Easily accessible from all major Europe's airports, Málaga is our favourite winter destination. Loaded with history and radiating with vibrant energy, the city that gave world Picasso has transformed itself in a favourite destination for travellers: a new port area, art galleries, millions of Spanish restaurants serving the famous tapas washed with local wine, layers on layers of history and of course, the reason we are here, the trails.
If you would be asked about the riding in Costa del Sol, chances you'd have a few words to say. The most visitors are lured by the historic cities of Cordoba, Granada, Seville and the tapas restaurant. Thousands of tourists lurking on the olds streets, bloody history, not my definition of fun.
Souther Spain is generally overlooked when comes about mountain biking. Often people have a picture of too rocky trails, which it might be true, but there is more than this. The trails aren't an everyday sort of challenge though, they are difficult and the area is a test of endurance, technique and strength, some limits will be pushed.
There is a 'child at Christmas' excitement just thinking at the trails ahead of us, to ride the epic trails of Andalucía.
- From Málaga to Ojén.
This year, after a long winter break, we decided best is to ride some mellow trails, short and fast. The uphill is easy enough, just 10 minutes to the trailhead. Hitting the same trail over and over again, our mind and body started to shift in the perfect riding mood. You could ride this place never getting bored, there is always something new to discover, some corner that can be taken a bit faster, a new line to tackle.
- Málaga's mountains.
Málaga has it all, the sea with the endless beaches, the old town, the tapas restaurants and the mountains surrounding the city, 'Montes de Málaga'. Our destination for the second day did not disappoint. There are hidden downhill tracks, very well maintained by the local mtb comunity. This is the place where limits can be pushed, steep trails, drops and jumps, rock gardens, fast and technical. Simple put, a bliss.
- The white city of Mijas.
In our last trip to Spain, we skipped this trails. This year to ride Mijas's trails was a must do. We all agree this is the most technical challenging trail we rode in Southern Spain, the endless rock garden with millions of treacherous lines. The erosion is changing this trail end the landscape is in a continuous flux. For sure, this is not the place where you want to crash, landing on the sharp rocks is not fun, as we experienced.
- The Cascade.
The famous El Chorro, the most popular rock climbing location in Southern Spain located nearby the scary walkway Camino del Ray had welcomed us with unexpected clouds and wind. The big rollers, technical steep descents on sandy grounds are making this trails suited for experienced riders. The trail is isolated from the main roads and logistic is a bit more complicated. We had to take everything with us, plenty of water, food, spare parts, everything that might be required in case of problem. We had a lot of fun on this trail and I would say this was the best ride of the week.
- How to keep the good stuff for the end.
Last day was somehow a short day. The plan was to ride a bit early the morning, and in afternoon to visit Castillo Gibralfaro and to enjoy an ice cream in the new port. We headed to Pinos de Alhaurin to ride the fast downhill trail. If flow trails with a few jumps and drops and not very technical is your cup of tee, the trail located nearby the city's quarry is an explosion of adrenaline.
The quality and the vast diversity of the trails leaves little to complain. Adding to that the culture, the Spanish cuisine&wine, the amazing landscape and you have a riding experience that will leave a long lasting impression.
Best time to ride in Andalucía would be the beginning of the year, January to May and the end of the year. Summer is very hot and from my past experience riding in the hot Spanish air will be less enjoyable.
For more information on our amazing MTB trip to Andalucía, please visit our website