Andalucía Spain

Circumnavigate the Sierra Nevada: from mountain to sea to city

This mountain biking tour in Spain is an incredible circumnavigation of the Sierra Nevada in Andalucía; from high in the Alpujarra mountains, to the Alboran Sea to the historic city of Granada.

  • £1,395 / $2,092
  • 7 nights / 8 days
  • Skill level: Advanced

This was photographer Tim Winterburn’s first international assignment with us and his first taste of Andalucían riding and culinary delights! After spending very long days riding and shooting with a huge camera bag he was rewarded with some of the finest food he’s ever tasted (his words, not ours!). Check out Tim’s work in the photo gallery to see just how fantastic mountain biking in Spain can be…

On this week-long sun-kissed mountain biking tour in Spain you’ll be immersed in the rich culture of Andalucía; from remote, mountain villages, to the shores of the Alboran Sea, and the vibrancy of Granada. The people of southern Spain are hugely sociable and will welcome you to share home-made tapas and wine with them wherever you go.

Your local mountain bike guide will take you on rustic singletrack trails, connecting whitewashed villages in the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra, where you’ll climb to the highest town in mainland Spain to sample its world-famous jamón and see how it’s made, in the traditional way, by a local family.

Tour dates 2017

  • 25 Mar – 1 Apr
  • 22 – 29 Apr
  • 16 – 23 Sep
  • 21 – 28 Oct (ONLY 5 PLACES!)

Contact us if you would like to create your own private group tour.

Trip highlights

In addition to fantastic, technically challenging mountain biking, here are some of the other special moments you can look forward to in Southern Spain:

  • Feasting on the best local food + wine
  • Staying in luxury caves in the ‘Desertlands’
  • Learning how the world-famous jamón iberico is produced
  • Bar-hopping on a tapas tour of Granada
  • Riding through the streets of the Albaicín, the old gypsy quarter
  • Being immersed into the local way of life in Andalucía

Mountain biking tour in Spain Itinerary

This mountain biking tour in Spain will immerse you in the rich culture, cuisine and landscapes of Andalucía, from the ancient mule tracks of the high Alpujarra, to the fascinating history of Granada.

+Arrival in Spain - refresh + prepare for your adventure

If you’re travelling a long way or across several time zones to Spain then we would recommend arriving a day or two early to allow your body to adjust and to make sure any flight or luggage days don’t spoil your trip.

+Day 1 - Group meet-up + welcome ride

Your guide will meet you at Málaga airport or, if you’ve arrived early, at your H+I recommended hotel in Málaga, around lunchtime and transport you to La Zubia, a village in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. When we arrive at your fabulous small hotel we’ll build bikes, allocate hire bikes, then get together for some tea, coffee and cake and our welcome tour briefing.

If time allows, after the trip briefing we can head out for a short ride to stretch your legs and introduce you to the amazing Spanish trails.

This evening’s dinner will be a feast of delicious local food and wine in the village, which will immerse you immediately into the very sociable and relaxed way of life here, in the southern Spanish mountains.

+Day 2 - Heading South: La Zubia to Durcal

On your first full day of mountain biking in Spain you will have a big day of riding, from last night’s accommodation and along the southern most portion of the Sierra Nevada mountains. During your ride today you will experience the full compliment of what southern Spain has to offer: flowing singletrack, doubletrack climbing and descending, and an optional technical descent to round things off (your guide will make the call on the group’s ability); not to mention amazing mountain cuisine, hospitality and views…

Your accommodation this evening is in another lovely family-run hotel, which will be a welcome sight after this big day in the saddle! We’ll get the bikes cleaned up, stowed away and grab a quick siesta, before enjoying a typical Spanish dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Distance cycled: 42km (app. 6 hours)

+Day 3 - Conchar to Padul

After a great breakfast we’ll start our ride straight from our accommodation this morning. We’ll ride towards Albuñuelas Sierra, where we will follow the “Gudaris” tracks, some singletrack trails hand made by prisoners of the civil war in the 1940’s. The trails are lovely and flowing in parts and in other sections you’ll need to keep your wits about you as it gets more rocky and technical, in the typical Andalucían style!

We’ll stop for a picnic lunch and admire the views over the Sierra as we re-charge our batteries and take plenty of photos.

