The best cycling climbs in Alicante - Cycling Costa Blanca

The province of Alicante, one of the cycling tourism stars, offers multiple options for cycling training.

The cycling paradise on the Costa Blanca is one of the most mountainous spots on the Spanish coast.

In this article, we help you discover the best cycling climbs in Alicante - Costa Blanca. Heavy climbs, impressive views and a great cycling tradition, common at La Vuelta Ciclista a España, Vuelta a Valencia, both as professional team training or a pilgrimage mecca for thousands of cyclists every year.

Table of Contents

  1. Puerto de Tudons + Alto de Aitana
  2. Coll de Rates
  3. Cumbre del Sol - Puig de na Llorença
  4. Xorret de Catí
  5. Sierra de Bernia
  6. Vall d'Ebo
  7. Confrides
  8. Torremanzanas + Benifallim
  9. La Carrasqueta
  10. Serra Gelada

1 - Puerto de Tudons + Alto de Aitana

Distance: 22.4 km | Gradient: 5.7%

A long ascent that gets more complicated as the kilometers increase. Leaving from Relleu, we will do the first 4 kilometers to warm up our legs a bit until reaching Sella. Up to this point the averages are around 3%, after which the level rises a little, with averages between 4 and 6%, with a short break at kilometer 7. 

The next hard jump occurs around kilometer 11, with an average of 6 to 7% to Puerto de Tudons. It is here that things will get serious with the ascent to the Alto de Aitana, with an average of 8% and a final kilometer of 9.5%, that will surely put us to the test.

On Alto de Aitana, in 2016, we saw an attempt to assault Chris Froome's red jersey, who repeatedly attacked Colombian Nairo Quintana, who was wearing the red jersey at the time. The Colombian cyclist managed to maintain the resistance that finally gave him the Vuelta that year. 

2 - Coll de Rates

Distance: 6 km | Gradient: 6%

Coll de Rates is undoubtedly one of the most popular climbs among professional cyclists. Although it is not a very tough climb and is not at a high altitude, its many curves, the excellent condition of the road and its dynamic but progressive ascent mean that during the pre-season cycling season there are many familiar faces from the professional circuit. 

You can challenge it from its Parcent slope, with 6 km and an average 6% and a ramp of 370 m. The second half of the climb is the hardest, with an average 7-8%. 

By the way, the fastest cyclists climb it in 15 minutes. In case you want to set yourself a challenge...

3 - Cumbre del Sol - Puig de na Llorença

Distance: 8 km | Gradients: Puig de na Llorença 9% and Cumbre del Sol 7,1% 

The combination of both climbs has repeatedly led to an all-out struggle in some Vuelta a España. The ascent in 2015, marked by a battle between Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin, will certainly be remembered. Chris Froome launched the first attack 300 meters from the finish line, but it was the Dutchman who succeeded.

8 very hard kilometers, with gradients that rarely drop below 7% and with 700 meters of particularly hellish gradients of over 15%. 

4 - Xorret de Catí

Distance: 3,74 km | Gradient: 11,53%

Le Xorret de Catí is a true climbing club star with heart-stopping average gradients, along with Serra Gelada and Bernia, which we will discuss next. Although it‘s less than 4 km, its average 11.5% will take us on a narrow but excellent road that won’t give us time to breath. The third kilometer is by far the hardest, with gradients over 15%.

5 - Sierra de Bernia

Distance: 5,1 km | Gradient: 12%

Along with Serra Gelada, it is probably the most hellish climb in the Valencian Community, with a recent resurfacing in 2019. As a result, it has already been part of events such as the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in its 2020 edition, and it has also been included in the Costa Blanca Bike Race. 

Its altimetry shows just over 5 kilometers with an average 12%, enough to scare more than one. We start with the first two “gentle” kilometers at around 8% before facing crazy averages of 15 or 16%. Even the pavement will not make the climb a little less steep, where it is recommended to climb with a 35-33 or 34-40 gearing. 

6 - Vall d'Ebo

Distance: 8 km | Gradient: 5,5%

The Vall d'Ebo is a little gem of Alicante's geography: it's neither too hard, nor an uphill struggle (well, a bit because it's a climb!), it's well paved, dynamic and fun. 

You won't be disappointed by its sea views. Although the upper part is more exposed to the sun and wind, the first section is well protected by trees, with safe and wide horseshoe curves, allowing us to climb safely. 8 km at an average 5.5% and about 500 meters of positive slope.

7 - Confrides

Distance: 7,5 km | Gradient: 5%

This climb, halfway between Alcoi and Benidorm, is one of the usual cycling routes in Alicante and Costa Blanca. Its easy difficulty makes it one of the most popular among local cyclists.

Its road is in quite good condition, with beautiful views of the Mediterranean on its eastern slope, well protected by trees on the sides. 

The ascent is about 7.5 km and an average of around 5%. Its summit is at approx 1,000 m and we add a little less than 400 m. The ascent is clearly divided into two parts, between which there is a short descent as a prelude to the final section. By the way, this ascent can be combined with climbs such as Tudons, on your cycling route and not too far away.

8 - Torremanzanas + Benifallim

Distance: 17,7 km | Gradient: 3,1% 

Very popular combination of climbs on the Costa Blanca. Although it has a few very specific kilometers that might be a little harder, with averages above 7%, the whole climb is quite bearable. In addition, it faces the ascent to Torremanzanas with a descent before heading to Benifallim. Qualified altimetry that can be considered for all groups, with the highest level above 1,000m.

9 - La Carrasqueta

Distance: 12 km  | Gradient:  4,5%

If you like long ascents, La Carrasqueta is an excellent option. It's ideal if you want to improve your power thanks to its gradual increase. 12 km from Xixona with an average 4.5%. It’s a fairly exposed climb, with few trees on the side of the road, but perfect for sustained climbs. In the middle section of the ascent, there are several horseshoe curves with an average of around 6%. The road conditions are quite good, and you can climb safely.

10 - Serra Gelada

Distance: 2,3 Km | Gradient:  12%

Serra Gelada, as its name suggests, can be an ascent that leaves you stone cold when you start climbing: 2.3 km with gradients that can reach 30%. One of the most challenging short climbs, with the hardest paved kilometer in Europe. 

If you like double-digit ramps, give it a try. If you prefer to combine a climb with beautiful views and the chance to breathe a little, better opt for another one. 

By the way, it’s one of the usual climbs in the Costa Blanca Bike Race, one of the most popular MTB events in Alicante