DAY 1 : Malaga – El Chorro
Elevation gain: 750m
The first day of this western journey is a bit easier and similar to the last day of the north loop. 55 kms starting in Malaga Center, going over the industrial part directly to the long valley behind Malaga, called Hoya de Malaga. A pretty fertile place supplied by river Guadalhorce, the longest one in the province, a valley full of lemons, oranges and mandarins, later on converted into olive groves.
In 30 km you will pass Pizarra village and enjoy views over the Alora Castle dominating the end of the valley. A short climb to the city and maybe a refreshment.
There is 15 km left and the route becomes undulated. More olive trees, more peaks around and above all, Sierra del Abdalajis, are all in front of you. El Chorro is a small hamlet with a train station, a hydropower station and is famous for its mighty natural gorge called Caminito del Rey.
You have reached it! But for those interested in one extra climb, there is an option to see the upper reservoir of this hydropower station. It would be 5 kms riding along old ruins of Bobastro.
- Optional extra climb: keep on MA-5403 direction Ardales, then turn left over MA-448 to reach Bobastro and top reservoir – enjoy!!!
- Altimetry Puerto del Leon
- Altimetry Las Mesas de Villaverde
- City of Alora
- Gorge of the Gaitanes & Caminito del Rey
DAY 2 : El Chorro – Setenil de las Bodegas
Elevation gain: 1300m
Today's ride is taking a medium distance for a whole day trip. Start uphill to the system of water reservoirs Guadalhorce-Guadalteba, the main base of drinking water for a huge part of Malaga Province. It's a nice and peaceful area between lakes and fields which suddenly bring you to Campillos. Here there is an opportunity for refreshment as Teba City will be passed.
This flat section has an option to climb the ruins of Teba Castle, a few walls, one tower, and excellent views all around. Next to come is Canete la Real where there is a significant hill, almost 10km, and here you reach the highest point of the day. This is a quiet village with the remains of another castle and always fresh air.
Last, an undulated part of track leads between fields of crops and nice peaks of the local sierra. Then comes beautiful village Setenil de las Bodegas, nicely incorporated between caves and cliffs and sometimes even inside of them. Enjoy!!!
DAY 3 : Setenil de las Bodegas – Grazalema
Elevation gain: 1900m
The queen stage of the loop. This day you will feel hills in your legs and see them all around. Entering the heart of Serrania de Ronda with all those pines and rocky formations.
First, the undulated part to Zahara de la Sierra including one option to visit old ruins of Roman Ronda called Acinipo, a nice settlement including the remains of the Roman Theater and perfect views. Take road A-7402, it will be to your right. When coming back, keep on it for a short time and then right over MA-487, direction Montecorto again. Getting closer and closer to Zahara village, topped by the castle again, cycle along a nice dam of the same name. Impressive views and dominating hills all around.
Now comes a flat section until village El Bosque, always along the beautiful massif of N. P. Sierra de Grazalema. In El Bosque, there are lots of restaurants to get energy before the main hill of the day, the famous pass, Puerto del Boyar (1107 m.a.s.). It’s a beautiful road, with great scenery and even a nice gradient. For 15km, with an average of 4.5%, you can easily go along peak Torreon, (1648 m.a.s.), the highest hill of this Sierra.
Once reaching the pass, there are nice views and even a picnic place to enjoy some quiet moments. He last few kms is downhill to Grazalema, a white village with superb atmosphere during the whole year. Here you can have a nice stay.
- Optional: when leaving Setenil de las Bodegas direction Villalones, in 2km turn left for Venta de Leche / Ronda, road A-7402. In 5km turn right up for settlement Acinipo – Ronda La Vieja & Winery Ronda La Vieja
- Shortcut: from Zahara de la Sierra or Montecorto, there is a possibility to climb directly to the village Grazalema
- Acinipo Roman Settlement
- Altimetry Puerto del Boyar
- Zahara de la Sierra
DAY 4 : Grazalema – Ronda
Elevation gain: 1700m
Another day in the mountains! Less elevation, the whole day is fully and deeply lost inside of Sierra de Grazalema. The first part is flat and downhill until you reach village Ubrique, ride between the fields, meadows, peaks and sometimes pines. An easy ride.
Passing Ubrique comes a real hill winding between pines. You are approaching to another white village called Cortes de la Frontera, a good place to refresh yourself as there is less than half left to go. Keep on direction Jimena de Libar and over to the village, start climbing to Atajate, one of the smallest villages in Malaga Province. A 7km ride from the valley to the main road to Ronda, it includes the restaurant directly on the T-Junction at the top. Here you can refuel again.
For those interested in speleology, there is a nice option in the direction Benaojan, when coming to Jimena de Libar on road MA-8401. In 12 km you find the turn left for cave Cueva de la Pileta. Probably the oldest trove of paintings in Spain, dating back at least 20000 years, this cave was settled since the Upper Paleolithic Period.
Those going over Atajate have left the last mountain pass called Puerto de las Encinas Borrachas (1011 m.a.s.). Another 8 km to reach it in total, it is 15 km from Jimena de Libar. When being at the summit, there is a downhill to Ronda only. A nice entrance to the city along the huge and old main Gate of Almocabar, it was constructed in XIII Century by arabs. A quite beautiful place!!!
DAY 5 : Ronda – Malaga
Distance: 100 km
Elevation gain: 1300 m
Last day should be all descent as Ronda is at 700 m.a.s. and Malaga is at the sea level, but... There is the amazing N. P. Sierra de las Nieves on the way down, so these are the last two hills left on this loop around Malaga Province. None of them is really hard, just short hills with a nice gradient.
First, we leave Ronda taking the old road A-366 along the Winery Conrad to reach the 1st pass called Puerto del Viento (1075 m.a.s.), 7 km from the west, the easiest way. Then comes a long downhill to village El Burgo, with a small undulated section. Beautiful scenery and changing landscapes will keep you company all the time. Later on, when approaching the village, you can be visit the nice viewpoint of Guarda Forestal offering views over huge parts of a surrounding range of the mountains. Then down to El Burgo. There you can relax and refuel as the 2nd and last hill is in front of you.
Heading for village Yunquera, start climbing pass Puerto de las Abejas (822 m.a.s.). For a steady 6km on the wider road, an easy one, it will pass away quickly. In Yunquera, there are refreshment points before you go down to valley Hoya de Malaga. 30km down through the villages of Alozaina, along Casarabonela to Pizarra, a long descent that can also be boring. So off to Casarabonela where there is a nice Cactus Botanical Garden, if you are interested.
There in Pizarra, you will have ridden almost 70km and now the last 30km left through the surrounding villages of Malaga and it's industrial park. Those uninterested in this part can jump into the local train, Cercanias C2, leaving more time for Malaga Center.
If you decide to cycle to Malaga, then head over to Aljaima, Estacion de Cartama and Campanillas and take road A-7054 to the centre. The trip is over.