Bikepacking opportunity on the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route (Murcia Region)

Cabo Cope to Bolnuevo Costal Trail

Since the launch of our cycling package holidays we have been getting lots of interest, but sadly due to the COVID travel restrictions many of these enquiries have not come to fruition. We have been contacted by the Murcia Institute of Tourism with regards the the EuroVelo route and discussed the opportunity to market the excellent cycling our relatively unknown region has to offer.

We decided to look beyond the summer and a more realistic possibility of packages running from September to the end of the year and then February to June 2022, researching and developing a new EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean route, Murcia region package.

EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route (Murcia Region) – Murcia Bike Hire

What is EuroVelo?

EuroVelo is a European cycling network, with 17 long-distance rides that cross and connect Europe, with the goal of creating routes totalling 90,000km spanning 42 countries. Spain has been included in 3 EuroVelo routes, providing cycling tourism inspiration that will take you to the heart of this fascinating country.

When you think about Spain, the first things that come to mind might be sunny beaches, good food, water sports and outdoor lifestyle. Whilst these are at the forefront of our minds, modern Spanish culture is also infused with Roman, Punic and Moorish heritage, with many architectural treasures and places of interest to visit.

The Eurovelo 8 Mediterranean route runs from Cadiz in southern Spain to Cyprus with a total distance of almost 7,500km, travelling through 10 different countries. This route will take you through many popular tourist destinations, with the additional benefit of introducing you to even more undiscovered cycling gems.

So, lets look at the Murcia region, which remains one of the lesser-known Spanish cycling destinations along the EuroVelo 8 route, but this is seen by our “Institute of Tourism” as a great opportunity to promote and boost cycling tourism. Whether you are planning on bikepacking along the route or maybe you would prefer our carbon road bike option, then Murcia Bike Hire and the EuroVelo 8 route have something for all cyclists.

Known as the “Vegetable Garden of Europe” Murcia provides excellent opportunities to sample some of the region’s best cycling, culture, gastronomy, and stunning nature reserves. The Murcia EuroVelo route has a total distance of 217km with mixed terrain, and an elevation gain of 2000m, this route is seen as a great opportunity to showcase the Murcia region to the world of cycle tourism.

MBH EuroVelo 8 Mediterranean (Murcia) - Cycling Holidays
MBH EuroVelo 8 Mediterranean (Murcia) – Cycling Holidays

The route runs along the Mediterranean coast from Aguilas, through Puerto de Mazarrón, Cartagena, La Union, Los Alcázares, San Javier, to San Pedro Del Pinatar before heading inland to Murcia and onto the Valencian border at Beniel. 

Murcia Bike Hire, EuroVelo 8 Cycling Package

The Murcia Bike Hire, EuroVelo 8 package begins in Águilas, with our planned route taking you along the coastline of a region whose southern area is dominated by high elevations. Climbing mountains such as Cabo Cope, La Cuesta, or the Sierras Mineras de Cartagena/ Portmán, will include steep slopes that can be challenging for less experienced cyclists.

The rest of the route, around the Mar Menor becomes easier with less traffic to contend with this is an enjoyable ride, although there are a few points where the traffic can be busier, especially in the summer months. To reduce exposure to the busier periods of traffic we advise that you plan your trip between February and June or September to November.

Prepare for spectacular views well worth stopping briefly to enjoy and capture photos, creating long lasting cycling memories. The route works its way through the region of Murcia providing the opportunity to explore castles, aqua ducts, roman amphitheatre, cathedrals and much more along the way.

How easy is it to find your way along the route?

The route has been signposted in both directions so you can navigate your way easily and safely through the roads, cycle paths and coastal paths. But in addition to the signage Murcia Bike Hire will provide you with an information pack including maps, GPX route and a sightseeing guide prior to arrival.

 Murcia region EuroVelo 8 signage

Águilas – Puerto de Mazarrón: 50km

We begin our journey from Águilas train station, ensuring you make the most of your cycling experience you will take in the view of El Hornillo, a landmark of the industrial past in Aguillas.

El Hornillo in Aguillas

Departing from Águilas you will travel parallel to the coast, towards the small fishing hamlet of Calabardina with a fine sandy beach and crystal-clear waters before starting our first climb of the day at Cabo Cope. The bay of Calabardina can be a tourist hotspot especially if you plan to cycle this route during the summer months.

The small fishing hamlet Calabardina

Cabo Cope is one of the highlights of the route, with the spectacular scenic views of the abrupt landscapes between the Mediterranean and the mountains forming spectacular cliffs, coves and beaches which is also a protected area for Birds.

 Summit of Cabo Cope/ Puntas Calnegre Regional Park

After taking time to enjoy the summit views, we continue our journey in the “Puntas Calnegre Regional Park” along the coastal trails towards the erosions of Bolnuevo and then onto our destination of Puerto de Mazarrón. As the next part of the route runs along dirt tracks close to the coastline, we have made an alternative route for our carbon road bike cyclists to ensure comfort and enjoyment.

