RSS Feed The 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Spain

Lagos de Covadonga Lakes This is the list of what we believe are the 100 best road cycling climbs in Spain. The climbs have been chosen based on a number of factors, including: scenery, difficulty, cycling history, amount of traffic and road surface.

The list has evaluated all climbs on the mainland as well as those in the popular cycling holiday destinations of Mallorca and Tenerife. Click on the name of the climb to see the profile and more details, and let us know whether you agree with our choices in the comments below!

100) Navacerrada / Bola del Mundo

One of the highest climbs in Spain and one of the most challenging, with a rich history in the Vuelta a España. Would be higher if it wasn't such a busy road on the lower slopes.

99) Baños de Benasque

Pleasant climb near to the Ordesa National Park in the Pyrenees.

98) Abantos

Starting from the royal city of San Lorenzo de El Escorial - this is the best climb in the Madrid region.

97) Moncayo

The best climb in the Zaragoza province.

96) Coll d'Honor

A twisty ascent in Mallorca's Tramuntana Mountains, highly enjoyable and easily made into part of a longer route.

Coll d'Honor Mallorca

95) Mont Caro

This monster is the longest and most challenging climb in southern Catalonia.

94) Bordako Tontorra

The decisive climb in recent editions of the San Sebastian Classic. This short, steep ascent may not be used for much longer following a series of controversial incidents.

93) La Bonaigua

One of Catalonia's great climbs is only partially let down by the amount of traffic on this important trans-Pyreneean road.

92) Leitariegos

Overshadowed by other more famous climbs in this corner of Asturias; but Leitariegos is a long and scenic climb in its own right.

91) Rocacorba

This climb is loved by cyclists based in Girona - professionals and amateurs alike. It is not especially difficult or especially beautiful, but it is a very popular cycling climb.

90) Piedrafita

One of the great climbs of the Camino de Santiago route; Piedrafita is a nice gentle ascent taking you into the region of Galicia.

89) Baños de Panticosa

This is an extension of the better known climb to Formigal - a regular stage finish in the Vuelta a España. The large lakes between Biescas and Sallent de Gallego provide a picturesque backdrop.

88) Sollube

One of the mythical Basque mountains; Sollube is best climbed on the quiet and steep backroads from Bermeo.

87) Puerto de Pájares / Cuitu Negru

This legendary Vuelta climb would be higher on the list, were it not for the large amount of traffic on the climb until the Puerto de Pájares. The last section to Cuitu Negru, by contrast, is quiet and beautiful.

86) Collado de Canseco

This little known Andalucían climb is characterized by highly inconsistent gradients, with numerous steep sections.

Collado de Canseco, Andalucia

85) Valdezcaray

The Rioja wine region's most famous climb is not among the most challenging in Spain, but is well worth a ride if you are in the area.

84) Cumbre del Sol

Home to a memorable stage finish in the 2015 Vuelta - Cumbre del Sol is worth climbing for the stunning views it offers over the Mediterranean coastline.

83) El Portalet

One of the finest climbs in the Spanish Pyrenees; Portalet is high, challenging and with beautiful scenery.

82) La Quesera

The only climb on the list from the sparsely populated La Mancha region; you will probably never find yourself nearby La Quesera, but if you do, then this should be number one on your list of climbs to do.

81) Mirador del Fito

A regular Vuelta climb, Mirador del Fito is a short and sharp ascent from Loroñe, with the highlight being the incredible viewing platform at the summit.

Mirador del Fito

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80) Coll d'eth Portilhon

Better known by its French name - the Col du Portillon - this climb is easier on the Spanish side and acts as a gateway to some of the great climbs in the French Pyrenees.

79) Collada Trevinca

This climbs to the border with the Galicia region (where it is known as Fonte da Cova) and is typical of the area - sparse and barren. However, it is also long and with some challenging gradients; giving it a certain appeal to cyclists.

