‘Tour’. Just the mention of the word might conjure up visions of a guide with an umbrella droning on to a large group of disinterested tourists as they traipse round a series of overcrowded…
If you enjoy getting out on the bike, Andalucia is the perfect holiday destination. With year-round sunshine and plenty of undulating coastal roads, challenging mountain climbs, city tours and family-friendly cycle paths, Andalucia has something for everyone of the two-wheeled inclination.
The region is a magnet for cyclists so you won’t be alone. There’s plenty of evidence of other cyclists online – on Strava.com, Mapmyride.com and Endomondo.com. And as well as giving you an idea of the best routes in your area, some have details of local cycling groups – perfect if you don’t fancy riding solo.
To whet your wheels, we’ve pulled together our favourite cycling routes in Andalucia. As well as a family route, there are some more challenging road biking rides – all showcasing this region at its finest. You will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts. And you’ll no doubt want to come back and do them again and again.
Via Verde de la Sierra
Distance – 35.6km
Elevation – 473m
‘Via Verdes’ are unused Spanish railways lines, which have been transformed into car-free routes for cycling, hiking and other leisure pursuits. Surrounded by breath-taking scenery and, for the most part, flat, they’re ideal for family or group rides with less confident cyclists. If you want to do this as a day trip with your family, Toma & Coe can organise it all for you.
The award-winning Via Verde de la Sierra in Cadiz is 35.6km of spectacular cycling. Running from the village of Olvera through to Puerto Serrano, it’s truly a taste of authentic Andalucia. A total of thirty tunnels provide cooling interludes as you pedal across bridges and viaducts through valleys, meadows and riverbanks. And with points of ecological interest along the way, there’s plenty to see too.
Approximately halfway through the route, you’ll find the visitor’s centre for the Peñón de Zaframagón nature reserve, which houses one of Europe’s largest resting colonies of Griffon Vultures. And further on, just past Coripe station, is the Chaparro de la Vega – a 700-yr old holm oak with branches that spread over 28m.
Pitstops: With eateries either in Olvera or Puerto Serrano, it’s advisable to bring food, water and snacks. Bike hire is available in Olvera by companies including Sesca. And these will provide a taxi back from Puerto Serrano in case you’re not quite up to the gentle uphill back to Olvera. You’ll need to order in advance though.
Table Mountain & The Montes de Malaga
Distance – 79.3km
Elevation – 1,524m
During the weekends, you’ll see numerous lycra-clad ciclistas climbing the A-7000 or A-7001 to reach the Montes de Malaga. This route goes further east, rewarding you with incredible views of the Almijaras, Sierra de Loja and Antequera as well as the Montes de Malaga. Heaven.
Starting in Rincon De La Victoria, warm up the legs for 20km along the N340 coastal road seafront before heading inland at Torre del Mar on the N340a.
On reaching Velez-Malaga, find the quieter A-725 and, just before Trapiche, turn left and cross the A-356 to reach the MA-3113. From here, you start a gentle ascent through the valley. Passing the quaint little pueblos of Triana, Benamargosa and Salto del Negro, you soon turn left onto the MA-3105. And from here, there’s a challenging climb to the Moorish village of Comares atop Table Mountain. Cycle up through the village walls and reward yourself with panoramic views from the Balcon de la Axarquia.
Getting back onto the MA-311 (where the MA-3105 ends), wind your way up the hill and drink in the views, before reaching a plateau where the Montes de Malaga come into sight. After a delightful swoosh on top of the world, descend into the valley, taking care to turn left before Olias and right at Totalan to come back to Rincon de La Victoria at the end of the MA-3202.
Pitstops: There are plenty of chiringuitos for a cuppa, fuel or end of ride copa in Rincon de La Victoria and Benajarafe. For home-cooked Spanish cuisine en-route, try the restaurants near the Balcon de la Axarquia in Comares, or the well-known Table Mountain restaurant in Los Ventorros just past Comares.
Exploring Moorish Pueblos on the Ruta del Mudejar
Distance – 73.1km
Elevation – 1,723m
Starting in Caleta de Velez, spin the legs along the N340 coastal road before pedalling inland through Velez-Malaga and Trapiche. Past these, you ascend gently through the valley before turning right onto the Ruta de Mudejar – a tourist route celebrating five Moorish mountain pueblos in this part of the Axarquia.
From here, there’s a steady climb to Canillas de Aceituno. Then an undulating winding road takes you through the mountains to Sedella, Salares, Canillas de Albaida and finally Competa. Then you descend into Torrox before making your way back to Caleta de Velez along the coastal road.
