Murcia province is located in south-east Spain. It’s within the Costa Calida, between Alicante (think Calpe) to the north and Almeria (think Málaga and Andalusia) to the south. It’s an area with a fantastic climate and great roads, yet cycling in Murcia is currently pretty under the radar.

We wanted to find out more about the Murcia cycling region, so we caught up with John Vicars, a British cyclist who for many years has spent his time divided between the UK and this sunny part of Spain.

In this Q&A he shares his tips on the best Murcia cycling routes and climbs as well as where to stay and what to do off the bike. We hope you enjoy his tips – and if you’re interested in cycling in Spain, don’t forget to check out all our other Spain cycling guides, here.

1. Where are you based?

Los Alcazares lies in the province of Murcia, which is probably best known as one of the biggest global exporters of fruit and vegetables – the climate is perfect!

It has a brand-new international airport in the town of Corvera (30 minutes’ drive away) and sits a good drive away from the commercialised and densely populated resorts of Marbella to the west and Benidorm to the east. It is quiet and rural and perfect for cycling. The area boasts 70 kilometres of beaches and has a number of 4-star hotels.

Map showing the airport, John’s favourite climb of the area and where he suggests staying

2. Why should we visit?

Whilst I live in the UK, I spend around four months of my time each year in southern Spain and, as a cyclist who clocks up around 10,000 miles a year (my wife does more!), this provides us with some distinct advantages.

Firstly, and unsurprisingly, it provides an opportunity to ride in the sunshine at the times of year when it is really cold at home.

Secondly, generally speaking, the roads in Spain have less vehicular traffic and are in better condition (less potholes!).

Thirdly we have the opportunity to train on some longer climbs than you would find in the UK.

3. What’s the most famous cycling climb in Murcia? What’s it like?

The most famous climb in the area is the Category 1 Collado Bermejo (alt. 1203m) which is in the Sierra Espuña National Park. It is the highest and longest climb in the province and is used as a training ride by local professionals Alejandro Valverde, Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana).

The climb also features each year in the Vuelta Murcia and has been occasionally used in the Vuelta a España.

Set in an area designated as one of ‘Outstanding National Beauty’ the forested climb encompasses many tight hairpins and can be extended by five kilometres at the peak by carrying on to a telecommunications tower known locally as El Morrón (alt 1578m).

The ascent of the Collado Bermejo from a popular local restaurant/bar El Jarro de
Orro in Alhama de Murcia is 18.5 km in length at an average gradient of just over 5%.

The extended ride up to El Morrón adds a further 5 km at an average of 7%.

Cycling Collado Bermejo cycling climb MurciaTop of the Cat 1 Collado Bermejo
Top of El Morron cycling climb, MurciaTop of El Morron

4. What’s your favourite cycling climb in Murcia – and why?

My favourite climb in the Los Alcazares area is the Cabezo de la Plata
(Norte) which is also used in the Vuelta Murcia (the view from the top is shown in the banner photo to this post).

The climb is just under ten kilometres long, but the advertised average gradient of 3% is somewhat deceiving as it includes one or two downhill sections. To give you a better idea of the incline, the last four kilometres average out at over 6%.

Like the Sierra Espuña there is very little traffic on the road – it is a quiet and peaceful ride starting out near the tiny village of Cabezo de la Plata where the landscape is very dry, yellow in colour, and barren. The twisting road slowly works its way up through a forest before it tops out and affords you a very quick descent down the southern side toward the coast. My best time up the north side is 30 minutes – it took Alejandro Valverde only 16.5 minutes in 2019’s Vuelta Murcia!

5. What’s your favourite cycling route in Murcia – and why?

My route, which encompasses the climb, starts in Los Alcazares and tracks the Mar Menor coastal road for 15 kilometres (very scenic) before it turns in a westerly direction onto the RM-314 which leads up to and through the 5 star La Manga Golf Club Resort.