78) Can Costa

This climb on Mallorca's classic coastal road is situated between the beautiful villages of Deia and Valldemossa. The scenery here is incredible, but it is a short ascent and best included as part of a longer route.

77) Puerto de Urkiola

Urkiola from Mañaria is one the most legendary climbs from the Basque Country. It would be much higher on the list were it not for the fact that - when it is not closed for cycle races - it is a busy road.

76) La Colladona

Popular with locals more than tourists; this climb in the heart of Asturias is a great training ride, with its moderate distance and gradients opening it up to cyclists of various abilities.

75) Sobremunt

Forget Sa Calobra - this is Mallorca's hardest climb. The road surface is poor and the gradients are very steep at times - but if you want to take on the toughest that Mallorca has to offer, then you have to climb Sobremunt.

Sobremunt

74) La Rasa

A pleasant climb in the Rioja wine region; La Rasa is steady and picturesque.

73) Collado Espina

A deceptively brutal climb in the Collados de Ason mountains. Collado Espina has numerous stretches in excess of 20% gradient on both of its sides.

72) Fuente Dé

Although it shot to fame for its role in Alberto Contador's 2012 Vuelta win; Fuente Dé is actually a very gentle climb. Fortunately that allows you to fully appreciate the scenery of the stunning Picos de Europa National Park.

Fuente De

71) Lizarraga

One of Navarra's best climbs, Lizarraga is characterized by long hairpin bends which gradually climb a near vertical rock face.

70) Cabeza de Manzaneda

A challenging climb in Galicia's Xistral mountains. Bring a rain jacket and be prepared for strong winds if you are brave enough to tackle it.

69) Puerto de San Isidro

A long climb in the Asturias region, which starts gently before getting progressively steeper towards the ski resort that marks the top of the climb.

68) Chirivilla

Although a relatively unknown climb; Chirivilla is a thoroughly enjoyable ride. It is quiet, only moderately challenging and provides beautiful views of the surrounding Calderona Mountains.

Chirivilla

67) Coll de Pradell

Coll de Pradell is one of the toughest climbs in Catalonia; regardless of which side you tackle it from. It is fairly long and relentlessly steep at times.

66) La Cobertoria

A regular Vuelta climb, La Corbertoria is short and steep from both of its two main sides. There are many great options to include it as part of a longer route.

65) Puerto de Ventana

The Ventana is a long and steady climb taking you from Asturias into the province of León. Its length and pleasant forest scenery make it popular with cyclists.

64) Es Grau

Short, easy and beautiful. Es Grau is one of the best climbs in southern Mallorca and can easily be included in longer routes.

63) La Vansa

This Catalan climb finishes at a rather unattractive ski resort. However, like so often in cycling, it is the journey rather than the destination that makes it a really enjoyable ride.

62) Monte Igueldo

Often the final descent in the San Sebastian Classic; Monte Igueldo is home to some of the finest coastal views in Spain; particularly the backdrop over San Sebastian - the 2016 European Captial of Culture.

Monte Igueldo

61) Peña Hincada

A scenic and moderately challenging climb in the south of the Rioja region. One of the most enjoyable ascents in this part of Spain.


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60) Cueva de los Murcielagos

Beginning from the historic village of Zuheros, the climb to excitingly named Bat Cave (Cueva de los Murcielagos) is frighteningly steep in the first kilometres. The gradients become significantly easier towards the top, allowing you to appreciate the backdrop of the scenic Subbetica Mountains.

59) Collado de Piedra de San Martín

More commonly known by its French name - the Col de Pierre San Martin - the Spanish side is less illustrious and less challenging than its French side, but is still thoroughly enjoyable.

58) Laguna de los Peces

A quiet climb in the heart of rural Zamora, Laguna de los Peces is very scenic and a highly recommended detour for anyone riding the Sanabrés route of the Camino de Santiago.

Laguna de los Peces

57) Coll de Femenia

A hugely popular cycling climb in Mallorca, the Coll de Femenia is quite short and gentle, but it is also the gateway to the highest part of the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains.

