5 days cycling loop – Andalusia North

DAY 1 : Malaga – Alcaucin

Distance: 70km
Elevation gain: 2000m

To start the journey there is nothing less famous than the climb to pass Fuente de la Reina / Puerto del Leon (900 m.a.s.) along the N. P. Montes de Malaga and over the old road to Granada A-7000. A quiet climb to 900 m.a.s. offers you excellent views over the huge Bay of Malaga in every single moment, a highlight of all cyclists coming here. Refreshment is possible during the climb, and above all, on the top where you can find a few restaurants.

Leaving N. P. Montes de Malaga turn for village Comares. You will ride along the majestic peak, Santopitar (1020 m.a.s.), enjoying the views over the region called Axarquia, a deforested eastern part of Malaga Province, fully dedicated to farming with its avocado trees. During and after the descent, views over Comares, nicely located on the top of a hill, will impress you. So this might be a reason to at least take a coffee there.

From the village begins a fast descent to the valley of the river Benamargosa, then along the river you will descend to Trapiche. The last section to Alcaucin is over the old road A-7205 with amazing views over Maroma peak.

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DAY 2 : Alcaucin – Iznajar

Distance: 100km
Elevation gain: 2000m

The most difficult day of the loop, but very well planned: one famous pass and long descent, then to two small hills. Descend to Puente de Don Manuel and turn right to start climbing to pass Boquete de Zafarraya (900 m.a.s.), many times included in Vuelta a Andalucia and Vuelta a España. One of the most impressive ascents with peak Maroma (2062 m.a.s.) on the right and proper hole(?) in front of you. A steady percentage makes these 11kms really easy. On the pass there are restaurants to be refreshed at in the village of Ventas de Zafarraya.

Later, turn left for village Zafarraya where begins the last part of the climb to summit Cerro del Moro, the highest point of the day. From this moment you will enjoy a long descent to Loja, almost 30km between the hills of Sierra Gorda and Sierra de Alhama.

In the city of Loja, you can refuel and after crossing the bridge of river Genil, there are just two hills and 40km left. A nice ride between olive trees without traffic, it will bring us closer and closer to the Castle of Iznajar, surrounded by the biggest Andalusian dam of the same name.

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DAY 3 : Iznajar – Antequera

Distance: 50km
Elevation gain: 800m

Today's short ride is intended to enjoy a long, leisurely breakfast in Iznajar, with views over the lake, and then the richness of Antequera heritage site under UNESCO. Undulated terrain during the day offers spectacular views over the surrounding mountains. Until reaching Salinas on the busier road, there is unspoiled countryside again. When arriving to Archidona, you should visit the main square, a unique piece, and one of the best examples of Andalusian Baroque Architecture, the octagon shaped Plaza Ochavada.

Let's ride quickly to Antequera over a small hamlet, Huertas. This city, in the past, assumed and expected to be the capital of Andalusia, has a lot to be seen. Probably the major attraction are the two megalithic burials, dolmens Viera, and the largest one in Europe, Menga, both coming from the Neolithic Era. The rest of the town can be classified as a mekka of churches above all baroque churches. In general, Antequera has a rich historical background and excellent gastronomy, so it is worth spending more time there.

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DAY 4 : Antequera – El Chorro

Distance: 70km
Elevation gain: 1500m

Another a long day with significant elevation and after some big gastronomy, relax in Antequera. The big hill behind Antequera is the site of N. P. El Torcal, the target of the day. The beautiful karstic rock formation, uplifted during the Tertiary Era and was eroded during many centuries. Starting in Antequera, there is 12kms to the crossroad for N. P. El Torcal and then the last section of 3km to the top. Restaurant and nice views will take a lot of time here.

Going back to the main road, take direction Villanueva de la Concepcion and later La Joya. All the time on an undulated road along the majestic massif of El Torcal. Passing the village La Joya you will climb another small pass Puerto de la Joya (899 m.a.s.). The descent brings you to the main road, take left for Valle de Abdalajis. Before the village, take a hidden turn right up to Embalses/Gobantes. Another unspoiled piece of countryside and beautiful scenery along the lake system is Guadalhorce-Guadalteba, the land of NOBODY, until you come to the crown heading back to civilization.

There are some restaurants, but the last section along the oldest lake is easy, later comes the descent to El Chorro, place of hydro-power station, and above all, amazing natural gorge of the same name with route called Caminito del Rey.

Stay overnight to observe it!!!

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DAY 5 : El Chorro – Malaga

Distance: 55km
Elevation gain: 600m

Having breakfast with stunning views over the gorge, this is the last stage to be cycled back to Malaga. Even though going back, there are some nice places to be seen. Riding direction Alora, you will enter the fertile valley, Hoya de Malaga, main supplier of olives and oranges for Malaga city. Even the local wine is growing in popularity because of its excellent quality. Alora is one of the really old cities topped by the conserved arabian castle. Nice views over the valley too, why not climb up?

The rest of route is marked by growing urbanization until you reach Malaga outskirts. On the other hand – lots of possibilities to try tapas and famous olives from Alora Region.

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