Malaga province has some of the most scenic cycling routes in Andalusia. Whether you’re after a gentle seaside excursion alongside some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches or an adrenaline-fuelled trip up into Malaga’s mountains, there are routes to suit every kind of cyclist. Here are the spots you need to know about if you’re heading out on two wheels in southern Spain.
East from Malaga
For undemanding cycle routes that take in the Coasta del Sol‘s most beautiful coastal scenery, Malaga is a superb starting point. Heading east out of the centre takes you past the city’s historic bullring and along the Paseo de Sancha, flanking Malaga’s most popular beach, the Playa Malagueta. This lovely promenade is flat and well-maintained, so you can expend all your effort looking out over the perfect blue waters towards Africa, or inland at the verdant, hilly landscape that surrounds Malaga. A round trip of about 30 kilometres (coming back the same way) takes you out to the Rincón de la Victoria suburb of Malaga via the charming fishing village of La Cala de Moral where, on the way back, you can stop for some of the best seafood on the Costa del Sol.
West from Malaga
Another chilled ride starting from Malaga´s stunning port explores the coastal paths that lie to the west of the city. A longer ride of about 60km (including the return trip) takes you out to the former fishing village of Torremolinos – now one of the busiest tourist destinations on the Costa del Sol – and the beautiful whitewashed little towns of Benalmedena and Fuengirola. The perfect time to do either this coastal ride or the one that heads east out of Malaga (see above) is spring or autumn. This is not only because the summer temperatures on the Costa del Sol make anything but swimming, sunbathing and hanging around in chiringuitos a chore. Out of season, when just the locals are about, you can see Torremolinos, Benalmedena and Fuengirola as they once were, before the rest of the world found out how beautiful they are.
Excellent cycle paths run along coasts to the east and west of Malaga; manuelfloresv, flickr
El Torcal, Antequera
Malaga province is famous for its coastline, but it’s also worth exploring inland. Some of the region’s most dramatic mountain biking is to be enjoyed in and around the El Torcal Natural Park, close to the enchanting town of Antequera. El Torcal´s Jurassic-era limestone is around 150 million years old and its karst landscape makes for one of the most unusual and fascinating sights in all of Spain. Owing to the mountainous terrain in this region, the cycling is more demanding than it is on the coast, but it repays the extra effort. A route of about 18km takes you from Antequera along a winding (but well maintained) road with spectacular views of El Torcal, to the unspoilt, whitewashed town of Villanueva de la Concepción. From here, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the coast.
The distinctive karst landscape of El Torcal, near Antequera; Juan de Dios Santander Vela, flickr
The mountains north of Malaga offer some incredible cycling routes | Juan Alberto Cañero Tamayo, flickr
Just 20 kilometres inland from Malaga is one of the best spots in Andalucia for off-road biking. The Montes de Malaga (Mountains of Malaga) natural park, a beautiful expanse of pine forest dominated by the mountains after which it is named, offers some of the most scenic inland cycle paths in Malaga. From the city, the route climbs gently but steadily to an altitude of around 900 metres and takes in the Mirador del Cochino, from which the views of the mountains are incredible. Once in the park, you can head off the main track and discover the untamed landscape for yourself (suspension recommended). The best thing about cycling up here from Malaga is that it’s all downhill on the way back.
Ronda is one of Malaga province’s star-attractions. Perched either side of a deep gorge, its two halves are connected by a stunning eighteenth century stone bridge that is one of Andalusia’s greatest architectural marvels. It is also a superbly-positioned base from which to explore the many cycle paths in the surrounding Serrania de Ronda. Heading north from Ronda, via dusty countryside tracks, you are led into a cluster of some of Andalucia´s most attractive white villages (La Indiana is particularly charming), whilst to the west the Grazelma Natural Park offers mountain biking paths of varying levels of difficulty. Due to the rugged, hilly landscape this can be demanding cycling but, as in El Torcal, the natural beauty by which surrounds you, worth a little pain.