56) Puerto de San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is very steep from both sides, but is also a lovely climb for cycling with almost no traffic and a perfect road surface. The side from La Riera is in the Somiedo Mountains - home to the largest population of brown bears in Western Europe.

55) Mirador de Ézaro

One of the stars of the Vuelta a España in recent years, Mirador de Ézaro is short and very steep. Often overlooked is the fact that it also provides incredible views of the rugged Galician coastline.

54) Alisas

A classic cycling climb in the Cantabria region of northern Spain. It is not especially difficult nor especially long, but it is a lot of fun to ride from both sides.

Alisas

53) Sant Pere de Rodes

The rugged Cap de Creus is best known for the inspiration it gave to the great Spanish painters Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí however, this pretty climb to a monastery ensures there is something for cyclists as well.

52) Cruz de Hierro

The signature climb of the Camino de Santiago. Cruz de Hierro is tougher and more scenic when started from Molinaseca (the opposite direction to the Camino); however, both sides offer fine views over the Montés de León.

Cruz de Hierro

51) Castell de Santueri / San Salvador

Castell de Santueri, along with neighbouring San Salvador, are the best climbs in the east of Mallorca. The small monastery at the top of San Salvador also has a room displaying historic cycling memorabilia.

50) Xorret de Catí

A classic Vuelta climb, Xorret de Catí is best climbed from Castalla, where the steep gradients will test even the most experienced climbers.

49) Piedrasluengas

At times, the long and excruciatingly gentle Piedrasluengas can feel like a bit of a drag. However, all that is forgotten as the scenery opens up towards the top, offering some incredible views.

Piedrasluengas

48) Artesiaga

Best climbed from Irurita, this is a lovely quiet climb in the Navarran Pyrenees.

47) Puerto de la Ragua

The only climb which crosses Andalucia's Sierra Nevada National Park, La Ragua is challenging due to its length and altitude rather than its gradients.

46) El Cordal

Overshadowed by its near neighbour - Angliru, the Cordal is a tough little climb in its own right, particularly when tackled from Pola de Lena. The last 2km average over 11%.

45) Coll d'Orient

A beautiful climb on the southern edge of Mallorca's Tramutana Mountains. Coll d'Orient is short and easy, but it is a stunning part of the island.

44) Coll de Rates

Full of professional cyclists during the winter, Coll de Rates is fairly short and gentle, making it excellent terrain for training. There are nice views from here of the Mediterranean coast.

43) Pla de Beret

Basically an extension to the Bonaigua pass in Catalonia, Pla de Beret has stunning scenery as it takes you very close to the border with France.

42) Port de Larrau

The French side of this climb is best known for effectively ending the career of Miguel Induraín. The Spanish side is significantly easier, but its beautiful Pyreneean scenery makes it a great route for cyclists that love to go uphill.

Port de Larrau

41) Monte Oiz

Monte Oiz is the hardest road climb in the Basque Country and one of very few over 1,000m altitude. The ascent from Gernika is easy and gentle for the most part, before the surface deteriorates and gradients become relentlessly steep in the final 5km. Not one for the faint hearted.

Monte Oiz

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40) Salto de la Cabra

A very tough climb in the Picos de Europa National Park. The gradients are consistently steep, but the stunning views make it more than worthwhile.

39) Coll de sa Batalla

Possibly the most popular cycling climb in Mallorca; the Coll de sa Batalla is really quite easy, but has the look and feel of a true high mountain climb.

38) Coll de Soller

Hairpins! Hairpins! Hairpins! This short climb in the north of Mallorca has more hairpins than Alpe d'Huez on both sides. Make sure you have greased your headset before you attempt it and you will certainly have a lot of fun here.

Coll de Soller

37) Puerto de la Sía

A beautiful climb in the Asón Mountains. It is essentially two climbs in one on the Cantabria side - first passing the Collado de Asón.

