Overview of routes from Almuñécar.
Text & photo: Alberto Sanchez.
The Costa Tropical is one of the most desired areas in Spain for bicycle lovers. In this area there are unique features that make this area a paradise for those who love to go out by bike, sun, mountain, beautiful landscapes, and good temperature all year round. Perhaps what you can miss are routes a little flatter, however, there are some slightly flatter and less demanding routes that will delight those who want this type of routes. In this article I will make an overview of different road bike routes without going into much detail, in future articles I will focus on more specific routes. Remember that in winter, the further we move away from the coast and enter the interior, the colder the mountain will get. If we go up in winter, we sweat, and the descent can get very cold and we need winter clothes. In summer (especially July – August) it is important to remember that from 12:00 it can be extremely hot. Get out early if you are going to do a lot of miles.
As I mentioned before, the Costa Tropical, more specifically Almuñécar, belongs to a Tropical area full of mountains. If we leave Almuñécar we have three main options: turn directly towards the mountain climbing the beautiful “puerto de la cabra”, towards Nerja or towards Motril.
Routes direction “la Cabra” (old road to Granada): if we leave Almuñécar and go directly to the puerto la Cabra we have a total ascent of about 35 km, if we go up everything that can be climbed. We will go through the villages of Jete and Otivar first. What is the “puerto” itself starts in Jete and in total are fewer kilometers and has several parts, some with descents, however, the ascent itself is done with an average slope of about 7% (max. 10%) and approximately 20 km. It is an incredibly beautiful mountain pass with stunning views of the coast and the Sierras de Tejera and Almijara. It consists of three parts. The first has 22 km and you reach a viewpoint. One kilometer before we get to the top, we have a fountain where we can fill our bottles. If we continue, we will find climbs and descents until we complete 33 km, but we do not finish climbing until we complete approximately 35 kilometers. If we continue, and we are somewhat fit, a usual route is to reach almost Granada. Before we will deviate towards El Padul crossing the A44 motorway and then we will go down the N323 on the way to Motril-Almuñécar (approx. 130 kilometers).
Routes direction Nerja: if we go towards Nerja we have several options and routes of different difficulty and distance. If we want to make a short route, we can simply go towards Maro (a few kilometers before Nerja) and there we can turn around completing about 45 kilometers. We will pass through the natural park and cliffs of Cerro Gordo where we can see a lot of natural beaches. On the return I recommend passing through Cerro Gordo (above the tunnel) and climbing a small climb, not so demanding, and with beautiful landscapes from where we can contemplate the entire coast of Nerja. On the slope this we can see the beautiful village of La Herradura (which belongs to Almuñécar). If we decide to continue towards Nerja along the coast we will have a very flat path to Torre del Mar (80 km approx.). For those who have strength I recommend climbing to the beautiful village of Cómpeta. To do this we can reach Algarrobo, there we turn right towards Cómpeta and go down the other side that will take us to Torrox Costa (110 km).
Routes direction Motril: if we leave for Motril we have several options. We can go along the coast all we want and turn around where we want. If we do not enter the mountain, we will find many plains and climbs not so long and unsy demanding. There is a very usual and not very demanding route (approx. 60 km) if we go towards Motril, turn left towards the port of Gorgoracha (approx. 8 km- 5% on average approx.) to Velez de Benaudalla (where many cyclists stop to have a snack) and we return towards Motril by the N323. The road from Motril to Velez de Benaudalla and very flat and is one of the preferred routes of cyclists. The road is really nice (large ravines to the sides that are used for climbing), with a large shoulder and practically flat. Pedaling along the coast there is also a very usual route if we shoot to Castell de Ferro, there we turn left towards the Gualchos. The climb is about 9 km and the port is more demanding than the Gorgoracha. Then we arrive at Motril to continue back to Almuñécar (approx. 90 km). Another beautiful and usual route is to pull directly towards Velez de Benaudalla, where we will turn to the right towards Órgiva-Lanjarón (Sierra Nevada) to go down again on the N323. We will find some climbs, the most demanding is that of Lanjaron which has approx. about 12 km (6.5 % on average approx.). It has exceptionally good views of the Sierra Nevada. The full route is approximately 110 km.