Galicia is a part of Spain that is blessed with wonderful nature. It has 1500km of coastline, thousands of square kms of wild forest, and above all mountains. Lots of mountains. And most of them can be climbed by bike. There are some truly great Galician coastal climbs. From north to south, east to west, the region is a cyclist’s paradise. What makes Galicia special, and somewhat unique, is the proximity of these climbs to the beautiful Atlantic coastline. There is nothing better than challenging terrain, and at the same time, a view of the sea.
Great Galician Coastal Climbs
We are very much spoilt for choice for these coastal climbs. In the south of Galicia, the most famous is the north face of Monte Groba. This climb was the site of Nicolas Roche’s famous victory in stage 2 of the 2013 Vuelta. The climb starts in the town of Baiona, and winds through the forest, and across the Serra de Groba. The climb in total is 12km at just over 5%, but don’t let that fool you. This climb hits ramps of 15+% and will test the best legs. The view from the top, looking north up the coat is simply stunning. On a clear day, over 75km. Monte Groba can be climbed from two different sides, from the west via Mougás , or from the south from Oia. Both options are challenging and offer sea views all the way up.
Climb of Monte Santa Trega
The mythical mountain of Monte Santa Trega is right up there on any list of great Galician coastal climbs. The famous peak situated on the south western tip of Galicia is beautiful. It has a deep historical and cultural value to the region, with its celtic links. It is short and steep, at just 3km long, but with an average gradient of 8.3%, it never relents. The beauty of the climb, is the view changes from the ocean, to the river Miño , and back to the ocean. The road winds its way up on both sides of this pyramid type mountain. At the top, at 260m above sea level, you can see the latest sunset anywhere in Europe. It has to be seen to be believed. It really is a must for any cycling holiday in Spain.
Whether or not we believe in global warming, the weather in Europe has been very odd in the last few weeks. Record temperatures in the UK have given cyclists there a great opportunity to get the kms in. However, this has been something out of the ordinary. And it is much more common to choose a warmer climate for your early season kms. And why not try spring training in Galicia to get those kms in. We have everything that you need.
Spring Training in Galicia
So, what do we have here that makes spring training in Galicia the ideal choice for cyclists? First of all, the Galician weather can be trusted from March 1st onwards. The temperature is stable around 15-18 degrees Celcius, and although there can be rain, it isn’t much of a threat. Because of the proximity to the coast, most of the Galician climbs are open all year round. And again, the lack of extreme low temperatures means that the descents are safe and ice free. So, it is very easy to design great routes involving plenty of uphill to test those early season legs.
Added bonuses in Galicia
The “apres bike” in Galicia is something that few know about. After a long day in the saddle, what can be better than sampling Galician gastronomy. In Spain, it is second to none. Whether you are a meat eater, or more of a fish person, Galicia has it all. And don’t forget the excellent wine to accompany all this delicious food. Nowhere in Spain can offer such high quality, locally sourced food for after a good ride. The best recuperation in Europe, and a key part of spring training in Galicia.
Spring Training Ideas
For those serious riders, a spring camp under a blue sky is fundamental to kick off a good season. The warmer temperatures, coupled with the combination of climbs, and coastal flats that Galicia can offer are perfect for early season kms. Particularly the climbing available. Galicia has a great combination of longer climbs such as Monte Groba, or shorter steeper efforts such as Monte Aloia from Tui. All these climbs serve as a great start to the season, clearing away the cobwebs of a long winter. Give Galicia a try, and you will not be disappointed.