- Riding the beautiful Serrania de Ronda, past white villages, chestnut groves and craggy sierras
- A fantastic mixture of great small rural hotels
- Exploring beautiful Ronda, perched on its magnificent gorge
- Reaching the dramatic Puerto de las Palomas
- Grazalema, nestled below atmospheric, limestone mountains
- Sipping local sherries with tasty tapas in the bodegas of Arcos
The local Skedaddle team member will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your first night’s accommodation in the hill top white village of Alcala de los Gazules. After bike fitting or un-packing, should you have brought your own bike, time will be taken to talk you through the week, route notes and maps, as well as to answer any queries that you may have.
Saying farewell to your guide, the only decision you’ll be left with is where to eat that evening. Alcala boasts a range of excellent traditional restaurants and it is definitely one of the places on your trip to try out the locally caught game. If you like the sound of succulent boar stew, venison or partridge then this is the place for you. If however, vegetarian food is more to your liking then we’ll point you in this direction instead.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,700 Metres Approx.
After a relaxing breakfast, packing your bags and leaving them at reception you will set off on your Andalucian adventure. Your route heads straight into Los Alcornocales Natural Park, with forested rolling hills as far as the eye can see. This ‘Mediterranean Jungle’ is the largest cork oak forest in Europe and has been described by well-known British botanist David Bellamy as ‘perhaps Europe’s last real wilderness area’. You may see wild boar and deer with griffon vultures and a variety of eagles soaring on thermals overhead.
The road climbs past the peaks of Picacho and Aljibe before undulating on high ground offering great views down to the west towards Jerez. At the Puerta de Galiz junction you will be introduced to your first ‘venta’ (traditional Andalucian roadside eatery)! They offer fantastic local dishes at terrific prices. Most will offer a ‘menu del dia’; a menu of the day which generally consists of three courses, wine or a soft drink and sometimes coffee for between 10-15 euros. Yum!
From the pass you’ll take a long sweeping undulating ridge road through stone pines and cork oaks, with glimpses of vast limestone peaks to your north. The route descends down through the lush Hozgarganta river valley on an almost traffic free road that drops then climbs and then descends dramatically down to the village of El Colmenar, a cork-cutters village hidden in the park next to the Guadiaro River.
Your accommodation for the evening is a beautiful ‘casa rural’, nestled by the river. This peaceful home from home is made up of a series of traditional village houses and is beautifully organic with rooms and terraces on many different levels.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,900 Metres Approx.
After a lovingly prepared breakfast of freshly baked bread, home-made jams and juices you’ll take on the first challenge of the day, with the climb out of the valley and up to Gaucin, a stunning medieval white village topped by a 13th century castle. The village sits high on a ridge almost 1,000 metres above the Mediterranean and commands views in every direction across the sierras.
The road that leaves Gaucin is a beauty. Staying high on the ridge that divides the deep valleys of the Genal and Gaudiaro rivers, the road twists and winds its way through the Serrania de Ronda mountains, passing numerous picturesque villages of Moorish origin, each with a cluster of bars and restaurants for refreshments. Moving onwards you’ll pass huge limestone cliffs, expansive chestnut groves and wild mountainsides before the road ahead rises and winds its way up a beautiful narrow gorge to the town of Atajate, renowned for its excellent olive oil.
Atajate is a great spot for lunch where you can either try a local restaurant or buy some supplies from a local shop for a picnic with a view. During the afternoon the route will take you through some fantastic mountain scenery, before turning onto a local road linking the most beautiful white villages in the Serrania.
You’ll pass Alpandeire with its splendid outsized church known locally as the Cathedral of the Serrania de Ronda. Between the villages, olives grow on the cultivated terraced hillsides from where you’ll have fantastic views of Igualeja’s huge chestnut forest which shows off its full fire of colours in the autumn. Accommodation for the night is at Juzcar in a beautifully preserved village inn. At present Juzcar is an incredible sight since being used as a film set in 2011 as the Smurf’s hometown! If you have the energy before dinner, a walk to the mid 18th century tin factory is well worth a visit.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,900 Metres Approx.
The day begins as you head into the sun past Los Riscos, an area of amazing weather-sculptured rock formations as you take on a decent climb out of the Genal valley to the edge of the Natural Park of Las Nieves (the snows!). You will pass numerous white villages surrounded by hillsides and cloaked with chestnut trees, a feast for the eyes if riding in autumn, as the leaves take on their golden autumnal colours.
Climbing higher you ride into the mountainsides of shattered limestone and complicated cliffs as the road snakes a beautiful thread across the hillsides.
The village of Pujerra is a pretty stop for a spot of lunch in the square before a fast traverse and final climb through a limestone gorge.
Continuing on your way you’ll pass wheat fields, pine forest and craggy mountainsides, until you take a thrilling descent down through vineyards and to beautiful Ronda and your accommodation for the night. It’s a delightful town to spend a night and wander the medieval cobbled lanes in search of the perfect bar or restaurant. Visit the museum of the infamous bandoleros; follow the history of bullfighting at Ronda’s elegant bullring or take your chance to relax on one of Ronda’s café terraces and watch the world go by in true Andalus style. The old town across the Puente Nuevo is a beautiful example of Moorish architecture and the views are awesome down into the Tajo gorge and the surrounding mountains.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 1,850 Metres Approx.
On this 4th day riding you’ll head into the heart of the awesome Grazalema range, rising over 1,600m, with bright jagged limestone peaks, holm oak and Spanish fir forests it is undoubtedly one of the most attractive parts of the itinerary and an unforgettable day on the bike.
