Moorish Spain: Castles of the Levant
- Self-Guided 6 Nights
- Arrival - Alicante
- Departure - Alicante
- Difficulty - Medium / Challenging
- Price - From €945
- Dates - Year Round
This cycling holiday crosses the rolling hills and mountains of the Levant region in the east of Spain. It visits the beautiful historic villages that are hidden within the valleys and crosses some of the most picturesque scenery in Spain. The region is also full of castles and historic monuments dating back to the Roman and Muslim occupation of Spain.
It is an ideal holiday for cyclists who enjoy moderate amounts of climbing (although with optional extensions to do a lot more!), and is perfect for a winter or early spring break to escape the cold weather at home.
Similar to the island of Mallorca, Alicante is a very cycling friendly region. If you come in the winter months, don't be surprised to be passed by a few professional riders - with Trek Factory Racing (Fabian Cancellara / Bauke Mollema) and Etixx-Quick Step (Tom Boonen / Mark Cavendish / Tony Martin) among the regular visitors to the area.
Above all though this is a great choice of holiday for riders who enjoy historic villages and small boutique hotels, as well as fantastic scenery.
Day 1 - BiarWe pick you up from Alicante airport or train station and transfer you to the historic town of Biar, situated on the edge of the Serra Mariola and Serra del Maigmo Natural Parks.
Depending on your arrival time, there is the chance to do a short circular ride in the afternoon.
In the evening you can visit one of the local restaurants to try one of the fantastic rice dishes that are characteristic of the region - including the world famous paella, which was originally created in this part of Spain.
Day 2 – Sierra Mariola Natural ParkThe first full day in the saddle is a circular route around the Sierra Mariola Natural Park. This is a rolling route rather than mountainous and passes through the peaceful and serene parkland, which is a popular spot with bird-watchers.
The route passes through the historic town of Alcoy - a great place to stop for lunch - on the return to Biar. Biar itself is a delightfully small town; originally a Bronze Age settlement, it became an established town in the Roman era before becoming even more prominent during Muslim Spain - when its castle and many historic monuments were constructed.
Short Route - 41km / 650m (25 miles / 2,000 feet)
Long Route - 77km / 1,300m (48 miles / 4,200 feet)
Day 3 – Xorret de CatiThe route today takes in two of the most famous cycling climbs in this part of Spain, as you make your way to the mountain village of Aigues, set overlooking the Costa Blanca.
The routes begins by taking you into the Maigmo Mountains; here you can ride to Xorret de Cati - a signature climb in the Vuelta a España cycling race and one which is set in picturesque surroundings.
You continue through the town of Xixona - known for its production of the almond confectionery Turrón - with the option of climbing another of the regions most famous ascents, La Carrasqueta.
The day finishes with a gentle rolling route to Aigues, home to a great castle and a delightful small village which embodies much of the history and traditions of the Costa Blanca region.
Short Route - 56km / 800m (35 miles / 2,500 feet)
Medium Route - 64km / 1,200m (40 miles / 3,800 feet)
Long Route - 88km / 1,850m (55 miles / 6,000 feet)
Day 4 – Port de Tudons & Castell de GuadalestToday is another spectacular day in the saddle. You head north on a hilly route, passing more beautiful castles and tiny mountain villages, before beginning the main climb of the day - Port de Tudons.
This is one of the longest and ascents in the Alicante region, but the gradient is gentle allowing you to spin up it at a steady pace, admiring the fantastic views of the coast and of the vast peak of Mount Puigcampana.
The day finishes with a stunning descent into Castell de Guadalest, where you stay in a beatiful rural house in the heart of this historic village.
Short Route - 65km / 1,350m (40 miles / 4,400 feet)
Long Route - 82km / 2,000m (51 miles / 6,500 feet)
Day 5 – Coll de RatesThere are a couple of options today depending on how your legs feel. The more challenging route climbs to the Coll de Rates - a popular training climb for professional cyclists, and one of the most scenic in the area.
The shorter route skirts around the edge of the climb and is more rolling with no big ascent. Both routes finish in Castell de Castells, another small mountain village dating back well over 1,000 years. In caves just outside the town you can view paintings originating from the Stone Age.
Short Route - 40km / 800m (25 miles / 2,650 feet)
Long Route - 72km / 1,650m (45 miles / 4,900 feet)
Day 6 – DeniaThe final day in the saddle is mostly downhill. There are some short climbs, including a beautiful route through the village of Tollos, before a long descent to the town of Denia, situated on the coast.
Denia is the most interesting of all the towns on this coastline. It was founded over 2,500 years ago as a Greek colony, before become an important naval base in Roman times. The 11th century castle, situated on a rock overlooking the town, is the most famous monument in Denia. However, it is also home to several superb beaches and a picturesque old town.
Short Route - 41km / 300m (26 miles / 1,300 feet)
Long Route - 71km / 850m (45 miles / 2,800 feet)
Day 7 – AlicanteThe cycling tour comes to an end after breakfast in Denia. We will transfer you to the airport or train station in either Alicante or Valencia for you to continue with your holiday, or head home.
