Away from the resorts and beaches of the Costas there’s a very different side to Spain. And it’s a side that’s steep, rocky and perfect for mountain biking. With the Pyrenees in the north and the Sierra Nevada in the south, plus a range of peaks in between, off-road cyclists are spoiled for choice when it comes to mountain biking holidays in Spain.
To help you decide where to go on your next Spanish mountain biking adventure, we’ve picked five of the very best spots that offer a combination of rides, terrain and spectacular views. Please note in this article we are only looking at mainland Spain, we have a separate article about where to go mountain biking in the Canary Islands.
The Eastern Pyrenees
Warmer, drier and sunnier than the western stretch of the mountain range, the Eastern Pyrenees provide the ideal conditions for both experienced and beginner mountain bikers. With terrain varying from rocky, arid and dusty to lush, green and muddy, the Eastern Pyrenees offer riders the chance to try out different types of riding everyday.
If you want to enjoy the best riding that the region has to offer on your mountain biking holidays in Spain, Altitude Adventure run some fantastic trips, taking riders deep into the heart of the Pyrenees. Their week long, catered holidays combine a range of rides with great food and an authentic local flavour.
Owned by experienced and passionate mountain bikers, Altitude Adventure organise a range exhilarating Pyrenean excursions that take in a variety of tracks, trails, climbs and descents and give riders the chance to really get to know these spectacular mountains. To find out more visit www.altitudeadventure.com or call +33 678 238130.
The Sierra Nevada, Andalusia
Home to the highest point in continental Spain, the Sierra Nevada mountains are one of the country’s top MTB destinations. As you’d expect from a fully-fledged mountain range, the Sierra Nevada has a mixture of terrain with some big descents, challenging climbs and world-class single track. And with the ski lifts helping with the ascent you can try some serious downhill MTB.
The landscape and conditions change as you ascend or descend the range, so there’s guaranteed to be a route to suit your tastes and abilities. Ride Sierra Nevada specialise in MTB trips in the mountains.
Coastal Malaga, Andalusia
Also in Andalusia, coastal Malaga – commonly termed the Costa Del Sol – is a fantastic destination for mountain biking holidays in Spain. With an abundance of national park, mountains rising to 1000m, great weather, fantastic tourist amenities and almost endless single track, the mountain biking is some of the best in Spain.
For mountain biking holidays in the Malaga area we recommend you check out Sierra MTB. Based in Fuengirola they have been offering MTB holidays in the area since 1992. They have a huge range of trails to choose from, suitable for all abilities and fitness levels. Stay in their spacious accommodation, just a stones throw from the beach, including pool, WiFi, English TV and air conditioning.
Every day the team will guide you to different trails in the area. Importantly they use buses to do the majority of the uplift, meaning you get to spend more time riding quality trails. Using a number of guides, Sierra MTB put riders of similar abilities together, so you won’t be hanging around for a slow rider or holding up the rest of the group.
A hearty breakfast is provided by Sierra MTB, as are snacks and soft drinks. Uniquely they also offer a free bar with unlimited beer, wine and spirits to ensure you have a great holiday. All this costs just €210 for a long weekend or €450 for a week – a bargain. You can find out more by visiting: www.sierramtb.com or contacting the owner Alan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note from the editor: I experienced Sierra MTB first hand in 2011 and highly recommend them. Alan and his team quickly make you feel at home and the location in Fuengirola is perfect. The trails are high quality and varied, and the guiding means you can concentrate on having a good time while you are taken on routes you would never find on you own.
The Marina Alta Mountains, Valencia
Though Spain is home to two world-famous mountain ranges, some of the best riding can be found in the country’s lesser-known regions and the Marina Alta Mountains are a perfect example. Traversed by remote, rugged tracks and with terrain varying from limestone hills to dry riverbeds, the Marina Alta Mountains are just waiting to be discovered by MTB enthusiasts.
Since 2003, Mañana Mountain have run a range of All Mountain XC holidays in the region, with top British MBLA qualified guides leading rides into the most remote and beautiful parts of the range from their mountain base.
From sweeping fire roads to unmapped, rocky single tracks and switchbacks, the Marina Alta Mountains have it all and, as you’re in Spain, you can look forward to a well-earned gourmet feast at the end of a tough day in the saddle. Check out Mañana Mountain’s range of itineraries and scheduled trips at www.mananamountain.com or call +34 965 518 254.
The Sierra de los Filabres, Almeria
Like the Marina Alta Mountains, the Sierra de los Filabres have yet to be discovered by the global MTB fraternity. However, with some of the best XC and Enduro style riding in Andalusia, it’s surely only a matter of time.
The best riding in the region is generally between 400 and 1,200 meters, as it offers the best terrain and conditions for the majority of the year. However, if you go with an experienced local company like Mountain Biking Spain, they’ll be able to take you to the best spots no matter what the conditions.
The Cantabrian Mountains
Stretching 300km along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea from the Western Pyrenees, the Cantabrian Mountains offer a great combination of XC, long distance and downhill biking.
Wetter and cooler than other Spanish mountains, biking holidays in the Cantabrian Mountains are more about the riding than the weather. However, with lush, green mountains, forgotten villages and great views wherever you turn, a few showers won’t put a dampener on your trip.
With a wide variety of ranges, landscapes and routes throughout the country, mountain biking holidays in Spain are challenging and exhilarating. When you throw in the great food, fantastic weather and the beautiful scenery, you know you’re in for an unforgettable trip.