With the Spanish sun warming our backs we’ll re-commence our ride through typical mediterranean agricultural landscapes of almond trees, vineyards and olive groves, which will then take us through some recovered forests of pine and local oak trees.

This will drop us out onto the final stages of our route, on some of the trails used for the Mamut race, a very popular local mountain bike race.

Your accommodation is in a beautiful hotel in the heart of the village of Capileira and in the evening, if we’ve made good time on our ride, we’ll enjoy wandering around the village, doing a spot of shopping and having another fantastic dinner in a local restaurant.

Distance cycled: 56km (app. 8 hours)

+Day 4 - High Alpujarra + Trevelez

From Capileira we’ll venture even higher and deeper into the Sierra Nevada mountains with a selection of the most breath-taking singletrack that will lead us to the dizzying heights of 2240m, before dropping us down through high mountain meadows to lunch in the highest village on mainland Spain, Trevelez. This remote village is famous across Spain and the world for its ‘Jamones,’ and you’ll have the chance to visit the museum and small family factory and, of course, taste some of this delicious ham – a real highlight of the day.

After lunch we’ll climb out of the village on the GR-7 (mountain walking route) to a height of 1765m, where, on a good day, you can enjoy views as far as Morocco. Once you have your breath back we’ll set off on what will be more than 10km of descending, all the way to your hotel for the evening.

Your accommodation for the next two nights is quintessentially Andalucían: an organic farm where they grow their own olives, grapes, almonds, etc. You can take a walk around the hotel grounds to learn all about the ecosystem and where the food on your dinner plate has come from.

Distance cycled: 40km (app. 7 hours)

+Day 5 - Pista de las Minas to Torvizcon or day off

Today you have the option of a day off to relax, explore the local village, read books… whatever you wish.

Alternatively, your guide will take you on a great four hour ride in the local area. You’ll climb to a height of 2000m, to the head of a trail that will lead onto the lovely flowing section from the previous afternoon. This will give you the chance to ride this fantastic trail again with the benefit of experience! Then you will peel off onto a new trail that weaves through mountain villages all the way down to 650m and the town of Torvizcon, and your lunch stop.

On returning to your lovely farm stay accommodation your hosts will take you around their own olive and vine yards, before giving you a tastes of their exceptional home-grown produce.

Distance cycled: 32km (app. 6 hours)

+Day 6 - Heading north: Cádiar to Alcudia (Guadix)

From the high snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, where you were riding on trails that interlinked whitewashed villages, you are now going to cut across to the northern side of the Sierra Nevada and into the ‘desert land’.

We will start with a transfer of about an hour from our accommodation in Cádiar, followed by a full day on the bike that will have you wondering if you have landed in another country, or world! A large part of today will be doubletrack, punctuated by flowing singletrack sections.

As a result of the natural topography of this area, many people in this part of the Sierra Nevada built caves to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thus effectively living underground. As you ride through this area you will see these structures and be in awe at how grand they can look.

And it would certainly be remiss of us to bring you here and not stay in a cave! Tonight you will be sleeping in a luxury cave, and enjoying more mouth-watering local delicacies in your subterranean dining room!

Distance cycled: 30km (app. 4 hours)

+Day 7 - Alcudia to Granada

After a fantastic night’s sleep in your luxury cave, we’ll load up the van for a 30-minute transfer to the start of the trails. Today we’ll be riding an ancient trade path, that will be enough to give any singletrack addict their fix!

As you snake along singletrack-strewn hillsides, completely engrossed in these spectacular trails, you will suddenly be hit by a surreal view of the Alhambra in the distance, which signals the start of your descent into Granada, via a much less ventured path…

Your local guide will lead you through the old gypsy quarter, on to some old-school street riding through the Albaicín, down steps and onto cobbled alleys in the heart of the old town to your final hotel.

After much high-fiving and laughing we’ll drop our kit off before the best post-ride experience ever: a visit to the Hammam (Arab baths) for a soak in the warm pools, a massage and stretch out on the hot stone slabs. Utter bliss.

When you’re feeling refreshed from all your pampering we’ll hit the town on a tapas tour of Granada city, where the good food, wine and chat will flow late into the early hours on your last night together on this amazing adventure around the Sierra Nevada of Spain.

