Travel: Costa del Sol


This is an updated piece following a second trip to the area and the good news is that with a few caveats the area is actually highly recommended.

Plentiful flights and accommodation, some of the best off-season weather in Europe and challenging terrain all contribute to this being a great riding destination. The truth is it’s probably really underrated compared to the more popular destinations of for example Mallorca and Girona.

So, why the qualified recommendation? Firstly, without there being enormous climbs the terrain is definitely “rolling” to say the least so there are not too many enjoyable flat routes, if that’s your thing.  Secondly, the road network is highly developed and without good route planning it’s easy to find yourself riding on some not great “A” roads. But that’s why we have some great route suggestions for you below!

First, a word on where to base your trip. We stayed in Mijas and it’s ideal in almost every way, the only downside being that there is really only one route out and back which is pretty lumpy and may get repetitive over several days. Though we have not stayed there we were recommended the Alozaina area for future trips as that allows easier access to a wider variety of routes. 

We rented bikes from Kamaga Bikes and found the Bianchi bikes and service (including drop-off and collection to Mijas) offered to be excellent, including lots of helpful advice from Alex.

We set-out two possible routes below, both of which are more “epic all-day” than gentle leg stretch but of course it would be possible to trim and adapt them to suit your requirements.  The small towns and petrol stations spread along the routes provide some options for food and drink but err on the side of carrying provisions/stopping as they can be tough rides with long stretches without shops and of course temperatures can get high.

The first route takes you north to El Caminto del Rey and it tick all the boxes for scenery and nice climbing.  We rode the route anti-clockwise starting in Alhaurin el Grande, heading to Alora, a drinks stop after El Chorro, lunch in Ardales and back via Alozaina.  The route is generally downhill until you reach Cartama after which you’ll spend most of the next 60 kilometres gradually gaining altitude up to a high point of around 750 metres before Casarabonela before again shedding altitude on the way back south to Coin.  None of the climbs are overly fierce, they generally average around 4-6%.

In terms of scenery the route really picks up from around El Chorro and you will then pass the tourist destination of El Caminito del Rey.  The northern part of the loop is characterised by narrower roads and plenty of time on enjoyably gentle climbs.  The landscape changes as you approach Casarabonela as you pass through a large and more expansive bowl of a valley with agricultural fields and olive groves.  Some of the roads in this section were recently resurfaced and are like carpet!

Strava route:


The second route option features more challenging climbing but is really outstanding and runs from Coin to the Puerto del Viento, which is the highest point before you can choose to drop down to Ronda. Depending on your location and time available you could however reduce this to El Burgo to the same summit at Puerto del Viento, as this stretch is the real highlight (30km round trip). It is an out-and-back ride rather than a loop but it’s beautiful enough that you certainly wouldn’t be bored on the second half of the ride. The route largely passes through the national park of La Sierra de las Nieves and car traffic is far lower than on other roads in the area.

Leaving Coin (202m altitude) you head west along the A-366, reaching first Alozaina (386m), Yunquera (681m) and El Burgo (591m) before reaching the summit of Puerto del Viento (1071m). The total route returning to Coin is approximately 100km with 2200m of climbing.  The Strava route below includes the optional drop down and climb back out of Ronda.

The first section provides wide open views of rolling olive groves (first image below) with eucalyptus dotted along the road only adding to the atmosphere. The road starts to tilt up around 5km before Alozaina and continues to steadily climb for 15km before a 6km descent into El Burgo. As mentioned above it is the stretch that follows that offers the most spectacular roads and views in the 13km to the summit (which also includes some chance to recover on a short descent). The final climb to the summit becomes increasingly barren (second image) with much more bare rock and minimal vegetation.

From the summit of the Puente del Viento you could drop down into Ronda and try and visit the spectacular bridge the town is known for. Two words of caution though. Firstly, the descent and climb back out of Ronda are nothing too special compared to what comes before it but certainly add to the time and strain of the ride. Secondly, to visit the bridge isn’t super easy and involves quite a lot of walking so again it will really extend the overall ride time if that is a consideration.

Strava route:



If you’re staying close to Mijas and fancy a challenge you can always take on the climb to the nearby Antennae summit which averages around 10% for 5km.

If you do head to this area then enjoy your riding!!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

.hero .mega-title {text-shadow: none !important;} .hero__overlay::before {background-color: transparent !important; opacity: 1 !important;}