Fantastic! …great routes, wonderful hotels, excellent support from the Marmot crew, inclement weather, sunshine, marvellous company and blood, sweat and the Valley of Tears. Another first class holiday from Marmot.
Gran Canaria has earned its reputation as one of the top winter road cycling destinations for both pros and amateurs. It’s sunny reputation, quality roads, challenging climbs and varied geology makes it the perfect place to escape the winter blues and to build your physical and mental strength at the start of the cycling season. We offer optional ‘easier options’ each day which allow you skip some of the steeper climbs – perfect for those wanting a more ‘relaxed’ winter cycling experience, whist still making the most of the terrain.
Using ‘inside information’ from Marmot Guide Pedro Mireles, who hails from Gran Canaria, we have designed an epic cycling holiday that traverses the island’s remote valleys, isolated villages, rugged massifs and canyons, stunning coastal cliffs and beaches. It will take you to the top of the island at Pico de las Nieves (1950m) by all 3 different routes available. A flexible itinerary with optional extras for those wanting more of a challenge, will offer you plenty of miles and elevation in the sun, but you choose the intensity! The Valley of The Tears, Pico de las Nieves, Pinos de Galdar, Roque Nublo, El Anden Verde, Cazadores, Cueva Grande, Barranco de Guayadeque; these are just a few of the climbs that you can explore and will come home raving about.
The holiday works across just 2 excellent 4* hotels located away from the crowded tourist resorts, in the peaceful havens of San Bartolome de Tirajanas and Puerto de Las Nieves. They offer you the perfect base for exploring this “continent in miniature”, revelling in the variety of scenery and climbs. For more information, read our Trip Notes and for the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Please note that we also run winter cycling holidays in Tenerife at similar times of year to this holiday. Tenerife is the slightly less challenging itineraries out of the two.
Departure Dates & Prices
Day 0: Travel Day (Optional rides: 1. 45km with 1000m ascent OR 2. 20km with 700m ascent)
We offer included airport transfers from Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) to our 4* star hotel with swimming pool in San Bartolome de Tirajana (Tunte), less than 1 hour away.
Meet your guides, assemble bikes and have a welcome briefing and great dinner.
Alternatively, depending on your eagerness to get on the bike, and the arrival time of your flight, assemble your bike at the airport and cycle to the hotel while we take your bags (45km & over 1000m ascent through mountains).
Another option; transfer to hotel & then take a circular ride (20km & 700m ascent) to ‘stretch the legs’.
For full travel information and airport transfer timings, please consult the Trip Notes.
Day 1: Explore the Barrancos & Oasis
Descend into Fataga, a beautiful palm oasis, before a short climb to the breathtaking canyon. Swoop down to the Southern coastal road and ride towards Barranco de Arguineguin. Appreciate the gentle climb to Cercados de Espino – next up is the 9km climb to Risco Grande (Paso de Tauro, 911m) with some seriously steep sections up to 14%! Undulate (up!) to arrive at the picturesque town of Ayacata (1310 m) for lunch. It’s then just a gentle ‘up & down’ ride back to the hotel at San Bartolome.
The challenge route today includes a 25 km loop with a short punchy climb to Monteleon (Cima Pedro Gonzalez, 490 m) followed by a beautiful gentle descent in the Barranco de Ayagaures to an area of reservoirs and palm tree islands.
Classic route: Risco Grande + Ayacata (85km, 2000m ascent) [Ride profile]
Challenge route: Monteleon/Ayagaures + Risco Grande + Ayacata (110 km, 2500m ascent) [Ride profile]
Easier option: The easier option makes use of a brief 4km vehicle transfer to cut out the steepest section of the climb up to Passo de Tauro/Risco Grande, saving you just over 200m of ascent (81km, 1800m ascent)
Day 2: Ingenio to Pico de las Nieves
The climb to Pico de las Nieves from its toughest side is a highlight today: a summit finish in La Vuelta España 2017, its 23kms long with 1675m altitude gain (including a brutal 5km 11% section between La Pasadilla and Cazadores). Eek!
Descend through Los Llanos de la Pez and the Nature Reserve of Roque Nublo: a massive volcano chimney rock that is the symbol of Gran Canaria, before continuing your loop back to the hotel.
The Challenge Route features the 9km climb to Barranco de Guayadeque (955m) with some seriously cheeky gradients (10% and more) as well as the Prehispanic troglodyte cave dwellings and restaurants!
Classic route: Pico de las Nieves (from the South/East) (80km, 2000m ascent) [Ride profile]
Challenge route: Barranco de Guayadeque + Pico de las Nieves (from the South/East) (95km, 2800m ascent) [Ride profile]
Easier option: Pico de las Nieves (from the South/East) minus the steepest section (63km, 1200m ascent)
Day 3: San Bartolome de Tirajana to Puerto de las Nieves
Leave San Bartolome de Tirajana & head towards the NW coastal town of Puerto de las Nieves. Conquer the mountain passes of Cruz Grande (1236m) & the Paso de la Herradura (1425m) before continuing around the Caldera de Tejeda (from where our optional extra loop starts) to arrive in Artenara. The route takes you to the ancient pine forest of Tamadaba (1320m) from where you descend on the greener Northern slopes of the island to reach sea level at Puerto de las Nieves. Enjoy a beautiful sunset & views from the hotel pool.
