CYCLING AND WINE TOURS IN MURCIA
OUR WINE & RIDE TOURS
Our cycling and wine tours across the Murcia region cater for all those who share a passion for both cycling and wine. This blog post aims to whet the appetite of all cycling and wine lovers, by providing an insight into our Wine & Ride Tour schedule. So here goes:
After checking into the hotel, in the coastal town of Los Alcázares, we’ll put cycling aside for a minute and talk through the coming weeks itinerary. Obviously this will be accompanied by a few glasses of local wine.
Day One - Los Alcázares to Sierra Espuña
Our Wine & Ride Tour’s first day in the saddle, starts with a gentle spin through the flat agricultural area known as the Campo de Cartagena. Never out of sight is the impressive Sierra Espuña Natural Park which marks our destination.
After coffee in Totana, we tackle a modest climb up to La Santa and our first night's accommodation. The hotel sits in the foothills of the Natural Park and is part of a 17th century monastery - the Santuario de Santa Eulalia de Mérida.
The Sierra Espuña summit at 1550m is visible from the hotel but on this tour we’ll be content to admire it from the hotel terrace sipping a glass of wine.
Day Two - Sierra Espuña to Caravaca de la Cruz
Our destination for today is Caravaca de La Cruz, Christianity's fifth holiest city and a key destination for pilgrims and travellers alike. The town is dominated by the mediaeval Santuario de la Vera Cruz (Sanctuary of True Cross),
Today’s route heads North West through some of Murcia’s most tranquil yet stunning scenery. As we leave the Sierra Espuna behind the views open out into a wide open prairie type landscape where we’ll stop for lunch. Fed and watered, we steadily climb the Sierra Burete which provides an array of picturesque backdrops to treasure.
As we head into the Bullas wine growing region the fruit trees give way to grape vines. After a welcome descent the final stage of the route takes us along the " Via Verde", a disused railway line, to Caravaca. Our hotel in Caravaca de La Cruz is the restored and spectacular 16th-century monastery “Nuestra Senora del Carmen” which is set in heart of the ‘Old town’ and perfect for an off the bike explore.
On arrival, you can head straight to the hotel if you wish or make one final uphill push to the Sanctuary of True Cross - the choice is yours! You can always take a more gentle stroll uphill after a shower and refreshments.
Day Three - Caravaca de la Cruz to Archena
Our first stop today is in the town of Cehegin. The short sharp climb up to the Plaza de Castillo is well worth the effort where you are rewarded with stunning views of the old town.
We continue onwards through the northern part of the Bullas wine region along smooth quiet roads. As we leave the vineyards behind the skies open out revealing a vast plateau covered in almond, apricot and peach trees. The surrounding landscape is broken up with impressive isolated mountains.
The final part of the ride takes us downhill into the Ricote Valley; another stunning but largely undiscovered part of Murcia.
Our destination for today is the Spa town of Archena. Upon arrival you’ll be able to relax in the thermal spa; after 3 days of cycling you’ll deserve a rest.
Day Four - Archena to Yecla
Refreshed after a relaxing overnight stay in the Archena Spa we head north into the picturesque Ricote Valley. Our route passes through the villages of Ulea, Ojós and Blanca which reflect a slower rural pace of life. The surrounding scenery has so many interesting features that you don’t know which way to look.
Our journey continues (up) onto the “Altiplano”, the plateau in which sits Jumilla and Yecla. The wide open valleys are home to numerous vineyards and bodegas for which the area is famed.
Our destination tonight is a casa rural set in its own working vineyard. The property is full of intrigue and has been owned by the same family for generations. Our host Adela was born and raised on the property and she is passionate about showcasing the rural lifestyle characteristic of this area in years gone by. The stay promises a truly unique and memorable experience. We’ll end the day with a wholesome meal, featuring local dishes, washed down with the wine produced from Adela’s grapes.
If you’re lucky enough to be on one of our Harvest Wine Tours then you can step outside and help yourself to all the grapes you can eat……but don’t linger too long or you will be roped in by Adela’s husband to help with the full harvest!
Day Five - A day of rest (and wine)
After 4 days of cycling we’ll take a rest and immerse ourselves in the heart of Murcia’s wine region. After a leisurely traditional breakfast prepared by our host Adela the morning is yours.
Take some time to explore the property; every corner of the “casa rural” has incorporated items which reflect its history and traditions. Wander at leisure through the surrounding vineyards. Don’t linger, as you may even get recruited to help with the harvest! There is also a swimming pool to enjoy and help to rejuvenate your cycling legs.
In the afternoon we’ll transfer you to Jumilla where our first stop will be the state of the art wine museum. We’ll then head on foot to one of the town's premier bodegas where we’ll see their original production facilities. The wine tour includes an incredible “Senses of wine experience” where you can sample around 50 aromas, both good and bad, which you might find in a glass of wine. Next we’ll sample some of their own wines.
Time to soak up the wine,the bodega also plays host to the main meal of the day set amongst oak barrels in which the wine is matured. The tasting buffet menu provides the opportunity to sample a number of local dishes. Oh yes, and the opportunity to drink some more of the wine you liked during the wine tasting..
Day Six - Yecla to Sierra de la Pila
After a gentle warm up we visit a local olive oil producers where we'll sample another of Murcia's notable exports and learn about its production. We then benefit from a downhill gradient allowing you to concentrate on admiring the wide open valley between the Sierra de Salinas and Sierra del Carche.
We then cross briefly into the province of Alicante and the town of Pinoso. Here, the identical climate, terrain and vegetation mean only one thing - another wine route.
We continue west, back into Murcia where we’ll take the opportunity to refuel and stock up on wine to accompany tonight's dinner. The bodega we’ll visit is a charming family run business where the owner Paco produces and sells his own wine using solely artisan processes.
The last part of the route takes us up into the foothills of the Sierra de Pila where we’ll spend the night in a casa rural and enjoy a home cooked meal washed down with local wine.
Day Seven - Back to the Coast
Our last day on the bike sees us pass an ever changing scenery as we head towards the coast. Leaving the rugged landscape of Sierra de la Pila, we cross into Alicante Province to admire the vast array of orange and lemon groves.
It’s then on through the “El Palmeral” in Orihuela and up to the turquoise blue waters of the Embalse de Pedrera. After lunch in Torremendo we descend back into Murcia’s agricultural heartland and back to the coast.
Having reached our final destination of Los Alcázares, it's time to celebrate the completion of the tour at local beach bar.
See our Tour Calendar Schedule for more info.