An Andalusian Adventure: Discovering the Beauty of Southern Spain on Two Wheels

An Andalusian Adventure: Discovering the Beauty of Southern Spain on Two Wheels

Going to Andalucia in southern Spain is like stepping back in time. Much of the rich, quintessential Spanish identity is deeply rooted in this part of the country. Spanish classics such as Flamenco , cold gazpacho soup and bullfighting all originated in this part of the country.

Hispano-Moorish architecture, medieval monuments, distinctive cuisine and flamboyant flamenco dance and music are all emblematic of the Spain that the rest of the world knows.

Let’s take a look at the unique highlights of this route and what you can expect to see on two wheels as you traverse the romantic countryside and witness the richest agricultural region in Spain.

Andalucia: The Spanish Architype?

All the clichés run true, ones of macho bull fighters and pretty ladies crowned with mantillas and buried under ruffled layers of polka-dot flamenco dresses, ones of hot nights dancing in the street, snacking on a tapa of salty jamón with a chilled dry sherry in hand. The south represents all that is stereo-typical of Spain, but also hosts a rich tapestry of culture, agriculture, geography and history that is uniquely Andalusian.

Our Andalusian tour takes you across this dreamy rolling landscapefrom Sevilla to Cordoba,
weaving in and out along the extraordinary Guadalquivir river , and then sharp south through olive groves, little whitewashed villages and rolling hills to Granada and the prize of the Moorish gifts to Spain - the incomparable Alhambra Palace!


Believe it or not, Sevilla is truly everything you’ve ever read about it - colorful, dramatic, exciting, beautiful Spain! It encapsulates everyone’s corniest ideas about Spain.

My earliest impressions of Spain were formed from Munro Leaf’s wonderful ink drawings in his timeless book Ferdinand the Bull and by watching the opera, Carmen, when I was still pretty young. Well, they weren’t far off the mark when it comes to Sevilla! The city is dramatic, alive, colorful, and passionate. The women really do wear their mantillas and their flamenco dresses but usually only in religious processions and during fiestas. The city throbs with a life of its own and so do the Sevillanas!

A lady rides a bike smiling with a field of olive trees in the background and a horse on the side of the road

You can queue early to visit the palace built by the Moors, Royal Alcazar of Seville , or buy your tickets online to get in faster. The gardens in the spring are quite a tremendous sight. Nearby, is the third largest Cathedral in the word and La Giralda Tower (a one-time Moorish minaret). To get a panoramic view of the city, you can climb up to the bell chamber. Whew!

If you are a TV and Film fan, the Plaza de España , within the Maria Luisa Park, is a must, a majestic and highly decorated square (that is actually a semi-circle) has been used in scenes from Star Wars to Game of Thrones and attracts a huge number of tourists due to its reputation as the most beautiful place in the whole of Seville.

An orange tree in Seville



A charming and well-preserved old town, built on a hilltop, Carmona (originally Carmo) has archeological sites and architecture pre-dating the Roman empire. In 206 AD. Carmona was conquered by the Roman Empire, becoming one of the most important urban centers of the region and so was surrounded by a walled enclosure. The haunting Roman Necropolis just outside of town attests to their presence.

In 1247, Ferdinand III of Castile captured the town, and bestowed on it the Latin motto Sicut Lucifer lucet in Aurora, sic in Wandalia Carmona ("As the Morning-star shines in the Dawn, so shines Carmona in Andalusia"). The ride up to the old town is worthy of the 360º views of dreamy Andalusian farmlands and in the distance the Guadaliquivir river winding its way to Palma del Rio.

Highlights include:

  • View from the Parador de Carmona terrace bar.
  • Puerto de Sevilla, the arch entrance to the city which faces the way to Sevilla and a subsequent wander in the old town’s narrow cobbled streets.
  • Eating the freshest tapas with a cold beer on the Plaza San Fernando (we recommend the Cervecería San Fernando).


The view at sunset from the terrace of the Carmona Parador

Palma Del Rio


The origins of this sleepy village lie in a palace which was built in 105 B.C. by the Roman Aulus Cornelius Palma, after whom the village is named. Later, the region was intensively developed agriculturally during the Moorish rule, with advanced irrigation and water wheels. Some of today’s orange groves contain trees over 200 years old! A small town with a rich history plus the famous bullfighter “El Córdobes” is from here!

  • Visit the Palacio Portocarrero for a guided tour of this private palace and learn about the fascinating history of oranges, whilst sipping fresh juice in their Orangerie served by the Countess of the house!
  • Stay in a Franciscan monastery, rustically restored honouring the original architecture but equipped with all the comforts of a modern hotel and a friendly hotel cat who will steal your poolside lounge seat if you aren’t careful!


Poppy field in Andalucia

Almodovar Del Rio

A recommended stop for lunch at Asador El Camperowill see you fill up on Habitas Baby (baby broad beans) tossed with fries, a soft fried egg and slivers of jamón iberico, the required fuel to help you walk up the steep hill to discover close-up the imposing Almodovar Castle in front of you.

This originally Moorish 8th century castle has 360º views from it’s strategic point high on a hill, and was used as a location for the most popular TV series ever, Game of Thrones, serving as a battleground for the Lannister army as they storm Highgarden in season seven.

Two people on bikes with Almodovar Castle in the background on a cloudy day



Córdoba has always been my favorite of the 3 great Moorish cities in Spain - Sevilla and Granada bring the other two. It has an intimate charm to it that immediately seduces you. Being smaller than the other two is part of it. Everything is near or around the Mosque, within easy walking distance.

