The best routes for experienced cyclists
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.
Varied terrain, good weather and specialised accommodation
One key difference with respect to countries in central and northern Europe and other cycling destinations is the fine weather. The mild temperatures throughout the year mean you can enjoy this sport 365 days a year.
Highly diverse terrain awaits you. Find out how, to the north, the mountain passes in the Val d’Aran and the Catalan Pyrenees merge with coves hidden between the cliffs and pine trees of the Costa Brava. Visit unique natural parks such as Montseny, Montnegre and Montserrat on the Costa Barcelona. To the south you can enjoy the Costa Daurada and Terres de l’Ebre, the gateway to paths that climb up the mountains of Prades and Els Ports. Take the opportunity to relax at the end of the stage in accommodation with services tailored to cyclists.
The Mediterranean from the heights of Girona
If you’re a cycling enthusiast you’ll be interested in this. The Catalan Tourism Agency certifies towns with a range of cycling tourism activities on offer. This will make it easier for you to locate them. Girona is one of them. The city has become one of the world’s cycling capitals. You’ll feel it in the atmosphere. In the surrounding area you can cover the routes which are used regularly by dozens of professional cyclists for their training. Many of them have even made this Catalan city their usual place of residence. It also has legendary climbs such as Àngels i Rocacorba and Lloret Castle. The panoramic views they provide will remind you of picture postcards.
On the Costa Brava, towns such as Blanes and Lloret de Mar allow you to pedal along routes which offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean. The climbs and descents are constant for several kilometres.
Pedalling along the Costa Barcelona
Santa Susanna and Calella, situated on the Maresme coast, have become two exceptional destinations for bicycle tourism. They offer specialised accommodation and attractive routes for different levels of skill. If you’re a fan of the road, you have to try other circuits on the Costa Barcelona, such as the ride around Montseny and the route that climbs up to the Turó de l’Home, both of which involve a 2,000-metre ascent. If you’re looking for new motivating routes on your mountain bike, Calella is the gateway to the Montnegre i el Corredor Natural Park and the start of routes along the steep and rocky coast. You won’t be disappointed.
Through the fields of the Costa Daurada
There are also a large number of itineraries for two-wheel excursions along the Costa Daurada. Some start in Cambrils, Salou and Vila-seca beside the sea while others are located inland. For example, from Mont-roig del Camp you can reach a network of up to 140 kilometres of roads surrounded by nature, Priorat vineyards and beautiful fields where pedalling is a real pleasure. Many of these routes climb up the mountains of the Costa Daurada and provide excellent panoramic views of Camp de Tarragona. Don’t miss the Cistercian Route beneath the Prades mountains, a path that takes in three beautiful monasteries in Poblet, Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges in majestic natural settings.
The Pyrenees on two wheels
If you like mountain biking, here are some suggestions for a visit to the Catalan Pyrenees. The ride around the Cadí mountain range is one of the most difficult proposals. Passing through valleys and towns, it borders traditional paths linking up a 200-kilometre route that starts and ends in La Seu d’Urgell. The Val d’Aran is another paradise for mountain bike lovers, with technical itineraries, lengthy descents and major descents and climbs surrounded by spectacular Pyrenean landscapes and the wild nature.
As you can see, many delightful paths run through various Catalan towns, many of them in the counties of Cerdanya, Solsonès, Garrotxa and Berguedà, providing the perfect setting for cycling with an extra attraction, namely the chance to enjoy the cultural heritage, gastronomy and traditions of Catalonia and make the most of your experience.
Are you up for it?
Other 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.
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.
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.
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.