Along the way, you’re rewarded with incredible views – the Montes de Malaga and Antequera as you climb out of the valley. Once Canillas de Aceituno is in sight, the mighty Maroma comes into view. And as you descend towards Torrox, the eastern Sierra de Almijara crowd the skyline.
Pitstops: Stop for refreshment or something more substantial in the bustling villages of Canillas de Aceituno or Competa. And perhaps a celebratory cerveza and tapa on the beachfront promenade at Caleta de Velez.
Riding The Coastal Route to Cerro Gordo Natural Park
Distance – 63.5km
Elevation – 1,170km
The N340 coastal road east of Malaga has some of the finest cycling in Europe. Sandwiched between the expansive Mediterranean and the Almijara mountain range, the views are truly awesome. And with the added bonus of a sea breeze, riding these undulating roads is a dream.
The stretch between Caleta de Velez and La Herradura passes tourism hotspots El Morche, Torrox Costa and Nerja before reaching the picturesque Cerro Gordo Natural Park. Here, the road becomes quieter, framed by dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches and rocky outcrops.
The Cerro Gordo turn-off is signposted, just before you enter a tunnel. Take this right and do the short but exhilarating climb to the viewpoint. From here, you can see Torre del Mar and, on a clear day, the mountains of Malaga. To the other side, you’ll see the secluded horseshoe bay of La Herradura – if you’re lucky with the Sierra Nevada peaking over the top.
Pitstops: The town roads are lined with bustling cafes and restaurants and you’ll find chiringuitos in Torrox Costa and just before Nerja. There is a lovely Mirador restaurant on Cerro Gordo, but don’t count on it being open.
Climbing the Rio Verde to Meson Los Prados
Distance – 65.1km
Elevation – 1,555m
Don’t be fooled by the length of this ride. Cyclists come from all over to cycle this route, which is in part categorised as HC (hard as nails) by Strava. But it’s not just about the challenge. The views are truly spectacular. And when you ride it, you’re likely to see plenty of other cyclists adding it to their ride portfolio.
It’s a ‘there and back’ on the old ‘main’ road between Almuñecar and Granada. It’s easy to find (once you’ve survived ‘death by roundabout’ in Almuñecar). You just find the A4050 for Jete and Otivar. Then you follow it to the top.
As you climb, the views change from lush avocado groves carpeting the valley, to dramatic mountains and rocky outcrops, to a shaded forest on the plateau at the top.
NB: Adding to this route’s exhilaration quotient, the road is vertiginous and hairpins sharp in parts. There are sometimes fallen rocks near the top. So take care when descending.
Pitstops: There are plenty of good restaurants and eateries in Jete and Otivar. There is also the well-located Meson Los Prados restaurant – frequented by cyclists – at the top.
Malaga to Cadiz: The Ronda – Grazalema Loop
Distance – 69.3km
Elevation – 1,467m
If you’re staying along the Costa del Sol, a trip to Ronda will be high on your wishlist. This ride starts and ends there, giving you a chance to wander around the historic town and check out the views from its jaw-dropping gorge. It also crosses into Cadiz, to the pretty village of Grazalema, which nestles in the foothills of the Sierra de Pinar. In fact, if you are staying in Cadiz province, you could even start and end from there.
After leaving Ronda, the ride climbs steadily on the A-374 – a reasonably busy road with good-sized hard shoulder. Then, after 10km, take the left fork onto the A-372 and follow this to Grazalema. This beautiful undulating road has cork forests, the occasional mountain goat and incredible views across the valley.
After taking a look (and perhaps refuelling) in Grazalema, take a left and then descend the valley on the CA-9123. Shortly after, turn right on the A-2300* and make your way towards Montecorto. From here, you can get back onto the A-374 and make your way back to Ronda. Or you can bypass this for 6km on the more scenic MA-8404 before making your way back to the A-374 and climbing back to Ronda for a celebratory cerveza.
*Take a left here to make the ride a solid 100km, circling the delightful Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir Strava.com
Pitstops: There are lots of great places to dine or buy artisan delicacies in Ronda and Grazalema. Take the 100km option and you could fuel up while drinking in the dreamy views of the reservoir at El Mogote another place in Algodonales.
NB: If leaving from Ronda, be aware that the town adds 12km and a good 280m climb to the ride. So parking and starting on the outskirts near the A374 will give your legs a break.
Thanks to the abundance of cyclists, cars usually give you a wide berth with road signs on popular routes advising a healthy 1.5m clearance. But despite this, you should keep your wits about you. Gradients can be extreme – so take care when descending, particularly on hairpin bends. Also, it’s illegal to cycle more than two abreast and to run traffic lights. So follow the rules to avoid any hefty fines.