Distance cycled: 35km (app. 5 hours)

+Day 8 - Departure

Sadly, today we must bid our farewells. We’ll pack up all our belongings and transfer you (app. two hours) back to Málaga airport for your flight back to reality.

Please note: a mountain biking adventure is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in Spain and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.

+Tour Price

Mountain biking vacation Spain Price

£1,395 / $2,092 USD per person (ex. flights, based on two sharing a room)

We welcome solo travellers on our adventures and if you are happy to share a room with another solo rider of the same sex you do not need to add the single supplement. If, however, you wish to have a room by yourself, a single supplement of £200 / $300 USD will be payable.

H+I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), so you can be sure that when you book with us your money will be safe.

Price includes:

  • Services of fully-qualified, English speaking expert mountain bike guide(s) for the duration of the trip
  • Seven nights’ accommodation
  • All breakfasts throughout tour
  • English-speaking driver
  • All ground costs
  • Back-up vehicles and luggage/ bike transfer (as required) for duration of your mountain bike trip
  • All group safety equipment
  • Airport/ H+I recommended hotel pick-up on day 1 and drop-off on day 8 of tour (specified times apply)
  • Global Rescue emergency evacuation services

Price excludes:

  • International/ domestic flights
  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Hammam experience in Granada
  • Tips in restaurants and hotels
  • Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Any other items not mentioned as included


+Skill + Fitness levels required

Does this sound like you? Your vacation time is precious and we want to be absolutely sure that you’re making the most of it, by finding the perfect adventure for you. Be honest with yourself, if this adventure isn’t right for you, we have other tours that may well be a better fit for your mountain biking experience and ability.

Please note: The skill level required reflects an overall rating for the trails on the trip but you should expect to find sections and obstacles that push your ability levels.

Skill level: Advanced

  • You are very confident handling most types of riding and obstacles, including drops (up to 1 foot), rocks, logs, switchbacks, larger rock gardens and sustained technical singletrack
  • You can brake, use gears and corner instinctively
  • You have excellent bike handling skills and can lift front and rear wheels, do small jumps, corner, climb and descend steep trails
  • You have considerable experience of riding on a wide variety of technical terrains including: rocky, rooty, muddy, loose, fast singletrack, exposed trails, bedrock for extended periods
  • You ride at least twice a week and rarely get off and walk sections
  • You can climb and descend comfortably on technical singletrack for as long as required

Fitness level: 4

  • You have a good level of bike fitness, exercising three or four times every week throughout the year, for an hour at a time
  • You are comfortable mountain biking up to six hours a day at a moderate pace, with snack and photo stops, for three or more consecutive days
  • You can tackle two or three fairly serious climbs a day, up to 600 metres each

Typical trails you’ll be riding

  • The trails in Spain are natural ‘rustic’ ancient walking paths of varying trail surface, that will require you to choose your own riding line and decide if it is suitable to ride
  • Double track: undulating and sometimes steep jeep tracks made up of a mixture of hard-packed and loose road surfaces
  • Singletrack: you will encounter up to head-sized, fixed and loose rocks, as well as fixed bedrock style trails, natural rock steps and street riding
  • Tight switchbacks are also characteristic of this part of Spain, and worth practising before you travel
  • The surface will most likely be very dry and loose
  • Trails in the forest will have roots crossing them and may be narrow through the trees


+Arrival + departure details

Your mountain biking holiday in Spain will start on day 1 at Málaga Airport or your H+I recommended hotel. Your guide and/or driver will meet you in the arrivals area of Málaga Airport, or the hotel lobby and he/she will be holding an H+I Adventures sign.

The trip will end back at Málaga Airport on day 8.

We would ask you to arrive at Málaga no later than 13:00 on the first day, and to arrange flights home no earlier than 12 noon, if possible.

On arrival we will transfer you by private shuttle to our first location in La Zubia, about 90 minutes’ drive from the airport, and close to the Sierra Nevada National Park.

If you wish to extend your trip to Spain please contact us and we can help you to organise this.

+Travelling to Spain

Málaga Airport is well-served by international airlines, including: British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta and EasyJet, and you can also connect via Madrid and Barcelona with American Airlines, United Airlines and Iberia.

You must book your bike on to your flight in advance, otherwise you could face a heavy charge at the airport. Here are some handy hints and tips on travelling by air with your bike.

