Via Verde de la Sierra, cycle Andalusia’s best greenway

Exploring Southern Spain on two wheels? One adventure you shouldn’t miss is the Via Verde de la Sierra. This unique cycling route winds through breathtaking landscapes along an old railway track. For us, it was a highlight of our months-long journey through Portugal and Spain with our baby. The combination of dark tunnels, easy-to-navigate paths, and most importantly, stunning vistas make this bike ride a must-do. Dive deeper into the Via Verde de la Sierra with us, including some handy tips and a map.

Read more: Discover Spain’s 8 Most Beautiful Vias Verdes

Via Verde de la Sierra

What exactly are the Via Verdes of Spain?

If you’ve never heard of Spain’s Via Verdes, let us introduce you to an incredible way to see the Spanish countryside. The name ‘Via Verde’ translates to ‘Green Way’, and they are exactly that: a network of old, unused railway lines now transformed into trails for walking and biking.

These green paths are scattered all over Spain, leading you through jaw-dropping landscapes from the coast deep into the hinterland. Where once trains travelled, now beautiful trails beckon explorers on bikes or on foot. Each Via Verde has its own unique appeal, landscapes, and points of interest, offering a fresh perspective on Spain.

You can find Vias Verdes throughout the country. Close to Málaga is one of the jewels, the Via Verde de la Sierra.

Want to keep all of Spain’s green bike routes handy on your Google Maps? Click on this Via Verde overview, and you’re all set!

Via Verde de la Sierra

The Via Verde de la Sierra: An Old Railway with Tunnels and Viaducts

In the stunning hills of Andalusia, you’ll find the Via Verde de la Sierra. This bike path is special because it offers the thrill of cycling on what used to be a railway, mixed with the beauty of nature.

This former railway line, interestingly never used by trains, has been reborn as a trail. It leads visitors around and through mountains. The Via Verde de la Sierra is unique for its architectural marvels – tunnels and viaducts – making your ride quite unlike any other.

While the terrain in this part of Spain typically challenges cyclists with steep climbs and descents, the Via Verde de la Sierra is mostly flat. This is thanks to the many tunnels and viaducts built by engineers. As you bike or walk, you’ll go through these amazing structures. Some tunnels are short, while others are so long, you can’t see the end from where you start. The longest tunnel is a kilometer long. And, for your convenience, many of the longer tunnels light up automatically.

Via Verde de la Sierra

Practical tips for the Via Verde de la Sierra

#1 Finding the Via Verde and Getting There

The Via Verde de la Sierra is right in the heart of Andalusia, stretching between the provinces of Cádiz and Sevilla. This stunning 37-kilometer path takes you from Olvera to Puerto Serrano, through the Sierra’s breathtaking views.

Getting there is easy. From big cities like Sevilla, Málaga, or Córdoba, a car ride will do the trick. Olvera is about 130 kilometers from Sevilla and 150 kilometers from Córdoba, with Málaga being a bit closer at just over 100 kilometers away, perfect for a day trip.

Buses also run close to the Via Verde, but having a car means more freedom to explore the route’s starting points.

Via Verde de la Sierra Map

#2 Starting Points and What You’ll Find Along the Way

The route, all 37 kilometers of it, connects Puerto Serrano and Olvera, with a mid-way stop at Coripe station. At these stations, you can rent (electric) bikes, park your car, and find food and drinks.

The stations along the route are:

Olvera: This town is famous for its lovely white houses and an impressive castle. It’s a great place to start or end your journey. You’ll find bike rentals, parking, and places to eat here, making it a perfect spot to begin or wrap up your adventure.

Coripe: Located about halfway, Coripe station is ideal for a shorter ride. Besides bike rentals, it also has a picnic area and a special sight, the Chaparro de la Vega – a 700-year-old oak tree near the station. This spot, with its large picnic area, is also a favorite overnight spot for campers and camper vans.

Puerto Serrano: At the route’s other end, Puerto Serrano offers another place to start or finish your trip. Like the others, it has bike rentals, eateries, and parking. The station is just outside the town, offering a peaceful start or end to your journey.

Remember, there are no towns or villages along the route, so bring food, drinks, and other essentials. It’s especially important to carry enough water and snacks during the warmer months.

Via Verde de la Sierra

#3 Taking the Route Halfway or in Two Days

The entire route is 37 kilometers long, meaning a round trip without arranging return transport could add up to 74 kilometers. That’s quite a stretch for one day, especially if you’re traveling with a baby, as we were. You might want to consider cycling just to the halfway point or splitting the journey into two days.

We also looked into the possibility of returning our rental bikes at a different station with bike services and then taking public transport back. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option. So, we chose to cycle to the Coripe station, which is also a wonderfully scenic stop. Here, you’ll encounter one of the route’s longest tunnels and viaducts, and just a bit further, the Chaparro de la Vega. This ancient oak, surrounded by picnic spots, offers an idyllic setting for an overnight stay in a camper van, as we did.

Via Verde de la Sierra

#4 Renting a (Electric) Bike

Even though the Via Verde de la Sierra is relatively flat, the route’s length can still pose a challenge, especially during warmer months. Opting for a (electric) bike rental can be a smart move. Electric bikes provide that extra boost needed to comfortably cover longer distances, allowing you to take in more of the beautiful surroundings without getting too tired.

Bike rentals are available at the starting points in Olvera, Coripe, and Puerto Serrano. Booking in advance, particularly in the busy season, is advisable to ensure you get a bike. We were also able to rent a baby seat. It’s important to check the rental services’ opening days and hours, as they may vary, especially outside of the peak season. Spain’s numerous holidays could also mean unexpected closures.

Via Verde de la Sierra

#5 Where to Stay Near the Via Verde

If you’re looking for accommodation near the Via Verde de la Sierra, Olvera is our recommendation. This charming town is not just scenic with its picturesque center and historic castle, but it also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

For a comfortable stay, consider the Olive Tree Bed & Breakfast, known for its excellent reviews, or Hotel Tugasa Sierra y Cal, which features a swimming pool. Additionally, the Hotel Estación Vía Verde is conveniently located at the old Via Verde train station in Olvera, right next to the bike rentals, making it an extremely practical choice.

For those traveling with a camper, like us, there’s a designated camper spot at the starting point in Olvera, though we found it lacked a bit of charm. We opted to stay overnight at the picnic areas near Coripe station, about halfway along the route. This is a popular choice among camping enthusiasts, offering picturesque landscapes, picnic tables, and trash bins, making it a lovely spot to spend the night.