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Europe sport climbing destinations on a budget with no car

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 Rhaegalex 24 Dec 2021

Looking for a place, if covid allows, to get away sport climbing for a few days at the start of Feb. As a group of students, we aren't old enough to cheaply hire a car, so ideally crag within walking distance from a place to stay, and bus or cheap taxi from the airport. 

Any suggestions for where to go would be appreciated!

 Rhaegalex 24 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Leaving from South of the UK

In reply to Rhaegalex:

El Chorro is great for this: cheap flights to malaga, easy (45 min train) from malaga to el Chorro, and you don't need a car once you're there. Tons of climbing within walking distance of accomodation in Chorro - I stayed at the Olive Branch for a month and had a fantastic time. They have a bunkhouse or camping.

 Sean_J 25 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Kalymnos? Chorro is a good suggestion too btw. Early Feb might not be ideal for either venue though.

 Si dH 25 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

We went to Siurana a couple of times as students and just after. Taxi from Reus airport was about 50€ I think (in 2006!) via a supermarket to pick up most of the week's food. Once at the camping with food supply we didn't go anywhere all week, all the climbing is easy walking distance.

In reply to oaty:

Only thing to note with this is that the train isn't always so easy. Depending on flight arrival times, you can expect to be taking significantly longer than 45 mins by train - a few hours between airport and accommodation. But agreed, ideal for walking distance crags, there's heaps to go at near the olive branch. 

In reply to Rhaegalex:

El chorro is often touted as a good "car free" venue. I am sceptical of this.

Unhelpful train times can easily use up a full day at either end of the holiday (you may get lucky). 

The nearest supermarket, Alora, is a train ride away which will suck up more climbing time.

A few crags are accessible on foot from the village, some will require an hours walk without a car, more climbing time lost.

Kalymnos, good but you will have to fly via Athens which may take up some time.

Riglos, not really sport climbing but the crags are 5 mins from the village.

Antalya, there is accomodation below the crags, I haven't yet been but I hear it is very handy.

Stella, if you can get yourselves accom in the village there is enough for a trip at a single crag.

Not having transport will always clip your wings significantly. Try to find a work around, older friends or siblings prepared to come and cop for the driving? Pay the additional premium? Look into a guided group trip which provides transport.

Not much of the above comes cheap but if you look at euros per route and/or variety of experience as a measure of success they may be worthwhile. 

 NinaC 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Geyikbayiri, Turkey is do able without a car. You can access most of the sectors from most campsites on foot. 

https://thecragjournal.com/2021/08/03/climbing-and-culture-in-turkey-part-1/?amp=1
 

You would have to get a taxi / bus from the airport to the village and maybe back into the town to get a food shop (although I suspect it wouldn’t be too expensive)  

You’d also be able to hitch hike up and down as there’s often many climbers and locals coming and going. We had a car, and it was very affordable as hire cars go and picked up a few hitchhikers. 

Post edited at 17:12
 john arran 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Where we are in Ariège is very doable without a car. There's even an overnight train from Paris that stops within 5km of here. I've added over 70 routes (4c - 8a+) within easy walking distance and there are dozens more put up by other people. Probably double that if you're willing to walk 30-45 minutes each way. Of course there are many hundreds more that are accessible by car within 5 to 15 mins drive.
May be a bit of a gamble in early February though, as there could equally likely be perfect sun or snowy winter weather. While it's extremely rare not to be able to climb anyway, it's probably a good idea to wait until early March or to come in the Autumn. The summer will be a bit warm for the very local crags as they aren't in shade for much of the day.

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Presley Whippet:

 

> Stella, if you can get yourselves accom in the village there is enough for a trip at a single crag.

Not sure exactly how far it is from Sella village to the climbing (4km?), but I am guessing the walk would soon pale,

Chris

 GDes 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Another vote for siurana. Taxi to the Campsite, loads within walking distance, bar on the Campsite to keep warm in the evenings. 

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

From my experience, February isn't guaranteed anywhere in Europe tbh (the Canaries excepted). Of all the suggestions here the best options would be Kalymnos (a bit/very dead in Feb), Geyikbayiri (seriously over-priced accommodation) and Ariege (in the high mountains so a bit of pot luck),

Chris

Post edited at 19:33
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Yeah, on second thoughts, the walk could be too much. There was a refugio below the crag, I am unsure if it is still there.

Another option would be Chullila, bus from Valencia and the crags here really are in walking distance. 

