YOUR NEXT GREAT RIDE – ANDALUCIA, SPAIN
Andalucia forms Spain’s southern coast, and up to 150 miles inland. Apart from the beaches, there are lots of mountains close to the coast, with great riding roads rising to 3,000 feet with 30 minutes of the sea.
Fantastic scenery, well maintained twisty roads, little traffic away from the coastal strip, impressive old towns & villages to ride to. Oh, and 320 days sunshine a year.
When to do it?
Mid September to mid May is the main riding season. The summer months often exceed 30C, with 41C in Velez Malaga this year. Too hot for me! True, the winter months see rain, but with 320 days sun a year, you’ll be unlucky to see much rain. We stayed a week in January last year; we had 3 days at 15C & 3 at 21C, and no rain.
How to get there?
Malaga is around 600 miles from Bilbao/Santander, so a two day hop, plus the ferry time & getting to Portsmouth etc, it’ll take best part of 4 days to get here (& the same back).
I wouldn’t bother, I’d fly ( currently Jet2 LBA>Malaga in February/March less than £100 return), & rent. Malaga (and other main cities) has a thriving rental bike culture, their main business coming from Northern Europeans flying down to avoid the cold wet winter weather & ride some roads.
What bike to ride?
You can hire a GS, or big Triumph etc, but really no need for solo riders. A middleweight such as Honda CB500X/NC750X is great fun on these roads & all you need (other marques available).
I took a NC750 out for a day from www.malagamotorent.com/ I chose them largely because they offer a single day’s hire, most hires are 2 days minimum. Bike was last years, with 21,000 kms, & rode well. He’d put Michelin sports tour tyres on (rather than OE adventure sport) & it handled brilliantly. Email the owner, Francisco (rather than using his booking agent) & you’ll probably get a bit off his published rates. He’ll supply all riding gear you need. Plenty of other rental Co’s in Malaga, google is your friend.
Organised Tour, or Self Guided?
You can hire a bike, & do your own thing, or book onto an organised tour, plenty of options. Mates of mine (hello Les, Gill, Nick, Roger) booked a tour out of Valencia earlier this year & had a fantastic time.
Personally I would rent & go – I’m happy to plan routes using local travel guides, & a map.
Routes, Places & Photo’s
Based on eastern Costa Del Sol (about 40 minutes east of Malaga) these are some of the places I enjoy riding:
106 mile Circuit Clockwise from Algarrobo, the interesting roads start in 20 minutes, the road climbs & twists to over 3000 ft at Ventas de Zafarraya (similar height to Scafell Pike, Englands Highest Peak) after another 20 minutes. Heading east on straights & twisties to the town of Alhama de Granada (Moorish thermal baths), worth a stop here. Continue to Lake Bermajales through pine & poplar forest & on to the highest point of this trip, at 4440ft (In UK you’d now be on top of Ben Nevis!). The road now drops through dramatic rocky scenery to Almunecar 25 miles away (a seaside town worth seeing). Back west on the coast road for more fantastic views across the bays. There’s a biker bar on this road, burgers are good, although the ‘ 50’s rock music a little wearing.
El Torcal (“Brimham Rocks” on a massive scale) sits 30 miles north of Malaga.
Loja & Montefrio, old Moorish hill towns. A 150 mile circuit.
A little further to the east, the beautiful Alpujarra mountain region, which boasts Spain’s highest village, Trevelez, and the Serra Nevada mountain including Veleta, Europe’s highest paved road.