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Our Favourite Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca

2nd August, 2023

At Love Velo, we are the experts when it comes to the best cycling route in the Costa Blanca. We know every road in the area and run guided cycling holidays to Calpe as well as self guided trips from Calpe to discover this stunning region.

Without doubt, our favourite cycling route in the Costa Blanca includes the famous Coll de Rates as well as the Port de Bèrnia.

Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca, Our Favourite Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca

Why The Love?

The Port de Bèrnia loop starts from Benissa and loops back in the same direction so that we can ride the Coll de Rates from Parcent, arguably the tougher way up. It’s certainly the more famous! From the top of the Coll de Rates, your ride will be pretty much 90% descending, with only a few humps, before you ride back to Calpe on small country roads.

We think this is the perfect route because the Coll de Bernia acts as an introductory climb for the area, with steady climbing until the last 5km which kick up a bit. You will then be able to recuperate before the big climb of the day to the top of the Coll de Rates. The Coll de Rates is the must-ride climb in Costa Blanca. You simply can’t come to Calpe and not ride it! It’s not the steepest or longest climb but it offers majestic, rugged mountain views and wide coastal panoramas from the summit. The winding hairpin turns from Coll de Rates down to Taberna are a dream for every cyclist.

Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca, Our Favourite Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca

The Route?

Calpe to Benissa: 0-10 km

The ride starts heading north from Calpe and you’ll soon be on the coastal road with the Mediterranean to your right. Enjoy the sea air and the views as you ride along the coast. Heading up towards Moraira, you’ll turn left, heading towards Benissa. The climb is punchy and will warm you up nicely as you head into the mountains.

Port de Bèrnia Loop: 15-45 km

The climb to Port de Bèrnia is about 15 km long. fear not though, this is not 15km of climbing because up until km 32, you’ll be enjoying fairly flat riding. The gentle gradient gives you time to enjoy the views of Calpe and the Peñón de Ifach. The switchbacks wind around the rugged, vertical rocks, and you’ll feel like you are truly off the beaten track. The last few km are the tough part of the ride and you’ll have some steep ramps of up to 11% to reach the top.

Enjoy the views before you descend to Xaló, a thrilling descent through the rural mountainous countryside.  We recommend stopping at the VeloSol cycling bar for some respite and a friendly welcome.

Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca, Our Favourite Cycling Route in the Costa Blanca

From Xaló to the junction to Parcent, the start of the Coll de Rates climb, is about four flat kilometers.

Coll de Rates: 52-58 km

You’ll ride the Coll de Rates from Parcent, the most famous ascent of this climb. You’ll climb 6 km and 350 m in altitude, with stunning panoramic views.

The first few km feature twisting switchbacks before a 180-degree turn towards Tarbena launches you to the summit. Your final stretch of road is at approximately 8% gradient. Push on as the views are just incredible. Once you’ve summited, if you need a break there is a restaurant at the summit. Again, the views are to die for.

There is a hidden gem that not many know about which we highly recommend if you’ve got the legs. Tackle the short unpaved road for a truly epic 3 km long, narrow, and steep asphalted stretch with 10.5% gradient that rises another 300 m. Just check out the views in the photo below.

Cyclist riding up a grave road in Spain

Photo: @oli.goes.cycling

Summit Back to Calpe 58-119 km

From the summit of Coll de Rates, your ride will be almost entirely made up of thrilling descents back to Calpe. Ride home via the Castell de Castells. It’s a beautiful, less-travelled road winding through the mountains. Enjoy the views of the north side of the Serella and Aixorta peaks and the almond terraces. After another 8 km and 150 meters of ascent to Port de Sa Creuta (780 m), you reach the end of this segment.

While there are still 38 km of road back to Calpe, the next 25 km are all gradually downhill, through the Castell de Castells valley and along the Xaló River to Jalón.

This is without doubt are favourite cycling route in the Costa Blanca.