+Preparing yourself + your bike for your trip

Please read the full kit list before you start packing for your mountain biking holiday in Spain, so that you have everything you need!

The ideal bike for mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada of Spain is a good quality full-suspension mountain bike with around 140mm of travel front and rear. We can arrange hire of a good quality full-suspension mountain bike for the duration of your trip.

To get the most out of your mountain biking holiday in Spain you should plan some training in advance of your tour, and it is essential that you ensure that your bike has been properly serviced before the trip. For some tips on training for your mountain biking adventure in Spain, read our training blog.

+Your mountain bike guides in Spain

Our local mountain bike guides in Spain are of the very highest standard. They are qualified in first-aid, and have the knowledge and experience to lead a group safely around the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra of Andalucía.

Our guides have years of experience in the saddle on the Spanish trails and will be able to enhance your holiday with facts and fables on local history, flora and fauna. They’re also genuinely nice people and will do their best to make sure that everyone in the group has a great time.

+Accommodation + food

One of the things that sets this mountain biking adventure in Spain apart from other tours is the quality and individuality of the accommodation we use. We understand that when you’ve had a big day in the saddle in the Sierra Nevada, you want a warm welcome, hot shower and a comfortable place to relax and unwind – because that’s exactly what we’re looking for too.

The majority of accommodation that we use on our mountain biking holiday in Andalucía is family-owned and operated hotels, guest lodges and even luxury caves. We’ve spent time researching these areas extensively to select the most comfortable and authentic accommodation in the region, and we have carefully planned the itinerary to incorporate these.

Another highlight of our Spanish adventure is the abundance of exceptional local food and drink you’ll enjoy in every town and village along the way. While we encourage you to eat what the locals eat
 – organic traditional Spanish food – there is also the option of requesting simple recognisable dishes.

+Health + safety

If you come from an EU member state:
1. You are entitled to free medical and hospital care
Having shown your European Health Card (EHC), you will be seen by a doctor at a local health centre or at your accommodation if you are unable to make the journey. If you need to see a specialist or go into hospital, the doctor will give you the relevant medical certificate or referral. Accident and Emergency services are available at hospitals.

2. You will require your European Health Card (EHC)
With the European Health Card you will receive the same temporary healthcare services as any other Spanish citizen. The expiry date can be found on the European Health Card and it is valid in EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

If you forget your European Health Card (EHC)
You will have to pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical bills in advance, and then seek reimbursement from the relevant organisation in your country of origin, providing all receipts.

Some countries do not use the European Health Card yet. If this is the case, you should travel with the relevant document from your country, which has been designated valid until the new card is introduced. In any case, you should contact the relevant office in your country of origin for full details regarding current requirements to receive medical care in Spain.

If you come from a non-EU member state
Countries with bilateral agreements with Spain: Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay. You can also receive free medical and hospital attention in case of emergency due to illness or accident. For this you must issue the certificate corresponding to your country. If you have left it behind, you will have to pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical bills in advance, so keep the bills and then seek reimbursement of your expenses from the organisation to which you belong.

Other countries: Although you will receive medical attention in an emergency, this will be liable for payment. In any case, you should contact the relevant office in your country of origin for full details regarding current requirements to receive medical care in Spain.

It is wise to carry basic medicines such as paracetamol or aspirin for fever and pain and Pepto-Bismol for stomach upset.

You should always consult your own doctor or physician before travelling to new countries to seek their advice on matters concerning your health abroad.

Your health and safety is on tour our top priority so when you travel with us you also have the peace of mind knowing that you will be covered by Global Rescue emergency medical and evacuation services.

+Currency + foreign exchange

The currency in Spain is the Euro. Most international credit cards will be accepted in main towns, but for meal expenses etc. in smaller towns and villages it is advisable to carry cash.

Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged during banking hours, from Monday to Saturday 09:00 – 15:00.

Tipping

We suggest a tip of 5% of the cost of your tour should be paid to your mountain bike guide at the end of the trip, which will then be divided between all drivers, support staff and fixers, if you feel you have had a good experience in Spain.

+Holiday insurance

You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.

We work closely with WorldNomads whose policies are specially designed for mountain bike holidays. You can arrange your insurance cover directly with them and we ask that you send us your policy details.

