Calar Alto (Gérgal)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Gérgal 2,155m 1,420m 22.5 km 6.3% 1,245 ****

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Climb Description

The climb from Gérgal is the most popular ascent of Calar Alto and is the side most commonly used in the Vuelta a España. The climbing here is an acquired taste, as you begin next to a desert and climb through rocky scenery with a few pine trees dotted around providing most of the vegetation.

Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable ride and is particularly special as it is one of very few places in Europe where you can cycle to over 2,000m altitude in the winter. From this side you first climb to the Collado de Venta Luisa; from there turn left and continue the short distance to the observatories that are dotted around the top of the climb.

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

Calar Alto (Gérgal) -  Cycling Climb in Andalucia

There is a open plateau at the top of the climb

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 throughout the climb - although you may encounter a few cars during the 'rush hours' to and from the observatories.

Alternative Routes

A more scenic alternative to the climb from Gérgal begins in the nearby village of Aulago.

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
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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