You’ll begin the day by descending into the Gaudiaro river valley, passing the huge Cueva del Gata cave mouth and climbing up a narrow valley past olive and almond groves. You’ll zip past Montejaque snugly tucked into the rocky sierra beneath the symbolic El Hacho mountain.
After a short climb through farmland you glide on smooth tarmac on a beautiful descent to the shores of the Zahara-Gastor reservoir, with waters an incredible deep blue. The road along the waters’ edge will take you to the beautiful hillside white village of Zahara de la Sierra, dominated by its magnificent castle, a great place for a breather and maybe a spot of lunch.
The climb to come is probably the climb of the week; both in height gain and views that unfold as you turn each pedal. You will have more than enough time for the steadiest of climbs, so don’t worry. You’ll get great vistas back down to the reservoir and across to the conical Penon del Gastor mountain.
Around half way up the road, you will pass a view point that looks down into the Garganta Verde or (Green Canyon), a stunning deep gorge cut into the limestone by the Rio Verde. It’s often possible to see huge groups of griffon vultures soaring beside the canyon’s cliffs; an awesome sight. The top of the climb will bring you to Puerto de las Palomas (Pass of the Doves), and you will deserve a celebratory rest to admire your efforts.
Approaching the village of Grazalema itself; from above you’ll be in for a terrific sight of pan-tiled roofs and white washed buildings nestled beneath the Penon Grande and San Cristobal peaks. The village is famous for its hand woven woolen blankets and thistle heart omelette, but nothing compares to its beauty!
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 550 Metres Approx.
The final day begins with a steady climb up to the Boyar Pass that stands at over 1,000m. Views are terrific down into the Tavizna valley and across to the deep defile of Salto del Cabrero.
The only way to go from here is down; and wow, what a descent. In all you’ll drop over a thousand metres, passing the small village of Benamahoma, through the Albarracin range covered in pines, to the small town of El Bosque.
El Bosque could be a good choice for a lunch stop as its river, of the same name, is full of succulent trout (quite a rarity at such southerly latitudes). After resting from your exhilarating descent you’ll head out over rolling farmland of olives and cereals, through bursts of cork oak to the Guadalcacin Reservoir where lies the pretty village of Algar. Another great option for lunch, especially if game out of the local forests is your thing. Delicious!
Your route now heads north west through some beautiful rolling countryside, winding past the waters’ edge until reaching your final destination of Arcos de la Frontera. One of Andalucia’s most dramatically positioned pueblos blancos (white villages), Arcos balances atop a rocky limestone ridge, its whitewashed houses and stone castle walls stopping abruptly as a sheer cliff face plunges down to the fertile valley of the river Guadalete below. Declared a national historic-artistic monument in 1962 in recognition of its exceptional architecture and impressive location, the old town is a tangled labyrinth of cobbled streets that lead up to a sandstone castle, the Castillo de los Arcos. As you’d expect from such a spectacular vantage point, there are exhilarating views over the town and the rolling plain below.
As Arcos is perched on the top of a huge cliff, you’ll have one more climb before you can sit admiring the dramatic views across the Bornos lake with a celebratory cerveza! Yeah. Felizidades!
- Meals: Breakfast
Depending on flight times, you may have time to spend the morning exploring the steep narrow alleyways and enjoying a last café con leche before your short journey back to the airport and onward flight connections.
This fantastic place to place touring trip is 100% on road, taking you through beautiful Andalucia on mountain roads and back-lanes with almost no traffic. The roads tend to be excellently surfaced with lashings of smooth blacktop. There are some meaty climbs taking you over 1,000m/3280ft, but there is plenty of time to enjoy the scenery on the way up. The trip is designed for the more laid back roadie with a good level of basic fitness.
Road Cycling Grade
Average distances around 70-90 km with occasional challenging climbs
A moderately difficult tour somewhere slightly tougher than a Grade 2, but not as difficult as Grade 3
Some long days and significant climbs
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?
You’re reasonably fit and ride frequently at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for a number of hours at a time. You do enjoy an occasional challenge and quite happy climbing but you‘re unlikely to be found daydreaming about ticking off all the famous cols of the Tour de France. That said the prospect of tackling a semi-serious to serious mountain pass doesn’t fill you with dread. You enjoy the social aspect of cycling and look forward to the occasional coffee-stop as much as the riding itself. You have good control of your bike and feel confident in your skills to ascend and descend safely. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling, you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 2-3 would be a good option for you.
Dates & Prices
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) GPS unit with GPX route files installed
F) Luggage transfers
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
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
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
Our travel guide to 2021
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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…
Val, NorthumberlandEverything we hoped for!
We had a lovely holiday. It was everything we hoped it would be. The weather was fantastic, cycling wonderful and scenery spectacular, changing every day, and gorgeous villages. It all went very smoothly, from booking to pick up and drop off at the airport (many thanks). What a lovely part of the world.
Every day had something different, the route was well thought out, challenging at times although always achievable. Scenery fantastic. My favourite day was from Ronda to Grazalema. Great cycling, lots to see on the way, El Lago great place for lunch and then the climb to the Puerto de las Palomas, wonderful scenery and what a sense of achievement to reach the top. But it didn’t end there, the descent to Grazelema was brilliant and the village itself was lovely.
Clive, SurreyFantastic service!
The service, both in the UK and Spain, was fantastic. Even when our original hotel was overbooked in Ronda we were found great alternative in the same street. The printed guides were perfect for poor naigators like myself, the routes were great and the airport transfers punctual and friendly.