water mills and an 18th century artillery factory that made cannonballs for the Spanish Armada.

The afternoon ride takes in some easy fun kilometres before a final climb back into the forest links with a thrilling ribbon of single-track, bringing you to the enchanting ‘eagles nest’ village of Castillo de Castellar. The village is encircled by a 13th century Moorish fortress and the hotel holds the privileged position in the castle and gate house. The sunset over the reservoir below the village and across the hills is simply stunning.

Day 5
Castillo de Castellar to Tarifa
15 Miles / 24 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

You’ll be picked up in the morning and transferred to the Straits of Gibraltar. From here, it’s a truly stunning ride taking you from a view point above the Straits on a thrilling traverse. You’ll twist and dip and then descend dramatically past ancient mills to the shores at the tiny fishing village at Guadalmesi, with many a small cove for a refreshing dip.

It’s a brilliant spot for a relaxing refuel and maybe a chance to try the delicious local air-cured tuna among other delicacies! A tranquil siesta will set you up to complete your journey as you take a beautiful trail along the shores of the Straits, past small coves, fishermen and isolated smallholdings. The views are magnificent looking across to Morocco’s Rif Mountains and the imposing Jebel Musa Mountain.

A range of undulating fast tracks will take you along the coast and all the way to your accommodation. Some may want to have one last refreshing swim before heading into the setting sun towards Tarifa, the most southerly point of mainland Europe. Tarifa is a beautiful fishing town perched on the edge of Europe. The Moors, who left their mark, especially in its architecture, once ruled this strategically located town. The winding cobbled streets leading to tiny flower-filled squares are a joy to wonder around. A great place to enjoy the last two evenings of the tour.

Day 6
Exploring Tarifa
19 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After a short transfer you’ll hop on your bikes for a fantastic traverse of the southern part of the Alcornocales forest. Tarifa is Skedaddle Espana’s home base so the local team will take you through all their favourite trails for a truly brilliant day, taking you through diverse landscapes from dense forests to the Atlantic coast.

Following an undulating trail you’ll pick up the route of the GR7, a long distance trek that stretches from the most southern tip of mainland Europe at Tarifa, all the way to Athens! You’ll cruise past the imposing Sierra del Nino and into a long swooping descent to the splendidly situated hamlet of Saladavieja. It sits above the plains of La Janda, once a huge freshwater lake, that stretches miles into the distance. The wetlands are now a haven for birds migrating between Europe and Africa.

At the head of the Jara Valley you’ll be rewarded with the first views of the Atlantic and across to the crescent bay of Tangiers in Morocco. Skirting beneath the Sierra de Fates views of the ocean open up as you pass bubbling streams to try some tasty trails that lead down to the wild Atlantic where you can lunch beneath Umbrella Pines. Post lunch, you’ll ride along La Pena hillside to take on thrilling trails and then along the Atlantic coastline back to Tarifa.

Day 7
Departure Tarifa - Transfer to Malaga Airport
  • Meals: Breakfast

Time to pack those bags for the last time before getting on the road to the airport for your flights home.

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The Cycling

Terrain

This place to place off-road trip meanders its way through the countryside on a variety of tracks and vehicle width paths mostly with good solid surfaces. There are some short, looser, bumpier sections and particularly along the coast sandy trails are inevitable. Sections of quiet roads are used to link up the trails and there is some fun, easy singletrack to navigate. Andalucia is mountainous and the journey throws up some decent climbs (especially on day 2!), however you’ll be rewarded with plenty of downhill fun too. There are options on most days, generally giving easier or harder choices.

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Mountain Biking Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day

Aimed at regular cyclists who have a degree of off road experience

Some moderate and difficult technical sections

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

If you have some experience of off road riding on a variety of terrain, and would like to do more, a grade 3 trip could be for you. These holidays give you elements of our higher grade trips but at a manageable level with sections of singletrack (narrow trails wide enough for one rider) and shorter steep sections (both up and down) which require more bike handling ability. A day’s ride can see you on the trails for around 8 hours (with breaks) and covering between 25-50 miles depending on the terrain. If you’re generally fit and manage to ride regularly this could be the level for you.

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Dates & Prices

2021 Daily departures available between 05 Apr and 30 Nov (no departures available through July and August)

Season 1 For trips starting between (and inclusive of) the 05 Apr and the 30 Apr or between the 01 Oct and the 30 Nov: £1195pp.

Season 2 For trips starting between (and inclusive of) the 01 May and the 30 Jun or the 01 Sep and the 30 Sep: £1345pp.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
7 days
Price
£1,195.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Local representative (with welcome meeting)

D) Detailed route notes and maps

E) Luggage transfers

F) 3 vehicle uplifts

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Malaga airport (AGP)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Malaga airport (AGP)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance (available to UK residents if required)

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday.

For this tour we ask that you fly into and back from Malaga airport (AGP). Please aim to arrive before 17.00 and depart after 10.00.

For those flying from the UK, there are numerous direct flight options to Malaga from London and regional airports, with a variety of airlines.

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements as we need to confirm your arrival and departure times are suitable for the airport transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite in 2/3 star hotels or guesthouses. Family run, personable, charming, comfortable and homely are boxes we tick when looking for places to stay. A million miles away from chain style hotels all with unique touches.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. For this trip the bikes are typically very good mountain bikes featuring full suspension, disc brakes and good quality components. We can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

If you choose to rent a bike from us you are welcome to bring your own saddle with you, and if you would like to use SPD/clipless pedals you will need to bring these with you.

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News, Reviews & Stories

The Story Behind: Sierras Explorer

A new instalment of a true classic, a mountain biking tour that everyone can do!

Meet our partners and hosts

Hear from a few of the people that help make our Skedaddle tours so special!

Cycling in Spain

Here's 8 things you’ll only understand if you’ve been cycling in Spain…

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