Cycling the GR 48

We had one more route to bite off before we made the jump back to the land of bills and responsibilities. To keep it interesting, we picked a nice section of the GR 48 footpath from north of Seville east to Cordoba.

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There are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of long-distance footpaths etched throughout western Europe. The once foot-beaten trails are now made up of a mix of surfaces including gravel, rock, singletrack, dirt, and the occasional slice of tar. Some of these tracks are unique to just one country or region, but many of the numbered footpaths pass through several countries.

The walking routes make use of an ancient network of national and local trails such as the GR paths. The ‘GR’ stands for Gran Recorrido in Spanish; in French it translates to Grande Ranndonée, which sounds a bit more inviting for bike travel.

The GR 48 (Sendero de Sierra Morena) is a 590 kilometer route that starts in Barrancos, a small village in eastern Portugul. It’s the longest path in southern Spain and mostly located within the Sierra de Aracena and the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Parks, some of the country’s most uninhabited areas. Fine by me.

The portion we cycled was indeed remote. It carried us though dark forests, past long abandoned ruins, across acres of wooded farmland home to the iberian black-footed pig, and eventually into the endless groves of orange and fields of sunflower. There were days when we saw no one. One night we made camp just feet from the road and didn’t have a worry. The trail was broken up by tar sections through small towns which made interesting pitstops for coffee or sundries. We were only in the grasp of the GR 48 for a few days, but the remote riding and ever-changing landscape made me regret not delaying our flight and tackling the whole thing.

GR 48 Map

A map of the GR 48 through Spain. We picked it up from a local guest house at the beginning of our route.

Cycling The GR 48 Map

A detail of the Sierra Norte de Sevilla portion of the path. This portion starts with a very nice Via Verde from Cazalla De La Sierra. More here.
Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

A bicycle rental business near the greenway.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

Surly ECR with Velocity Blunt 35 29er wheels and Surly Knards, Tubus Rack

The ECR posed at a very old church.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring


Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

There are many interesting relics to look at on these old roads.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

A ruin at the Cerro del Hierro mine.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

The markings to follow the GR 48. Most GRs are blazed with characteristic markings consisting of a white stripe above a red one…

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

… an ‘X’ of the same colors denotes a direction that deviates from the GR. The blazes appear regularly along the route, especially at crossroads or interchanges. Although, sometimes it takes some searching.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

The path follows some pavement, gravel, dirt tracks…
Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

… and steep hike-a-bike sections…

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

… and goes through farmland.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

There was a section where several fire towers peaked from the treetops.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

Gin cooking with boxed white wine we picked up in the last village.

Big Agnes Flycreek - Bike Touring

Camping in a strip of woods between some farmland and the rough gravel road.

Bike Touring Cooking

Prepping a nice risotto.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

Exploring an old ruin.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

The track became a technical wonderland of rocks and stone grooves.

Cycling The GR 48 - Bike Touring

The scenery changed from woodlands to farmland as we left the Sierra towards Cordoba.

Cordoba photos

A few shots from Cordoba…
Cordoba, Spain photo

Bike Touring Spain, Madrid

Counting days we took a train to Madrid.
Madrid Street Photography
Madrid Street Art

El Pedal, Madrid, Spain

El Pedal, a nice craft beer bar in a hipster neighborhood in Madrid.

Madrid Street Art

Madrid has a nice selection of street art, but you have to find it after hours or during siesta when the security doors are shut.

Madrid Street Art

Madrid Street Art

Madrid Street Art

Cordoba, Spain photo

A reminder that we would be going home in a couple of days.

For more information on this route, including GPS and logistics, click here. Also, check out our growing list of bikepacking and dirt road touring routes.

  • Cass


    Love the babyhead!

  • Thanks! Yeah that’s a killer sculpture. There is another head facing that one with its eyes open as well…

  • Ah, those red and white blazes. I could follow them forever.

  • You will be soon, right? If you guys make it down toward Spain, I think this is a good one, along with the Transnevada route!

  • Yes, soon. We fly to Vienna July 22, and point our tires towards Slovakia, Ukraine, and Romania, to start.

  • Nice. I look forward to hearing your stories…

  • Carolyn

    Howdy! I am planning a trek from Madrid to Sevilla. Can we talk in detail? I’d love to hear your thoughts about my current route and any travel advice you can offer beyond these rad blog posts.

  • Sure, feel free to email me directly: pedalingnowhere at gmail dot com

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