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On the road to the sun — bikepacking to southeast Spain

On the road to the sun — bikepacking to southeast Spain

Bike Touring Collection by Tobias

21-48

days

3-6 h

/ day

1,339 mi

78,850 ft

78,875 ft

What do you do when you set off on your bike but every day the sun sets a little earlier as the year moves into autumn? Well, it’s time to chase the sun, that’s what.

It's because of this very circumstance that I choose to cycle west on most of my trips. My last Collection took me from Germany to the south of France (komoot.de/collection/1139070), while this Collection is made up of two of my cycling adventures that have taken me through Spain so far. If you have enough time, you can follow them completely – it's worth it. Otherwise, you can simply let yourself be inspired or pick out individual stages for your next adventure.

Your journey towards the sun begins in Sainte-Marie-la-Mer. Why here? Well, it’s not essential, but since this Collection continues from my last, it makes sense to start the journey where the previous one ended.

If you’d prefer to start this Collection anew, Perpignan in the South of France is an ideal place to begin. Perpignan station is relatively easy to reach from anywhere in Europe and was also called the ‘Centre du monde’ (centre of the world) by the famous artist Salvador Dalí. I think it's a good starting point for cycling to the end of the continent.

A total of 35 exciting stages await you on your journey – the longest is 124 kilometres (77 mi), and the shortest is only 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). The daily average is around 70 kilometres (44 mi). On the route, you cross the Pyrenees, ride along the beautiful Costa Brava and cross the Ebro Delta. After Valencia, the route is mainly inland, rarely visiting the coast. After crossing the desert-like Cabo de Gata nature park, you head towards the Sierra Nevada and say goodbye to the Mediterranean until the end of your journey. From now on, Spain's numerous reservoirs will provide the necessary blue in the landscape. Finally, you pass Seville and head via Jerez de la Frontera to Cádiz and from there to Tarifa, the southernmost point of mainland Europe.

You can spend most nights at campsites and I provide detailed accommodation advice for each stage. Only rarely is there no campsite available, in which case you can stop off at an inexpensive guesthouse (hostal in Spanish) and enjoy the comforts of a real bed. You will find food and drink with ease in Spain except in particularly rural areas (and depending on the time of day) might you encounter thirsty stretches. That's why it's important to always have enough water and snacks with you.

If you’d like to read some personal reports about this expedition in addition to the valuable tips here on komoot, I recommend my blog fernerleben.de where you’ll find plenty of stories from my time on the road.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Sainte-Marie-la-Mer nach Garriguella – Weiter auf dem Weg Richtung Sonne

    Difficult
    04:41
    44.5 mi
    9.5 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,275 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    No matter where you start the first stage on your further path towards the sun, at the latest at Saint-Cyprien you will reach the sea. It is worth taking a short detour to the restored fishermen's huts at the Étang de Canet-Saint-Nazaire. In general, the entire area is characterized by a steppe-like

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  • Intermediate
    02:05
    20.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    250 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Today you can start the day a little later, because a leisurely stage of a little more than 30 kilometers to the cute beach town of l’Escala awaits you. You drive through areas that are blessed with more or less vivid agriculture, away from beach tourism. Guest workers who greet you on their Vélo are

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  • Difficult
    03:14
    29.2 mi
    9.0 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The third day you start with a small excursion to the bay of Montgó, the small "mountain" that rises in the east of Escala. If it is still too early for a swim in the sea, you can also turn directly into the Parc Natural del Montgrí. The finest gravel awaits you here, but a detour to the rugged coast

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  • Difficult
    02:30
    22.5 mi
    9.0 mph
    1,975 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On today's stage, one of the most impressive stretches of coast on the Costa Brava awaits you. The route along the cliffs that drop steeply into the sea on the edge of the Massís de les Cadiretes nature park is so ingenious that one would like to try it a second time. It is no coincidence that you will

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  • Difficult
    05:33
    54.9 mi
    9.9 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,150 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A few hills on the edge of the Cadiretes massif await you after your departure in Tossa de Mar, then the route becomes increasingly flat. On the way, a short stop in Lloret de Mar is worthwhile. The party metropolis on the Costa Brava is somehow impressive. So many discos, casinos and other amusements

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  • Difficult
    05:29
    55.5 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    It will take a while for you to find your way out of the suburbs of Barcelona. Unfortunately, due to the airport, there is no getting through on the beach, so you have to make do with a small detour inland on your further way towards the sun. At Castelldefels you will meet the coast again and shortly

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  • Difficult
    05:36
    55.2 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On today's stage you cross the port city of Tarragona. The amphitheater, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the sea and can be clearly seen from the Balcó del Mediterrani - an elevated promenade section - is particularly impressive. You drive out of the city through several suburbs and you

