Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - The amazing gorge and Puente Nuevo at Ronda

Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday

Andalucia, Spain   (Holiday ref: AH140032)
8 days, 7 nights, from €1,325

Enjoy a truly wonderful holiday with a difference in stunning Andalucia, Spain! Spend your days cycling and walking, whilst staying in luxurious spa hotels with excellent facilities.

Exercise your body and indulge your senses with a luxurious week in the beautiful countryside of Andalucia. This luxury biking and hiking spa holiday is sure to invigorate and refresh you whilst being surrounded by the very best mountain scenery that Spain has to offer!

  • Spend time in the historic town of Ronda, perched upon a clifftop and famous for its magnificent 18th century bridge – the “Puente Nuevo”.
  • Explore local villages and unspoilt countryside on guided or self-guided bike rides and walks.
  • Stay in beautiful spa and 4* hotels so you can relax each day with luxurious treatments and massages.

Itinerary

The trip begins in Ronda, with 4 nights at the acclaimed Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria Wellness & Spa.  Ronda is a beautiful and historic town with varied architectural features from its Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Spanish past, interesting sights and a wealth of restaurants and bars in which you can enjoy traditional Andalucian and Moorish cuisine.  The famous “Puente Nuevo” bridge spans a 120m deep gorge separating the old and new parts of the town.

You take two trips out into the Ronda countryside (the Serrania de Ronda), one by bike and one on foot.  Both tours take around 3 hours and are classified as easy to moderate level, so a great way to explore and enjoy the local area. Your bike ride takes you to the white village of Setenil de las Bodegas, where the towering limestone rocks have been carved out to form cafes, bars and houses. Your walk takes you along the Guadiaro river valley, past a freshwater pool and ends at the acclaimed Molino del Santo hotel restaurant. This is a restored water mill where you enjoy a delicious, seasonal 3-course meal.  During most of the year, this can be taken on the terrace which overlooks the tumbling river that used to power the old mill wheel.

One full day in Ronda is kept for you to explore the town and for relaxation, including one complimentary spa treatment.  You can also use the hotel’s spa facilities at any time during your stay.

After your 4 days in Ronda, you cycle out to the white village (“pueblo blanco”) of Grazalema, the village that gives its name to the Natural Park which surrounds it, the Sierra de Grazalema.  The 52,000 hectare protected park lies to the west of Ronda; it was designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 1977 and is one of Spain’s most ecologically outstanding areas.

Grazalema is a particularly charming white village.  It is nestled beneath the mountains, with typical terracotta-roofed, white-painted houses, a village square and fabulous views across the valley. Your luxury hotel, the Fuerte Grazalema, sits on a hillside outside the village.

The spa is located in the village and is an optional visit.  Alternatively, simply relax in your hotel, enjoy the outdoor pool and exterior hot tub, or visit the village to explore its winding streets and bars.

Your final day of cycling takes you to your final destination via the dramatic Las Palomas pass and the white village of Zahara de la Sierra.

You spend your final two nights at the luxurious Cortijo Salinas Spa Hotel, situated on the hillside overlooking Zahara’s beautiful, blue lake

Your final day is free for you to relax at the hotel and spa, including one complimentary treatment, and to take a last moment to enjoy the calm and tranquility of Andalucia’s rural countryside. Optional horse riding can be arranged.

Summary

  • 8 day tour (including flights and transfers)
  • 3 days cycling and 1 days walking
  • Total distance cycled: 91km - Average daily distance: 30km (optional extensions available for stronger riders)
  • Total distance walked: 14km
  • Level of difficulty: easy/medium

Notes

All our bike rides are led by a fully qualified British Cycling guide*. The rides use quiet, country roads and easy smooth tracks, avoiding traffic wherever possible. You do not need to be an experienced cyclist to cope with the rides and we will take them at an easy pace, although you will enjoy them most if you are used to being on a bike for 3-4 hours in a day.  The guide is always on hand to give assistance and we find that, with a little encouragement, many people achieve more during these tours than they ever thought they could on a bike.

