Road - Benidorm-Alto Aitana

La Vuelta 16

etapa de carretera


Benidorm - Coll de Rates

First of all, let us point out that you should only try the following route if you are a very experienced cyclist and in extremely good shape.

We'll start the route at the town of Benidorm and we'll head towards La Nucía. This part of the road will be easy for professionals, but it will be a good reminder that we're going to be gaining altitude quite fast. We'll then go through the towns of Polop and Callosa d`En Sarriá. At this point, we'll begin the ascent to the Coll de Rates (Category 2) mountain pass on its least known side, which goes through the municipalities of Bolulla and Tàrbena. While we climb, we'll have the views of the Mediterranean coastline on one side and of the northern part of the Bernia mountain range on the other.

From the top of Coll de Rates (Category 2), we'll have the chance to admire the beautiful sight of the Vall del Pop valley, just before starting the descent towards Parcent

Coll de Rates - Muro de Alcoi

After going past the towns of Parcent, Orba and Sagra, we'll arrive at Pego, where we'll start the climb to the Alto de Vall de Ebo (Category 2). From the top, we'll take a short road down to the village of La Vall d`Ebo, after which we'll begin the climb to the third mountain pass on this route: the Alto de Tollos (Category 2). The big difference between this climb and the two previous ones is that, while the first ones were very gradual, this one has some slopes that can be extremely hard for those who are not pure climbers.

After reaching the Alto de Tollos, we'll start the descent to Alcoy/Alcoi, going through different towns and villages like Benimassot, Balones, Millena, Benillup, Benimarfull, Muro de Alcoy and Cocentaina. Even though we'll have descended quite a lot after finishing this section of the route, this road won't let us stop pedaling at any point and it might strain our legs considerably, lowering our strength for the last climbs of the day. In fact, as soon as we get to La Alquería d`Asnar, next to Muro de Alcoy, we'll face a new climb: the Alto de Aitana (Hors-category), the most challenging part of the route.

Muro de Alcoi - Alto de Aitana

We'll leave Alcoy/Alcoi through the CV-70 road and we'll start a leg breaking section of the route that will take us all the way up to Benasau, where we'll turn onto the CV-770 road towards Alcoleja. As we said before, even though we'll have been going uphill for a while, it's here that we'll start the first climb to the Puerto de Tudons (2ªCat.). This is the shortest out of the 4 possible different ascents to this mountain pass, but it's also probably the hardest one.

After this climb, we'll have finished the 4th Category-2 mountain pass on the route and we'll begin a descent which is clearly divided in two sections: the first one, through the CV-770 road, is very wide and it's kept in very good conditions; and the second one, which will lead us to the town of Relleu through the CV-778, a very narrow, technically-demanding and bumpy road. However, we recommend taking it easy here and enjoying the wonderful views of Benidorm that this part of the mountain offers.

As soon as we get to Relleu, we'll take the CV-775 road and, after a 180 degree turn to the left, we'll be back at the CV-770 road, which will first take us up to the Puerto de Tudons (Category 2) through its most classic side, and later on to the Alto de Aitana (Hors-category). If we still have some energy left, we'll be able to admire the beautiful view of Sella just after starting the climb, with the whole of the Aitana mountain range at the back.

This last ascent is similar to those we would find in the Pyrenees. It's a long and gradual mountain pass that gets harder towards the end.

As we said at the beginning of this description, this route is only for very experienced cyclists. However, even they should have a clear idea of the difficulties it presents and of the different spots where it's possible to stop to eat and drink something, in order to avoid bonking.

No further comments needed: its 190 kilometres of distance and a total elevation gain of 5.000 metres speak for themselves.


What to see

The viewpoint at Benidorm's castle. Polop's old town, with the medieval wall, St. Peter's Church, the Virgen de la Aurora Sanctuary, the castle and, of course, Polop's famous fountains, located in the centre of town and made up by 221 spouts. These fountains have now become one of the best-known symbols for the town.

What to eat

This route begins by the coast, allowing us to enjoy many different kinds of international dishes, especially those from the Mediterranean cuisine. However, it soon moves to the inland areas of the province of Alicante, where we'll have a chance to try dishes like the "pilotes de dacsa" (meat and corn ball stew), the olleta de blat (meat, bean and wheat stew), the "arros amb fesols i naps" (rice with beans and turnip) and, of course, Alicante's paella, the most representative dish in this area of the Valencian Community.

Did you know?

The base for the Air Force Squadron is located within the municipality of Confrides, on the top of the Aitana mountain range, at 1,558 metres of altitude. It holds the trig point that marks the highest spot in the whole province of Alicante.

The Vuelta a España has gone through Benidorm 16 times. Out of those, Benidorm has been the start point for the Vuelta on three different occasions (1964, 1987 and 2011).