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How to Plan a Cycling Holiday in Catalonia

Posted 08 Dec 2023

We understand that planning a cycling holiday can initially feel daunting and overwhelming but with 40 years of experience and extensive regional knowledge, you’re in safe hands with us. With the addition of Catalonia to our tour collection, we wanted to share some tips and tricks that’ll give you a head start. Whether you’re an expert in Hispanic culture or new to this side of Europe, pedalling in Spain is the most amazing adventure. So, here are some things to keep in mind as you begin to think about your cycling holiday in Spain.

How to plan a cycling holiday in Catalonia

Which Tour?

Catalonia is indeed incredibly vast with varying landscapes throughout the region. On our tours, you’ll see a snippet of every type of terrain as you ride down from the magnificent Pyrenees Mountains to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. All our tours in Catalonia are leisurely with largely flat routes and only a few small ascents. It’s worth noting that each of our three tours in Catalonia visit different locations.

If you’re looking for stunning natural sights, our Catalonia Mountains to Sea tour is the one for you. From peaceful mountain views and ancient medieval villages to the breathtaking beauty of La Garroxta National Park and the gorgeous Spanish coastline. Alternatively, if you’re into history and culture our other two tours: A Taste of Catalonia and Flavours of Catalonia will suit you perfectly. While they both explore historical Catalan sights and delicious regional cuisine, Flavours of Catalonia is more of a culinary journey with many visits to renowned gastronomic centres and a guided food tour of Girona. Meanwhile, A Taste of Catalonia offers the exciting opportunity to follow the cultural path laid by the famous Catalan painter, Salvador Dalí whose influence is felt all over the region. You’ll stop at museums and castles which contain many of his works and you’ll even get a chance to step inside his own castle and eat at the Figueres restaurant, where Dalí was a regular guest.

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Which cycling tour in Catalonia to choose

Where to go?

Within its borders, you’ll find a strong Catalan personality, a rich culture and lively traditions. Many take an interest in this region for its unique autonomy which makes it very distinguishable from typical Spanish regions. It’s true that Catalonia is defined by its distinct food, colourful nature and historical sights. Therefore, we thought it would be good to give you some initial direction based on these 3 important Catalan characteristics.

Nature

Catalonia is saturated with untamed natural beauty from magnificent mountains, cobbled towns and striking gorges to peaceful coastal towns, staggering cliffs and silver coves. On our tours, we visit the national park of La Garroxta, an incredible sight of natural wonder with many extinct volcanic cones and jutting rock faces shaping the land.  It is also home to countless plant and wildlife species, many of which are rare and endemic to Catalonia. Another notable spot is the stunning little countryside town of Sant Joan de les Abadesses which is surrounded by natural scenery. Rolling emerald hills and vast, red pine forests encompass the tiny town and nurture the Ter River which runs from east to west.

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Nature on cycling tours in Catalonia

Food

The cuisine in Catalonia is reflective of its contrasting landscape which ranges from national parks to a sparkling coastline. Namely, the city of Girona is famous for its eccentric culinary creations and pintxos (Catalan tapas dishes) which mix rural produce from the countryside with seafood caught on the shoreline. Just north of Girona, the National Park of La Garroxta is internationally renowned for its “volcanic” cuisine whose raw ingredients are harvested from the area's fertile volcanic soil.  Additionally, the southern town of Palámos produces some of the most organic seafood that you’ll ever taste! This working fishing village is famous for catching prawns, particularly the Palámos Gambas, which are a delicacy eaten in fine-dining and gourmet restaurants worldwide. Read our blog ‘7 Dishes You Have to Try in Catalonia’ to find out more about this region's culinary excellence.

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Food on cycling holidays to Catalonia

Sights

Catalonia is like a pick a mix of gothic churches, museums and galleries. Ancient churches and monasteries are key focal points for life in Spain where communities congregate to celebrate seasonal festivals and practise traditions. Given this, you are almost guaranteed to find a beautifully constructed church or cathedral in nearly every Spanish town and will pedal past many on your tour. Girona’s Cathedral is hard to miss, its grand structure watches over the city while hidden inside is a 14th-century silver altarpiece and many magnificently carved fantastical beasts and biblical scenes. Along your cycle tour, you’ll also encounter buildings of arts and culture including Dalí’s castle museum and the awe-inspiring Greco-Roman ruins in the ancient city of Empúries.

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Sights to see on cycling holidays in Catalonia

When to go?

You can be assured that whatever time of year you visit Catalonia, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous sunny weather. However, depending on what kind of holiday you’re looking for, some months of the year may suit you better than others. Subjectively, the best time to visit Catalonia is from May to early June when the wildflowers and fragrant plants blossom cover the landscape. If you’re a sunseeker, you should go between June and August when you can spend time at the beach and return will a glowing tan. Whereas, the months of March, April, September and October offer milder weather with a warm breeze.

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When to go on cycling holiday to Catalonia

A few final words…

Before you go, it's always good fun to try and learn a couple of Catalan words to impress your fellow cyclists. Some useful phrases which will delight the locals are bon dia – good morning or bona tarda – good afternoon. If you want to be polite, say: si us plau (see-oss-plow) – please and merci – thank you. Quant costa…? (Kwant coh-sta) – how much is…? And bon profit! (bon pro-feet) – bon appetit might come in handy. And lastly adéu (ah-deh-ou) – Goodbye!

Call one of our experts on 020 3944 2314 to tailor-make your cycling holiday.

Other posts you may like:

Best villages in Umbria
Catalonia cycling routes
15 best cycling destinations in Europe

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