Calar Alto (Aulago)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Aulago 2,155m 1,428m 30.5 km 4.7% 836 *****

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Climb Description

Although the Vuelta a España generally chooses to climb from Gérgal, we believe that this is an even more interesting approach to Calar Alto.

The scenery here is sparse and wild. You begin from the edge of a desert and end up at one of the largest observatories in Europe - chosen because of the perfectly clear skies that are common in an area with so little human settlement.

Despite climbing to over 2,000m, don't expect views of snowy peaks and green mountainsides like you would find in the Alps or the Pyrenees. Almeria is the driest region in Europe and the landscape is largely rocky on Calar Alto.

Nevertheless, this is a great climb to do when other monutains of a similar altitude are inaccessible, and the scenery, although something of an acquired taste, is beautiful in its remoteness.

Calar Alto is usually open throughout the year. However, snow is possible in the winter and it can get cold at the top in January and February. The heat can also be a problem in July and August, with temperatures often in excess of 35°C and very little shade to be found.

Calar Alto (Aulago) -  Cycling Climb in Andalucia

Calar Alto is extremely quiet and peaceful to ride

Roads & Traffic

The road is in very good condition throughout and is enjoyable to both climb and descend on a road bike.

There is very little traffic on the road. Once you have crossed the motorway, and certainly once you have passed the village of Aulago, you are unlikely to see more than two or three cars during the entire climb.

Calar Alto Top of Climb

There is a long plateau at the top of the climb

Alternative Routes

The most popular way to climb to Calar Alto begins from Gérgal - this is the route mostly chosen by the Vuelta a España.

On the northern side there are also three more great routes. An easier one from Serón and two challenging routes from Tíjola and via Las Menas.

Nearby Climbs

Puerto de Velefique

Tetica de Bacares

Puerto de Escullar

Cycling Holidays

Our Cabo de Gata cycling holiday can be adapted to include the climb to Calar Alto. We can also arrange customized tours in the region. Please contact us to discuss the options.

You may also be interested in the links below to some of the other tours that we run in Andalucia. All of these can be modified to be made more challenging if you want to tackle some of the excellent climbs nearby.

Playa de Monsul - Cabo de Gata
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 6 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: from €1190 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Alhambra Palace - Granada
Spanish FlagSpain

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: €1,880 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Andalucia Sunflower Fields
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,590 EUR
*Bike Hire Included