• Distance 110 km
  • Elevation gain 1663m
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

This is a fairly easy-going ride along the coast north of Calpe, to Dénia. It takes in hills and coastal plain but, with one exception no monster climbs.

That exception is Cumbre del Sol, a Vuelta favourite and one of the steepest climbs in the region. The views from the top section are phenomenal.

The good news is that if you’re not in the mood for a monster climb, you can easily bypass it. Doing that saves you 285 m of climbing and some mega gradient!  There are lots of other ways to adapt this ride too – check out our tips below.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights

As you grind up the crazy-steep later sections of Cumbre del Sol, the views open up, and you can see far along the coastline, all the way to the Serra Gelada and Benidorm to the left and Serra del Montgó to the right.

In front of the craggy mountain ranges are the undulating coastal plains, smattered with white and grey buildings. What a mountain top finish! You won’t forget it (and nor will your legs).

We also love the gorgeous Playa de la Granadella and the magnificent climb up to the Parc Natural del Montgó.

Cyclist climbing the notoriously steep Cumbre del SolFirst part of the Cumbre del Sol climb
Views climbing the Cumbre del SolAround half way up the Cumbre del Sol
Coming over the summit of the Cumbre del SolIncredible summit of the Cumbre del Sol

Route notes

1. Calpe to Cumbre del Sol: 0-21 km

It’s a rolling warm-up as you leave Calpe on a mildly undulating road. You’re riding through urban and semi-urban areas; this is the nature of the Costa Blanca coastline.

When you come to Alcasar, it’s decision time. Turn right onto Via Pista and start climbing for Cumbre del Sol or carry straight on to avoid it. If you’re capable of the climb, do it! The views are spectacular (take a look at our highlights above).

It’s a 4.5km climb from the CV-737 to the very top, with a 7.3% average gradient. It’s steep from the start, and there are numerous sections which are over 15%, with one sustained pitch at 18%. The maximum gradient for the climb is 19%!

The climb starts with a 0.5km straight section, before the road turns to the right and continues up. You come over a false summit to a big sign for “Residential Park Cumbre del Sol” followed by a roundabout. Continuing up, there are epic views of the sea and coastline to your right, though you may find seeing straight tricky at this stage… A sharp left turn sees you heading skyward again, then it’s the finishing straight up to the red and white masts at the very top.

This is the side of the Cumbre del Sol that the Vuelta a España climbed in 2015 and 2017. It’s also the climb that has cracked climbing mega-stars such as Alejandro Valverde, Chris Froome and Joaquim Rodríguez. You have been warned!

Cyclist on the Cumbre del Sol
Coming into the Cumbre del Sol residential development
Near Dénia at sunset behind the mountains

2. Cumbre del Sol to Dénia: 21-66 km

It’s a steep but wide descent down the other side of Cumbre del Sol into Benitachell and then an uninspiring flattish/undulating spin through urban and residential areas to the turn off for Playa de la Granadella.

The further you get away from the main road, the nicer it becomes. The gradient rises, and towards the end, you’re riding through pretty forest dotted with traditional whitewashed homes. At the end is the small rocky cove with pebbly beach and turquoise water. There are a couple of restaurants too.

Having retraced your steps back to the turn-off, you hit a long straight road with commercial shops and businesses lining it.

Javeá (aka Xàbia) is a pretty old town, with cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings. This is where the fun begins.

The regular shaped silhouette of Montgó mountain dominates the skyline as you head up the pass to the right of it. It’s not a quiet road, but you’re treated to far-reaching views down to the sea. The climb is never too steep and is a fun ride. There are more views to come as you descend over the top of the pass and down to Dénia. On your left is the Mongtó massif and ahead the Dénia coastline.

You cycle along the attractive Dénia marina; nip into the old town if you have the energy and inclination.

3. Dénia to Calpe: 66-110 km

You turn inland and leave the main road in favour of a maze of small lanes through orange groves until you reach the CV-735. The red cliffs of the Montgó massif tower above you.

There’s a climb up Teulada and Benimarco before you’re on the classic cyclists’ route into Calpe from the north. It’s a steep descent in places. The views down to Calpe and the Peñón de Ifach rock will make you look up – just don’t miss the speed bumps when you do!

Café stops

Since this ride passes through quite a few towns and urban areas, you’re never too far from a restaurant, cafe or shop. Good stopping places would include Playa de la Granadella, Javeá, Dénia, Benitachell and Teulada.

Accommodation

We rode this route from the four-star Sol y Mar hotel on Calpe’s seafront. The hotel worked well for us and was in a good position to allow us to access the region’s best rides. The views over Calpe’s Peñón de Ifach rock were very memorable, and breakfast was excellent. You can find out more about what we thought, here.

You’ll also find other Costa Blanca accommodation suggestions in our pick of the best cycling hotels in Calpe and Costa Blanca.

Tips

This route is very flexible.

  • Don’t fancy the Cumbre del Sol? Cut it out – just continue down the CV-737 instead.
  • Want something shorter? Cut the ride short at Javeá (Xàbia). Shorter still? Just do the Cumbre del Sol and the Teulada loop (i.e. cut off the Dénia loop).
  • Don’t like out and backs or short on time? Cut out Playa de la Granadilla.
  • Prefer lighthouses to beaches?! Follow signs to Cap de la Nau rather than Playa de la Granadella.

Read our tips for cycling in Calpe and Costa Blanca before you set out.

Found this guide useful?

We’d love to hear from you – comment below or drop us a line.

Don’t miss our other guides to rides in the region: see the related rides section above.

Check out our ultimate guide to cycling Calpe and Costa Blanca and other articles, below.

Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a road cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com to help make it easy for road cyclists to explore new places by bike.

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