Arrival in Murcia (see optional conditions for transfer). One night’s accommodation in Murcia. Optional loop ride to Fuensanta Sanctuary
We drive out from Murcia till Lorca (50' drive). Before starting our route to Vélez Blanco, we will discover the historic city centre of Lorca and its Fortress of the Sun. Visiting this Fortress will help us understand the major role it had during the defence of the last medieval border between the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada and the Christian Kingdom of Murcia. On our way to Vélez Blanco we will pass through valleys flanked by buttes and wooded hillocks. You will visit the Castle of Xiquena before arriving to Vélez Blanco and its beautiful historic city centre. One night’s accommodation in Vélez Blanco.
- 48km. 4h30 cycling. Level: Moderate to Challenging. Lorca-La Parroquia-Vélez Blanco
María will be the first stop towards the Granada's Altiplano. The 8 km long ascent from Vélez Blanco to the village of María, entrance of the Granada's Altiplano, is just a hard debut for a quite pleasant day. The route goes on a very quiet and straight road through a dense pine forest, downhill, towards the first traces of the quaternary badlands around Orce and Galera. In Fuente Nueva you will see the first troglodyte habitats, up the hill, with the Cuevas de la Lavandera. There more than 20000 caves dwillings in the province of Granada. The road continues till Orce, a Muslim funded village, famous all around the world because of the archaeological excavations where were found the oldest evidences of Humans in Europe. We recommend the visit of 2 museums: The Museo de los Primeros Pobladores (Museum of the first settlers) and the Centro de Intepretación arqueolígico El Cerro de la Virgen (Visitor Center of the the archaeological sites). Before your arrival at Galera, enjoy the Fuencaliente hot springs (free entrance). Galera is our destination: Don't forget the visit of the Castellón Alto archaeological site. It is part of the Argaric Culture, from the latter part of the Middle Bronze Age. The visit of the Tututgi necropolis is also an excelent way to discover the Iberian culture (500BC). The Museum of Galera exhibits main archaeological pieces about the History of the this territory. One night’s accommodation in Galera.
- 44 km. 4h15 cycling. Level: Easy to Moderate. Vélez Blanco - María - Orce - Galera
You go right to the heart of the Granada Geopark. The first part of the today's ride is by the Galera and Guardal river valleys. The badlands, by the side of the road, are the background of this ride. you will follow ancient ditches till the steep village of Benamaurel, the Spanish village with highest density of cave dwellings. We recommend the visit of the Cave Dwellings Visitor Center, located close to the old graveyard. The way goes on quiet roads, along the Acequia del Nogueral, by the Guardal river valley, towards the imposing Jabalcón mountain. You will see several cave dwellings small villages like San Marcos, Puente Arriba o Huerta Real. Around Cuevas Negras, you will cross the Guardal river towards Baza, the final town. The last part of the ride is a long ascent, through a nice farmland and along the Jabalcón irrigation canal. Baza is inhabited since ancient times by various civilizations that have marked his inheritance, the character of the bastetanos. But the Arab heritage is maybe the most impacting: Muslims were settled during 800 years and you can still visit the XIII century arab baths or the Alcazaba. The posterior Christian heritage gave the actual aspect to the old town. One night’s accommodation in a hostal in Baza.
- 50 km. 5 h cycling. Level: Moderate. Galera - El Castillejar - Benamaurel - Baza.
Be ready for an awesome ride: First because it'll be the longest of your trip (optional initial transfer available), and second because you will ride throught the most stunning part of the Granada Geopark. You will ride first on the Greenway towards the scenic iron bridge of Baúl, upon the Baúl river, by a 22 km long constant ascent. Around Gorafe, take your time to stop at the Puntal view point, above the Gor river canyon. The stop in Gorafe, at midway, is perfect to recover efforts before the last part of te ride. The succession of geosites make the way greater and more pleasant: the Gorafe discordance, the hotspring (35ºC) in the Balneario de Alicún, the Toril travertine ditch, the black badlands of the Fardes river. The end of the ride will by the Fardes river valley, a long and quiet ascent to Guadix. The high Cathedral of Guadix, example of Baroque style architecture, is the milestone of this endway. One night’s accommodation in hotel in Guadix.
- 62-84 km. 6h-8h cycling. Level: Challenging. Baza - Baúl - Gorafe - Baños de Alicún - Fonelas - Guadix.
Last day: From Guadix you will reach the foothills of Sierra Nevada through awesome badlands sceneries around Marchal and Baños. The End of Wolrd, El Fin del Mundo, viewpoint offer fantastic views of the landscape with Sierra Nevada in the background. Los Baños, Marchal and La Peza are the "last redoubts of life" before the 9 km long ascent to Los Blancares mountain pass. The climb is not very difficult and passes through dense pine forests and Mediterranean high mountain landscape. Take a breath at the mountain pass before the crazy 22 km long descent towards Granada. The entrance in Granada is very easy by the Genil river cycle lane. One night’s accommodation in Granada.
- 57 km. 6h cycling. Level: Challenging. Guadix - Beas de Guadix - Marchal - La Peza - Los Blancares pass - Quentar - Granada.
Return transfer to Murcia after breakfast. See conditions for other transfers and extra nights in Murcia or Granada.