Looking for a Great Cycling Break this Winter? Think Southern Spain! Europe’s Best Winter Cycling Destination
Use Winter 2021 to discover what local Spanish cyclists have always known. That Europe’s best winter cycling destination is Southern Spain`s favourite city Málaga. Which many believe is the optimal place to bike, train and live in the colder months.
Read time: 5 min
Winter getting you down? Think Cycling in Spain
Cyclists if the thoughts of dark winter nights are already depressing you, remember sunny Southern Spain`s Málaga. It has some superb cycling, just out of the city centre and easy to get to.
Best European Winter cycling weather
Being loved by the Phoenicians, Romans, and Moors, Málaga is still beloved by modern day travellers. Easily accessed by International flights from Montreal to Manchester and fast train connections from Madrid (only 3 hours away!) it is a main hub. Once you are here you won´t be disappointed either. The National Meteorological Agency states that the Costa del Sol is the sunniest in Spain. Getting a delightful 320 days of sun, Málaga itself gets 2,901 hours of sunshine! That surely is enough to get some good riding in.
A Cycling Destination with many Cultural options
A short warm up ride from the City centre is not a chore and the coastal road sees packs of road cyclists out at all times of the day. Especially true on weekends when the sea front is a virtual highway of lovers of the outdoors. This is also a wonderful city to try out seafood at many of the beachside bars to interrupt your cycling.
What to see and do in Malaga?
Through the new marina, Muelle Uno, the marina has seen a wonderful resurgence in the last few years. Cruise ships, tall ships and cruisers all share space in this enviable mooring. We have even seen a replica 17th century Spanish warship here, just like those in the “Pirates of the Caribbean”! Alive with cafés, restaurants, galleries and shops, even the Pompidou Art Gallery has an excellent spot.
From here, it is only a short and pleasant walk to the historical centre via a very pleasant paseo botanical garden of shady palms and plants. This is all set to the chorus of emerald parakeets which nest in the trees above. The 14th century Moorish Alcazar fortress and Gibralfaro castle on the hill above looming over. Visit the superb Picasso Museum or excellent Carmen Thyssen Gallery Museum with its very pretty Andalucian oil painting and modern works. Or indeed, visit Restaurante Bar, El Pimpi for an atmospheric tapas. Eating options in this town are excellent!
Slow Down and See more on your Spanish Mediterranean Cycling Tour!
Europe’s best winter cycling destination doesn’t have to be just those on expensive road bikes with skinny tyres! Cyclists on more slower forms of bikes, such as hybrid or Eike riders, can embrace this beautiful area too. The slow and lazy cycle down the shared pedestrian paved walk, beach side is also enjoyable. The desire to stop for a coffee or a Menu del día at a local fish grill Chiringuito is always a temptation as well.
Small Coastal bike Trip with Benefits!
A great place to ride out to is just to the west of the city centre. Past the neighbourhoods of Malagueta, El Limonar (one of the nicest residential areas in Malaga with many period mansion homes and tropical plants), and on to Pedrogalejo. A former area of mainly fishers, this neighbourhood is being gentrified but still offers some of the best seafood lunches on the Costa del Sol, the fish fried right in front of you on a spit on the beach. It gets crowded by locals, so get there early to nab a table. This makes for a wonderful relaxed bike trip there and back to the centre of Málaga, cycle paths the entire way.
Malaga has the warmest winters. Average temperatures, December – February is 63–64 °F (17 Celsius).
Best loved Winter Training Cycling Destination
Needless to say, even the Pro races love this area. The Costa del Sol has featured in several Grand Departs and stages of La Vuelta a España in the past. To even drive this point home, the famous Ruta del Sol or Vuelta a Andalucia, the first Pro race of the season, always takes place down here in February. Last year in 2020, the Grand Depart was in Alhaurin de la Torre (only 5 minutes outside Malaga centre). A great stamp of road cycling approval by the Pros. See told you, great prospects for biking here.
Malaga, Best Place to cycle Vuelta Climbs
How blessed are you when you can go out and climb several classic climbs of La Vuelta in the morning and then go swimming in the afternoon and maybe take in a concert or a club. This is really living the dream and we must say, We love it!
Classic Vuelta Climbs Minutes away from Downtown
There is a great reason that Malaga is Europe’s best winter cycling destination. Only 2 minutes cycle from the 14th century Moorish Alcázar Fortress is the start of one of Spain’s famous climbs, the Puerto del Leon. It is a real favourite with La Vuelta and locals. Whilst a little steep at the beginning with gradients of about 6%, it is a steady climb with the middle being about 5%. It crawls up steeper near the end (7%+), however the route is very pleasant being in the National Parque of the Montes de Malaga and mainly in the pine forest.
The fountain, the Fuente de la Reina (Queen’s fountain) is the meet point for cyclists and has been a get together place for anyone travelling that way for hundreds of years! Nowadays, there is also a café to get a strong quick cortado coffee and keep going! There is always a good café restaurant Venta Galwey at the top to have a nice bocadillo sandwich and keep on going to Colmenar village or back down.
Costa del Sol Winter Cycling Climbs, Europe’s Best
It is a tasty little climb of 920m ascent in 16.3km, starting seaside of course at 0m. The descent is lush, a wonderfully curving road with amazing views of Málaga, Benalmádena & Fuengirola. On a good day, maybe Africa!
Have a celebratory drink on the Beach
It can also be climbed via Olías, which was featured in the Vuelta a España 2015, and is a tougher climb with one part, the “wall” at about 15%. However, it is really scenic and very quiet and being a little bit out of Málaga, it features clear views of the Mediterranean and amazing rocky coastal landscape. One to check off the bucket list and you might even enjoy this climb!
Good news is; both can be climbed any day of the year! And of course, make a nice loop ride of 47km as well.
So much cycling to do from this city, you won’t have time to fit in going to the beaches, of which there are many 15 minutes walk from the city centre. Malagueta being one of the closest and an easy way to lure those family or friends to come with you with the promise of some R and R, beach side after the biking.
Still wanting more road cycling?
Contact us about our guided (which can be made private) tours out of Malaga such as our Famous Vuelta Climbs or our Self guided options (also can be made into private supported tours). We will find so many routes for you, you really will want to become a permanent fixture here in this wonderful Spanish city!
*Join us for the Ruta del Sol Bike Tour this February 2021 and enjoy this Grand Depart for the first Procycling race of the year!