If you would like to extend the holiday, please contact us, and we would be happy to organise additional days with more excellent routes.
The following is included in the tour:
- Six nights accommodation in double, twin or single room with en-suite. Please see price list for details of single supplement.
- Transfer to and from the arrival/departure points
- Continental breakfast every day
- Luggage transferred between hotels
- Detailed maps and route information for each day, with clearly marked points of interest.
- Route extensions every day for those of you who wish to cycle
The following are optional extras available for an additional charge:
- Hire of bicycles (see here for details)
- Tour Extensions
The following is not included in the tour
- Lunches and Dinners
- Any transfers not stated above
- Travel Insurance
- Entry to any attractions (e.g. museums, churches) except were explicitly stated
Frequently Asked Questions
Please browse through some of the frequently asked questions about this cycling tour. If you have any further questions, or would like any more information, please contact us and we will answer by email.
How far do I cycle each day on this tour?
There are two basic route options to choose from each day. The shorter route is between 40km and 65km.
The longer route is between 70km and 90km and also contains more climbing
There are optional extensions each day for those of you who to wish to cycle even further.
You are free to mix and match the routes, as they both start and finish in the same place. If you wish to do the shorter route one day, then the longer route the next day, for example, it is entirely up to you.
If you would like to do routes of a different length, or with more or less climbing, please contact us and we can work with you to design a custom tour.
All routes are 100% on fully asphalted roads.
How difficult is this tour?
This tour is rated as medium-challenging difficulty.
The shorter routes are mostly 'medium' difficulty on our Tour Level Guide. The routes are quite short, but with rolling hills and some more sustained climbing (although nearly all at quite gentle gradients).
The longer routes are closer to the 'challenging' level of difficulty. Nearly every day has more than 1,000m of climbing and most days have at least one longer, sustained climb.
How busy are the roads?
Not very busy at all. The vast majority of the tour is on very quiet mountain roads between villages, while nearly all of the traffic in the region stays close to the coast. You can easily go for thirty minutes or more on many sections without
seeing a single car.
The optional extension to La Carrasqueta carries slightly more traffic - but it is slow moving and the road is wide, so it is perfectly safe and enjoyable for riding.
Be wary of tours to the region which spend a lot of time on roads close to the coast or near to the city of Alicante. The roads in these areas tend to be very busy.
Which famous mountains will I climb?
The following are some of the most famous and spectacular mountains that you will climb in this region:
Xorret de Catí
La Carrasqueta (L)
Coll de Rates (L)
Port de Tudons
Cumbre del Sol (E)
(L) = On longer route only (E) - Available as an optional extension
What are the arrival and departure points?
The arrival and departure point for this tour can be either Alicante or Valencia. Alicante has the larger international airport with regular flights to many destinations througout Europe.
If you are unable to find flights here, it is also easily reached by high speed trains, leaving every hour or so, from both Madrid and Barcelona.
We will transfer you to/from the airport or train station at the beginning/end of the tour.
What type of bikes do you provide?
For this tour we can provide both road bikes and sport hybrids. If you wish to do the longer routes, we believe that road bikes are more suitable.
Please see our bicycles page for further details.
Can I see the altitude profiles for each day?
We believe that the hotels that you stay in are just as important as the towns that you visit and the scenery that you ride through. On this tour we have chosen accommodation that is of a high quality and is typical to the area.
For this tour we have chosen very small, boutique hotels and villas. These are all located in beautiful historic villages in the mountains and display the most attractive and charming side of the Costa Blanca.
BiarIn Biar you stay in a beautiful small hotel situated on the edge of Biar, at the foot of the 7th century castle. This charming boutique accommodation has fewer than fifteen rooms, all individually styled, and is set amongst orchards with cherry and almond trees. It also has a pleasant outdoor swimming pool, for relaxing at the end of a tough day in the saddle.
AiguesIn Aigues you stay in a small boutique hotel with fewer than ten rooms. It is exquisitely decorated, with attractive rooms and a beautiful sun terrace which stands at the foot of three spectacular
Castell de GuadalestIn Guadalest you stay in a beautiful country cottage in the heart of the village. It contains just a handful of uniquely decorated rooms, which are well equipped and tastefully decorated in the traditional style of the region. It is situated at the foot of the 11th century castle and also next to the rather idiosyncratic, but highly rated 'Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum'.
Castell de CastellsHere you stay in a superby situated spa hotel. With fewer than twenty rooms, it is another boutique hotel full of charm and character. If you don't wish to use the spa facilities here, you could visit the nearby Pla de Petracos caves - which are home to paintings dating from over 5,000 years.
DeniaIn Denia you end the tour in another small boutique hotel situated right next to the marina and the old town. The rooms are fasionably designed and the beach is also just 200m from the front door. There is also the chance to discover one more castle, with the beautiful views along the coast well worth the short climb to Denia's 11th century fortress.
To find out more about how we select our hotels, please see our accommodation page.
Contact us for information about doing a custom tour such as this.