Beeld: Stefan Rohner
The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas was one of the first territories in Andalucía to be declared a Natural Park. This is the largest forested area in Spain, covering an area of almost 210,000 hectares, with a breathtaking array of biodiversity.
Out here ramblers and cyclists will find what they came for: peaceful, well-conserved magical surroundings with an abundance of wildlife and barely a blot on the landscape or any other disruptive element to break nature’s spell.
Having toured the area with bike and tent in 2016, the place left such a strong impression I decided to go back last Easter. After making my way from my adopted home in Ibiza to Hellin I was greeted by the drumming processions of the Semana Santa festivities. The next day I was on the road, or off the road to be precise. I had created a route around the GR247 Southern Woodlands Trail (a designated Gran Recorrido created for hikers and cyclists).
20 kilometres in I found myself with a second flat and a broken pump. Getting back to Hellin proved to be quite an ordeal shouldering the bike 4 k’s to the nearest tarmac road and a taxi. Carrying a fresh set of spare inner tubes and a new pump, the next day I was finally on my way.
The next nine days were spent riding in the most remote places. I spent a few nights in small hostels, but preferred to stay outside, camping up in the hills taking in the incredible views, having showers out of the bidon, enjoying spectacular sunsets and running into deer, foxes and wild horses.
The Natural Park of Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas truly is one of the most tranquil and unspoilt mountainous regions in Spain. Can’t wait to go back.
If you liked this story consider purchasing Soigneur Cycling Journal 17 where it was first printed.