- 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 scenery was truly spectacular and the quiet roads offered some superb cycling. The guides were great and we particularly enjoyed the ‘very relaxed’ manner in which the holiday was run and also fabulous lunches!
You’ll be met on arrival and transferred to your first night’s accommodation in the hill-top white village of Medina Sidonia. Considered as the oldest city in Europe, this elevated natural fort was founded by the Phoenicians. Today it’s a fascinating labyrinth of narrow lanes and whitewash, topped by a Roman archaeological complex.
We will have time to unpack and unwind before our first evening dinner together as a group. We’ll build bikes on arrival and make sure that everything is fully functioning. This is also the time for anyone renting to be fitted to their rental bike.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,700 Metres Approx.
Today marks the start of our adventure and we start with a route which 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 as Europe’s last real wilderness area, so we may well 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 towards Jerez.
From the pass we’ll take a long sweeping undulating ridge road through stone pines and cork oaks, with glimpses of vast limestone peaks to our 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.
Our 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, lunch
- Ascent: 1,450 Metres Approx.
After a lovingly prepared breakfast of freshly baked bread, home-made jams and juices we’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 a thousand 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.
During the afternoon the route will take us through some fantastic mountain scenery, before turning onto a local road linking the most beautiful white villages in the Serrania.
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, lunch
- Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.
The day begins as we head into the sun, past Los Riscos, an area of amazing weather sculptured rock formations as we take on a satisfying climb out of the Genal valley, to the edge of the Natural Park of Las Nieves (the snows!). We will pass numerous white villages surrounded by hillsides cloaked with chestnut trees, a feast for the eyes as the leaves take on their autumn colours.
Climbing higher we ride into the mountainsides of shattered limestone and complex cliffs as the road snakes a beautiful thread across the hillsides.
The village of Pujerra is a pretty stop for our picnic lunch in the square before a fast traverse and final climb through a limestone gorge.
Continuing on our way we’ll pass wheat fields, pine forest and craggy mountainsides, until we take a thrilling descent down through vineyards and to beautiful Ronda and our 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 Andaluz 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, lunch
- Ascent: 1,750 Metres Approx.
Today we’ll head into the heart of the awesome Grazalema, which is undoubtedly one of the most attractive parts of the tour and makes for an amazing day on the bike.
Our day begins 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. After a short climb through farmland we’ve a beautiful descent to the shores of the Zahara-Gastor reservoir. The road along the waters’ edge will take us to the beautiful hillside white village of Zahara de la Sierra, dominated by its magnificent castle.
The climb to come is probably the climb of the week; both in height gain and the views that unfold with each pedal stroke. At the half way point, we pass a viewpoint 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 here. The top of the climb will bring us to Puerto de las Palomas and a well deserved rest. From this lofty vantage point we’ll be able to make out the pan-tiled roofs and white washed buildings of our resting place for the night Grazalema, which nestles below the peaks of Penon Grande and San Cristobal.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,000 Metres Approx.
The final day of riding begins with a steady climb up to the Boyar Pass that stands at over 1,000m. Views are terrific down into the valley and across to the Salto del Cabrero.
The only way to go from here is down; and wow, what a descent. In all we’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.
After resting from your descent we’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.
Our 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, we’ll have one more climb before we all sit admiring the dramatic views across the Bornos lake with a celebratory cerveza!
This fantastic place to place trip is 100% on tarmac, taking you through beautiful Andalucia on mountain roads and back-lanes with almost no traffic. You’ll start the trip up high in the mountains, finishing on the shores of the wild Atlantic. The roads tend to be well surfaced with smooth tarmac. There is some climbing along the way, but there is plenty of time to enjoy the scenery on the way up. The trip is designed for road cyclists with a good level of fitness.
Road Cycling Grade
Average distances around 40 – 60 miles / 70-90 km
A moderately difficult tour
Slightly tougher than a Grade 2 but not as difficult as Grade 3
Occasional challenging 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.
We had a great time, it was fantastic to be away in such beautiful scenery on my bike over New Year. My favourite day was over the Puerta de los Palomas. Our tour leader and the team were fantastic!
Dates & Prices
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Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Malaga airport (AGP)
G) 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
Cycling in Spain
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Meet our partners and hosts
Hear from a few of the people that help make our Skedaddle tours so special!
Bridget, London, UKGlorious weather and scenery...
The hotel in Ronda where we stayed for 2 nights was brilliant – breakfast was a real treat! We had glorious weather and a great time – it was fantastic to be away in such beautiful scenery on my bike over New Year. Ride refreshments were as they needed to be. Good mix of bananas, peanuts and sweets. The best thing about the food was the glorious salads that the guides made and set up on a lovely picnic table each day. Spinach, avocado, etc – this is where I got my daily veg fix. My favourite day was over the Puerta de los Palomas. Glorious weather and scenery, truly.
My hired bike was also good, and the team accommodated my request for a shorter stem which was great, and meant my bike fit me perfectly! Our tour leader was fantastic. Helping with luggage, explaining and answering any questions and the lunches provided by both guides were fantastic.
Each day had its stunning parts. The descent to Juzcar I would love to do again, also in the opposite direction. The area around Grazalema is breathtaking as well. The day to Puerto de las Palomas was the absolute highlight for me. Stunning scenery and great to do an actual Vuelta climb.
Bettina, Hampshire, UKGreat relaxed atmosphere, a fabulous week!
A fabulous way to spend a week over the New Year period. The mountainous scenery was truly spectacular and the quiet roads offered some superb cycling, climbing and descents. We were lucky with the weather and it was better than I had expected with blue skies and sunshine. The guides were great and we particularly enjoyed the “very relaxed” manner in which the holiday was run; also fabulous lunches. Loved the coffee stops (and a G&T at the end of the ride).
Abigail, London, UKThe lunches were amazing
The hotel the first night was great fun and very charming. We all adored the Ronda hotel, which was the highlight of the week! The hotel we stayed in the last night was lovely too. The lunches were amazing, especially the guide’s salads! My favourite day was new year’s day cycling around Ronda, as the roads had no cars at all and the scenery was magnificent.