There is a place in Spain with an area twice the size of Belgium, with a population density similar to Lapland or the Scottish Highlands, only 6,99 inhabitants/km². It is the Spanish Lapland.
The main objective of MontañasVacías (empty mountains) is to raise awareness about its serious situation through an off-road bikepacking route (or MTB touring, whatever you call it…) taking Teruel as starting and finishing point. The route runs through the Montes Universales, Sierra de Javalambre and Sierra de Gúdar, mostly by forest roads and double tracks in good condition.
Even so, it isn’t strictly a route designed for gravel bikes, but neither is a MTB route in a pure sense. The right choice of bike and gear is part of the game. Whatever bike you choose, there will be points where you will find its limits, but these parts are always near easier gravel roads, fleeing as much as possible from asphalt.
If you choose light and fast gravel tyres, maybe you will find a couple of short hike-a-bike sections, and if you use a pure MTB, some fast gravel roads can be very long. 40 – 42 mm tyres can be a good minimum, and about gearing… as low as you can.
Without any doubt, my two main inspirations for this route are the CAT700 and the Torino-Nice Rally, both with the same philosophy of searching the man versus machine challenge. It was precisely preparing them when I discovered most of the sections of this route.
However, unlike both, Montañas Vacías can be considered as an 'open route', without a specific start date. You choose when to do it and with whom, but with all that bikepacking philosophy I have experienced in both events, about adventure, friendship, travel, long distance, culture, gastronomy, etc.
In all the people I've met over recent years I’ve perceived the need for discovering new routes, new places, new people with the same concerns, new excuses to gather your old buddies, or, why not, a solo challenge. This route is born as a response to this need. I think that this can be achieved through a permanent itinerary, for free, and not in the other corner of the world.
Choose your own distance. The route has several links or shortcuts, or 'atajos' in Spanish, so you can design your itinerary, anywhere between 150 and 700 kilometers. The idea is to gradually increase the options and cover more and more areas in the Spanish Lapland.
For all the route information and the guide PDF, please visit:
Please take a look to the r(ECO)mmendations at montanasvacias.com/recommendations - conservation is an important aspect of the philosophy of the route.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: July 27, 2022
Departing from the charming city of Teruel, do not forget to get lost in its historic centre and have a drink in the Plaza del Torico.
After about thirty kilometres you'll reach the Laguna de Bezas and Peña de la Cruz, two perfect places to whet your appetite and get an idea of the landscape we will have…
El Nacimiento delTajo /The Source of theTajo. Modest start for a river that runs majestically throughout the Iberian Peninsula for a thousand kilometres. Even so, a place full of symbolism.
At this point, a shortcut through the port of Cubillo would allow us to link with the intermediate part of the stage…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
After some kilometres through the province of Guadalajara, shortly before Valsalobre you will enter the province of Cuenca, head in the middle of the Serrania.
You'll discover La Laguna delTobar, and pedal through infinite pine forests.
Better if you manage your reserves, from Beteta to Beamud or Valdemoro…
You will tread again soil of the province of Teruel shortly before Alobras. Just at that point, another shortcut would take you back to the finish point in the city of Teruel, passing by Jabaloyas and Tabernillas pass, but you’ll continue towards the Javalambre mountain range.
This section includes another…
La Puebla de Valverde, Mora de Rubielos, Linares de Mora,Alcalá de la Selva…It seems that in this final stage you’ll always have places nearby to calm your appetite. You've left behind the most depopulated stretches. But don’t relax, you still have another 3000 meters ahead.
In this section you'll reach…
Impressive route from Puente de San Pedro to Teruel, passing through the peaceful Molina de Aragón, and the impressive castles of Zafra and Peracense and the ruins of the castle of Los Ares. A perfect alternative for those looking to create loops with less elevation gain.
From the surroundings of Alobras to Teruel. It allows you to return to Teruel if you think Javalambre is too much. It can also be a nice option to leave from Teruel and link up with the Javalambre Sector.
It includes the passage through Jabaloyas, the ascent to Pico Javalón (the mountain of witches…
From La Puebla de Valverde to Teruel. Allows you to return to Teruel on the way down from the Javalambre massif. This section belongs to the Via Verde de Ojos Negros, the longest greenway in Spain with more than 200km.
This greenway would also be a great option to reach the Mediterranean from MV.
From Torrebaja to La Puebla de Valverde passing through Camarena de la Sierra
This avoids passing through the highest areas of Javalambre when there is snow up there or if you need to arrive faster to La Puebla de Valverde avoiding part of the toughest climb of MV.
Bike Touring Highlight
On the Montañas Vacías route you will ride close to the Refugio Rabadá y Navarro, with guard, next to the Javalambre ski station, where you can also have dinner and breakfast.
It is advisable to call to book if you plan to spend the night there.
Tel:0034 978 768 083 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tip by MontañasVacías
Bike Touring Highlight
The Maqui Camp (resistance group after the Spanish Civil War), in the Sierra de Albarracín, was one of the most important. The Maquis managed to hide here until 20 December 1947, when the camp was assaulted by several forces of the Franco regime.
The camp had everything necessary to live here: it had a school, a rest area, an area for livestock, etc.
Tip by MontañasVacías
Mountain Biking Collection by European Divide Trail
Mountain Biking Collection by Johanna Jahnke
Bike Touring Collection by Sebastian Gliem
Hiking Collection by Pfalz