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Cycling holidays in Altea. What routes do you fancy?

Altea, on the Costa Blanca, is the best destination with a range of bike routes.

Altea, a real wonder. Its old town full of lived stories and still to be lived, its pebble beaches, its beach bars, the charming district of Bellaguarda, its port, its social life linked to art …

Reasons are not lacking to spend our vacation in Altea. And if you fancy to enjoy a nice cycling holiday, Altea has specialized accommodations for cycling enthusiasts such as Hotel Cap Negret, which has been the official headquarters of the Costa Blanca Bike Race in recent years…

If you’re thinking of spending your next cycling holiday in Altea, here are 10 routes that will take you to the top of some of the most enjoyable climbs in the area.

And the cycling routes to experience from Altea are …

  1. Altea – Tudons
  2. Altea – Tàrbena – Tollos – Coll de Rates (Parcent)
  3. Altea – Coll de Rates (Tàrbena)
  4. Altea – Serra Gelada
  5. Altea – La Nucía – Guadalest
  6. Río Algar – Río  Guadalest – Fonts de l’Algar
  7. Altea – Bernia
  8. Altea – Alto de Aitana
  9. Altea – La Carrasqueta
  10. Altea – Cumbre del Sol 

1. Altea – Tudons

Tudons, Altea, AlicanteIncredible top ten with a circular route of almost 90 km, with a positive slope of more than 2000 m. We will face the ascents of the Tudons and Confrides, the first being more demanding than the second, but their combination is a real challenge with a high level of difficulty.

The route starts with a first ascent by the Alto de Finestrat, a perfect warm-up that we will find once we have overcome the Alfàs del Pi. From km 23, we will begin our ascent towards Tudons. The advantage of this climb is that its ascent is quite gradual, with an average slope exceeding 5%.

After Tudons, we will turn again to Altea, where we have to face Confrides. A slightly less demanding climb, with an average slope of about 4% and before which we will have rested our legs for about 10 km after starting the descent of Tudons.

On our way to Altea we will find the charming town of La Nucía, a quiet area where you can make a short stop before finishing the route.

2. Altea – Tàrbena – Tollos – Coll de Rates (Parcent)

Coll de Rates, Alicante.

If the first route could already be considered difficult, in this case we come across another much more challenging than the previous one. In this one we will have to face the climbs of Tárbena, Tollos and the emblematic Coll de Rates on its Parcent slope.

Nearly 140 km with a positive slope of more than 1.200 m.

Tollos, an intense 4 km at an average of 6%. The Vall d’Ebo has a slightly less average slope, but its 5.8% stretches over almost 8 difficult kilometers.

While climbing the Coll de Rates it is very likely that you will come across other team training courses in the area depending on the time of year as it has become one of the most popular climbs on the Costa Blanca. Taking Parcent as a starting point, we find about 7 km with an average 5.37% and a positive slope of 356 m.

During the entire route, national roads are almost always avoided, so that kilometers can be cycled in complete safety and without much car traffic.

3. Altea – Coll de Rates (Tàrbena)

Coll de Rates, Alicante

Okay, maybe you got scared after viewing the previous route, so to compensate we present you another route, which is only … difficult, but in which you can climb Col de Rates with a few kilometers less.

Concretely, 87 km with a positive slope of 1720 m where the biggest challenge will be the Coll de Rates, but after which we will still have to make the ascent on the way back through Castell de Castells and the southern section of Tárbena. The positive side of the return to Altea is that its slope is quite gradual, without large differences in altitude.

4. Altea – Serra Gelada

If in the first three routes we focused on the route, we have to take a break and talk about the MTB-route to Serra Gelada (or Sierra Helada). A stage of just over 20 kilometers in which we will reach a positive slope of approximately 600 m, but whose difficulty lies in that nightmarish kilometer known as: THE HARDEST TARMAC KILOMETER IN EUROPE. Ramps of around 30% make this stage a demanding route. A climb that has been gaining fame in recent years thanks to the Costa Blanca Bike Race, which includes it as a time trial climb.

By the way, stunning views on arrival.

5. Altea – La Nucía – Guadalest

Embalse de Guadalest

A new road route, probably the most accessible of those we have presented so far. In this case, we end up with a route of about 56 km of medium difficulty with about 1200 m of positive slope.

