Cycle into a kaleidoscope of white-washed villages, Moorish towers and colourful orchards where ancient irrigation channels wind through layers of history. Pedal country lanes and peaceful greenways through striking landscapes to historic towns. Daily cycling routes of 25 to 45 km, with an average of 300 m in ascent, mainly on paved roads or cycling trails. Option of choosing shorter or longer routes on 3 days.
Transfer to Murcia by public bus or private taxi. Settle in at our preferred accommodation, a newly-reformed hotel situated on a quiet square in the town centre which combines vintage decor with a terrific breakfast buffet. At dusk, venture out on an evening stroll in deliciously warm temperatures.
Take a 45-minute transfer to Bullas, try out your bike and make the necessary adjustments. Then set off on the gentle ‘Via Verde del Noroeste’ rails-to-trails bike path. Stretch your legs on a wander through the hilltop village of Cehegin and, if you like, add an optional extra loop on quite country roads passing flower and vegetable farms on the River Argos.
End your day in Caravaca, one of the world’s five Holy Cities along with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Santo Toribio de Liebana. The splendid local church, part of an impressive 1617 fortress, confers Eternal Forgiveness to pilgrims who journey here during a Holy Year.
Challenge: 39km, 300m ascent, 330m descent
Embark on route among irrigation channels and elm groves, riding fountain to fountain past Roman and Christian sanctuaries and unique settlements from Paleolithic, Argaric, Iberian, Roman and Medieval times. The first section involves a tough ascent to the village of Archivel, then you pick up a way-marked route via tiny villages and farmed fields. Riding downhill to La Encarnación, your day finishes with a short section on an unsurfaced GR track. Back in Caravaca, pause at Plaza del Arco to admire the statues commemorating “Moros y Cristianos”, Moors and Christians.
Challenge: 45km, 450m ascent, 450m descent
Today’s ride may look difficult at first glance but take heart, both steep 150-m ascents are on the first half. Then you glide through pleasant terrain mainly downhill, rejoining the greenway (Ruta Verde del Noroeste). Make time for Moratalla, an excellent place to stop for lunch with its steep lanes, 15th-century Christian fortress, “Torre del Homenaje” and 16th-century church of Santa María de la Asunción. Pedalling onward you hit huge olive groves, endless orchards and farmed fields. Wherever you find a tiny bit of water, the almond trees and vegetable gardens magically reappear as do the rice fields near Calasparra.
Challenge: 44km, 450m ascent, 740m descent
Optional 13-km loop via the sanctuary dedicated to ‘la Virgen de la Esperanza’, Our Lady of Hope, or time to tour the main monuments in Calasparra. Then take off to cycle a remote area with very few villages, where peaceful country roads and views to the hills lead to the lovely Alfonso XIII Reservoir. Riding toward the River Segura the landscape turns into a patchwork of almond and apricot orchards, a symphony in shades of pink in the spring. The last 6,5km follow a quiet lane along the river to reach lively Cieza.
Challenge: 45km, 475m ascent, 360m descent
The Segura River and ancient irrigation channels lead to Archena and a complete change of scenery. Ricote Valley is somewhat reminiscent of Palestine with its deep valley, dry slopes, green river and oasis-like orchards studded with palm trees. The white-washed villages of Abarán, Blanca, Ójos and Ulea were Murcia’s last Moorish stronghold, way back in the 15th century. Peaceful inland routes and sections of the Via Verde guide the way as you circle back to Murcia.
Challenge: 57km, 200m ascent, 340m descent
Book an extra day in Murcia to rest and relax, do some shopping or tour the gardens south of the city. Test your legs on an optional ascent to the ridgetop sanctuary at Fuensanta, home to Murcia’s patron saint. The 1694 Baroque church is a national monument complete with café serving tasty snacks with fab views.
Challenge: 18km, 90m ascent, 90m descent
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Some of the hotels we work with appear here. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked.
Extra nights: Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.
Bergamont Horizon 6.0 Amsterdam 2017
Ecobike Elegance Plus
6 nights accommodation
4 charming, quality rural hotels
Detailed route notes and maps in English
Optional bike rental
Luggage transport on Days 2, 4, 5 & 6
Routes in digital format (.gpx) for GPS or mobile devices
Transfers to and from airport / train station / bus station can be arranged through SBT
Arrival in Murcia
From Alicante airport (ALC) to Murcia
By Bus: You can get a bus direct from Alicante airport to the city of Murcia. There are several departures a day. You can buy your ticket on the bus. Travel time is one hour. This service is run by ALSA. For further details, please go to ALSA online at www.alsa.es.
By Taxi: From the bus station in Murcia, it’s just a short taxi ride to your hotel.
From Murcia airport (MJV) to city of Murcia
For information on Murcia airport (MJV), please go to: www.aena.es/en/murcia-san-javier-airport/index.html
By Taxi: On arrival at Murcia airport, you get a taxi to your hotel in the city centre.
From Valencia airport (VLC) to Murcia
For information on Valencia airport (VLC), please go to: www.aena.es/en/valencia-airport/index.html
By Bus: You can get a bus from Valencia (or Valencia airport) to the city of Murcia. These services are run by ALSA. There are several departures a day from the city centre and at least 2 a day from the airport. A single ticket Valencia-Murcia is about 18,00€ and travel time is 3 to 5 hours, depending on the type of bus you take. For further details, please go to www.alsa.es
Departure from Murcia
See relevant information under arrival above