Valencia is the second most mountainous region in Spain playing host to many of the decisive stages for La Vuelta a España and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, two of the oldest and most prestigious stage races in professional cycling.
Our challenging Castles and Cols week takes you to some of the classic climbs, through stunning National Parks, valleys, hidden villages and historic towns, all from our countryside base located in the most beautiful corner of Valencia and Alicante.
We take time to stop at sightseeing highlights and sample the best cafes, restaurants and views to be found anywhere. There's something for everyone on this week, with a little more climbing and more distance than our relaxed week, but routes can adjusted to the group and personal preferences.
An area rich in history, incredible castles, fabulous vineyards and wonderful cuisine.
Explore this amazing region and challenge yourself on the bike, in truly authentic Valenican style.
who is it for?
A week to suit all riders.
There are harder days with several climbs but we take some time to see the sights
Best suited to regular riders with some climbing experience or those less experienced riders looking to step up a level.
You can regularly complete rides of 50 to 75km.
For stronger and faster riders, extensions and more climbs are possible on most days.
how hard is it?
Daily distance: 100 km
Total distance: 500 km
Daily climbing: 1700 m
Total climbing: 8,500 m
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Port de Beniarres
Port del Moro
Alto del Portillol
Cumbres de Valencia
Alcoy city of Bridges
Summary of the weeks riding, daily distances and climbing. Rides extensions available to add more mountains, typically 10-40km and 500-1000m. We can also tailor the riding as required for the group.
Day 01 Arrival day & welcome reception
Day 02 wine country - 90 km 1000m
Day 03 serra mariola - 93 km 1800m
Day 04 rest day, ride or sightseeing
Day 05 navalon - 110 km 2200m
Day 06 mogente - 99 km 1500m
Day 07 xativa - 115 km 2000m
Day 08 depart
The itinerary is indicative of the planned week, it may be adapted according to your arrival and departure flights, local conditions, and to the level of the group - enabling riders to get the best out of their week.
day 01: arrival
One of the escapar team will meet you on arrival at the airport and transport you directly to the retreat.
f you are arriving on an early flight and wish to ride after assembling your bike or fitting of our hire bike, we can recommend an easy rolling route towards Albadia or Fontanars. It's locally known for good reason as the 'Tuscany of Valencia'. We have many other routes to choose from, if you want something more challenging.
day 02: wine country
We leave the Finca and head towards Fontanars on local roads known as the Valencia Tuscany, eventually passing towards flatter planes with stunning vistas of the many Bodegas that dot the landscape.
We climb the stunning Port del Moro from Fontanars to nearly 1000m before a fantastic decent towards Beneixama and onwards toward Villena with its spectacular Castle sitting atop of the town. We head back via Port Biar towards the Serra Mariola and the ancient town of Banyeres de Mariola, passing beatiful Bocairent, regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. The descent into Ontinyent down Port Bocairent is a real treat and perfect way to end the first day.
day 03: serra mariola
We take Bocairent from Ontinyent and make our way steadily higher into the heart of Serra Mariola National Park and onto Alcoy city of Bridges. We have the option to ride to hermitage at Font Roja, set in yet another stunning National Park.
We return via Serra Mariola, passing Ancient Agres where we make a stop at the Convent sitting high above the town, before long and shallow, fast and winding descent back into Ontinyent.
day 04: rest day
On the rest day you can choose to put your feet up and relax at the Finca, go sight seeing, walking or perhaps a gentle spin to a Bodega.
We recommend and can arrange the following:
Day in Xativa and trip to Xativa Castle
Day trip to Valencia
Local walk to Pou Clar or Bocairent
Sighting, shopping and Menu del Dia in Ontinyent
Train ride through the Serra Mariola to Alcoy
Wine testing Bodega visit and trip to Villena
day 05: navalon
We take another rolling wine county route towards Fontanars before heading north towards Navalon and Enguera. We climb the peaceful and serene Torre Talada to Navalon and descend Cumbres de Valenca to return the rich wine county near Fontanars and Mogente.
Few riders will have experienced the undiscovered country of this part of Valencia, but will want to return and explore further. The scenery is breathtaking, tarmac wonderful and cycling terrain a world apart from the coast and what you may have expected in Spain.
From Mogente we climb Port del Bosquet through the stunning twisting gorge, passing Embalse de Bosquet before descending Port del Paller into Aeilo and continuing back to Ontinyent.
The day is completed with the tough but stunning climb to the hermitage of Sant Esteve for the best views of the Vall d'Albaida.
day 06: mogente
We roll out from the Finca and drop down to briefly follow the Clariano (Ontinyent) river taking us towards Ontinyent, where it's a short sharp climb backup to cross the stunning Santa Maria bridge and onto the mountains of the Serra Grossa. We take Port de Portitxol north, with its stunning views of the Vall D'Albaida, Serra Grossa and Costera plains, matched by a spectacular descent, down through the gorge into Mogente, Nearby was pss El Pobalado Ibero de La Bastida de les Alcusses, a 4th century BC Iberian city of major importance. We continue towards Fontanars del Alforins passing Celler del Roure, where wine is made with ancient amphora.
We stop in Fontanars at a world renowned Bodega for refreshments and then take the valley descent back towards Ontinyent and onto Port del Paller. From the Paller it's a thrill ride down the Portillol back to the Finca.
day 07: xativa
We ride west and north through the pretty villages of the Vall d'Albaida with stunning views of the Sierra de Benicadell. We take Port Salem, perhaps the climbing highlight of the week and loop back around Beniarres and Port d'Albaida to head north towards lake Bellus before arriving in Xativa. There's a short climb to the castle, where we stop to explore and take in the most fantastic views in every direction. The castle sits on Vernissa hill on the strategic Via Augusta and was declared a National Monument, having been built and developed by Iberians, Romans and Borgia's.
We take lunch and refreshments and ease into the afternoon on gentle road to Vallada, before a tough final climb of the week into the Serra and finish with a flying descent down the Portillol into Ontinyent for Jijoneca helado in the Placa Concepcion.
what is included?
7 nights accommodation
scheduled airport transfers
daily room cleaning service
cycling kit wash
swimming pool and towels
5 days guided cycling
secure bike storage
comprehensive route guides
GPX route map files
organisation of rest day trips
food & drink
coffee & soft drinks