It includes the ascent to the pretty town of La Nucía, the first 18 km from Altea, to gradually cycle past the idyllic Guadalest reservoir, in use since 1963 with a capacity of 13,000 billion litres. Due to its size, this reservoir is a highly valued asset in the area, especially as the province of Alicante is not known for its large water reserves.

6. Río Algar – Río  Guadalest – Fonts de l’Algar

Fonts de s'Algar

Here is another mountain route, that will allow us to follow the course of the Algar and Guadalest rivers, from where we will turn towards Callosa d’en Sarrià to find the impressive Fonts de l’Algar. We will find a range of stunning waterfalls and natural pools in a labyrinth of underground galleries which make it a very busy point during most of the summer months.

The route is of medium difficulty, 34.75 km with a positive slope of 517 m. An accessible route designed to enjoy a MTB route.

7. Altea – Bernia

Sierra de Bernia

If before we talked about the hardest kilometer in Europe, the ascent to Bernia is not too far. Although it is only 19 km, the 727 m of positive slope reflects the challenge. The best news is that it is a newly asphalted section, far from the bumpy and irregular condition that characterised it in the past. Several ramps, that easily exceed 15% and some reach 20%, make this climb one of the most popular, along with the Coll de Rates.

8. Altea – Alto de Aitana

Alto de Aitana

The climb to the Alto de Aitana has acquired its fame over the years due to its weight in some editions of the Vuelta a España. Concretely, during the 2016 edition, it was the last ascent conquered, with the victory of the Frenchman French Latour in a nice sprint with the Venezuelan Atapuma, who lost first place just 100m from the finish. The same edition also saw Chris Froome’s unsuccessful breakaway attempt against Colombian Nairo Quintana, who was Froome‘s shadow in the final kilometers. Funny thing: while everyone thought that Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome would come practically hand in hand in the final meters, the Colombian sprinted to pass Froome which caused an ironic? applause from Froome when he saw the winner of this edition overtake him.

First of all, it is important to specify that, to cycle the last kilometers of this route, a special permit to access the Aitana military base must be applied for. It is a very demanding course, with 114 km on which we will reach a positive slope of 2,500 m. On this route, there is a variant at Tudons via Relleu.

One of the most demanding of our top 10 suggestions.

9. Altea – La Carrasqueta

La Carrasqueta

Photograph of Samu Alicante.

Very difficult circular route, designed for well-prepared cyclists. To clarify that we are not joking: 145 km with a positive slope of 2,600 m.

The ascent to La Carrasqueta has also been promoted several times in the Vuelta a España, and our route also passes through the Col des Confrides.

The first 60 kilometers will be an easy stage without major setbacks to prepare us for the rest. During the route, we will pass through Benidorm, Alcoy or Vila Joiosa, and it will be between kilometers 60 and 80 where we will have to make the big effort. 

Of course, half way, we will have to challenge the Confrides, less demanding but whose difficulty lies in the accumulated kilometers to these heights.

10. Altea – Cumbre del Sol

Cumbre del SolWe could not close this top 10 without including the ascent to the famous Cumbre del Sol. From Altea, 83 kilometres and a positive slope of 1912 m. A challenging route whose difficulty lies in the steep climb to the summit located in Puig de la Llorença.

The ascent of the Cumbre del Sol was presented to the public for the first time during the Vuelta a España 2015. A very demanding ascent with a first kilometer and a half, with constant slopes ranging from 10 to 15%. After this first section, we find a descending section and followed by an ascending section of about 700 m, where we will find slopes of more than 15%. Another 700 m to regain energy and reach the last kilometer from 3.3. Although we have already passed the most difficult section of this climb, at this end we will still find several 10-15% ramps. The result? A climb of over 4 km with an average gradient of 8.19%, a misleading figure given that it includes the aforementioned downhill sections.

Since we mentioned the Vuelta 2015, we have remembered Dumoulin‘s victory during the ninth stage of this edition. Less than 1 km from the finish, Frenchman Dumoulin was advancing steadily towards victory. But Briton Chris Froome managed to overtake the French just 300 meters from the finish. However, as it looked like Froome would would come out on top, Dumoulin took the podium in a finish that seemed a lifetime to the Brit. In between, there would also be the Spaniard Joaquim Rodríguez, who finished third in this stage and second in the general of that year.

By the way, the views from the top are a luxury. For those who arrive, of course, those who do not …

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