Thinking of Spain often conjures images of white-washed villages overlooking emerald coastlines, sunny days filled with sangria and bullfighting, and evenings of tapas and flamenco dancing. This quintessential image of Spain comes from its southernmost region, Andalusia. Andalusia stretches from the Atlantic border with southern Portugal east along the Mediterranean and falls just shy of Murcia. The landscape is diverse; the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean quickly rise through fertile interior plains to the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. Cycling in Andalusia is some of the most enjoyable in all of Europe, as you get favorable weather, good food and wine, and all the essential Spanish sights.
The interior cities of Granada, Cordoba, and the region’s capital, Seville, make fantastic places to set up for your day trips as most tour operators will be based out of one of these iconic cities. All three are known for their Moorish architecture, vibrant nightlife, cultural festivities, and irresistible Spanish charm. The main roads to the coast can be heavily congested with traffic, but the side roads and country lanes are perfect for cycling, meandering their way through the countryside and offering glimpses of authentic Spain. The Costa del Sol runs on either side of sunny Malaga to form Europe's most heavily developed stretch of coastline; although the beaches are stunning, the crowds are almost too much. Riding the Costa del Sol, however, can be a treat, as you can pick and choose your adventures into the tourist madness as you ride from sunny beach spot to bustling resort cities.
With the Costa del Sol getting so much attention it’s easy to forget that you are standing in the shadow of Spain’s highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevadas. Just a short distance south of Grenada lie some of the best road climbs and mountain descents in all of Europe. With its proximity to the coast, it’s possible to see snow-capped peaks and sunny beaches on the same day’s ride. If you’re looking for the quintessential Spain, Andalusia is the place.