The Istan road is the only way into and out of Istan and it’s one of the best rides in the Marbella area. It climbs almost 400 meters and 12 km along the beautiful Reservoir La Concepción and into the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park.
I’m lucky enough to have this road on my doorstep. I ride it almost every day so I know it pretty well. During my rides I probably see around 10 cars and 30 cyclists in the winter, possibly twice that in the summer.
The Istan road is a challenge that all cyclists enjoy
The climb up to Istan is relatively easy (after you overcome the monster 12.6% grade under the AP7 road) if you take it gently or very hard if you sprint up it.
On the way up you can enjoy the amazing views back over the valley, and across the reservoir to the Mediterranean and beyond to Gibraltar. On a clear day you can also see the Pillars of Hercules and the Atlas mountains in Africa.
Istan itself is a typical white Andalucian village. It’s origins go back to the Moors in the middle of XIV century. Istan is full of water fountains and has a great view of the Reservoir La Concepción. it’s surrounded by Orange and Avocado orchards and it’s well worth spending some time there.
Descending back down to sea level is all about the speed. Apart from a few flat bits, a couple of uphill stretches and two fast roundabouts, most of the descent is flat out downhill. The road is really smooth and there’s not much traffic to worry about.
A Fantastic 12Km long descent at up to 60Km per hour if you want
The Istan road is very popular with Spanish cyclists who are very friendly and always wave and/or call out Buena or Buenas Dias (Hello). Of course you need to respond which can be a challenge at 60Km an hour!
Once back down at sea level it’s a short ride along the Golden mile into Marbella or Puerto Banus for a coffee while you sit by the sea.
If you get a chance to ride the Istan road you really shouldn’t think twice!