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Cost and tips for first time international climber in Spain

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Dylan Wall · · Asheville, NC · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

So I have been climbing for about a year now and am super pumped about climbing so I will be going to Spain for two weeks with a friend in the beginning of January. I climb 12a so any suggestions on crags there would be amazing or favorites climbs. We plan to climb at El Chorro, Costa Blanca and the Barcelona areas each for about four or five days.

I am also wondering about cost. How much do meals cost, hostels and such cost. What would be a cheap cost per day budget? After renting a car and gas I am hoping to spend around $1500 dollars, is that realistic?

Thank you so much and if anyone is in the area lets climb!!!

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,614

I just got back from two weeks of mostly touristy stuff in Spain.  And, it was my fifth trip in the last 10 years.

You can find pretty inexpensive lodging in the El Chorro area.  Try the Olive Branch.  To save money you could toss up a tent, but, being indoors is nice.

We stayed in a nice hotel in Antequera for 50 euro a night, with 8 per day for parking.  I'm sure you could go cheaper.  Menu of the day could be had for dinner as low as 12 euro.  Breakfast is pretty cheap.

100 bucks a day is very doable.  And, a good budget for eating out and enjoying your trip.

I think El Chorro will be your best best in early January.  With enough stuff nearby to keep you busy for two weeks.  

The crags up north around BCN canl be quite chilly in January.  Doable if sunny...but...otherwise maybe not so much if its cloudy or foggy.  Moraira is a good option for airbnb if you decide you have to head to the Costa Blanca.  Great hang, easy to the beach (which will probably be too cold for swimming), good food, not gross high rise condos and hotels.


Will Maness · · Raleigh, NC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 35

I second the Olive Branch and El Chorro in general.  There is more than enough to keep you busy in El Chorro for two weeks, everything from cragging to long, bolted multi-pitch routes in the Frontales.  The Olive Branch is very affordable and they offer meals for around 8 euros every night...and more importantly, you are within walking distance of all the climbing.  That is the real deal for El don't need to buy a car!  Just fly into Malaga, take the train into Alora or El Chorro, and you're good to go!  

I spent about a week there in January of this year, and I had an incredible time!  I probably only spent about 20 euros a day on food and lodging...maybe the cheapest trip I've ever taken!  And it was just a really cool international community there at the Olive Branch.  I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone in the evenings.  You'll have no shortage of beta and climbing partners.  Go and have a blast!!!

And feel free to PM me if you have more questions or want more details - I can't say enough about my time out there!

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

As Brian wrote, there is more than enough to keep you busy at El Chorro for 2 weeks and it has consistently the best weather at that time of year (I've been there the past 2 January's--admittedly it did snow there one day this past Jan.--first time in over 20 years--but was gone within a day) so I would advise not trying to do it al by travelling from place to placel in one 2 week trip. One good thing about El Chorro is that the climbing is very concentrated and most of it is easily reachable on foot, so a car, while nice, isn't really necessary. You can fly into Malaga--a nice city--and take the train to El Chorro--about an hour train ride and walk from the station to where you will be staying. Training instead of car saves a lot of money--especially given fuel costs in Europe. El Chorro village its is fairly run-down with not many options for getting supplies, though it does have a funky climbing shop, but it is easy to train to Malaga or, closer, Alaro, for supplies. Oh, the climbing is varied and excellent--single pitch sport across the grades as well as many multi-pitch options. The Costa Blanca can also be fine in January, though the actual climbing areas are quite spread out over a large area--car is necessary. Further north, Barcelona area, is too unreliable at that time of year in terms of weather--2 years ago folks up there had non-stop rain while we were basking in the sun in El Chorro. Other than the flight over and car costs daily costs in rural Spain are very reasonable.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,614

Car rental....I found them to be pretty cheap if you reserve prior to your trip.

We flew into Madrid, but, I'd flown into Malaga prior and rented a car there too.

12 day rental (we turned the car in early for our few days in Madrid) was 149 for nice Nissan Juke (compact class) with four doors for 150 euro total cost (as of 2 November 2017).  I used Alamo but was Enterprise managed in Madrid.  Great service too.  Unlimited kilometers (we put over 2000k on it).  I'd much rather do that for that price than be on a train schedule and have to hoof it every where.  

Sure, there's plenty of climbing for two weeks but a quick day trip to the coast, or, a spin up to Valle de Abdalajis...easy with a car.  There's also some neat sight seeing within an hour or two as well.  Great for rainy days.

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Brian, did you drive down from Madrid to El Chorro? How long was the drive? Some of us are thinking of going again and that is a possible option. Sure, a car does give more flexibility, though we were able to easily train to Malaga, Alaro, and Ronda for tourist/shopping days--and the 'hoofing' did have the benefit of getting my ageing body into pretty good shape for a change!!! I imagine that Abdalajis and certain other outlying areas will be too cold for climbing during Dylan's visit in Jan.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,614
Alan Rubin wrote:

Brian, did you drive down from Madrid to El Chorro? How long was the drive?

Not directly.  We drove straight through to Granada which took us around 5 hours and change mostly because we diddled around looking for an AirBnB in Granada.  So, most of the same drive then south from Jaen for us.  We did it at night and the freeways were pretty easy and fast.  A little congrested in Madrid but not bad at all.  We drove to El Chorro from Antequera though, which, was small roads but also very easy.  Fastest route though Valle de Abdalajis.

With stops, I'd probably count on around 6 hours-ish from the airport in Madrid to El Chorro.  Bit of a hump, but, easy drivin'.

Yeah, the outlying areas especially up high might be cold, but, they also might be doable.  Abdalajis is pretty south facing and if its not windy, totally doable.  El Torcal might be frosty but a neat place to visit.  

We did a cave tour north and a little west of Ronda which was pretty neat, in an area with some sheltered and south facing crags.  Could be climbable as well.  Cueva del Gato.  Neat area and only about an hour from El Chorro.

Two hour drive from El Chorro and you could see the Alhambra in Granada, catch dinner, and drive back.  Be a neat rest/rain day.

Plenty to do for two weeks in that area!

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Loving this thread!  following!  Dylan, wish our time there was going to overlap - I'll be there the first 3 weeks of December!  So if anyone is going to be there during that time, let me know! Would love to meet up and climb!  

CJ K · · Northern, NM · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 280
Nicole K wrote:

Loving this thread!  following!  Dylan, wish our time there was going to overlap - I'll be there the first 3 weeks of December!  So if anyone is going to be there during that time, let me know! Would love to meet up and climb!  

Nicole, I sent you a PM a few weeks back. Message me if you are still in need of a partner while you are in southern Spain. 

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

$1500 is plenty for 2 weeks in Spain, it's super cheap especially in January.  Car will cost you around $100-200 total (plus gas).  

Airbnb a place and base everything out of there, go to the grocery store and cook a bunch.  You can live like a king in Spain on $750 a week if you have a partner with an equal budget.  (Assuming you've already paid for a flight).  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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