John’s favourite Murcia cycling route


There is a steady incline for a couple of kilometres before you enter the resort and see the golf courses (north and south courses) and villas on both sides of the road. You can turn left at the second roundabout to access the many resort shops and café’s (Chill Café is highly recommended) or continue the steady ascent past the west golf course towards the top of this gentle climb where you are afforded your first views of the Mediterranean Sea.

A spectacular descent follows down to sea level on a stretch of road known locally as the Green Mile (named because of the strip of green asphalt, a mile in length, that provides a cycle lane) which in turn leads to the small village of Portman where there
is a handy Spar supermarket on the main thoroughfare. Leaving Portman, the climbing starts again, and you are faced with a challenging climb of around six kilometres to the summit at Cruz Chiquita. The climb includes a kilometre downhill section, so the overall gradient is a little misleading, but the uphill sections average at
about 5%. From here you are either downhill or on the level for around 20
kilometres meandering through small rural villages until you reach the Mar Menor Golf Resort where the gradient starts to increase, albeit gradually.

Mar Menor Coast Road, Murcia, SpainMar Menor coast road
View from the top of the green mile, cycling La Manga, SpainTop of the Green Mile

Heading on to the village of Roldan there is an excellent café with outdoor seating in the Church square. This is a good spot to take on board some refreshments before you head out through agricultural land and make your way to the third climb of the day, the Alto Garruchal. This is another gentle ascent of about four kilometres at an average of around 4%. There is a café at the top of the climb (Venta El Garruchal) which precedes a 10-kilometre descent to the village of Torreaguerra.

Continuing north east on the RM-300 within half a dozen kilometres you find yourself at the foot of the Cabezo de la Plata (Norte), as described above. Following the descent on the south side (sur) head for the village of Sucina where Em’s Bistro will provide you with everything from a toasted tea cake to a full English breakfast (and a cerveza or two should you so desire) or just a sandwich. You can relax here and enjoy sitting outside in the sun next to the village church in the knowledge that you are only 25 kilometres (all downhill through the fruit and vegetable growing
areas) away from where you started in Los Alcazares and then only a couple for hundred metres away from the beach.

The entire loop is 140 kilometres in length (87 miles) with 1540 metres of elevation.

6. Are there any really good café stops in the area?

There are plenty of good cafés and bars in the area – here are a few of my regular ones:

  • Chill – La Manga Golf Club Resort (British)
  • Café del Tiempo – Roldan (Spanish)
  • Venta El Garruchal – Alto de Garruchal (Spanish)
  • Em’s Bistro – Sucina (British)
  • Biking La Manga run by an Englishman, named Geoff Cox is located near to the Chill Café in La Manga and is a useful port of call for repairs, spares and rental bikes. Geoff is heavily involved in the local cycling scene and is certainly the ‘go to’ person for cycling information in the area.
Cyclist in Murcia, SpainCycling into La Manga Resort (wearing stolen goat’s Gecko jersey, Bodyline bib shorts and Fury socks)
great cycling cafe in Murcia, SpainChill café, La Manga Resort

7. Is there anything that we shouldn’t miss?

I would certainly recommend a visit to Las Gredas de Bolnuevo, also called Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City) which are heavily eroded sandstone formations along the beach of Bolnuevo near Mazzaron. The sandstone shapes are sculpted by water and wind over thousands of years and are considered as a monument of natural interest.

The shapes, formed by clay are yellowish in colour and consist of microfossils that date back to the Pilocene period, about 4.5 million years ago. The sandstone has undergone an erosion process by the elements which has resulted in mushroom and almost vertical shapes that seem to defy the laws of gravity.

It is one of those places you have to go and view for yourself to actually appreciate the stunning and unusual appearance.

Bolnuevo rock formations, Murcia, SpainBolnuevo rock formations
Cyclist cycling in MurciaWith roads like this, will there be much time off the bike?! (Wearing our very own stolen goat-Epic Road Rides jersey) 

8. Where’s the best place for cyclists to stay around Murcia?

I would recommend the La Manga Golf Resort as the perfect base for a holiday
(cycling or otherwise in the area). There are plenty of rental opportunities within the resort (villas or apartments) in addition to a 5 star hotel.