Our minibus transports your luggage between hotels, so you don’t need to worry about packing to fit bike panniers or leaving behind your favourite items.

*Excluding self-guided option

Dates and Prices

This trip runs all year round. Dates subject to hotel availability. Minimum 2 people travelling.

Price:

  • Guided:  €1,425 per person based on 2 people sharing.  Single room supplement: €220 per person
  • Self-guided: €1,325 per person based on 2 people sharing.  Single room supplement: €220 per person

Price includes:

  • 7 nights’ accommodation in 4**** hotels, on a B&B basis
  • Dinner at your hotel on 4 nights (1 night in Ronda and the 3 nights in rural countryside hotels). The other 3 nights in Ronda are free for you to explore the local restaurants and bars
  • 1 x Lunch at the Molino del Santo restaurant (Menu of the Month)
  • One half hour massage in each of the spa hotels plus entry to the spa each day of your stay there
  • High quality 29” wheel hybrid bike for all cycling days, incl. helmet and water bottle
  • Fully qualified English guide on all cycling and walking days *
  • Luggage transfer between hotels
  • Flight transfer from Malaga airport at the start and end of your holiday

*Excluding self-guided option

Price does not include:

Your holiday price excludes:

  • Flights to Malaga airport
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Meals, unless specified above. Tapas and in local restaurants are extremely good value – from €2 to €4; meals from €12

Location

Ronda – Ronda is a beautiful town located 750m above sea level in the mountains northwest of Malaga and the Costa del Sol.  It has a population of around 35,000, made up of mainly Spanish and a small contingent of expats who have come here to enjoy Spain’s beautiful climate and culture but without the crowds of the coastal resorts.  The town is perched on top of a huge limestone cliff, with stunning views across the valley below.  The old and new parts of the town sit on each side of a 120m deep gorge and are joined by the famous “Puente Nuevo” bridge which spans the gorge and provides one of the most iconic sights of the town.  Ronda has a long and chequered history and was one of the last towns to be vacated by the Moors as they retreated from mainland Spain to Africa in the late 1400s.  As a result, its architecture and culture are an interesting mix of Roman, Jewish, Arabic and classic renaissance Spanish influences.  Ronda is also considered the home of modern Spanish bullfighting, with an impressive bull ring and museum.  The town has many restaurants and bars in which you can enjoy traditional Andalucian cuisine and they are generally significantly better value than in the coastal resorts.

Serrania de Ronda – The mountain areas which surround the town of Ronda provide some of the most dramatic and impressive landscape in the Malaga region of Andalucia. The area is filled with acres of olive groves, vineyards and smallholdings.  Dotted through the mountains are many of Andalucia’s most beautiful white villages “pueblos blancos” where life continues in very much the same way as it has for many centuries.  The area will give you a taste of the “real Spain”.

Setenil de las Bodegas – An unusual white village where buildings have been carved into the huge limestone rocks to create part cave, part house. Many of these are still in use today as homes, cafes and bars.

Guadiaro River Valley, Cueva del Gato and Molino del Santo Hotel and Restaurant – Our walk takes us from Ronda and out along the Guadiaro river valley, where we visit the “Cueva del Gato” (cat cave – so-called because of the shape of the cave opening.  It is a local beauty spot and bathing area with a waterfall which flows all year round.  We lunch at the Hotel Molino del Santo , an old water mill, sensitively restored by the owners in traditional Andalucian style.  Its highly acclaimed restaurant has been visited by Jamie Oliver and David Cameron; the hotel has also won Trip Advisors’ best in Andalucia for its service again this year.

Grazalema – Located in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, this mountain village is surrounded by rocky mountain crags and cork oak forests.  Its buildings demonstrate both traditional pueblo blanco style and the more noble designs of the houses of land and property owners, as this was once a wealthy and successful weaving centre.

Zahara de la Sierra – A particularly attractive pueblo blanco which sits on the other side of the Sierra Margarita mountain ridge which separates it from Grazalema.  The Las Palomas pass cuts through the mountains giving dramatic views west to Zahara and its hilltop fortress, perched on a rocky crag above a stunning blue lake and east back to Ronda.

