7 good reasons to cycle in Malaga.
7 GOOD REASONS TO CYCLE IN MÁLAGA
Malaga is a cycling destination that has gained popularity in recent times over other Spanish destinations such as Mallorca, Girona or the Canary Islands. Scenic landscapes, a mild and pleasant weather during the whole year, hundreds of kilometers of winding roads with little to no traffic and a compelling cultural and gastronomic offer are some of the reasons. In this article we give you 7 reasons why you should choose Malaga as your base of operations for your next cycling holidays.
Text and images by Escapada Cycling
1.- The beauty of its landscapes.
Imagine arriving to an oasis after a few days of traveling through the desert. That’s how the romantic travelers of the 19th century used to feel when arriving to Malaga’s province from northern areas. They were welcomed by the Serranía de Ronda, a mountain range with a city standing on top of a high plateau and next to a deep gorge, a place nowadays is still sourrounded by depths, chasms and lush vegetation that extends all the way to Valle del Guadalhorce (also known as “The sunshine valley”). Its roads don’t have much traffic, and the citric crops and “fincas” (farms) sketch a landscape of outstanding natural beauty.
Another popular region is the Axarquía, to be found between the Sierra de Alhama inland and the sea, resulting in a succession of steep hills encircled by avocado and mango croplands and fantastic sea views. Apart from that, the “Montes de Málaga” are the city’s green area and offer a great number of possibilities when it comes to cycling, with long climbs and amusing descents at high speed that end up next to the sea. Furthermore, Malaga is located in between all those areas, the Axarquía, Sierra de Alhama, Valle de Guadalhorce and the Costa del Sol, becoming an ideal destination and a true enjoyment for all cyclists thanks to a wide variety of cycling routes and landscapes.
2.- Its extensive and well-maintained road network.
The geography of Malaga province is rough in almost all its extension and is irrigated by numerous rivers and streams. The importance of the port of Malaga and the city’s own location in the most central part of southern Spain has enabled since ancient times opening roads towards the rest of the country through its valleys, resulting in small settlements in the foothills of the mountains. The connections between all those villages and cities helped to shape a vast secondary road network that is now well-maintained and in good condition. For example, the good state of repair of most of roads help to have a comfortable and safe descent except for some turns where there might be some dirt for the proximity of the country.
There are 3 main different types of roads for cyclists:
- The National roads, as the N-340 that connects Málaga with Nerja and Granada province. These are the old main roads that these days have been replaced by highways but still fulfill its original function, there can be significant traffic when crossing cities and no traffic at all when riding in between cities.
-The State roads, as the A-7000 that heads from the city to the Montes de Málaga. These are the second main roads that connect major parts of the state (Andalusia) where the National or the Highways don’t reach. There is not much traffic on these roads but cars might drive fast sometimes.
- The rural roads, as the MA-3111 that connects Málaga with the village of Olías as you can see in our “La Reina” route. These roads are perfect for cyclist as they connect small villages found on the valleys and mountains of the province and usually have no traffic. These villages are so small that sometimes you may find yourself riding alone for more than half an hour.
3.- Ride like a pro at your own level.
The geographical diversity of Málaga and its province is a blessing in many ways. You won’t need to ride 200 km to include within the same stage a variety of climbs, descents and flat sections, you could fit them all in 30, 60 or 90 km and still feel like the stage of your life. The variety of mountains is so big we could choose to enjoy defying climbs with a 14%-18% average gradient in relatively short distances while there are others to be found below the 12% gradient but to a much longer distance. This means that the combinations available to create a cycling holiday are unlimited, allowing us for example to cross anytime from a steep climb on a natural park to an impressive descent overlooking the city and cool down on a road by the beach while seeing a beautiful sunset.
If we think of the landscape diversity that entails the high mountain climbs and the fact of finding ourselves in a relatively short distance to the sea, we have as a result a unique enclave for our enjoyment, what coupled with the special charm of the villages across the province make cycling in Malaga an exceptional experience and above all, very authentic.
4.- Beat the winter blues with a dose of fine weather.
Málaga and the Costa del Sol are synonymous of good weather. According to the State Meteorology Agency (AEMET), the city enjoys about 2905 hours of sunlight a year. The main reason lies on its latitude, the northern half of Spain is in a temperate zone while the southern half of Spain where Malaga lies is part of the sub-tropical zone. It tops at an unmatched number in the whole Spanish territory, with almost 3000 hours and 320 days of annual sunshine.
The weather is mediterranean, sunny and dry. Winter is generally temperate, with mild temperatures which don’t fall below 5 degrees, it never gets to freeze. Summers are moderate thanks to the sea proximity and stifling heats are very unlikely. The great number of sunshine hours combined with the winter mild temperature result in a privileged spring contributes to make Málaga an ideal destination for a cycling holidays.
5.- One of the 10 European cities with best quality of life.
There are plenty of reasons why Malaga is in the top 10 of European rankings for quality of life. Some of them have already been mentioned but as you will see below, there are other good points not taken into account that help to create a sense of well-being in this city:
Both national and international visitors perceive the city as very pleasant, a view shared by the majority given the importance of tourism in the local economy and the easy integration of foreigners in the area, a place chosen for lots of Europeans to live after their retirement.
Prices in shops and supermarkets are much cheaper in comparison with the rest of Spain and Europe (except for Marbella).
Referent of culture with more than 36 museums, such as Picasso, Pompidou, Thyssen, and an annual cinema festival that year by year gets more recognition.
The cuisine is rich and varied, made up of local groceries such as fruits or vegetables grown at Guadalhorce Valley and the Axarquia.
Malaga’s airport is the 4th most important in Spain by number of passengers.
Top-quality selection of hotel accommodation, airbnb and rentals with the best value for money. It doesn’t matter if you opt for hotel or an airbnb flat, you will never have a problem finding the right choice that best suits your needs
Malaga is well connected to the Costa del Sol and its towns by train. There is a decent bus service and a metro that connects with the most populated areas with more inhabitants per square meter. The city centre is small enough to be walked from any location.
6.- Malaga is very well connected for international visitors.
Málaga-Costa del sol airport lies 4th on the national annual ranking of passengers and stands as one of the most attractive options to escape the cold climates with more than 100 destinations and around 70 different airlines. Low-fare airlines such as Ryanair, Wizzair or Easyjet have regular flights to the major European capitals, specially to United Kingdom. Less than a 3-hour flight from almost any place in Europe can bring the passenger to a city of enviable weather at a very convenient price. National transportation is also worth noticing. Malaga is directly connected by high speed train (AVE) to Madrid, Barcelona, Antequera, Valencia, Sevilla o Córdoba, while there are connecting trips to other cities such as Alicante, Toledo or Leon. The bus is the cheapest of the 3 options and a quick solution to get to nearby towns like Marbella, Granada or other locations in the province of Malaga.
7.- ¿Anything else?
In addition, Malaga and its province are usually part of the many stages of “La Vuelta” (the tour of Spain). Specifically, in 2018 edition it was the starting point for a few of the first stages and the prologue, continuing its decades-long collaboration. Do not miss the chance to ride on the same roads the professionals do.
The attractive of Malaga and its province is undeniable and as enthusiasts of cycling, its traditions, adventure and the exploits it brings to our life, we would like to invite you to share this beautiful experience with us.
If you are planning a trip on two-wheels to the sunny province of Malaga or Costa del Sol, do not hesitate to check our guide to cycling in Málaga, where we address all you need to know before coming.