Cycling Climbs in Central Spain
|Climb||Town||Altitude (m)||Length (km)||Gradient (%)||Difficulty||Rating|
|Abantos||San Lorenzo de El Escorial||1640||11.5||5.4||745||***|
|Alto del León||Guadarrama||1511||8.3||6.4||301||*|
|Bola del Mundo||Collado Villalba||2257||21.8||6.2||1540||**|
|Cotos||El Paular Monastery||1830||14||4.6||340||***|
|La Morcuera||Miraflores de la Sierra||1796||9.2||6.8||510||***|
|Cruz de la Demanda||Posadas||1855||15.6||5.7||875||***|
|La Rasa||River Iregua (N-111)||1390||9.7||6.2||567||***|
|La Rasa||Jalón de Cameros||1390||9.9||5.3||430||****|
|Peña Hincada||River Najerilla (LR-113)||1422||13.6||4.9||645||****|
|Peña Hincada||Villanueva de Cameros||1422||12.6||4.1||355||***|
|Puerto de Montenegro||Venta de Goyo (LR-113)||1583||19||3.8||424||***|
|Puerto de Piqueras||Villanueva de Cameros||1710||19.4||3.6||311||***|
|Alto de Rivas||San Vicente de la Sonsierra||960||9.9||4.3||111||***|
|Alto de Rivas||Labastida||960||10.2||4.1||114||***|
|Javalambre||Puebla de Valverde||1850||22.2||3.3||342||***|
|Moncayo||Vera de Moncayo||1565||24.6||3.7||376||***|
|Valdelinares||Mora de Rubielos||1984||27.4||3.5||622||***|
|Alto Rey||Villares de Jadraque||1765||17||4.7||527||***|
|Lagunas de Neila||Villavelayo (La Rioja)||1872||19.7||4.8||799||****|
|Lagunas de Neila||Quintanar de la Sierra||1872||14.8||5.3||767||****|
|Laguna de los Peces||Sanabria||1725||16.8||4.2||327||****|
|Alto del León||San Rafael||1511||5.7||4.9||124||*|
|El Peñon||Doney de la Requejada||1840||10.7||7.4||1024||**|
|Puerto de Montenegro||Montenegro de Cameros||1583||6.2||5.9||141||***|
|Puerto de Piqueras||Póveda de Soria||1710||9.6||4.5||167||***|
MountainsCentral Spain is sometimes referred to misleadingly as being the meseta (table top). This is due to a large plateau that expands over part of the interior of the Iberian peninsula.
But don't be fooled, Central Spain is still nearly as mountainous as the rest of the country. The Sierra de Guadarrama mountains near to Madrid, the Sierra de la Demanda in La Rioja, and the Sierra de Gredos in Extremadura are just a few of the mountain chains in the region. And there are some excellent cycling climbs to be found amongst them!
SceneryIt is fair to say that Central Spain is not the most scenic region in Spain. There is no coast and the mountains tend to be dry during much of the year. Even the Guadarrama mountains, while pleasant, are largely covered in thick forest and offer few spectacular views - at least not on a road bike.
But it is not all bad, there are some fantastic views to be had in places, and the wildlife is often excellent, with vultures and eagles regularly accompanying you on the climbs.
RoadsThe roads are of mixed quality. Central Spain covers several autonomous communities and the road surfaces vary considerably both within and between the various provinces. Madrid generally has good surfaces, whilst those in Rioja often leave a bit to be desired. It's worth checking the climb page for more information, because there are some very bumpy climbs here.
Traffic is also mixed. As you would expect, around Madrid, the climbs can be quite busy on weekends and in the height of summer. But in most of the rest of Central Spain, the roads are very quiet.
Getting ThereMadrid is right in the center of Spain, so it is easy to get there. To get from Madrid to some of the other regions can be tricky without a car, particularly if you are going into remote mountains. However, there are good bus and train connections from Madrid to all provincial capitals (for example, Salamanca, León and Logroñ)
WeatherCentral Spain is best for climbing in spring and autumn. Summer can get very hot, while it can get cold in winter. Many of the higher climbs are also ski resorts, and so are kept open over winter, but they are cold. We recommend April to June and September to November to get the best weather.
Cycling HolidaysWe have several cycling holidays that visit Central Spain. Our Rioja Guided and Self-Guided tours are more leisurely rides, but there is the option to extend the routes to include some climbs - including Valdezcaray.
Our Salmanca to Segovia and Valencia & Aragón cycling holidays also cross parts of Central Spain, but are focused more on the history and culture of the region, rather than tackling the high mountains.
Our Camino de Santiago route from León to Santiago crosses some of the mountains on the edge of Central Spain and is a good choice for cyclists who like to ride medium routes, rather than high mountains.
You can find out more details about these and some of our other more mountainous holidays below.