PHOTO BLOG: Up and Over Sierra Espuña (Spain)

For those that like a spot of climbing, La Espuña in the Spanish community of Murcia is a must! This well-known col is a sheer joy to experience. That's why we included it on our Seville to Valencia tour of Andalucia

When you enter the National Park, the roads are smooth and quiet! Seasonable walkers may be around, but you may feel you have the park to yourself!

La Espuña is by far the longest and highest road cycling climb in the Murcia region. The Regional Park of Sierra Espuña covers some 25,000 hectares, takes its name from its highest mountain, the Espuña at 1583 meters. The region has some 20 mountain peaks above 1,000 meters. It is a really enjoyable ride! You will climb just under 1,500 meters over a distance of 30 km. The average gradient is a respectable 5.5% with a max of 12.3%. So it's a very doable and enjoyable climb! If you're a statistics freak, have a look at Cycling Cols for profiles, data and maps. The Sierra Espuña and the surrounding mountain roads are perfect for road cycling. These wonderful mountains have been a mecca for ProTour teams on their early season training camps in recent years, with the ascent of the Cat.1 Alto Collado Bermejo (1200m) featuring in both the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour of Murcia.

La Espuña is by far the longest and highest road cycling climb in the Murcia region. It is a really enjoyable ride into the quiet and pictuesque Sierra de Espuña Natural Park.

The descents are to die for with legions of gentle switchbacks on smooth tarmac

La Espuna and surrounding areas features in the Vuelta a España. Spain's annual multi-stage race. You'll see names of the local heroes on the road close to the top.

Much of the climb is forested where the scenery is pleasant rather than spectacular; however, the top of the climb is more open, with very picturesque views into the valley.