La Manga resort is like a small town where you have all the facilities you could ask for on holiday together with a wealth of sporting options. The major cities of Cartagena and Murcia are also within easy reach and the beaches are just a 10-minute drive away.

9. What’s the best time of year to visit?

The best time of year to visit the Murcia region for cycling is between February and June and then between September and November.

The months of July and August are extremely hot and draining if you are embarking upon long rides. Whilst the winter months of December and January tend to turn cooler, it is not surprising to see temperatures of around 20 degrees on some days during that period.

10. Tell us about your club

When my wife and I first started to go to Spain on a regular basis some five or so years ago, we decided to join a local cycling club in order to practice our limited Spanish linguistic skills and to become conversant with the local cycling routes. We joined our local club, Club Ciclista Los Alcazares and, to be honest, it was one of the best decisions we have made.

Whilst only approximately 20 per cent of the members speak English we were very warmly received and treated very well as soon as we joined. There are a number of other British members of the club who live permanently in Spain, so you are never short of an interpreter if you start to struggle halfway into a ride!

Club Ciclista Los Alcazares has over 100 members and meet every Sunday morning outside the local town hall before heading off in two groups which are based upon differing speed and ability. The quicker group tend to complete around 100 kilometres and 1,000 metres in elevation during the ride before returning to a local bar (sometimes on the beach!) for a drink and some food.

If you are visiting the area on holiday or own an apartment or villa in the area and want to ride out with a local club on a Sunday morning, then I would recommend Club Ciclista Los Alcazares as one of the friendliest groups in the region. You will find that whatever you age, gender nationality or ability is that you will always be afforded a warm welcome.

Club Ciclista Los Alcazares meetSunday meet of Club Ciclista Los Alcazares
Vuelta Murcia with ValverdeVuelta Murcia with Valverde


Big thanks to John for sharing these fascinating insights on cycling La Manga and Murcia. Sounds like a great place for a cycling holiday – particularly if you’re with family that want to enjoy La Manga’s other facilities!

Have you cycled in Murcia?

Let us know how you got on in the comments below!

Want to explore other region’s in Spain?

If you’re looking for a Spanish cycling holiday, you might find this article useful.

Or you can find all of our guides to cycling destinations in Spain here. Why not combine it with a trip to Costa Almeria or Costa Blanca afterwards?!

There are also a selection of route guides below.


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John Vicars

John Vicars divides his time between England and Spain and, together with his wife, clocks in around 10,000 miles each year searching out Europe’s finest roads. John loves to share his experiences (good and bad) from the saddle and has a particular loathing for double digit gradients, sub-zero temperatures and red traffic lights!

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18 Responses to “Cycling Murcia, Spain:
an insider’s guide to the best routes, where to stay and more!”

  1. Great to see Epic Road Rides cover Murcia. Great review. Long-standing frequent visitor to the region and I can vouch for the quality of the roads, variety of cycling and weather. They say the region has a microclimate so weather is usually good even though it may be raining elsewhere in Spain. Cannot speak highly enough of Geoff in Biking La Manga- great selection of quality road bikes and MTB for rental. The regular shop rides are highly recommended especially for those new to the area. Couple of additional routes I wanted to mention. The ride out from La Manga/Los Alcazares through Cartegena and on to Isla Plana-Mazzaron along the E22-E16 then loop back on the RM332 is a favourite of mine. There are several roads up into the Sierra Espuña all of which are worth exploring. This year I enjoyed the road from the east side in the direction of Gebas. There is another good one from the Aledo direction. Better still, ride round the perimeter of the Sierra before diving in and climbing. The climb of the thousand hairpins which you mention must not be missed. Back towards La Manga don’t forget trying to beat your PB back up the Green Mile from Portman! Coffee Lab in Cartegena does great artisan coffee.

