Cycling in Spain is as romantic as it sounds, even more now that Spain is beginning to define its cycling identity on its own terms. What Spain has so humbly forgotten to mention about its cycling offerings goes way beyond great food and weather, breathtaking scenery, and challenging terrain. If you want to know where the best cycling in Spain is, read on
“El pico de Veleta” is Europe’s highest cyclable climb and it soars up to 3,394 m (11,135 ft). Time your ascent to a full moon, which falls this year on June 17, July 16, or August 15, 2019, to reach the peak at sunrise for an experience that’s hard to match anywhere else in the world. If there are no clouds, you can likely ride up Veleta without needing to turn on your lights. Keep reading for more help in planning your ascent…
Veleta is a regular entry on lists of superlative bike climbs like “world’s highest/toughest/hardest” and, at 3,394 m (11,135 ft), Veleta more than deserves the distinctions but Veleta has a few things that the others don’t, which makes it even more alluring.
This ride traces the retreat of Boabdil, the last Moorish king of Granada, after he relinquished the kingdom to the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabel, in 1492. I took a few creative liberties to both lengthen the ride and add more riding off-road. I confess that there’s more asphalt involved than I’d like but we’re still sorting out how to navigate off-road the necklace of towns that circle the base of the Sierra Nevadas on the west side. We’ll publish updates once we get that sorted.
When our bike friends come to visit us, this is the ride we take them on because it showcases some of Granada’s various riding surfaces (including cobbles, bridges, and loose, rocky descents), and gives you great views of the Alhambra, Granada, and the valley beyond from some unique perspectives. Although it’s only 26.6km/16.5 mi (you can lengthen/shorten it if you want), the climbing demands some respect but you can bail out along the way plus, you are never more than 3km from the center of Granada.