Pico de Veleta

Towering above the Sierra Nevada national park the Pico de Veleta stands at 3395 metres above sea level and is mainland Europe’s highest main-road climb.

Perhaps not carrying the allure of some of the other high peaks in Europe, the Pico de Veleta still offers a huge challenge to anyone that wants to tick the biggest mountains of Europe off their bucket list.

Climbing into the Sierra Nevada on your bike is a unique experience. All mountain ranges must start somewhere, but few places have access to over 3,000 metres so abruptly or theatrically like when climbing the Pico de Veleta from Granada.

The Climb in Detail

“The climb has never actually featured in the Vuelta Espana, it's simply too long, too high and too tough for a Grand Tour.” - Mountian High

The Ascents

The Pico de Veleta can be climbed from two main start points, the city of Granada and the town of Monachil, south east of the city centre. From Granada you will ride along the A395 before reaching the ski station Soy y Nieve and passing 2520 metres. Continue along the car free roads for the final 10 km. Monachil is the idyllic starting point. Considerably steeper than the equivalent first section on the A-395, this route is also a good deal quieter and prettier before joining the A395 and the final road towards the summit.


The highest road in Europe

It is strange to think that the highest road in mainland Europe is overlooked by road cyclists, especially considering the beautiful surroundings that Andalucia has to offer. But without the allure and history of some other high peaks in Europe, such as the Galibier and the Tourmalet the Pico de Veleta hasn’t yet entered the consciousness of the cycling community yet, like it deserves. Including the weather vane, the climb is 2295 metres above sea level with a mighty 2600m of ascending in 43 km.

Its place at the Veulta a España

In 1995 the Vuelta a España, Spain’s 3 week long cycling grand tour moved its race in the calendar from April to September, in part to allow the race to visit climbs in Spain that in the Spring were still under snow. This has not exactly worked out for the giant of Andalucia as the Vuelta has only used its roads a handful of times and has never gone beyond the military refuge, finishing at 2520 twice in 2009 with Frenchman David Moncoutié crossing the line in first and Miguel Ángel López winning in 2017.

Pico de Veleta -  Translated as - The Weather Vain

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