Of all the climbs that we tackle in our trips, the Arga de Cima is by far the most brutal. Set in the Serra de Arga national park in northern Portugal, this short sharp shock is worth the pain. The climb is found on the M524 road from Pagade to Santa Comba. The road surface is good, but with no verges. It is narrow but barely used, so cars are never a problem.
A sharp right turn from this road and after 200m the gradient immediately bites. 10% and this is the easiest part. After a 1.5 km the road bends left, and ahead are 3km where 10% will be the minimum. The road has a couple of switchbacks, but is mainly just relentless. And steep. On the inside of some of the curves the gradient touches 20%. The road has very little tree cover, and the landscape is mainly rock and gorse. On a hot day, and there are many in this area, this climb is a killer. The 4th km is pretty straight, and the final km has two or three curves to give you something to aim for. The summit on the Serra de Arga will be a very welcome sight. You won´t forget climbing the Arga de Cima in a hurry!