    • Thanks so much for your comments and the useful route additions too. Really nice of you to have taken the time to comment and share your tips!

      • Pleasure. Wonderful website- without which I would never have discovered the Alto de Velefique climb which I did last time we were in Murcia. Keep up the excellent work!

  2. I cycled around La Zenia in around 2003. Great rides. It was a club training camp (Addiscombe CC) and the reason why there, one of the guys parents lived there. Really enjoyed it.
    Roll forward and we now live in the French Alps, great for summer cycling, and skiing Jan to March, but a bit chilly and too hard for cycling Spring and Autumn. I’m 74 now so like it a bit warm…..not cold! Not afraid of climbs though as I still ride local Sportives.
    I have enjoyed a week in Majorca each Spring for many years….not this year and I suspect not next either (It’s a training camp and I act as ride leader to slower/older/newer riders.
    So, after going to a local property exhibition, for something to do really, we met a Belgian lady who lives in Spain, near Mercia, we are now keen to look for an Apartment in the area. All being well we will visit next Spring (covid means we can’t before).
    So just where would you recommend, bearing in mind we both play golf ?
    Love your site…’s really helpful.
    Thanks Colin

    • Hi Colin, thanks for your kind words! Sounds like you’ve been enjoying some fantastic riding and so pleased you like our guides. Re your question on apartments, it’s obviously quite a personal thing. Perhaps contact the local cycling club in Murcia mentioned in the article? They might be able to point you in the right direction! Keep up the good work! Clare

    • Dear Colin,

      I’m a cyclist/golf widow who lives in the area and it’s absolutely perfect for both sports. There are dozens of golf resorts in the area but we’re based on the Mar Menor Golf Resort which is one of the most established courses in the area and only 5km from the beach. There are a huge number of affordable apartments on the resort.

      If you’d prefer a coastal spot then we’d recommend the adjacent town of Los Alcázares. The town is not overly commercialised and popular with Spanish and foreign holiday makers. Here you’ll find a wide range of individual properties within walking distance of the sea.

      Whatever you decide you’ll have no problem hooking up with like-minded cyclists.

  3. hi, coming out in two weeks to furnish our apartment at Vistabella, will try and come over either this trip or the next one

  4. First time out in 2 years. Spain emerging from very tough covid lockdown measures. Rented excellent quality bikes from Geoff at Biking La Manga. Really enjoyed John’s loop taking in Cabezo de la Plata. Great to be introduced to another excellent ride in the area. Many thanks to Epic Road Rides for such a useful site. For the coffee lovers, Cafe Lab now have a second outlet in the centre of Cartegena.

    • Hi Alastair, thanks for taking the time to share this – great to hear you had a good time and about the new cafe too! Happy cycling, Clare

  5. Hi there, just returned from a great week riding in Murcia stopping in Los Alcazares, all stemming from this great article. We rode John’s 140km route and various routes in different directions which we found on the very useful Los Alcazares Cycling Club website. We loved the resort itself and found it an ideal base with a very laid back feel to it which was right up our street. We booked an apartment for the week and a flight separately, which we thought was very good value. We took our own bikes for the week and did run into a small problem while putting them together but were kindly helped out by Geoff Cox (Biking La Manga) who helped with a replacement part even though it was his day off! Fantastic service and again thanks to this article for the contact. All in all a great week and we will definitely be back next year.

    • Hi John, thanks so much for taking the time to let us know about your trip – and that our guide was useful to you! Means a lot (and if you’d like to support our work, do feel free to buy us a coffee, here). Happy riding!

  6. Hi, I rode John’s La Manga / Cabezo loop yesterday, thank you so much, fantastic route and one that would be so hard to plan without local knowledge. Great scenery/views and mostly very quiet roads, I really enjoyed it.

    • Hi Lawrie, thanks so much for taking the time to let us know, it’s much appreciated and I’m really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks again, Clare
      PS if you’d like to buy us a coffee as a token of appreciation, feel free to do so here 🙂

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