 Kevster 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Brean down can be a sun trap in Feb. T shirt weather. Also plenty of accomodation in the village. Lol. 

Riglos was mentioned further up the thread. We found it a bit niche as a venue/style and if wet the rock becomes loose/unglued. Also depends on the people and ability. Somewhat run out at times, fiesta and Zulu are not beginner grades. 

Also loving some of the walk in times. Even with a car many crags can be over an hour's approach - especially if you don't know the area. I realise Feb and ceuse aren't bedfellows but that walk in sticks out in my mind! Guide book says 45mins, experience tells me almost double that. I'd say a 40min walk in is fair game anywhere. Chorro, walking from the olive branch (is it still open?) Can be a 40min walk to many areas. Least with my legs and big pack. Though I can also go to stanage and take 40mins to get to the bottom of my section of crag. So may be just me?

Good luck op. Theres always bouldering or using native guide books. There's so many crags in the limestone areas which UK guides don't cover. There's often a local crag in plain view. 

 dan gibson 26 Dec 2021
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Geyik overpriced accommodation?

Last time I was there albeit 5 years ago, I paid 5 euros a night, and discount for staying a month. 

 mike reed 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Another vote for geyik. 

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 27 Dec 2021
In reply to dan gibson:

When we there just before the pandemic we got a three bedroom apartment on the edge of Antalya for less than the price of one of those wooden huts. When we climbed at Olympos we rented a big house for €9 a night, so yes, overpriced,

Chris

 racodemisa 27 Dec 2021
In reply to NinaC:

I agree It ticks all the boxes.Great climbing and crags with a good grade range .Low cost of living specially if you take tents and you don't need a car with access to the crags being 'doorstep' .The airfare will be a little more than Spain but the cost will balance out I'm sure.

.

 mike123 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> From my experience, February isn't guaranteed anywhere in Europe tbh (the Canaries excepted). Of all the suggestions here the best options would be Kalymnos (a bit/very dead in Feb), Geyikbayiri (seriously over-priced accommodation) and Ariege (in the high mountains so a bit of pot luck),

> Chris

Hi Chris , this has got me thinking. if sun was more important than top quality cragging where in the canaries would you go for a weeks sun  , with a bit of cragging thrown in ? 

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 27 Dec 2021
In reply to mike123:

Arico on Tenerife is the obvious easy answer, a lot of climbing nearby, and with easy access to El Tiede and the coast. 
Quite a bit of it is on the RockFax App if you want to check it out,

Chris

 mike123 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Chris Craggs: ta . Will take a look later . 

 henwardian 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Si dH:

I'd have to give Siurana a downvote on the basis of a February visit. It might be nice but it could also easily be very cold and covered in snow.

For my money, you need somewhere a bit further South and/or lower down in February. Kalymnos seems like a good bet (it has been a long time since I was there though). I loved climbing at San Vito Lo Capo but I was in a van and I'm not sure how much of the climbing would be easily accessible by public transport (there is quite a bit within walking distance of the campground though).

 seankenny 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Montanejos in Spain has a lot of crags within walking distance of the town, tho some are further away. However it can be a bit old skool, both in terms of grading and bolting, so you never know what you’re going to get.

Aged 19 I did a sports climbing trip to Spain and managed to hire a car, if you can do this then I would recommend it. The extra flexibility may well be worth the extra cost. 
 

And whilst nowhere is guaranteed in February I have had a lot of good trips to Spain at that time. Chulilla should be nice, Lleida area can be okay (can also be really cold), same with Siurana. Mainly you need dry weather which is pretty common there at that time (in my experience). 

 Si dH 27 Dec 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> I'd have to give Siurana a downvote on the basis of a February visit. It might be nice but it could also easily be very cold and covered in snow.

> For my money, you need somewhere a bit further South and/or lower down in February. Kalymnos seems like a good bet (it has been a long time since I was there though). I loved climbing at San Vito Lo Capo but I was in a van and I'm not sure how much of the climbing would be easily accessible by public transport (there is quite a bit within walking distance of the campground though).

Yes, you're right. I was really focusing my answer on the title of the thread and not the time of year. We went in March. People do go throughout the winter but early Feb would be risky, and probably too cold for camping if trying to do it cheaply.

 dan gibson 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I would say you got excellent value. That doesn't mean 5 euros a night is overpriced.

