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Catalonia Green & Blue: Mountains & Sea
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Catalonia Green & Blue: Mountains & Sea

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 16 people
Destination(s): France   Spain  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1235 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1270 Euro (EUR)

This is one of those rare bike tours that combine beaches and mountains, making it easy to understand why so many professional riders make this region their home base. Over the span of eight days you’ll skirt the clear, lapping waters of the Mediterranean Sea along Spain’s famed Costa Brava. You’ll pedal through the jagged reaches of the Pyrenees Mountains while crisscrossing the border of Spain and France and visiting tiny medieval villages. You’ll sample wines from world-class vineyards, wheel through thick forests dotted with castles and even pass dormant volcanoes. You’ll see firsthand the dramatic settings that inspired such artistic heavyweights as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In between you’ll stay in hotels with three and four-star ratings, and every morning your luggage will be shuttled to your next destination, so it will be waiting for you when you pedal into town and check into your hotel.

Information kits will be handed out before the tour begins and will detail everything you’ll need to know about the trip, including notable attractions and just-in-case contact numbers. So all you have to focus on is riding and snapping photos to e-mail to your jealous friends. And as an added bonus, Girona, the tour’s starting city, enjoys easy access via plane or train from most major European cities.


Day 1: Arrive in Girona.

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or even car, Girona is easily accessible. Located in Spain’s northeast corner, Girona has become a bicycling Mecca over the last decade. The city of Girona is thought of so highly that many professional cyclists make it their training base and it is now home to the Garmin-Slipstream Pro Cycling Team. But before the cycling, there was history and Girona has plenty of it. Narrow cobblestone streets wind past ancient buildings dating back to the 12th century. Your hotel is conveniently located downtown, near all major attractions including the Arab Baths, the Rambla de la Llibertat and the Cathedral.

Day 2: Girona to Sant Feliu (55 km or 34 miles; 878 m or 2,880 ft. of climbing).

Following breakfast, one of our representatives will give you an information kit and go over your itinerary in step-by-step detail. Leaving Girona, you will head southeast toward the Mediterranean. As you near the sea you will increase in elevation where you will pass the Climb Sant Grau. Then you will head north, a magical run along the coast toward the town of Sant Feliu. This port and beach resort town is situated on the romantic Sant Pol Bay and is where you will spend the evening in a hotel that is not 30 meters from the beautiful Costa Brava.

Day 3: Sant Feliu to Sant Marti d’Empuries (74 km or 46 miles; 827m or 2,714 ft. of climbing).

You’ll start you ride today heading towards the town of Calonge via the Col de la Ganga. This is the major climb of the day that you’ll tackle early. You continue through the edge of the “Las Gavarres” mountains toward the small town of La Bisbal d’Empurda, where you can visit pottery and handicraft shops. Heading north toward your destination you cross the Ter River and pass through the town of Torroella de Montgrí before end on the coast in Sant Marti d’ Empuries. It is in this medieval village that is part of the larger town, L'Escala, where you will spend the night relaxing on the Costa Brava.

Day 4: Sant Marti d’ Empuries to Banyuls-sur-Mer (85 km or 52 miles; 1,380 m or 4,528 ft. of climbing).

If “sexy” could be used to describe a ride, this one is it. You’ll pedal north along Catalonia’s curvy coast, passing tiny coves bejeweled with immaculate white, comma-shaped beaches and glittering Mediterranean water, creating the visual sense of seeing Mother Nature in a corset. You’ll also wheel through Emporda’s wine region, consisting of 41 vineyards. Some estates will be open if you fancy a tasting. After crossing through the Alberes Mountains into France, you’ll have another wine tasting opportunity in Banyuls-sur-Mer, your home for the night. The vineyards here produce a sweet wine that is considered to be France’s most complex vins doux naturels.

Day 5: Banyuls-sur-Mer to Amélie les Bains (60 km or 37miles; 1100 m or 3,600 ft. of climbing).

Hugging the coast, you’ll pedal north into Collioure, a shockingly beautiful coastal village with an artistic past. Its scenic awe has inspired such creative-giants as Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Dufy, Chagall and Marquet. From here, you’ll veer inland toward the fortified village of Céret. Located at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, its Museum of Modern Art attracts visitors from around the world for its vast Picasso collection, which includes his famous bull fighting series. You’ll spend the night in Amélie-les-Bains, a town noted for its numerous thermal spas.

Day 6: Amélie les Bains to Olot (81 km or 51 miles; 2,095 m or 9,873 ft. of climbing).

Today you’ll wheel back into Spain, but not before pedaling through Prats-de-Mollo. This fortified village of only 1,100 residents features a maze of narrow, cobbled streets that snake past rows of medieval structures, making it feel like the calendar is locked in the year 1561. From here, you’ll climb Colld’Ares. This mountain pass reaches 1,513 meters (4,963 feet) and serves as the border between France and Spain. Gravity will then speed you down into Camprodon and then into the Garrotxa Province. Eventually you’ll reach Olot, located in the heart of the Garrotxa Volcanic Natural Park. This off-the-beaten-path village, which the New York Times championed for its notable restaurants and surrounding “austere beauty,” blends old with new, highlighted by the Carmelite Cloisters, which date back to the Renaissance.

Day 7: Olot to Girona (105 km or 65 miles; 1,502 m or 4,927 ft. of climbing).

Your final day of biking will take you through the majority of Garrotxa Volcanic Natural Park before heading back into Girona. From Olot you will head south and pass numerous volcanoes that have formed the gorgeous terrain of this region. Although none of the 40 or so volcanoes are still active, the area still experiences occasional seismic activity. After exiting the park and completing the epic climb Sant Hilari Sacalm, a famous training ride of many pro’s, you will pass through the spa town and capital of the comarca (county), Santa Coloma de Farners before turning north toward Girona.

Day 8 : Departure.

After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice. If needed, we can arrange for your transfer to Barcelona.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy.

These prices include:
-7-night accommodations in 3- and 4-star properties
-Daily breakfast
-7 dinners (drinks are not included)
-Meeting with our local representative
-Marked maps and/or cue sheets
-Tourist information
-Luggage transfers
-Assistance if necessary
-All tax and service charges

These prices do not include:
-Expenses of personal nature
-Travel insurance
-All tax and service charges
-Bicycle rentals. Full-carbon bikes are available at the rate of 210 euros per bike

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Europe   France   Spain   Outdoor: Land Rambler   Bicycle Touring