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Girona

Catalonia | europe

The one and only

Outstand terrain and diverse scenery are what make Girona stand out.

The Pyrenees set the scene in the north — find just about any type of climb without needing to travel miles for the fun. Or go east and stumble upon the famous Mediterranian gem, Costa Brava. The coast is ripped with small bays and rocks hanging over the rich blue sea. Possibly the best coastal stretch of cyclable road there is, with almost no traffic.

And what’s more to Girona? In every other direction, you will find rolling hills, lakes, and towns. An endless network of empty roads tied together, a network that is maintained to perfection.

THE VIBE

Over the last couple of decades, Girona has gained massive international recognition. In the early 2000s, the US Postal Pro Cycling Team moved to Girona. Armstrong, Hincapie, Hamilton, and the others were drawn to the perfect training conditions and easy way of life. Now, about 100 elite cyclists call Girona home.

Visit Girona and there is a good chance you’ll eat in a restaurant owned by a pro peloton rider, or the guy making your coffee has won a stage or two somewhere down the track. On your bike, you are guaranteed to pass riders you follow on Instagram — that guy flying up on a climb is a pro getting prepped for a classic.

Girona is a cyclist’s place. It’s humble, discreet, and doesn’t boast. Loved by serious riders, you will want to come back over and over again.

TERRAIN

It’s no secret why Girona is so popular with the pros.

Nestled in the north of Catalonia and marked by the Pyrenees —the upper parts of the country are the mountainous foothills that are high and steep. Сombined with perfect road networks, this makes a real cycling paradise, especially for climbing.

But the key is the terrain diversity. From Girona, you have access to world-class loops with decent climbing, but you can also manage to get a fairly flattish ride if that’s what you are looking for.

THE WEATHER

Girona’s climate is mostly Mediterranean, but the proximity of the Pyrenees gives it a somewhat whimsical and unpredictable character. The weather can change faster than a peloton going downhill.

The best months are Spring, March to June, and Autumn, September to December. Girona’s Summer is a touch cooler than in other areas of Catalonia, so can be quite pleasant for riders who like to sweat. If you are up to serious Pyrenean riding, then you want to hit the warmer months as it gets cold up there. Winter is still cyclable, but make sure you bring full cover gear with you and be prepared for occasional rains.

5 rides in Girona

View all rides in Girona

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!

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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