If, like us, you follow a lot of cycling clubs, cyclists and groups on social media, you may be forgiven for thinking that much of the UK cycling scene is visiting or has visited Majorca this Spring.
Now this is not an anti Majorca blog - we have been to Majorca a couple of times this year and love it there. However, we are very conscious that Europe has a number of fabulous cycling destinations, but many cyclists, clubs and groups are lured back to Majorca every year. Our aim is not to discourage that, that would be counter productive, but rather to provide a challenge to it - after all variety is the spice of life!
So...... The Costa Blanca. Or more specifically - Denia, Oliva and the northern Costa Blanca.
As a recent guest stated - 'the Costa Blanca is nothing like the area I envisaged'. The skyscrapers, rows of sun loungers, boozy Brits and assault on your senses is restricted to Benidorm and a lesser extent Calpe. Instead what you will find is beautiful unspoilt beaches, quiet and quaint Spanish villages and so many fabulous cycling routes you are always finding something new.
So let's cut to the chase. Is the cycling on the Costa Blanca better than Majorca?
YES! On this we are in no doubt - the routes are more varied, the climbs more numerous and roads are quieter with less tourists and far fewer coaches.
Where Majorca wins is in it s iconic roads - specifically Sa Calobra and Formentor - these roads are beautiful and an absolute treat to ride. Whilst the Coll du Rates is a great road and Val d'Ebo is a stunning climb, they are not in the same league of beauty as the aforementioned Majorca roads.
Ok, but Majorca has so much cycling infrastructure - surely that isn't the same in Denia?
Quite right - Majorca has cornered the market on cycling holidays brilliantly. Bike hire places are numerous as are cycling themed cafe's and there is even a shuttle service for your bike.
The northern Costa Blanca does not have as much cycling infrastructure, but it has more than enough. We stay at the Oliva Nova resort which is a cyclists haven and home to numerous pro team training camps from a range of sports. Furthermore within 25km there are 5 high quality bike rental outlets - we use and love Cafe Ciclista, Denia. Furthermore, the Jalon valley has several cycling themed cafe's including Velosol which is the home of the Spanish Remco fan club. In short - what more do you need or want?
Yeah, but Team Ineos train in Majorca.
Absolutely right - Team Ineos take over the VIVA golf hotel in Alcudia every December and January. Bora Hansgrohe also held their camp in Majorca whilst Movistar were in Almeira and Alpecin - Deceuninck were in Benicassim and EF were in Girona.
Guess where the other 13 held their training camps ........ the Costa Blanca. What's more, Remco has a house here and many riders use the Syncrosefera hotel which is equipped with bedrooms that simulate high altitude. So, I would completely understand if you read this from the angle of us trying to sell a location, but the pro's presence hopefully removes some cynicism ;)
Ok, Ok so what does a trip to the region look like and cost?
The best way for us to answer this questions is to break it down into what, where and how much.
Flights - a major plus for our location is that you have two airports an hour from our base in Oliva. Both Valencia and Alicante have regular fights from the UK. This allows us to maximise the groups time on the ground and hopefully find friendly prices.
Accommodation - our favoured accommodation is the Oliva Nova Beach Resort. It is used by professional teams from the worlds of Rugby, Football and Cycling. In fact at the time of writing the Racing 92 squad are here on a training camp. The food is high quality, the bike garage excellent and the hotel facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, beach access, golf course and Padel courts alongside the grass pitches.
Bike rental - We use Cafe Ciclista who provide our clients with a range of Canyon and Focus road bikes and a number of e-bike options too.
What we offer - in destination host, 'rescue vehicle' and/or ride guides, route planning and local knowledge for lunch and cafe stops. All pre trip admin is delivered through us and we can book everything including flights.
What would it cost?
A group trip for 10 cyclists, including flights, transfers, 5 days cycling, 4 nights half board accommodation and everything mentioned above would b:
£750pp including bike bag in luggage + small hand luggage + 15kg hold luggage
£795pp including bike hire from Cafe Ciclista, Denia + small hand luggage + 15kg hold luggage