Pico Veleta (Haza Llanas)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Pinos Genil 3,392m 2,582m 40.7 km 6.4% 2,341 *****

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Climb Description

Pico Veleta is the highest paved road in Europe by quite a distance. Situated in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it has an elevation gain of a massive 2,500m, making it an extremely challenging and rewarding climb.

Although slightly shorter than the other three main routes to Veleta, this is the most challenging. The main difficulty is the climb to Alto de Haza Llanas, which begins as you leave Guejar Sierra. It is a very steep section for around 5km, with several pretty long stretches between 15% and 22% gradient. Alto de Haza Llanas is a frequent stage finish in the Vuelta a España and Vuelta a Andalucia races by itself, yet there is still 1,900m more elevation to go from there to the top of Veleta! After conquering Haza Llanas, the gradients settle at around 7% for most of the climb. It is possible to settle into a rhythm and enjoy the spectacular scenery as you pass the Collado de las Sabinas; but don't underestimate how had 7% can feel when you are nearing 3,000m altitude.

Veleta's length and gradients are challenging enough, but you also have the weather to contend with. It tends to be very hot at the foot of the climb and can be very cold at the top - which isn't surprising when you consider the elevation difference, but it does mean that you have to dress for a variety of conditions. Don't forget that the descent back down to the bottom will take many riders the best part of an hour - so don't leave the wind jacket behind!

The name Veleta means 'weather-vane' in Spanish and gives a clue to another of the difficulties on the climb - the wind. The last few kilometres are very exposed and it is not uncommon for there to be gusts of winds of around 100km/h.

Overall, however, the climb from Haza Llanas is an excellent route to climb Veleta - and the difficulties, if anything, add to the challenge of this great climb.

Pico Veleta is open as far as a barrier at 2600m all year. Beyond this the snow is not cleared regularly and the climb is often only fully open between June and mid September. However, it's also usually possibly to climb to over 3,000m in May and October.

Pico Veleta (Haza Llanas) -  Cycling Climb in Andalucia

Veleta and neighbouring Mulhacen are the highest peaks in Europe outside of the Alps

Roads & Traffic

Until the barrier at 2,600m the road is in excellent condition. After the barrier the surface is mixed, with some sections have been damaged by ice and snow. Sometimes it is perfectly fine, and it is pretty much always rideable on a road bike, but it is a bit more broken places. The last 200m to the summit of the climb are not passable on a road bike, so you will have to walk there if you wish to reach the very top.

The road between Pinos Genil and Haza Llanas is fairly busy at times, but traffic is not constant and it is not really a nuissance. From Haza Llanas there is generally very little traffic until the Collado de las Sabinas.

From there until the top, you rejoin the main road and it is slightly busier, but still not bothersome until the barrier at 2,600m. After the barrier it is just walkers and bicycles, as motorized vehicles are not allowed on this section.

Haza Llanas Road

The road to Haza Llanas climbs steeply out of Guejar Sierra

Alternative Routes

Pico Veleta can also be climbed from Pinos Genil, Monachil and Guejar Sierra.

Nearby Climbs

Alto de Haza Llanas

El Alguacil

Collado de Quentar

El Purche

La Zubia

Puerto Lobo

Cycling Holidays

Our Seville to Granada cycling holiday can be extended to include the climb to Pico Veleta and other ascents nearby.

Below you can find links to this and some of the other mountainous tours that we run.

We can also arrange customized tours in the Sierra Nevada mountains. If you would be interested in this, please contact us to discuss the options.

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

Lagos de Covadonga
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: from €1,490 EUR
Mount Teide
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,390 EUR