The Challenge Route is a circular loop exploring the different microclimates of the heart of the island, over the mountain ridges of Cruz de Tejeda (1560m) & Los Pechos (1725m) before re-joining the classic route at Artenara.
The easier option today cuts out the loops to Cruz de Tejeda (1560m) and Tamadaba (1315m)
Easier option: Cruz Grande + El Aserrador + Fagajesto (70km, 1200m ascent)
Day 4: The Green North: Las Medianias, Cueva Corcho & Pinos de Galdar
Discover the green lush valleys, terraces and the infamous ‘leg-breaking’ roads of the ‘Medianias’ in the North of Gran Canaria. Rising up from its surroundings is the highlight of the day; Roque Nublo, viewed from Mirador de Pico de la Gorra (1625m), your high point of the day. You arrive here on an ‘uphill bias’ ticking off La Laguna (890m) and Cruz de Tejeda (1516m) as you go.
A long and in places undulating descent takes you past Mirador de Pinos De Galdar (1340m) all the way back to sea level & your hotel in Puerto de las Nieves.
The optional extra on the Challenge Route takes you off to further explore the valleys and barrancos on this lesser known area of the island. It includes the climbs of Cruce de Aridez (950m) and Las Rosas (1240m) before joining the classic route at the junction just before Cruz de Tejeda (1516m).
The ‘gentle day option’ is a short ride up the remote Valley of Agaete to explore the orange orchards, a coffee plantation or a local wine cellar at the foot of the impressive cliffs of Tamadaba. The road finishes at El Sao (516m) just past the Mirador (527m) and leaves you plenty of time to return for some wallowing in the hotel pool.
Classic route: La Laguna + Cruz de Tejeda + Mirador de Pico de la Gorra (80km, 2000m ascent) [Ride profile]
Challenge route: La Laguna + Cruce de Aridez + Las Rosas + Cruz de Tejeda + Mirador de Pico de la Gorra + Mirador de Pinos De Galdar (125km, 2900m ascent) [Ride profile]
Easier option: Valle de Agaete + El Sao (20km, 560m ascent)
Day 5: Puerto de las Nieves to San Bartolome de Tirajana
You undulate along an impressive coastal road this morning through the Parque Natural Tamadaba along to the small coastal town of Los Caserones – with the option of nipping up to the viewpoint of Mirador del Balcon (360m) as you go. Los Caserones is the official start of The Valley of The Tears; a wild and remote climb, renowned for its punishing gradients – 10.8km with an average 9%!
From the top at El Aserrador (1350m) the road flattens for a bit, passing Ayacata – the perfect lunch spot for cyclists. The classic route takes you from here to the familiar and welcoming hotel in San Bartolome de Tirajana.
The optional challenge ride today means climbing all the way from the sea to the top of the island at Pico de las Nieves (1950m) using the road from Ayacata to the Natural Monument of Roque Nublo. It’s an extra 11km climb with the tough hairpin bends and ramps soon after leaving Ayacata.
Classic route: VOTT + El Aserrador (73km, 2400m ascent) [Ride profile]
Challenge route: Mirador del Balcon + VOTT + El Aserrador + Pico de las Nieves (99km, 3200m ascent) [Ride profile]
Easier option: Vehicle transfer up the steepest section of VOTT. El Aserrador (62km,1770m ascent)
Day 6: Explore the SW: Barranco de Mogan & the climb to San Bartolome
Today you head into the rugged and almost uninhabited landscapes of the South West, via the cycling mecca of Ayacata. From here, incredible descents made up almost entirely of switchbacks twist and turn their way down to the coast, offering you the option of ticking off the well-surfaced Veneguera (430m) and Degollada de la Aldea (658m) climbs en-route.
The coast road from Puerto de Mogan to Maspalomas provides you with ample opportunities to refuel before you turn inland again and onto your final climb to San Bartolome de Tirajanas. ‘Enjoy’ the punchy climb to the viewpoint of Degollada de las Yeguas (478m), then the canyon and oasis of Fataga and back to the hotel to celebrate the end of an epic holiday!
Classic route: Ayacata + Cruz de San Antonio (970m) + San Bartolome de Tirajana (98km, 2000m ascent) [Ride profile]
Challenge route: Ayacata + Veneguera (430m) + Degollada de La Aldea + San Bartolome de Tirajana (123km, 2600m ascent) [Ride profile]
Easier option: Vehicle transfer to Cruz Grande. Ayacata + Cruz de San Antonio (970m) + San Bartolome de Tirajana (86km, 1650m ascent)
Day 7: Travel Home
After a fabulous holiday in the sun we drop you back to Gran Canaria airport (LPA) for your return flight. Transfer under 1 hour.
For detailed travel information and airport transfer timings, please refer to the Trip Notes.