36) Azurki

Perhaps not one of the most famous Basque climbs, but undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable. Azurki is incredibly picturesque whichever side you attempt it from. For the brave, the climb out of Zestoa has several long sections above 15% gradient.

Azurki

35) Collada Llomena

Somewhat overshadowed by the nearby Picos de Europa mountains; the Ponga Natural Park is also home to some incredible scenery - and climbing the Collada Llomena is the best way to see it.

34) Coll de Pal

One of the highest climbs in Catalonia, the Coll de Pal is long and steady, with similar characteristics to a climb like Col du Tourmalet.

33) Puerto de Pontón

A beautiful climb in the Picos de Europa National Park, Puerto de Pontón is very gentle, making it accessible for cyclists of all abilities.

Puerto de Ponton

32) Panderrueda

The most spectacular part of the Panderrueda is the first few kilometres, as you climb the undulating slopes out from the Cares Gorge in Caín; this is another stunning climb in the Picos de Europa range.

31) El Garbí

The nearest significant climb to the city of Valencia is climbed by hundreds of cyclists every week. For the biggest challenge, attempt it via the village of Segart.

30) Ermita de Alba

One of the stars of the 2015 Vuelta, the peaceful and stunning setting of Ermita de Alba belies its devilishly steep gradients.

Ermita de Alba

29) Peña Cabarga

Another popular Vuelta climb, Peña Cabarga is short and steep. It is highly recommend for the fine views of Santander from its slopes.

28) Puig Major

Mallorca's longest and highest climb attracts tens of thousands of cyclists every year and takes you to the most spectacular part of the Tramuntana Mountains.

27) Jaizkibel

The iconic climb of the San Sebastian Classic, Jaizkibel is not especially difficult, but it is important in cycling history. On a clear day it also provides great views out to the Bay of Biscay.

26) Llano de las Ovejas

Llano de las Ovejas should be better known than it is; it is long, high and with some steep gradients - everything you could want from a cycling climb. The views are pleasant as well and the long plateau at the top makes it well worth the effort to get there.

Llano de las Ovejas

25) Puerto de San Glorio

A regular climb in the Vuelta a España. The side beginning in Potes is by far the more challenging and is one of the longest and highest ascents in the region.

24) Pico del Inglés

Most cyclists visiting Tenerife limit themselves to Teide and the south of the island. However, this climb in the northern Añaga Mountains is as good as it gets. Stunning scenery throughout the winding ascent from both sides.

23) Aitana

The highest road climb in the Alicante province is normally closed to traffic as it is an airforce base. However, the road is opened to the public for cycling races (including the 2016 Vuelta) - and you should definitely take this opportunity to tackle it.

22) Taganana

Short and steep; this climb in the north of Tenerife is not one for beginners. However, if you have the strength, the scenery is incredible.

21) Las Palomas

The best climb in Andalucia's Grazalema Mountains can be tackled from various sides. The most spectacular ascent begins from next to the picturesque lake in Zahara.

Las Palomas

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20) Puerto de Somiedo

This secluded climb in the Somiedo Mountains is one of the most peaceful and remote in Northern Spain. So peaceful and remote that the surrounding natural park supports significant populations of bears, wolves, vultures and golden eagles!

19) Mirador del Masca

Another of Tenerife's stunning climbs. The hidden road to Masca (formerly a pirate refuge) has breathtaking scenery throughout its five steep kilometres.

Mirador de Masca

18) Puerto de Velefique

Velefique is most characterized by the many hairpin bends on its lower slopes. The gradients here are fairly steep, but without ever getting ridiculous. For even more of a challenge you can continue an extra few kilometres to the television mast at Tetica de Bacares.

17) Arrate

The most legendary Basque climb is short and sweet. At just 5km it is not a major challenge in itself; however, the climb is steeped in cycling history and nearly all the great riders have tackled its slopes.

