Whether you are a pro cyclist or a first-time amateur riding in North Costa Blanca, then no doubt Coll de Rates (and possibly the Tossal dels Diners extension) will be one of the first climbs you will tackle (and the most memorable). It’s not the longest, highest, or steepest climb the region has to offer unless you include Tossal dels Diners, but it does have mythical status amongst locals and tourists alike and is a climb you are likely to do again and again. Don’t worry if you are on holiday and don’t have a bike with you, we offer road bike hire and guided bike tours all year round and can also provide clothing, helmets, and different pedal options.
There are many reasons the Coll de Rates has become one of the favourite Costa Blanca climbs. One reason is the approach to the climb through the Jalon valley which is as spectacularly beautiful as the climb itself. Chances are, if you are staying on the coastal strip between Calpe and Moraira, you will enter the Jalon valley via Senija or drop into Xalo. If coming from the Arenal/Javea (Xabia) or Gata de Gorgos areas, you might choose to come over the top into Liber.
Whichever route you choose to tackle Coll de Rates, you leave behind the busier coastal towns, and following a small climb enter the completely different views of the Jalon valley, with its almost completely flat valley floor surrounded on all sides by stunning hills and mountains. The area has a feel of an alpine glacial valley in the winter with its steep sides and cultivated floor, but we don’t believe it’s ever been subjected to glacial erosion. In the autumn and winter, you sometimes get mist and haze in the mornings contributing to that feeling of being higher up in a mountain valley than the actual 200m above sea level that you are at.
When you enter the Jalon valley, you have less than 10km to ride (if you come via Senija) or less than 8km from Lliber, until you come to the Coll de Rates climb. This is probably one of the most beautiful stretches you will ride in the area, especially if you like flat cycling through a mixture of small villages and vineyards with views on all sides of churches, mountains, and the local life.
Finding the Coll de Rates is very easy, just cycle up the valley through the scattering of small villages including Lliber, Xalo and Alcalali until you reach Parcent and turn left onto the CV-175 – you are now almost at the foot of the Coll de Rates climb.
The Coll de Rates is guaranteed to raise your pulse rate after the flat ride you have just done to get there. The road climbs 350m in 6km from Parcent, with sweeping views to the north as you get higher up the climb. Once you have left Parcant, there is a long gradual/straight climb that’s not too steep before the road becomes more twisty as it climbs higher and higher for about 4km. There is then a large 180-degree switchback, and you hit the hardest part of the climb with a straight run of road that heads towards the summit at an average gradient of around 8%. The views to your left are incredible over the valley and over to the sea beyond
At the top, there is an opportunity (along with everyone else!) to take a picture in front of the Coll de Rates sign (covered in a multitude of cycling club/brand stickers) before proceeding over towards Tarbena – or back down the same way to Parcent. For most riders, this is the top of the Coll De Rates with an altitude of 628m above sea level. The climb itself to this point is 356m from Parcent. If you’re feeling adventurous and you still have something left in your legs, you can cycle beyond the restaurant, along a short section of unpaved road and take on the final 3 km thin, steep paved track that climbs at 10.5% for another 300m to the summit at 927m at Tossal dels Diners. If you decide to ride the full length to Coll de Rates and then complete the final section to Tossal dels Diners from Parcent, then this is 9.8km long and climbs 654 vertical meters with an average gradient of 6.7%.
At the top of Coll de Rates, there is a restaurant with fantastic views if you would like a break. Unfortunately, we don’t think this restaurant opens until 11am, so, especially in the hot summer months, we have well passed here before it opens – a shame as it would make a fantastic stop off for early morning cycling groups.
After a quick picture stop, here at Blanca Bikes, our favoured route continues towards Tarbena. Just before Tarbena, we take the CV-752 which gives us some more climbing before we drop down towards Castell de Castells where we stop for a coffee and some well-deserved cake before the CV-720 takes us back to Parcent, completing our Coll de Rates loop.
Coll de Rates is one of the Guided Cycle Tours we offer at Blanca Bikes, leaving from Calpe, Moraira and Denia (plus most towns and villages in between) so if you would like a carefree day out on the bike with a trusted local guide, please contact us for availability and current prices. We also provide high-quality carbon road bikes for hire delivered directly to your accommodation so you have no excuse for not “doing the Coll de Rates”