This ride provides a gentle introduction to the Almeria region and is the perfect leg-stretcher ride that will give you a feel for the region and the general terrain.
It's always nice to ride with the sea in view, and the route didn't disappoint as for the first part of the ride you skirt the Mediterranean coastline. At the top of the climbs you are afforded spectacular views and plenty of photo opportunities.
As you make your way to Agua Amarga you experience the lifestyle and culture of a small Spanish village. We had lunch there in the village square, a few metres from the beach and marvelled at the peace and tranquility that the locals enjoy.
You then turn inland to what is best described as semi-desert country. Sparse, arid and barren - just our luck to pick this location for a puncture! But on superb quality roads you soon complete the loop back to Carboneras and then retrace your steps back to the hotel.
Written by John Vicars
Route map and profile
Distance: 68 km
Elevation Gain: 1,140 m
Max Grade: 15 %
All metrics in this guide are approximate
The highlight of this route, for us, was climbing up both sides to the Mirador de la Granatilla and then enjoying the vista from the top (see banner photo).
The views from the top are the sort you don’t forget.
One of the points of interest from the viewpoint is a large viaduct in the valley below - you can't help appreciating the engineering skills that must have played a huge part into its construction.
1. Mojácar to Carboneras: 0-20 km
Turn right (south) as you leave the Paradores de Mojácar Hotel and you're on your way as you pedal along the beach front road with the Mediterranean Sea, in places, no more than a stone's throw away.
The terrain is initially flat as you pass what seems to be a never-ending stream of beach front hotels and restaurants before leaving the beach area and starting to gradually climb as you hug the sea to your left.
Before too long you will begin a 4 km undulating climb to the village of Sopalmo and on the way you will see plenty of ‘Ventas’ (a Spanish bar/cafe) on both sides of the road should you want to avail yourself of an early coffee.
The road descends sharply after Sopalmo to about 100 metres above sea level before taking you back up through the Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar towards the Mirador de la Granatilla, where you get a simply breathtaking view across the rugged hilly landscape towards the Mediterranean coastline and a very impressively constructed and engineered viaduct. It is difficult to adequately describe how impressive the view is. Photographs certainly help but it's far better to see it for yourself!
A quick descent awaits as you head further south towards Carboneras which is a bustling town and full of restaurants, cafes and shops should you feel the need to stop.
2. Carboneras / Agua Amarga / Carboneras (21 to 48 km)
Press on through the town and the Carboneras Port area and you start to climb again. As you track slightly inland, the landscape becomes more barren and sandy in appearance and there is not much to see until you crest the final hill and look down towards the tiny white houses of the small village of Agua Amarga.
You head out of the village and back into the Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar on relatively flat, quiet roads before turning right onto the N341 and then left onto the AL 5105 towards the village of Llano de don Antonio and then back towards Carboneras to complete the loop.
The final eight kilometres into Carboneras are downhill on good roads and they give you an opportunity to increase the pace and really motor back down to the coastline.
3. Carboneras to Mojácar (49 to 68 km)
From here you simply retrace your steps back to Mojácar along the coast road and are then able once again to enjoy the climb (and the views) up to the Mirador de la Granatilla and back over towards Sopalmo and the hotel.
We stopped at Restaurant Agua Amarga in the small village of Agua Amarga. Having wandered for a few minutes along some very quiet back streets, devoid of any human existence, we finally found a small and peaceful square, 50 yards from the beach, bordered by a couple of shops, a bar and the restaurant, where we stopped for a late lunch (late by our standards but normal for the locals). We sat outside and soaked up the sunshine amongst the locals, enjoying the fact that we could do this in late February! The restaurant staff were excellent and the service was very fast. The Mediterranean salad was plentiful and is highly recommended!
Additionally, there are numerous Ventas on the Mojácar / Carboneras road and cafes and restaurants are in plentiful supply in the town of Carboneras.
One thing to note here is that the locals see lunchtime as somewhere between 1.30 and 3.30pm so the restaurants will gear their lunch menus accordingly. As such you more or less have to order from the menu del dia.
We did this ride from Mojacar - there's loads of information on where to stay and the hotel we stayed in, in our ultimate guide to cycling Almeria.
Read our tips for cycling the Costa Almeria, before you set out.
Click here for our complete guide to planning a cycling trip to Almeria.
want to know more about stolen goat?
Find out how we got to know Stolen Goat and read our candid kit reviews here.
Alternatively, head straight to their site and check them out yourself.