This summer we had a self-described ‘serious’ road cyclist stay with us during one of our summer of love celebrations and he couldn’t praise the local cycling highly enough, declaring it ‘a cycling gem’ (his words appear in quotes throughout this article). In fact, he felt that La Cazalla would be an ideal base for a holiday with his own cycling club, which led us to thinking about what kinds of experience we could provide for groups of cyclists. We are always responsive to new ideas from our guests and love bringing like-minded people to the region so that they too can enjoy everything the amazing Serranía de Ronda has to offer.
Already aware that cycling is immensely popular here (not a day goes by without passing a solo cyclist or group on the road), it didn’t take us long to discover a wealth of available resources. There are bicycle rental shops, tour guides, and suitable routes for everyone, from families looking for a gentle jaunt mainly on the flat to serious cyclists seeking a significant challenge. For such a small town like Ronda (population in the region of 34,000), it seems incredible that there are 5 dedicated cycling clubs in Ronda alone and 2 in neighbouring Arriate. Oh, and by the way, the law here stipulates that motorists must give cyclists at least a 1.5 metre gap when passing them, and this law is strictly adhered to, making cycling on the roads a much more comfortable experience than the writer has endured in some other countries.
“Roads surfaces are good, local drivers are courteous and the scenery is breath-taking.”
So what can one expect from a cycling holiday based at La Cazalla de Ronda?
Cycling holidays in Spain for serious cyclists
Searching for a cycling holiday with some new challenges and magnificent vistas? If La Vuelta think that the terrain is suitably strenuous enough, the Serranía de Ronda may appeal to you too.
There are so many possibilities within this region for some truly challenging cycling surrounded by incredible mountainous scenery, that it’s difficult to know where to begin! La Cazalla de Ronda sits peacefully between three protected Natural Parks: the Sierra de Grazalema (tallest peak 1,654 metres), the Sierra de las Nieves (maximum elevation 1,919 metres) and Los Alcornocales Natural Park (highest peak 1,092 metres). Each park is magnificent, with an abundance of flora and fauna. We particularly love the unique pine trees of the Sierra de las Nieves and the half-stripped and luscious red-brown trunks of the cork trees in Grazalema and Los Alcornocales.
A highly popular route for serious cyclists through some spectacular countryside is from Ronda to Gaucín, alongside the eastern flank of the Sierra de Grazalema mountains. A ‘Quedada Ciclista’ (cycle meet) takes place once a year, usually in autumn, along this beautiful stretch of road.
Our ‘serious’ cyclist included part of the road shown above in a route he created from Ronda to Atajate via Montejaque and Benaoján - you can view it on Strava (together with his amusing comments!). Additionally, we thought we should show you how gorgeous the Genal Valley can be during autumn, so we made a little video. (Yes, we cheated. We went in a car.)
Another option for a breathtaking bicycle ride (breathtaking in both senses of the word) is to follow the Ronda to El Burgo route. The 23 km cycle to El Burgo begins with a long, slow ascent gaining 490 metres, followed by an exhilarating, tree-lined, winding descent of 660 metres down the mountainside through part of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. There are some excellent places to enjoy local cuisine in El Burgo before either attempting the reverse journey or opting for the longer, slower climb towards Serrato and back to Ronda.
Further popular routes for serious cyclists include Ronda to Grazalema (climbing 1,180 metres) and the 72 km ride from Ronda to Olvera, a truly beautiful hilltop pueblo blanco with an interesting intact fort and ancient church. Finally, there’s the annual Legion 101 km 24 hour endurance race (usually in May, with the 2019 event taking place on 11th May). Whatever your preferences (mountain biking, road cycling, or professional cycling routes), we are certain that this region has something that will appeal to you.
If the above options sound enticing to you, take a look now at where you will stay:
“The perfect base” for your cycling holiday
“The perfect base, you can cycle in/out at the top of the villa’s access track (or from the villa itself if you are a mountain biker, rather than roadie).”
In the words of our guests: a magical, amazing villa set in a stunning location just outside of the buzzing, historical town of Ronda.
6 large bedrooms with comfortable beds and en suite bathrooms.
Private pool surrounded by breathtaking views, complete with 12 cushioned sun loungers, a table and chairs, and a pool room with drinking water, a fridge, picnic set, fun inflatables and pool games.
3 large separate comfortable living rooms, one with a library, one with a fireplace and indoor games, and the third with satellite TV and a Wii.
Indoor and outdoor dining spaces for up to 12 people, together with a kitchen designed for catering to large groups.
13 acres of completely private nature to explore, guided by our own illustrated map, and 3 horses to say “Hola!” to.
The option of having some hearty, post-cycling meals prepared onsite, such as paella or parillada (a mixed grill), or help yourselves from our organic vegetable garden and orchard.
What if you’re not a serious cyclist? Well, La Cazalla de Ronda is perfect for families too.
A family cycling holiday in Spain
Our suggestions for your family cycling holiday:
Drive for 10 minutes into Ronda town centre and rent professionally-maintained bicycles from one of our recommended cycle shops, or let us contact a local tour operator for you.
Start with something simple, such as a 30 km circular ride from Ronda around Arriate and back. 30 km sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t far for most people, and it only takes half-an-hour to cycle from Ronda to Arriate. Alternatively, throw some ancient Roman ruins and cave houses into the mix by following this route from Ronda to Acinipo and Setenil, returning to Ronda through Arriate.
Return to La Cazalla, play in the pool, have a barbecue or an energy-replenishing paella prepared by your hosts, and fall asleep in one of our comfy beds with a good book.
Collect your bicycles and try another short route, such as Ronda - Faraján - Cartajima (both of which have free municipal swimming pools open during the summer months) or a ride of just over an hour on a quiet road from Ronda to the valley of Lifa. This route will take you through part of the stunning Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, ending at the Tower of Lifa - an ancient watchtower that barely remains standing.
Explore the city of Ronda or enjoy a long, lazy lunch at La Cazalla and either play in the pool or play badminton or boules on the lawn.
As the week progresses, try different routes. Both mapmyride.com and bikemap.net allow you to search by setting maximum distances and level of difficulty. The landscape and scenery here mean that no matter where you go cycling, you’ll be surrounded by spectacular countryside and exposed to breathtaking views.
Follow La Cazalla’s nature trail on foot and have fun with your family finding our local wildlife.
Treat yourselves to a meal prepared by one of our visiting chefs.
As 2 of our 6 double-bedrooms can be converted into twin rooms, and we have a couple of temporary beds that fit nicely into other rooms, plus a cot, we feel sure we can accommodate even the largest family and their needs. We are highly receptive to requests from our guests, so simply contact us with your holiday dates and ideas for how you would like to use the house and what you would like to do with your family, and we will be delighted to assist you.
How to book your cycling holiday in Andalucía:
Organise your group of up to 12 people.
Decide what time of year to visit (July and August can be a little too hot for serious cycling, but April and September are perfect).
Consider whether you would like guided tours and some catered meals,
Send us an email with your ideas and let us organise your perfect cycling holiday in Andalucía.