El Àngels, Girona
By Jon Street
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.
Immersed in nature
Spinning out of Girona and onto the first climb, you are surrounded by the trees of the Gavarres. Keep your eyes open though as there are plenty of breaks in the foliage to witness the mountain views as you snake and wind to the summit. You have 10km of stunning scenery and an average gradient of just over 3%, get into your rhythm and enjoy! If you need a refuel, the Santuari dels Àngels cafe is the perfect opportunity.
The descent from Els Àngels winds through the trees as the climb before, a perfectly smooth sweeping road with few cars. Enjoy at the speed of your choice!
Top tip, take in the views of Madremanya village as you near the final few KMs. The route then heads across the plain toward Monells, a village with some nice traditional architecture at its centre. There’s an opportunity to refuel as well, if needed, at the restaurant in the village’s central stone arched courtyard.
From Monells it’s just under 8kms of flat to get your legs ready before you head back over the Gavarres for the final big climb. It’s back into the trees and time to find your rhythm for the 6km, 3.5% gradient ascent so enjoy it! You’ve got this! If you want a quick break, check out the views across the plains to the Mediterranean from the church, Església de Santa Pel·laia, at the crest.
Hands-on the drops, it’s descending time! There are some fantastic wiggles here to throw the bike around on, testing your bike handling skills and getting that adrenaline flowing. Out of the mountains you pass through the town of Cassà de la Selva and into the valley, this quiet and scenic route passes through the pretty villages of Sant Andreu and Fornells de la Selva. The final 15km is gently downhill, you can either take it easy or chain-gang with your friends to your favourite Girona coffee stop to cap off a stunning ride out.
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