A bicycle getaway with the family
From the Pyrenees in the north to Terres de l’Ebre in the south, following the Mediterranean coastline or delving into the wealth to be found inland, Catalonia provides a chance to enjoy a thrilling ride on two wheels with the whole family. As well as more demanding routes for experienced cyclists, there are also itineraries with gentle slopes and lanes that are suitable for everyone.
Catalonia lies in an exceptional Mediterranean setting, with a varied landscape of sea and mountains and a warm climate throughout the year. Cycling with your kids is the perfect way of enjoying its diverse geography, its rich natural and cultural heritage, its first-rate gastronomy and its family-friendly accommodation to complement your cycling adventure.
Find out more about Girona on the Vías Verdes
The best way of combining the inland region and the Mediterranean coast is to use the paths known as the Vies Verdes (greenways). These are itineraries suitable for hikers and cyclists which follow the routes of old and disused railway lines. There are three Vías Verdes in Girona and provide pleasant routes for families wishing to pedal through nature.
You can learn more about Girona on the Iron and Coal Route, a paved track that runs parallel to the River Ter and goes past the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll, the Ogassa mines and the municipality of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. The route continues as far as Olot, where the Ruta del Carrilet (Narrow-Gauge Railway Route) begins, which crosses the volcanic area of La Garrotxa, the Vall d’en Bas and the valley of the River Ter until it finally reaches the city of Girona. The second Ruta del Carrilet begins here, linking the capital city of Girona with Sant Feliu de Guíxols as it crosses three counties and through twelve towns, running through the valleys of the Fluvià, Brugent and Ter Rivers. The carrilet was a narrow-gauge train that ran between Girona and Olot until the 1960s.
Terres de l’Ebre and Terres de Lleida, also on two wheels
The Vies Verdes continue as far as Tarragona. The Baix Ebre and Terra Alta routes link the massif of Els Ports up with the mouth of the River Ebro through the forests and tunnels and over viaducts. You can visit places of interest such as the old town of Tortosa, as well as the Ebro Delta, an area with a wealth of nature and biodiversity that is ideal for a slower-paced bicycle tourism.
It’s also suitable for cycling families on the plains of Terres de Lleida. The Pedals del Canal d’Urgell route is an ideal way of finding out more about the region by discovering one of the most important hydraulic engineering works in Catalonia. All these routes can be completed within a short space of time, devoting a few days to them and stopping off at the various kinds of accommodation available in the region. Or you can choose a single stretch to enjoy at a more relaxing pace, it’s up to you.
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Other sports experiences in Catalonia
If you’re looking for the ideal destination for a sporting holiday, Catalonia is the place for you. You’ll find a pleasant Mediterranean climate, first-class sports facilities and accommodation suited to your needs. Sport is much more than physical exercise. Come to Catalonia and see for yourself.
Catalonia is a bicycle tourism paradise. More than 6,000 kilometres of roads and paths cover the region so you can discover its most privileged spots. You’ll find long routes designed to be covered over one or several days or to be travelled in various stages or circular routes from a base camp. There are also mountain routes through some of the natural settings of Catalonia which are ideal for intermediate-level and expert cyclists.
The Costa Daurada and the Terres de l’Ebre coastline invites you to sail and enjoy the feeling of freedom and at oneness with the sea. Sailing is a very popular water sport in the Catalan Mediterranean due to the pleasant climate and the coastline packed with plenty of beaches and coves where you can drop anchor. If you’re a sailing lover, there are lots of marine resorts and sailing clubs on the Costa Daurada which will teach you how to tame the wind and the waves on different courses.
Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio are two great NBA players but, before triumphing in the United States, they were the stars of their respective basketball clubs, FC Barcelona and Joventut de Badalona. Such high-level professionals don’t appear out of nowhere and grassroots sport is essential. Catalonia has numerous clubs which promote collective sports with facilities allowing them to be played by both amateur and professional teams. Team sports are popular here.
Do you want to go down rivers with descents of over six metres? Have you ever tried rowing down an Olympic-length race course? In Catalonia, if you go rowing or canoeing, you can combine your training at excellently equipped facilities with the thrill of descents and the excitement of new experiences.
If there is something that makes Catalonia stand out, it’s the varied landscape and the pleasant temperatures throughout the year, making it an excellent choice for preparing the triathlon season. You’ll find everything you need in the towns on the Catalan coast; these are the links between the roads and trails in the natural parks, the roads that wind along the seafront, the waters of the Mediterranean and the outstanding sports facilities.
Are you looking for somewhere new to train and improve your technique in the water? Catalonia offers you outstanding facilities such as outdoor and indoor Olympic swimming pools suitable for competitive and synchronised swimming, diving and water polo. Some of these facilities are also equipped with platforms and diving boards for practising jumps and somersaults.
It’s no coincidence that Catalonia has the largest number of tennis courts in Spain. With a history of racquet sports dating back over 100 years, it’s one of the pioneering locations where you can develop as a professional tennis player or simply enjoy a good match.
Enjoy an authentic golfing experience in Catalonia. A total of 40 courses located beside the Mediterranean or surrounded by mountains and nature that are well-connected with Barcelona and the other Catalan capital cities. Most of them have received numerous international prizes such as the World Golf Awards, certifying them as high-quality courses to enjoy this sporting discipline on.
Catalonia is the birthplace of numerous motor sport greats, including the Márquez brothers, Dani Pedrosa, Maverick Viñales, Pedro de la Rosa, Marc Gené, Álex Crivillé, Pol Espargaró, Sito Pons and Sete Gibernau, among many others. It also hosts first-class competitions such as the Spanish F1 Grand Prix and the Catalan MotoGP Grand Prix.
The beauty of the Costa Brava seen from its cliffs is spectacular, but it can be marvelled at from even higher up. Your chance to do so is provided by SkyDive Empuriabrava, a must-visit for adrenaline lovers. With their help you can reach an altitude of 4,000 metres and enjoy the thrill of falling through the sky with a parachute over a unique natural setting.
According to the records, fencing has been popular in Catalonia since the 13th century. This sporting discipline has a long-standing tradition in the region and nowadays places such as the Amposta Sports Technification Centre in Terres de l’Ebre continue to instruct fencing professionals.
The varied terrain of Catalonia, dotted with the high peaks of the Pyrenees and mountain ranges and ridges, makes it the ideal location for climbing. Even the legendary Californian climber Chris Sharma succumbed to the spell of this area many years ago and decided to settle and put down roots here.
Taking part in a marathon and covering 42,195 m is a major test for any athlete. In Catalonia the Barcelona Marathon has become increasingly popular year after year and it’s now the fifth largest in Europe in terms of the number of runners, after Paris, London, Berlin and Stockholm.