Taking the short ride from Bolnuevo to Puerto de Mazarrón, where you can choose to stay overnight in one of our recommended cyclist friendly hotel should you wish, giving you the chance to spend time on the beach and enjoy a relaxed evening sampling some of the local food specialities.

The beauty of the EuroVelo route is that it provides endless opportunities to ride and stay in tourist hotspots, unknown areas and to explore before continuing your journey.

With exploring in mind, we have taken the time to list several possible optional route additions that capture some of the best cycling and sightseeing opportunities along the route.  For Puerto De Mazarrón our suggestion is the option to visit Cabo Tinoso “Bateria de Castillitos” above the bay of La Azohia.

Puerto de Mazarrón – Cartagena: 40km.

The next section of the route takes you from Puerto de Mazarrón and heads towards Cartagena, with an ascent of La Cuesta with views across the bay and inland to a more cultivated area of Almond, Olive and Carob trees.

Winding your way along the quiet country lanes through rural Murcian villages such as Perin, you will see many historical gems such as the “Perin Aqueduct” built in 1945, as part of a historical water management system to the area from its original source in the province of Albacete.

 

Perín Aqueduct

Continuing your cycling trip, to the City of Cartagena, the route will take you through the Tentegorra Park. This has several attractions such as a mini waterpark, laser combat, a labyrinth and the adventure circuit challenges set high amongst the trees. If physical activities are not for you then continue along the route and into the Cartagena Port, where you will find Moorish, Roman and Phoenician and Naval history. Spending time away from the saddle in Cartagena is a must, soaking up historical finds such as the Roman Amphitheatre, and Art Nouveau buildings. Treat yourself to an overnight stay in a cyclist friendly hotel overlooking the harbour, and walking distance from many attractions.

Cartagena – Los Alcázares: 50km

After spending time in Cartagena, it is time to continue exploring, with the route taking you into the Sierras Mineras de Cartagena/ Portmán with its industrial heritage of mining and smelting lead and silver. From a cycling perspective the coastline provides a popular route through Portman village, lighthouse, and beach area, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local tapas at the Chiringuito in Playa del Lastre. Portman bay is accessed on both sides by steep descents so this will present a challenging ride as we continue our journey to Los Alcázares and the Mar Menor Bay.

Playa del Lastre, Portman – Murcia Bike Hire

After leaving Portmán behind, heading towards La Manga Club Resort and the Mar Menor, you will get your first glimpse of the largest saltwater lagoon in Europe. From here we enjoy the relatively flat coastal road along the shores of the Mar Menor through small villages such Los Nietos, Los Urrutias and finally Los Alcázares.

Staying in the Mar Menor area, offers the option of a detour towards Mar de Cristal, Cabo de Palos, and La Manga del Mar Menor, which separates the Mar Menor lagoon from the Mediterranean Sea.

Los Alcázares – Murcia: 60km

Los Alcázares to Murcia represents the final leg of the EuroVelo 8 Murcia region route, as we continue our journey along the shores of the Mar Menor through promenades, parks, and bike paths towards the San Pedro Del Pinatar salt flats. As you arrive at the salt flats, we encourage you to leave the route briefly and take a short detour onto the nature reserve. This is your last view of the coast as we head inland through the citrus plantations towards the regional park of Carrascoy and El Valle.

Salinas San Pedro del Pinatar

From San Pedro del Pinatar you begin your ascent towards Murcia through the village of Sucina, and onto the Sierra Carrascoy via El Garruchal. We offer an additional detour here, with the option of visiting the Cresta Del Gallo mountain, with its panoramic views across the city of Murcia and beyond. Here you will find the sanctuary of the “Virgen de la Fuensanta”, on the side of the mountain, which is a stunning place to visit.

Having travelled through the Murcia region, it would be rude not to spend a little time in the spectacular old town of Murcia, with a visit to the Cathedral in Plaza del Cardenal Belluga or take a walk-through the quaint side streets and Plaza’s with shops, restaurants, and tapas bars.

City of Murcia

From the city the final journey follows the Rio Segura River to reach the town of Beniel, where the Region of Murcia itself ends and the Valencian region begins in the municipality of Orihuela.

As our business also expands into the Valencian region, offering the opportunity to continue along the route and explore this beautiful part of Spain famed for being the home of paella! Our EuroVelo 8 Valencia route will start from Beniel and take you through Orihuela, Guardamar, Elche, Alicante and up into the mountains as far as Castalla.

Murcia Bike Hire are continually developing and promoting the Murcia region, with bike hire, cycling holiday packages and guided rides/ GPX routes that provide inspiration when planning your next cycling adventure. So, if you are looking for a memorable cycling holiday, supported by an award-winning business then look at our website www.murciabikehire.com or get in-touch to discuss your next cycling holiday. 

Green Mile – Portman, La Manga

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