Accommodation

Standard accommodation is for 2 people in a double or twin room.  Single travellers who pay a supplement get a room of their own.

Ronda – Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria Wellness & Spa – 4**** hotel completely renovated in 2012, located on top of Ronda’s cliffs and overlooking the valley below. Extensive garden area, outdoor swimming pool, sun terrace and gym; close to all the main attractions of the town. Spa with hydrotherapy pool, Turkish bath and hydromassage showers. Massages and treatments available.

Grazalema – Hotel Fuerte Grazalema – 4**** rural hotel with views across the valley to the village of Grazalema, just 10 minutes drive away. Large outdoor pool, sun terrace and hot tub. Spa Wellness Grazalema located in the village for optional massages, treatments and relaxation.

Zahara/Montecorto – Cortijo Salinas Hotel Spa Restaurant – 4*** rural hotel spa, surrounded by natural beauty – an ideal, peaceful retreat.  Hotel spa has a pool with jets and Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, ice fountain, two sensations showers, caldarium and a relaxing area. Massages and treatments available.

Other Information

We recommend that you wear cycling shorts and gloves for the bike rides.  Whilst not essential (and we have gel seat covers available) cycling shorts immeasurably increase your comfort on a bike when you are riding for more than a couple of hours.

Reviews taken directly from Trip Advisor – Ranked no.1 activity in Ronda on Trip Advisor – 5 out of 5 stars

“Wayne & Heather are simply wonderful and really care about their clients having the best possible experience. Their tours can be adapted to your skill, athletic and interest level, and they are extremely accommodating. My wife and I just returned from a 2 week holiday in Spain and the 4 days we stayed in Ronda hiking and biking with Wayne & Heather were by far the most memorable part of the trip. We saw a great deal of the beautiful countryside, visited surrounding towns and had a superb time. Their bikes are top notch, and overall it was incredible. Many people simply pass through Ronda after seeing the old town and gorge – it’s a mistake not to spend a few days there, including some time with Wayne & Heather.”

 

“Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. My boyfriend and I tried mountain biking for the first time; my boyfriend being a keen road cyclist and me being a commuter cyclist. The day biking tours are ranked by difficulty, so I imagine that there is something for every fitness level. We went for a med-hard cycle because we were keen to see the White Towns. What an experience. Mountain biking certainly took a bit of getting used to and heaps of confidence, but we muddied through, and Wayne, our guide and the co-owner, was patient, offered useful insights to help us along and was a really good laugh. In spite, my meagre cycling ability left me crawling up a mountain at glacial pace, Wayne patiently rode with me encouraging me up the climb, long after my boyfriend had comfortably sped to the top! We were able to get to some incredible secluded parts of the area around Ronda, and it felt like we had private views of the breathtaking scenery. Both Heather and Wayne were easy to get along with, experienced and inspired great confidence in us. We’re certainly thinking about coming back in future to do more cycling/hiking. We could not recommend the experience more!”

 

“Just spent a lovely week in Ronda. The scenery was magnificent, the weather excellent and Wayne and Heather were extremely helpful but unobtrusive. We arranged everything apart from our flights through them and the drop offs/pickups and route directions/maps all ensured we were able to make the most of our time there. We went on 2 great cycles and saw lots of Griffin Vultures which were my main reason for visiting the area. Ronda is a lovely town and the locals were all so friendly and helpful. Highly recommended. Go and see for yourself.”

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gallery - click images to see full size

  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Terrace of the Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Relaxing at the Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria indoor pool
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Wonderful cycling near Ronda
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - A lovely view of Zahara Lake
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - The pretty village of Setenil de las Bodegas
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - The road over Las Palomas down to Zahara
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Fantastic lunch at Molino del Santo
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - The classic 'white village' of Grazalema
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Stopping to enjoy the views of Setenil de las Bodegas
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - The amazing gorge and Puente Nuevo at Ronda
  • Cycling, Walking and Spa Wellbeing Holiday - Cueva del Gato

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