Those who haven’t yet explored the South of Spain tend to imagine it to be flat and arid—when, really, it’s quite the opposite!
Andalusia is a fertile land full of mountains, forests, and valleys. A true paradise for motorcycle riding! Although we do take care to avoid the hottest months, which would prevent us from enjoying our motorcycle adventure to the fullest. Taking a tour through the Andalusian mountains in spring and autumn is a pleasure that is difficult to match.
So, which route to choose for our motorcycle trip through the South of Spain? The answer is simple: there is no wrong answer. Though, of course, some have warranted their popularity for the attractions they offer. Accordingly, from among the many options, IMTBIKE offers a trio of options to satisfy any motorcyclist’s appetite.
Our first option is the Sierra de Cádiz, which includes the spectacular Los Alcornocales Natural Park – a pristine natural environment of flora and fauna, as well as home to the famous Route of the White Villages. These towns are filled with homes that have whitewashed walls which protect from the sun’s heat in the summer. From a distance, the splashes of white against the forested green mountains is a sight to behold. And, taking a walk through steep and narrow streets is a treat for the senses—you will taken in by the flowers that adorn the balconies and against immaculate white walls, the aroma of homemade stews wafting out the windows of homes and taverns, but most of all, you’ll be taken in by the people.
The roads that run through this mountain range are typically narrow and very twisted. Some areas have somewhat deteriorated asphalt, and there is very little traffic during the week. This is perfect when we have a thousand places to visit! Towns like Grazalema, Ubrique or Arcos de la Frontera top our list.
Another equally attractive option for our motorcycle route through Andalusia is the Sierra de las Alpujarras. Here, you could divide your attention between the Alpujarras Granainas and the Alpujarras Almerienses. But, we prefer to combine the two. This is perfectly feasible and highly recommended. The Sierra de las Alpujarras is actually the southern face of the huge Sierra Nevada massif and, precisely because of its southern orientation, has the greatest exposure to light and heat from the sun. It is also a fantastic option for riding a motorcycle, perfect in early spring and late fall.
Another route takes us from Granada, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, to the coast of Almería. This allows us to cross all the Alpujarras from west to east, or vice versa, and is a magnificent option for a motorcycle route through a mountain range in Andalusia. The return can be comfortably made by highway, along the north face of the Sierra Nevada.
On our motorcycle route through the Alpujarras, we will be sure to visit some of the white villages in its western part. The town of Pampaneira, for example, possesses a great artistic and cultural tradition which combined with the creativity of the hippie community that flourished there in the 60s. Together, they become a wholly new and unique part of the town’s history and flair.
A little further into the Alpujarras, we will find Trevélez — home to the most authentic version of Serrano ham. This is thanks to the high-altitude dryers made possible by the locations of these towns, a thousand meters above sea level. The purity and dryness of the air, together with the quality of the animal, results in a tasty Serrano ham that is highly recognized by those with the even the best palates. Alpujarra’s roads are also twisted and narrow, following the dramatic mountain topography. Scenic vistas abound, while traffic—outside of holidays—is quite scarce.
And finally, the northernmost section of the Andalusian mountains. A formidable option to travel by motorcycle is undoubtedly Sierra Morena. This mountainous line long protected such important cities as Seville or Córdoba from the north winds, and is a destination highly sought after by Andalusian motorcyclists for their weekend outings. For motorcyclists, one of the best options is to travel the entire length of the Sierra Morena from one end to the other, joining Córdoba with Seville and then returning to our starting point along the banks of the Guadalquivir river.
On the border with Portugal, we find the Sierra de Aracena. Making up the westernmost foothills of the Sierra Morena, this small territory enjoys the best roads in the entire massif and boasts many other appealing attractions. One of those destinations is the scenic Rio Tinto mines and the river itself. Named for its red color, the river is rich in dissolved iron.
Another essential experience of this region is the world-famous Pata Negra ham. This native pig is small and energetic, usually running freely through large areas of local farms and feeding on acorns. It produces a ham so exquisite that it is known throughout the world. Be sure to try a tapa at any of the inns in this area!
After traveling on any of these three motorcycle routes through the majestic mountains of southern Spain, it won’t be long before you start dreaming of returning to explore Andalusia. And we’ll be here to welcome you when you return!