Before getting started, be aware that; although the sun shines (almost) daily, you’ll need to adapt your rides, clothes and gear according to the time of year.
When the sun is ‘hot n’ high’ in July and August, it’s best to go out on the bike earlier in the morning. Wear sun cream; carry plenty of water; and choose routes with lots of shade from forests and groves. Or cafes and restaurants…
It’s warm, sunny and perfect for cycling during April, May, June, September and October. Despite this, it’s still worth slapping on the sun cream and bringing plenty of water. In fact, it’s good to make sure there are water sources en-route too. Most towns and villages have fuentes (fountains), but not all of them. So fill your water bottle at every opportunity. And because you’re likely to sweat, bring electrolyte drinks or gels as well as snacks.
From November to March, the weather can be temperamental. Although it’s warm in the sun, the wind is chilly – particularly in the mountains. So make sure you bring lots of warm layers and a windproof mac. And check the weather forecast for rain. Because when it rains, it really does rain.
Do our cycling routes tempt you to try them? Our concierge can arrange guides, bike hire and support vehicles for your cycling holiday, contact us for more information.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 75263 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-10-25 10:27:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-10-25 10:27:58 [post_content] => ‘Tour’. Just the mention of the word might conjure up visions of a guide with an umbrella droning on to a large group of disinterested tourists as they traipse round a series of overcrowded sights. It’s time to leave those preconceptions behind, though. Because tours have changed. In southern Spain, at least, tours these days tend to be unique experiences that take you deep under the skin of a place; inspiring, enlightening and helping you to make indelible holiday memories. We’ve worked hard to find the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun tour guides to give you an access-all-areas insight to Spain. Here are a few of our favourite Marbella tours…
We can all go wandering around a town or city and trust in a mix of travel guides, social media and (gulp) TripAdvisor to help us find the best places to eat. But it can be hit and miss. The beauty of a tapas tour is that you only get taken to the best, most authentic places, know exactly what to order in each bar and also have someone on hand to give you an insight into Spanish food, too. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
Tapas Tour of Marbella
Leave city life behind and get into a motor powered (500cc) buggy: four wheels, low to the ground, a roll cage and the countryside to explore – this is a whole lot of fun. Your guide will take you on a tour where you get to splash through rivers, skid round dusty corners, zoom through valleys and up mountains. More information: Buggyfunmarbella.com
Off-road Buggy Tours
Something a whole lot less exhausting but just as exhilarating is seeing the countryside surrounding Marbella from the air – by helicopter, to be exact. There are lots of tours to choose from. A couple of our favourites are: flying over Ronda (seeing the town and its magnificent bridge perched on the gorge from the air is something else!); taking the helicopter for a romantic countryside lunch; or a tour of Marbella’s ultra-exclusive Golden Mile. More information: Heliairmarbella.com
Marbella Helicopter Tour
A day trip from Marbella to Jerez is a must for wine-lovers. The home of Sherry, you can forget everything you think you know about classic Spanish vinos and be swept away by the history and culture of one of Spain’s greatest wine towns. Aside from a guided tour with tastings of the centuries-old Sherry wineries, you get to visit the Royal Equestrian School for which Jerez is also famous. Here you can visit the stables as well as seeing an exhibition of spectacular horsemanship. Afterwards, there’s even time for a tapas lunch sampling platters of regional specialities. Washed down with a glass or two of Sherry, of course. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
Spirit of Jerez Tour
Spend the day in a beautiful farmhouse (just a short drive from Marbella) learning about organic olive farming. Disconnect and reconnect with nature among fields of olives. You’ll learn what the different olives taste and look like, and what the difference is between EVVO and lower quality oil. You’ll also see how traditional methods are still used to harvest this golden oil which is so important to the Mediterranean diet – past, present and future. After the tour you stay at the farmhouse for an al fresco rustic lunch of local produce, giving new meaning to ‘farm to fork’. There’s even a visit to a 15th-century chapel with its very own mosque. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
A Day at an Olive Farm
Here at LVC we’ve always thought that there’s no better way to get to know a culture than exploring it through its food. And it’s with this firmly in mind that we’ve chosen this Malaga cooking day tour. Malaga city centre is only 50mins drive from the centre of Marbella so a easy day trip. Starting the day in a fresh food market in Malaga city you’ll be guided around the meat, vegetables, spices and fish to select what dishes are going to be made for lunch. Once you’ve stocked up on supplies, you leave the big city behind and are driven out into the countryside north of Malaga to an 18th-century farmhouse. Here you’re guided through various Spanish staple dishes, before settling down to eat them for yourself in a setting that couldn’t be more quintessentially Andalucian. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