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  • Difficult
    05:45
    54.1 mi
    9.4 mph
    1,025 ft
    925 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The first task of the day today is to cross the river delta of the Ebros. The Ebro is the longest river in Spain (mind you, the Tajo is a good bit longer, but also flows through Portugal for a larger part, which is why it has to forego this place of honor.) And thus also supplies many important agricultural

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  • Difficult
    04:48
    43.9 mi
    9.2 mph
    2,800 ft
    2,875 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage takes you to Benicasim. The nice, if not very small, beach town on the Costa del Azahar can be a stage destination, travel destination or much more: I have now been to it a total of three times by bike - I ended my trip there twice, once I continued, but always I spent an exuberant week

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  • Difficult
    05:55
    58.1 mi
    9.8 mph
    725 ft
    675 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Via Castelló de la Plana today you mostly ride on well-developed bike paths via Sagunto to Valencia. In Sagunto, the Camino del Cid turns inland and you will also meet the knight's footsteps in Valencia. If you would like to find out more about the Spanish hero, you can take a look at this collection

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  • Difficult
    04:34
    45.0 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,650 ft
    625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You drive out of the city via the large park “Jardín del Turia” - a pleasant route away from traffic. The park was created in the 1980s in the former river bed of the Rio Turia after it was diverted from Valencia after the Great Flood in 1957. It's hard to believe, but at that time the river level in

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  • Intermediate
    01:47
    15.8 mi
    8.9 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You could think that today's stage would be rather short at 25 kilometers, but that can be deceiving. It took me a full day. Why? I don't really know anymore. Maybe it was the many photo stops, maybe the route was a bit rough. Anyway, the area is just lovely. It is therefore worthwhile to take a slightly

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  • Difficult
    05:12
    46.1 mi
    8.9 mph
    4,925 ft
    5,825 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    I remember well: I called this stage on my way to the south "The 3 Mountains". Why? That should be clear. You can expect three stately climbs, whereby the second and third somehow blur into each other. Well, the 1,500 vertical meters on today's route must come from somewhere. And each and every one of

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  • Difficult
    04:53
    47.0 mi
    9.6 mph
    2,050 ft
    1,725 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The route from Vila Joiosa to Alicante is initially quite narrow along the coast. There is not much space for infrastructure here and there had to be space for both the motorway and interurban road between the holiday resorts on the beach and the mountains inland. The cyclist is definitely left behind

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  • Intermediate
    02:07
    19.9 mi
    9.4 mph
    825 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The area is now becoming increasingly arid and agriculture is giving way to vast areas of desert. Nevertheless, there is a certain charm that cannot be denied - especially when the sun is low in the sky and the relief of the many small hills is impressive. Via Abanilla, where a few palm trees invite

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  • Difficult
    04:56
    41.2 mi
    8.4 mph
    3,075 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    It will take a little while until you have left the barren land behind you, but tonight you will again be able to enjoy green pine groves and a little cooler mountain air. Until then, it's partly on roads, partly on bike paths, but also often cross-country over gravel and stone through the desert.

    

    Passing

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  • Difficult
    03:18
    31.1 mi
    9.4 mph
    2,575 ft
    3,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You already worked about a third of the ascent through the Sierra Espuña yesterday, today the last two thirds await you. Then you have reached a proud 1,200 meters and can look forward to an extensive descent. It's best to take a relaxed approach to the day, the forest gives you shade while you pedal

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  • Difficult
    05:03
    52.9 mi
    10.5 mph
    1,825 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today I would like to arouse your anticipation a little: The dry spell of the last few days will come to an end this evening. You reach the coast. Sea air will pamper your lungs and I also have a nice restaurant tip for you. The next few days there will be more desert, but that will be a different one

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  • Difficult
    02:57
    27.4 mi
    9.3 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The unique semi-desert landscape of Cabo de Gata has inspired many people. The nature park was created by volcanoes, which have been extinct for millions of years. Subsequent earthquakes unearthed numerous natural resources and minerals, including gold, feldspar and agates, which the nature park owes

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  • Difficult
    03:19
    28.2 mi
    8.5 mph
    1,925 ft
    1,950 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On your second day in the nature park you will pass the southern tip of Cabo de Gata - the actual cape. The landscape on the way offers you again and again new views of picturesque bays and every gravel fan will quickly rave about the gravel slopes.

    

    I spent several days at the Cape on my trip and joined

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    35
  • Distance
    1,339 mi
  • Duration
    145:47 h
  • Elevation
    78,850 ft78,875 ft

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On the road to the sun — bikepacking to southeast Spain

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