Trek Notes - Spain

Route of the Caliphate - Cycling from Cordoba to Granada

A cycling adventure through Andalusia's past and culture, a journey of discovery that evokes the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Route of the Caliphate.
The ride leads through wide variety of terrains, passing through a host of villages
Betake a journey through time and across unique landscapes and natural reserves that feature along the way. Ride through landscapes with tranquil hills of olive groves, holm-oak woods, vegetable gardens and vineyards, rushing streams, imposing watchtowers, proud castles, impeccable farmhouses and humble farmsteads, all giving the backdrop to an unforgettable visit.

Day 1: Arrival Cordoba:
Arrive in good time so as to visit the famous "Mezquita" (Grand Mosque). Later, a walk through the old Jewish quarter to see its beautiful patios and have tapas in its inns. Finally we suggest you to experience an authentic flamenco show to get you ready for a journey, which has only just begun.
Day 2: Cordova-Baena-Luque-Priego, 35 km:
From Cordoba you go to Baena by bus. The bikes are handed over at Baena bus station. After breakfast in Baena, you set out towards Luque, and from there on quiet county roads to Fuente Aljama. Riding through mountains, you will arrive finally in the charming town of Priego.
Day 3: Priego-Carcabuey-Cabra-Zuheros, 54 km:
From Priego you are making for Carcabuey on an old disused road. Heading along a little country road past the village of Algar, you then climb to the Gaena mountain pass. From there you have a long and pronounced descent to the splendid town of Cabra. You take the "Vía Verde" (old reconditioned railway line), in gentle ascent to the romantic village of Zuheros.
Day 4: Zuheros-Luque-Alcaudete-Castillo de Locubín-Alcalá la Real, 60 km:
Today you bid farewell to the Subbetica mountains, to immerse yourselves in the countryside of Jaén, riding along the comfortable "Vía Verde" (old railway line). After passing the station in Alcaudete, you continue uphill, and the more bumpy trails and imposing watchtowers above remind you that you are entering Nasrid territory. you encounter the majestic "La Mota" fortress defending the town of Alcalá.
Day 5: Alcalá la Real-Santa Ana-Tózar, 30 km:
After visiting the La Mota fortress, with its thick castle walls, imposing towers and the old cathedral built by the reconquering Christians within its confines, you head out of Alcalá la Real over its fertile plain, (and adjacent villages of Fuente del Rey and Santa Ana), riding between fields of cereal crops which are full of poppies in springtime. Once passed Casillas de Mures, the landscape changes and you head towards Tózar, just before the final bastion of the Nasrid kingdom, Moclín. This village awaits you in the distance beneath the watchful eye of its imposing castle.
Day 6: Tózar-Moclín-Olivares-Alfacar y Víznar-Granada, 58 km:
After climbing to Moclín you will enjoy the great views of the Sierra Nevada during the large descent to Olivares. Soon the beautiful plain comes into sight, its arrival announced by the last watchtower you will see, opposite the "tres Juanes" hermitage. Sierra Nevada forms an impressive backdrop. You now approach Granada, and have the option of entering the city from the North, taking a longer route through the foothills of the Alfaguara Mountains.
Day 7: Today you explore the city and the amazing Alhambra:
This Palace/Fortress and residence of the Nasrid Sultans will awake your affection for the city. Delightful little corners, palaces and gardens abound in its old neighbourhoods, along with a multitude of tapas bars, restaurants and wine houses... All this will bring you to love a city that is as full of life as it is of history and poetry.
Day 8: End of the journey in Granada and departure
After breakfast in the hotel your trip will be over and by bus or train you can get to Cordova, Malaga, Seville or Madrid.
Travelling on the route of the Caliphate is an experience that brings together two of the most emblematic cities of ancient al-Andalus: Cordova, home to the ruling Caliphs, philosophers, astronomers, mathematicians and doctors who illuminated the Middle Ages with knowledge, centuries ahead of the European Renaissance. And on the other end Granada, whose mighty kingdom cultivated the sciences above all and where formal refinement and architectural decoration reached levels unmatched in any society of its time. Travel to see these two cities, on a journey that combines culture, nature and anthropology, delighting the senses at every step.
Enjoy the villages, castles, churches and towns that stretch before you just waiting to be discovered, such as Baena, Luque, Priego, Zuheros, Alcaudete, Castillo de Locubín, Alcalá la Real, Tózar, Moclín, that now give their name to some of the world's finest olive oils. You will find them the perfect place to relax and recover lost energy with the best food and wines this region has to offer.
Although each season holds its own particular charm, we advise you to plan this tour in spring (March to June) to take advantage of the explosion of colour in the surrounding countryside, the splendour of the Subbéticas, the smell of the olive mills and the views of the last snowfalls on the Sierra Nevada that will accompany you on the last two stages!

Getting there (to Cordova):
Via Malaga:
By taxi: Malaga Airport to Cordova approx. 185 € (at night and on weekends a surcharge of 40 € will be applied)
By bus: from Malaga to Cordova: You first need to get to the bus station either by taxi (20 - 25 €) or take the Bus No. 19 that leaves right in front of the arrival hall - it leaves every half an hour, takes about half an hour and costs 2 €.
Malaga bus station - Cordoba bus station (3 hrs/ 12€)
daily:  9:00, 11:15, 15:00, 16:00, 18:15
In Cordova it is approx. € 8 by taxi from the bus station to the hotel.
Check schedules, prices and possible changes on

Getting back home (from Granada)
Via Seville:
By bus: 8.00-9.00-10.00-12.00-14.30-15.30-16.30-18.30-20.00 (2h45-3 hours, 18 €)
By train: 8.18-11.40-16.39-20.55 (3h10, 20,05 €)
Via Madrid:
By train: 8:00, 17:05 (6h10, 31-36 €)
By bus: 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 13:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00 (5h30, 15 €)
Via Granada airport:
by bus: take the airport bus from the city centre to the airport (45 min./ 3 €)
by taxi: approx. 20 - 40 min./ 25 €
Via Malaga:
By taxi: 150 € (at night and on weekends a surcharge of 40 € will be applied)
By bus: to the bus station in Malaga (1h 45/ 10€)
7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 13:30, 14:30, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:15, 21:00

Price includes:
· 7 nights accommodation in double room with breakfast, with private shower/WC or bathroom in 2* and 3* or in country hotels (one of the country hotels is quite small, so it might happen, that you have to share the bathroom)
· 3 dinners
· Entrance ticket to the Alhambra on day 7
· Documentation (cultural information & description of the routes with detailed information and maps)
· Bike rental*
(bike will be delivered in Baena and will be collected in Granada)
· Luggage transport

*The bike is a comfortable mountain bike (Giant, Megamo, Jamis) with 27 speeds (Shimano Deore), V-brake breaks and front suspension. It will be delivered with helmets, water bottle, repair kit, extra inner tube, some oil, a lock, bungee strap, a small front bag and a km counter)


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