You can clearly see the vestiges of the 3 great religions nestled side by side- Jewish, Moorish and Christian, not to mention, 4 great civilizations - Roman, Visigoth, Moorish and Christian. Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia, including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France) in the late 8th century.

If you can, visit in early May then you will catch the Fiesta de Los Patios , where the Cordobes people open their houses to the public and you can see close up the beautifully tended, lush, vibrant gardens contained inside the central patios of homes in the Jewish quarter and throughout the Old Town.

Don’t forget to:

  • Try kayaking on the Guadalquivir and take a photo from a pylon ON the Roman bridge!
  • Eat outside at one of the fabulous restaurants along the river, or in a traditional Taberna in the winding streets of the old town.
  • Order salmorejo, a cold thick tomato soup similar to Gazpacho but with a creamier finish.
  • Try Montilla-Moriles, the local wine that is similar to sherry. It certainly packs a punch but goes well with local tapas such as Garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas with spinach) and Flamenquines (slices of ham, stuffed with cheese and fried), Alcachofas a la Montillana (artichokes with pork loin in a seasoned dry sherry sauce).


Two bikes parked in front of the Moorish outer wall of La Mezquita in Cordoba



Leaving Córdoba you will bike south through beautiful but sparsely settled countryside dotted with thousands of olive trees! Along the way, you’ll visit a famous olive oil mill in Baena run by a family who own around 100,000 olive trees. Olives are hand-picked to prevent bruising, then pulped in ancient stone mills.

Núñez de Prado is one of the few operations in Spain that uses this traditional pulping method, and is famous for its flor de aceite, the oil that seeps naturally from the un-crushed olives.


People riding bikes out of the Olive Oil Estatem Nuñez Do Prado in Baena


On the northern edge of the Sierras Subbéticas is the mountain village of Zuheros , in a spectacular cliffside position with its pristine white houses and stunning outlook over the rugged limestone landscape. Enjoy a drink on the terrace at Los Palancos after a challenging climb up to this charming white village.

A visit to this town must include the intriguing Cueva de los Murciélagos (Cave of the Bats) and Iberfauna Animal Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can experience close-up the local wildlife in natural surroundings. Iberian Lynx, wolves, roe deer, mountain goats, owls, raptors and a very curious and friendly fox. This is guided by your hosts, Alicia and José Luis who have hand-reared most of the animals in the park.

A landscape view of the white village of Zuheros

Priego de Cordoba


From Zuheros you will ride south following the edge of the wild Parque Subbética hills, to Priego de Córdoba a town famous for its quiet beauty and home to some of the most stunning Baroque churches in all of Spain. Priego is also home to a recently-renovated Moorish castle, whilst the town’s oldest neighbourhood, Barrio de la Villa, perches on the top of a cliff from which truly humbling views of the Subbéticas Natural Park can be enjoyed.

A dish local to Priego is Revuelto de Collejas , a green vegetable similar to silverbeet or spinach, scrambled with eggs and garlic, often served with jamón. Look out for it on menus at La Pianola Casa Pepeor in the Hotel Zahori Restaurant.


People riding in Priego de Cordoba

Fuente Vaqueros


In the last days of your tour you'll ride down to the Vega, the fertile plain west of Granada, characterized by gently rolling countryside full of asparagus fields and dotted with wildflowers, passing quiet little villages with views of the beautiful snow-capped Sierra Nevada in the distance. You will also drive by many tobacco plantations and shamies (little huts for drying the leaves) as you get closer to Granada.

Finally you’ll arrive in the sleepy little town of Fuente Vaqueros (Cowboys’ Fountain) the last stop before Granada. It was here in 1898 one of the 20th century’s greatest lyrical poets and playwrights was born - Frederico García Lorca.

His upbring in this little town had a profound influence on his work. You can visit his home which is now an excellent little museum in the actual house where he grew up with a revolving collection of memorabilia plus a very short film that shows him working with his traveling theater company.

Visits are all guided and run at the following times: Morning 10-11-12 & 13. Afternoon 17 & 18. The opening times are rather strict, be sure to check the day before if you want to visit!


A bicycle next to the fountain in Fuente Vaqueros dedicated to F. Garcia Lorca




If one sees nothing else in Spain, then it must be Granada. It, in itself, is worth the trip to Spain. The city is enchanting and mysterious. Divided by the Darro River - on one side is the Albaicín, the city's old Moorish quarter, and on the other, the magnificent Alhambra, the hilltop fortress and palace of the Nasrid rulers, built in the 14thC.

Dale limosna mujer, Give him alms, woman,

que no hay en la vida nada For there's nothing crueler in life

como pena de ser ciego en Granada. Than to be blind in Granada!

Francisco de Icaza, inscribed in the Alhambra (Torre de la Pólvora)

A few days here will certainly stretch your weary legs after traversing the Andalusian landscape, as it is set on two opposing hillsides with everything you want to see on both. But you won’t notice as you become mesmerised by the mystical sights, golden light and the magical history of Granada.

Aside from the essential visits to the Alhambra and the Albaicin, you would probably like to take advantage of the Banos Arabes Al Andalus.

To get an idea what a Moorish bath was like, one has been recreated just behind the Church of Santa Ana on the Plaza Nueva where for very little money you can wallow in the graded temperatures of the traditional bath surrounded by marble pavements, mosaic wall décor and plaster arabesques.

There’s also a pleasant tearoom (teteria) upstairs to further relax in after your long ride across Spain!


The internal patio of the Generalife and the wter feature on a clear day with a bright blue sky
Cycling in Andalusia offers an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful and historic parts of Spain while experiencing the local culture and hospitality. It also offers a chance to be active and challenge oneself while enjoying great weather and food. So take on the challenge, and let Andalusia captivate you in its own unique way!
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