16) Fuente del Chivo

A spectacular climb in the Alto Campoo mountains; Fuente del Chivo was used in the 2015 Vuelta a España. Unfortunately it was shrouded in thick cloud that day, denying spectators the stunning views that this high mountain climb has to offer.

15) Alto del Torno

Perhaps a surprise inclusion this high up the list; Alto del Torno is not especially well known (although it has featured recently in the Vuelta). The climb from Labra, however, is absolutely stunning and offers a delightful contrast to the nearby Picos de Europa mountains.

Alto del Torno

14) Lagunas de Neila

The main climb of the Vuelta a Burgos is challenging and scenic, with several different sides for you to tackle.

13) Calar Alto

At well over 2,000m altitude, Calar Alto is one of Spain's highest ascents. Even though it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere there are four different routes to the top, all on wide perfectly paved roads. The more ambitious could do a long circle by combining it with Puerto de Velefique.

Calar Alto

12) Gamoniteiro

Sharing the same mountain as Angliru, Gamoniteiro is actually the higher of the two climbs. The first part of the ascent is shared with La Cobertoria, before a narrow road takes you into beautiful mountainous countryside. On a clear day you can easily see across to Oviedo and the coastal city of Gijón.

11) La Farrapona

A newcomer to the Vuelta, La Farrapona has become an instant hit. It is a challenging climb amongst the spectacular scenery of the Somiedo Natural Park.

La Farrapona

10) Picón del Fraile

Picón del Fraile is best climbed from the Cantabrian side. It is long and beautiful, with the area known as La Concha (The Shell) providing incredible views through the valley and across to the Picos de Europa mountains.

Picon del Fraile

9) Sa Calobra

Mallorca's most famous climb is as good as its reputation suggests. It is of moderate length and difficulty compared with others in the top 10, but its snaking road is uniquely spectacular.

Sa Calobra

8) El Teide

A regular haunt of professional cyclists doing blocks of altitude training; Teide can be climbed from many sides. All of them are long, tough an highly rewarding, with great scenery amidst the volcanic national park.

El Teide

7) Jito de Escarandi

First used in the 2015 Vuelta, Jito de Escarandi is an incredibly beautiful climb. One of the few roads inside the boundaries of the Picos de Europa National Park; it is one of the most spectacular and challenging ascents anywhere in Spain.

Jito de Escarandi

6) La Creueta

Catalonia's finest climb has scenery which would be more at home in the highest peaks of the French Pyrenees. A beautiful climb with very little traffic.

5) Puerto de Ancares

Ancares is another climb with several different sides. All of them are different, but all of them are steep and offer a real challenge for cyclists. There is no traffic here and the scenery reflects that with its serenity and natural beauty.

4) La Cubilla

Known by some as the Asturian Galibier, we believe that La Cubilla may be even more enjoyable to climb than the Alpine great. Like Galibier, it is long, high and has stunning scenery; however, unlike Galibier, it also has virtually no traffic throughout its nearly 30km.

La Cubilla

3) Pico de Veleta

Pico de Veleta is the highest road climb in Europe by a distance. At over 3,400m it offers a unique experience on this continent and, if climbed from Granada, it has a whopping 2,700m of elevation gain. For the greatest challenge, tackle the climb via Haza Llanas.

Pico de Veleta

2) Angliru

Arguably professional cycling's most infamous climb, Angliru is well known for its sustained steep gradients. It is less well known for its incredible scenery (probably because it always seems to be cloudy when the Vuelta visits!); with the steepness of the climb offering a unique perspective as you look back down the mountain.

Angliru

1) Lagos de Covadonga

The best climb in Spain and the star of the Picos de Europa mountains. Lagos de Covadonga is nowadays used more than any other ascent in the Vuelta and rightly so. It is visually spectacular, culminating in the two large lakes at the top of the climb, but it is also sufficiently difficult to make it a worthwhile challenge to all cyclists.

Lagos de Covadonga