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Catalonia

Spain | europe

From blue seas of the Mediterranean to the high peaks of the Pyrenees it’s all cycling bliss

CYCLING CATALONIA

Perfect roads without end

You can go out with your family to ride the network of bike paths and greenways that link many Catalan municipalities. They travel through extraordinary natural surroundings. You can ride around peacefully and without rushing in the Delta de l’Ebre, the Vall Fosca, Collserola or among the volcanoes of La Garrotxa.

Cycling for everyone
The love of biking knows no bounds. On a hand bike, for example, you can explore the Terra Alta or Girona greenways. Catalonia, the land of great cyclists and magnificent mountain passes, gives you roads, paths and greenways for a bicycle excursion for all levels.

Catalonia, a tradition of cycling
For decades, the hundreds of cycle touring associations in the country have been creating space in the Catalan local road network. On weekends, the curviest roads and those with steep hills are the perfect place for bike-lovers to cruise around with friends for the sheer pleasure of the sport. The most famous peaks, such as Turó de l’Home, Coll del Pradell and Coll de Collfred, are some of the goals for the mountaineering cyclists. On the Costa Brava, the Costa Daurada or Costa Barcelona there are equally beautiful routes for groups looking for a flatter ride. There is a reward halfway through: a good pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) with sausage in some of the traditional roadside restaurants.

 

QUALITY OF THE RIDE

Catalonia generally boasts – take my word – best road network for cycling in the world. Countless single line secondary roads with next to non-existing road traffic and maintained in excellent condition. Costa Daurada is no exception, and you can spend weeks riding different routes being based out of single point.

TERRAIN

Well yes Catalonia is best known for the Pyrenees and their outskirts that’s up North. But that in no way means that South is flat! In fact, Catalonia is generally massively mountainous land with barely and flat stretch except for some riverbeds. Southern Catalonia and Costa Daurada region is how to many many superb hills and passes. First there is coastal ridge that’s basically goes along entire peninsula and mountains rise everywhere as you direct yourself from the coast to the inlands. Then there are couple of real gems. The Prades mountains is beautiful rocky range that boasts some nice climbs and lots of roads and endless climbing, where La Mussara climb stays apart as the iconic one for the locals. Then there are Sierra de Llaberia. And of course El Priorat – famous wine destination with some short but gruelling climbs.

THE CULTURE

Catalan culture boasts a huge history as well as it’s own unique traditions and cuisine. Taking the time to discover some authentic Catalan traditions as well as those well known Spanish ones will only make your trip to Barcelona an even better one.

8 rides in Catalonia

View all rides in Catalonia

Further Afield

Distance
190 km

Gain
2659 m

Type
Loop

Time
8/9 hours or 2 days

A big day out on the bike taking in the Gavarres and Serra de Rodes Mountains on a route to the crystal blue waters of the Med. You will definitely earn your stripes with this one! It’s a ride through true Salvador Dali country - although this experience will be firmly rooted in reality. We start the day with the 10km climb of Els Angels just to get those legs and lungs going, take it easy then enjoy the descent. It’s then north across the plains via Pubol (location of one of Dali's houses and retreat Brugera de Pubol) to the base of the Serra de Rodes. The first big climb of Serra de Rodes is from the town of Vilajuïga to the viewpoint just before the Monastery de Sant Pere de Rodes. 7.6km at 6%, so not easy! You are then chasing down stunning views of the Mediterranean on the run into El Port de la Selva. The second climb is more forgiving on the way to Cadaques, another 7.6km but only 3% average gradient. Now in Cadaques, you can choose to call it an overnighter or refuel and head back. The return starts with the climb out of Cadaques, 4.6km at 4.9%, followed by an 8km descent back onto the plains. Big climbs out of the way the return to Girona can be flat if you divert through Celra, or stick with the route and climb Els Angels one more time…

El Àngels, Girona

Distance
79 km

Gain
994 m

Type
Loop

Time
3-4 hours

A certain ‘ex’ seven times tour winner regularly rode this route for a tough short workout, but there’s far more than just a test of fitness to be had. This loop is an ideal introduction to road cycling in Girona.

Heading west from Girona this famous loop climbs to the Santuari de la Mare de Déu dels Àngels (the chapel where surrealist artist Salvador Dali was married) up and over the winding roads of the northern Gavarres mountain massif and down to the village Monells. From here, we head due south east, back across the Gavarres to the town of Cassà de la Selva and into the valley, crossing and avoiding the main route back into Girona. It’s far quieter and more picturesque, so enjoy the views and villages on the final flat run back into town.

Coast Loop

Distance
95 km

Gain
1188 m

Type
Loop

Time
3.5-4.5 hours

A ride that will burn itself solidly into the memory banks. Twisting gentle climbs, grin-inducing descents, views for miles, turquoise seas, a cycling experience for the soul. If you are cycling in Girona this is a must ride, you won’t regret it. Head to the coast!

Sant Hilari from Girona

Distance
114 km

Gain
1563 m

Type
Loop

Time
4.5 hours

For a good day’s challenge, we recommend taking on the Sant Hilari loop. This loop takes you up to the town of Sant Hilari Sacalm, inland from the coast, offering a great quiet alternative in the holiday season.

If you are in the Girona area, this ride is not to be missed!

Montserrat: climb to the Monastery from Monistrol

Distance
8.5 km

Gain
588 m

Type
6.9%

Time
40 min

There is nothing more iconic for the Catalans than the Montserrat mountain, which is considered sacred. The monastery here attracts pilgrims by the hundreds of thousands. Same time the sheer beauty of nature here makes it a Mecca for hikers and cyclists alike. So we won't exaggerate to say that climbing this mountain is a must if you want some truly unforgettable and very local experience. The views are surrealist.

Can Grau

Distance
6.3 km

Gain
362 m

Time
25 mins

This is a fenomenal climb right off the seaside from them the main road along the Costa Brava coast. With zero traffic, this road is offers nice ride with gradual gentle climb to the hill top where you'll find picturesque old church and small café if you ride in the summer. Just be wary of the little stretch with 14% gradient right before you arrive to the top. Gorgeous views are guaranteed!

La Mussara

Distance
10.5 km

Gain
636 m

Type
6%

Time
45 mins

Alt de la Musara is a picturesque cycling climb situated in the Tarragona province of Catalonia. It has been used in the Volta a Catalunya professional race, most recently in 2017 when the riders descended this side.

The climb on the Vilaplana side is characterized by a high number of hairpin bends, as it winds its way through forest towards the Prades Mountains. Very ocasionally the trees open out to offer some nice views looking back down the climb.

Alt de la Musara is nominally open year round, with only very rare closures due to snow in winter.

Rocacorba

Distance
14 km

Gain
798 m

Type
Single Climb

Time
1 hour to summit

Rocacorba has a history every cyclist should become a part of. Used for over a decade by many local pros as a test of form, the famous mountain is a challenge to anyone and everyone. The 10.7 km climb has a deceptive overall gradient of 7%. Starting teasingly gentle before levelling off and demanding your easiest gear on sections up to 11%, disciplined pacing will pay off for the last half of the climb that averages 9%. However, the quiet tree-lined road offers just enough respite to remain achievable for the determined weekend warrior. Keep your eyes peeled toward the top for the faded “Look Right” painted on the road to see spanning Pyrenean peaks through an opening in the trees.

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