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 27 Dec 2021
In reply to dan gibson:

> I would say you got excellent value. That doesn't mean 5 euros a night is overpriced.

I was referring to the cabins rather than the camping - I assume that is the €5 a night deal.

Chris

 jimtitt 27 Dec 2021
In reply to henwardian:

I loved climbing at San Vito Lo Capo but I was in a van and I'm not sure how much of the climbing would be easily accessible by public transport (there is quite a bit within walking distance of the campground though).

The town is only 1 or 2km from most of the climbing, plenty of people stay in the town and walk.

 Graeme Hammond 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Rhaegalex:

Recently went to Chulilla without a car, we flew to Valencia and got a taxi from the airport which was 70 euros so if split between 4 it isn't too bad. If you get an early flight out and a late flight back it would be possible to climb for a short session on the same day, we did this on the outward journey. For the return journey we enquired about a bus but they didn't run on a Saturday. There is a climbers hostel in the village which is reasonably priced (unfortunately it was full when we went but we stayed in a reasonably priced excellent hotel instead. Basic food supplies and the guidebook can be obtained in the village. The crags are walkable from the village, some are very close, however some are bit further walk down the gorge (about 40mins i think) to Oasis etc where the best climbing is located (from my understanding), however it is a lovely walk and you can still get plenty done. Not sure of the weather conditions in February but looking at the logbooks stuff gets done.

 Mike Nolan 27 Dec 2021
In reply to Graeme Hammond:

I think Chulilla is a great suggestion. I’ve met a few people who have done it using taxis to and from the airport. Worth considering Covid testing requirements though, some people we met last year had to get a taxi to Valencia a few days before their return flight to get a test, as there’s nothing in the village itself. I suppose this could add to the cost, but would be the same for most climbing areas in Spain. 

All of the worthwhile climbing is within walking distance of the village, but the best stuff (Oasis etc.) is about an hours walk away, although plenty of people walk this every day. Should be easy to get a lift as there’s plenty of people around in vans/cars. That being said, there’s loads of great climbing near the village too (Sex Shop, Tio Jose Etc.)

The best of the climbing is in the 7a-7c range, and there’s not a huge amount in the 6s here, especially close to the village, so that’s worth considering too. 

I imagine the weather will be fine in February. I’m here at the moment, 22° today and despite the stronger wind, we were still climbing in a t-shirt in the shade. The sunny crags would be too hot at the moment until about 2pm when they go into the shade. 

In reply to Rhaegalex:

Leonidio would be good. Fly to Athens, bus to Leonidio. Plenty of climbing in walking distance from the town for a few days/couple of weeks climbing I'd say.

You would lose the travel day at either end, but that's not uncommon in my experience

 UKB Shark 28 Dec 2021
In reply to Graeme Hammond:

> There is a climbers hostel in the village which is reasonably priced (unfortunately it was full when we went but we stayed in a reasonably priced excellent hotel instead. 

 

Only after you’d spent a night in a cave though 🤣

In reply to Presley Whippet:

> El chorro is often touted as a good "car free" venue. I am sceptical of this.

> Unhelpful train times can easily use up a full day at either end of the holiday (you may get lucky). 

> The nearest supermarket, Alora, is a train ride away which will suck up more climbing time.

> A few crags are accessible on foot from the village, some will require an hours walk without a car, more climbing time lost.

Nah, El Chorro is a great car free venue imo. Grocery shopping is an issue, but personally I would just stay at olive branch and get them to make my meals for me. Been a while since I've been there but I think €15 a day gets you a big breakfast and a big dinner. Think they do lunch sandwiches too for those that want them. But the breakfast and dinner are big enough to not need lunch, imo. 

Tons of crags within walking distance (45 minutes) from Olive Branch. Plenty to keep you going for a week or two. 

First time I went to Chorro (olive branch) we had a car, and barely used it. 

£50 for flights to Malaga in the winter. Budget £30 a night for Olive Branch and food. Train ticket is what, £10? 

A week of climbing for about £270. I am convinced it can't be beaten in regards to climbing on a budget, and without a car. 

Post edited at 10:01
 Alex1 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Si dH:

Plenty of people do camp in Siruana through the winter - if you have a decent tent and sleeping back then it would be ok (particularly as you can hide in the bar / cooking shelter). There are also fixed caravans that would be fairly cheap with a big group getting cosy...  But yes the risk of snow makes a lower/southern option a more reliable shout.


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