Quiet mountain roads, mesmerising scenery and smooth roads make this one of our top two rides on the Costa Blanca.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
It’s pretty much all great. However, there are three stand-out sections we totally love.
- The climb and descent from Guadelest down to Benasau. Grand scenery, pretty villages, fun switchbacks; a blast to ride.
- The CV-713 from Tollos cuts through to the CV-712 that takes you to the Vall d’Ebo. It’s a tiny road with virtually no traffic over rolling hills and forest. It makes you feel like an intrepid explorer!
- The beautiful climb from Vall d’Ebo village and the long, winding descent all the way down to Pego.
1. Calpe to Benilloba (the Guadelest climb and descent): 0-54 km
You leave Calpe on the N-332, the usual road south. Although the views are pretty, it’s a busy road and not overly pleasant.
But you soon turn off it onto the CV-755, which is a much better road to ride. This is the road you’ll be on for the next 23 km as you climb ever upwards. The first section takes you through citrus groves and farms to Callosa d’en Sarrià (but everyone just calls it Callosa). It’s a busy town which is the centre of the valley’s fruit growing industry. The mountains loom ahead…
Once out of Callosa it feels more rural, and you’re climbing up on twisty roads through forest, and craggy valleys dotted with old stone houses, all the way to spectacular Castell de Guadalest (known just as Guadelest) with its rocky pinnacles and ancient castle. The stretch past the attractive villages of Benimantell, Benifato and to Confrides is particularly pretty, with the mountain range on your right, terraced fields and almond groves on either side of the road. Gradients are never insane at around 3-5%.
Between Confrides and Ares del Bosc are some really fun stretches of road. You follow a narrow rocky river valley to the top of the climb. From there it’s a swooping, fast descent with spectacular looping S switchbacks followed by one of those awesome roads where you can see the tarmac stretching ahead down the valley side, and it looks like pure fun!
2. Benilloba to Pego (the Vall d’Ebo climb and descent): 54-99 km
Just before Benilloba, you turn in on the CV-710, a super quiet road that winds through pine trees and crumbly terraces with olive trees and almond trees. On the right are views across the wide wooded valley to the mountains. The road rises as you approach Benimassot and a kilometre or so later you turn left onto the deserted CV-713. Now follows 7km of blissful solitude as you climb up to the pretty hamlet of Tollos and beyond over the Port de Tollos (830m). It’s a singletrack road, and white arrows in either direction remind you this is a two-way road.
You turn right onto the quiet and gentle CV-712, and it’s 12km of rural farms and hills until you reach the pretty village of La Vall d’Ebo, at the bottom of the valley, surrounded by tall craggy creamy.
It’s a 3.5km climb up to the pass, at around 5%. Creamy limestone cliffs mark one side of the road, with concrete blocks to the other marking massive drops down to desolate valleys far below. At the top are far-reaching panoramas across cream and green mountain tops to the sea. The road loops away down the valley before you. As you survey the scene, it’s nice to know that the hard work on this ride is done: it’s (pretty much) downhill from here.
3. Pego to Calpe: 99-138 km
The bottom of the descent comes at the large town of Pego, surrounded by a carpet of neatly ordered fruit farms.
From Pego, you pick up the CV-715 which takes you to the “usual” route back to Calpe. It won’t be the highlight of your ride as these roads will have traffic, and the scenery doesn’t compare with what you’ve just done. But it’s a decent return leg, with just a few short climbs on an otherwise downwards trajectory.
This ride passes through lots of small villages that should have restaurants/bars to refuel you if you’re running out of steam. Just bear in mind you’re more likely to find bars and restaurants than shops and petrol stations, so re-fuelling will take a little time. Also consider opening times: the day of the week and time of day are very relevant around here. The most sparsely populated section of the ride is between Confrides and Pego, roughly the middle of the ride, so do think about what you’re going to do for food and drink before you set out.
Nice places to stop would include Guadelest and Confrides where you’ll find a selection of places to stop. There’s a small petrol station at Benilloba (you’ll just need to take a short diversion off route). Benimassot has a bar, and Vall d’Ebo is a decent sized village with some restaurants.
We rode this route from the four-star Sol y Mar hotel on Calpe’s seafront. It worked well for us and was in a great, central position to allow us to access the region’s best rides to the north, south and west. You can find out more about what we thought, here.
Alternatively, you may want to stay inland, to avoid some of the busier coastal roads. We have some great suggestions for cycling-friendly inland options in our article on where to stay in Calpe/Costa Blanca for cyclists.
Read our tips for cycling in Calpe and Costa Blanca before you set out.
Guadelest is one of the most visited towns in Spain due to its dramatic location and fascinating history. A town of 200 inhabitants receives around 2 million visitors a year. Depending when you visit, expect to come across some traffic in this section of the ride (though fortunately most of it gets there via the CV-70 rather than the CV-755 in our route).
If you want to cut out a bit of the slightly ordinary road back to the coast, you can cut the section between Jalón (aka Xaló) and Benissa, by adding in our Port de Bèrnia loop. You’d climb up to the Port de Bèrnia from Jalón and descend to Benissa. But make sure you’ve got enough energy for the additional climbing!
Another optional extra is a loop of the Guadalest reservoir. We’ve not done it, but it looks fun. Try taking Calle de la Era just before you get to Guadalest, cycle the road on the far side of the lake and then get on the CV-757 through Beniardà, back to the CV-70.
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Don’t miss our other ride guides on the Costa Blanca: see the related rides section above.
Check out our ultimate guide to cycling Calpe and the Costa Blanca and other articles, below.
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