The GR 48: Off-road Bike Touring Spain

  • Distance

    353 Mi.

    (568 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (12,180 M)
  • High Point


    (799 M)
The GR 48 (Sendero de Sierra Morena) is the longest path in southern Spain and the majority of it lies within the Sierra de Aracena and the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Parks, some of the country’s most uninhabited areas.
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The 353 Mile (568KM) route starts in Barrancos, a small village in eastern Portugul and finishes near the autonomous community border of Andalusia and Castile-La Mancha.

Due to time constraints, we only cycled about a third of it, starting in the Parque Natural Sierra Norte de Sevilla and finishing in Cordoba. But nevertheless, I wanted to add it in this collection because it deserves the attention. It’s an amazing way to see this seldom visited area in the northern part of Andalusia. 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.

  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Beautiful rocky dirt roads traversing the countryside.
  • The unique wooded farmland inhabited by iberian black-footed pigs.
  • Experiencing rural farming communities.
  • Southern Spain charm and ancient villages.
  • There are maps of the GR 48 available. Check in guesthouses at the major towns.
  • The best time to ride the GR 48 is spring or fall; although summer would be fine as well, albeit a bit hot.
  • There are plenty of opportunities for wild camping, but there are some stretches where farming fences line line the road for miles. One night we actually just camped next to the road. A single farmer drove by the following morning as we were rolling up camp.
  • There are guesthouses in most of the major towns.
  • There are always towns accessible within 50 miles that have access to food. Just make sure you get there before or after siesta (usually between 4 and 8 PM).
  • Water can be a little tricky sometimes; we found a few streams to filter, but they are not always easy to access because of fences.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

  • Keith Dornan

    Howdy folks. I am currently b5ikepacking the GR 48 and wanted to add some more info. So far I have biked from Barrancos, Portugal to Santa Olalla del Cala (approx 81 km north of Sevilla). From what I understand from the article, the author rode from Santa Olalla del Cala (or nearby) to Cordoba. I’m very excited about the segment he reviewed because the western segment I just did was brutal. Most of it is rideable but there are large sections of hike a bike, including some extremely grueling narrow steep portions. One section, from Arroyomolinos de Leon to Cala, proved too brushy, narrow and steep for me and I had to bail thru a bunch of fenced and walled fields to get to a road.

    My advice to future bikepackers of this beautiful but brutal western section is – be ready for some serious bike pushing and don’t plan on being able to ride big distances. Alternatively you could also take the segment of the Transandalus mountain bike route that roughly parallels the GR 48 to the south and connects with it in Santa Olalla de Cala.(

    Anyway I plan on finishing the GR 48 so hit me up if you got questions.

  • Dean Ansell

    Hey Keith, keen to know how the route would be handled by rigid frame (Surly Straggler). Sounds like there’s plenty of hike-a-bike for any rig, but is the rest manageable on anything other than a mtb? Thanks, and have an awesome ride

  • Keith Dornan

    I’d say the western 1/3 has the most hike a bike and it generally gets easier as you move east. But overall the the route def could be handled by a straggler (Or even a traditional touring setup if you are a beast) although parts throughout will be challenging. You can also strategically skip the real gnarly sections by hopping on the Transandalus mtb route that is roughly parallel (And often shares the route) with the GR-48. Also the official GR 48 website has a great comprehensive guide that tells you when things get rough for a bike and it’s usually pretty easy to re-route and bypass those sections. I’d go for it if you are up for a bit of a challenge (unless it’s really rainy/muddy, in which case id stick to the Transandalus).

  • Keith Dornan

    Feel free to call me if you want more info 402-490-2478