Please note: if you have arranged your own holiday insurance, you must bring a copy of your policy with you on your mountain bike holiday with us.

Please note: a mountain biking adventure is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in Spain and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) mountain biking in Spain

  • Q. How many people will be in the group?

We only run small group adventures to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, so we only have a maximum of seven people in each group. The minimum number of people we require to run our mountain biking vacation in Spain is five.

  • Q. What’s the age range of people who come on this holiday?

Our mountain biking holiday in Spain caters for a wide age range; typically between 30- and 55-years-old, but age is simply a state of mind, as they say, and we welcome anyone over the age of 18! As long as you have a good level of physical fitness and good bike handling skills you will enjoy this mountain bike adventure no matter what your age.

  • Q. What style of mountain biking vacation is it?

This mountain bike vacation in Spain is a guided mountain biking tour, ideal for advanced mountain bikers. Riding here, in the Sierra Nevada and coast of Andalucía you’ll experience some long climbs and rocky descents. The trails here are generally very dry and loose, with most climbing done on double track and descents on technical and, in places, flowing singletrack.

  • Q. How far will we be mountain biking each day?

The distances we cover each day range from 30km to 50km, in accordance with the difficulty of the terrain. Each evening your guides will chat with you about the following day’s mountain biking and give you an idea of the sorts of trails you can look forward to. If there’s anything you feel anxious about, your guides will be happy to discuss it with you.

  • Q. Do we have to carry all our gear with us?

No, you only need to carry a day pack with you whilst riding. We have a support vehicle and driver who will transfer your luggage to your next accommodation each day, and have it ready and waiting for your arrival.

  • Q. What if I come across a section of trail I can’t ride?

Your guide will be very happy to give you some bike skills training during your trip to help improve your confidence and your enjoyment of your Spanish mountain bike holiday. If there is a section that you would prefer not to ride, then you can simply hop off your bike and walk. You won’t be the only one to walk certain sections and it’s not a competition in biking ability; it’s a mountain biking holiday!

  • Q. Who will be guiding us?

Your mountain bike guides are local to Andalucía and experienced professionals who have a real passion for mountain biking and for the culture and landscape of Southern Spain. Your safety is their number one priority, closely followed by your enjoyment of the tour. They will always be on-hand to answer any questions or requests you may have throughout your trip. Meet your mountain bike guide in Spain…

  • Q. What sort of accommodation will we be staying in?

On this mountain biking holiday in Spain you will be staying in diverse range of wonderful accommodation. From small family-run hotels in mountain villages, to organic farm stays and even luxury caves. The accommodation we have chosen reflects the culture and traditions of the Sierra Nevada and Granada area, and you’ll receive the warmest of welcomes in each and every one.

  • Q. Which meals are included in the tour price?

All breakfasts are included in the tour price.

  • Q. What type of mountain bike is best for the trip?

A good quality full suspension mountain bike with 140mm travel will be ideal for this mountain bike tour. The terrain you will be riding is rough in places and you will feel more comfortable on a full suspension bike for the duration of the trip. There can be thorns on the trails in Spain so we recommend that you bring tubeless tyres or tyres with thicker walls and extra thick inner tubes. We do advise that you travel with your own bike to Spain and we have some handy tips on how to travel with your bike.

  • Q. What will the weather be like in Spain?

The weather during our mountain bike vacations in Spain will typically be very dry and sunny, with daytime riding temperatures around 25C/72F. The temperature at night drops significantly to around 5C/41F, so make sure you bring warm clothing for the evening. We have scheduled our mountain biking adventure at the best times to mountain bike in Southern Spain. The climate is very temperate and not too hot, as in the summer months.

  • Q. What clothes and kit should I bring?

The daytime and nighttime temperatures vary greatly in Spain, so you must make sure that you have plenty of layers of breathable clothing to ensure that you are always warm enough and can remove a layer if you get too hot, and you should bring a down jacket for the evenings. You should also bring cycling shorts/trousers, gloves, padded undershorts, flip-flops, specific shoes for cycling, sun cream, insect spray, and Advil or Ibuprofen. Read the full kit list to find out what you need to pack for your mountain bike holiday in Spain.

Our Route

Our Guides

Javier Morcillo, our mountain bike guide in Spain

In the media

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