Malaga Cooking Tour
One of the great things about visiting this part of the world is that you can easily add another continent to your travel log and nip across to Africa for the day. This day tour allows you to get under the skin of Morocco’s rich cultural heritage, meander around the Kasbah, the Medina and food markets and be shielded from tourist traps and haggling. Lunch is in keeping with a sensory tour of Tangier keeping your taste buds tickled. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
Morocco Day Tour
For something a little bit special, you don’t get much more VIP than this overnight tour of Tangier. You’re driven over from Marbella to Tarifa from where you can hop across the Straits, take in the sights, do some shopping, and then settle down to dinner in a private house/mansion that belonged to a Sheikh. Contact: Tomaandcoe.com
Uber-Luxe Moroccan Overnight Trip
Gibraltar is just over an hour by car from Marbella old town. The little slice of Britain in southern Spain is certainly a curious place… plus, well, it’s got monkeys. So it’s hardly surprising that it so often makes visitors’ to-do lists of things to do when visiting Marbella. Gibraltar is very small – so why do you need a tour we hear you ask? Well, it’s simply because the interesting part of this British territory is its history. The Rock is riddled with military tunnels with long and colourful pasts, and the best way to see and learn about them is to go with a guide who can bring it all to life for you. More information: Gibraltar-sightseeing.com
Tour of Gibraltar’s Tunnels
With its Pablo Picasso art heritage, shopping, diehard foodie credentials and lovely history-studded old centre, the city of Malaga offers a jam-packed day of sightseeing. Rather than doing a whole city tour and trying to take it all on in a day, we’ve chosen a specific tour of just the Alcazaba. Exploring this palace-fort with a guide gives you a unique insight into Moorish Malaga and a bit of general background into the captivating history of Al-Andalus – not to mention some beautiful views of the city. This tour is only just over an hour long, so you’ve got plenty of time to see at least some of the rest of Malaga. Our top lunch tip is La Terraza de la Aduana: the views are wonderful; the service is excellent and the food’s delicious. More information: Malagaadventures.com
Moorish Malaga City Tour
11. Historic RondaRonda is a inland town, just an hour from Marbella. It has a wealth of historic sights to see from bull rings to palaces. It's setting is spectacular sitting on a gorge and the old town is charming. The tour visits all the sights in Ronda with a guide explaining the relevance of each as well as a boutique winery in a ancient monastery. More information: Tomaandcoe.com
Why Hire a Tour Guide Rather than Going Solo?A guide takes the pain away from doing the research. They’ll take you to the best places, order the best food and drink and impart as much knowledge as you choose to absorb. You’ll also get the opportunity to ask any burning questions you have about Marbella, or just Spain generally, with no stone left unturned. A lot of tours can be private or in small groups so there’s no limitations as to where you can visit and what you can see because of group size. There’s no better way to experience the real Spain than through a local who really knows their stuff. If this has spiked interest and you want to see the best places to stay in Marbella then our collection of luxury villas are here. And for more reading on things to do while on holiday to Southern Spain then there are lots of fun self-guided day trips to do from Marbella too. Happy discovering! [post_title] => 11 Marbella Tours & Experiences You’ll Never Forget [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 11-marbella-tours [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-04 09:34:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-04 09:34:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=75263 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64306 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-07-23 20:56:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-23 20:56:14 [post_content] => From the misty green inlets of the north-west to the dusty south, via the rolling plains of the centre, Spain is nothing if not incredibly varied in terrain and temperature. Which is precisely what makes the range of Spanish wines produced so diverse, lively and interesting. Here’s our 101 guide to some of the top Spanish wine regions to help you explore this fabulous country through one of its very finest assets: its grapes.
Spanish Red Wines
RiojaRioja is without a doubt, Spain’s best known red. Stretching away across three valleys – the Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental – to the south of the Cantabrian Mountains, it’s a relatively small area that nevertheless packs quite a punch when it comes to global wine production. Some numbers, then: it’s Spain’s oldest wine (with written records dating back to the 9th century); there are more than 600 wineries and nearly 15,000 grape growers spread across 65,000 hectares of vineyards. Made from a variety of grapes it comes in three age classifications: Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. All are full-bodied and generally best served with food. One thing to look out for is whether the Rioja was aged in American oak, French oak or a mixture of both barrels, with each having their distinct tastes. A Rioja winery you must visit: Bodegas López de Heredia - in the town of Haro, it's one of the older wineries in La Rioja. By appointment only. More information: Lopezdeheredia.com.
Ribera del DueroThe ‘other’ great Spanish wine beginning with R. Only the best Tempranillo grapes are used to make polished Ribera del Duero wines, and there are many in Spain (and outside) who prefer the, frequently, softer more delicate taste, than that of their cousins from Rioja. Wines from Ribera del Duero are usually 100% Tempranillo and are mostly aged in French oak; they have the same age classification as Rioja (Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva). A Ribera del Duero winery you must visit: Matarromera - in the town of Valbuena del Duero, a trip to this winery can also include a visit to their museum, the EMINA Wine Museum. More information: Matarromera.es.
PrioratPriorat is probably Spanish wine’s greatest secret. With a wine growing history dating back to the 12th century, this southern Catalonian region these days produces some of the finest and fullest bodied reds in Spain… of which most people outside of Spain have never even heard. The terrain here is tough (even by Spanish wine region standards), so the vines are forced to search for water in the soil, making yield low - and prices high. The most common grape varieties used are: Garnacha, Cariñena with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. A Priorat winery you must visit: Alvaro Palacios - the name that practically singlehandedly spearheaded Priorat's ascent to the summit of Spanish wines back in the 1980s is still one of the leading wineries in the region. More information: Aseuniv.com.
Spanish White Wines
Rias BaixasOn the border of Portugal in the north-west of Spain, the Rias Baixas region of Galicia is cool, green and crisp – not unlike its white wine. The crowning glory of this wine-growing region is Albariño, which is clean, with occasional floral notes, and is absolutely ideal paired with the sublime local seafood. A Rias Baixas winery you must visit: Far from the largest, it's the setting of this family business - in the grand, fortified country house of Finca La Moreira - that makes it one the more atmospheric wineries in Spain. More information: Marquesdevizhoja.com.
CavaFrom the northeast of Spain above Barcelona, Cava is Spain’s most famous sparkling wine. Labelled with brut (dry) or semi-seco (semi sweet), Cavas can be white or rosé, and are usually made from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes. A Cava winery you must visit: Dating back to the Middle Ages, this Empordà winery certainly doesn't lack for provenance - and it's got the grand castellated headquarters to prove it. More information: Perelada.com.
SherrySherry is made from grapes grown within Cadiz's ‘Sherry Triangle’ between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa Maria in Andalucia. It comes in sweet and dry varieties. Dry Sherries like Fino or Manzanilla are crisp and acidic, and make for the perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood; Oloroso is caramel-like and nutty and goes well with meat, while medium-dry Amontillado is perfectly paired with chicken or game birds. A Sherry bodega you must visit: Bodegas Tradición is not the oldest bodega in the Sherry Triangle by a long chalk (that honour goes to Domecq), but it is one of the most insistent on traditional techniques. More information: Bodegastradicion.es.
RiojaWhite Rioja is made with Viura; sometimes on its own, other times blending with Chardonnay or Garnacha Blanca amongst others. Most white Riojas are young but are still full-bodied to taste.
Malaga WineMalaga has a long and distinguished wine-making history, with wines having been made in the region since the Phoenicians were in southern Spain, before the Romans picked up the baton. British wine merchants were sending Malaga wines back to sweet-toothed Victorians in the 19th-century. These days, made from Moscatel or Pedro Ximenez grapes, vinos de Malaga are fortified and naturally sweet. Coming in both red and white, they’re at their best served with a ripe local goats’ cheese. A Malaga winery you must visit: Bodega F. Schatz - it's entirely in keeping with the international past of the Spanish wine industry that one of the best wineries in Malaga should have been founded by a German. More information: F-schatz.com.
RuedaThe most commonly drunk white wine in Spain can be just a little disappointing to a new world white wine drinker. The Rueda region is in Castilla y Leon and its wines are usually made with Verdejo grapes. It produces very aromatic wines, often with tropical fruit and fresh grass hints, that’s fresh with just a hint of bitterness.
Things to Look Out For with Spanish WineThere are several wine classifications in Spain, each holding specific criteria. The ones to look out for are Denominacion de Origen (DO), Denominacion de Origen Calificada (DOCa, DOC or DOQ) and DO Pago (only for single winery estates). On the bottle you’ll see the words Joven, Crianza (aged at least 2 years and 12 months in oak barrels), Reserva (aged at least three years with at least 12 months in oak barrels), or Gran Reserva (aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels, and more than three years bottled before they’re sold). Like the sound of these wine regions in Spain and want to experience some of the very best wines they produce? Stay with The Luxury Villa Collection and you can order the finest Spanish wines direct to your villa, or arrange a tasting or tour through our concierge. [post_title] => A Brief Introduction to Spanish Wines [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spanish-wine-regions-guide [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-24 05:40:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-24 05:40:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=64306 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) 1