Home > Catalonia Green and Blue
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. To get more details, check out our blog.
Note that we offer easier tours in Catalonia. If you feel "Green and Blue" is too challenging, try our "" tour.
For travel and cycling tips to Catalonia, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
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 — it’s even home to the Garmin-Slipstream Pro Cycling Team. Before cycling became popular, Girona was home to many diverse inhabitants who are responsible for the city’s rich history. Narrow cobblestone streets wind past ancient buildings dating back to the 12th century. Your “base” is conveniently located downtown, near all major attractions, including the Arab Baths, the Rambla de la Llibertat and the Cathedral.
Following breakfast, one of our local representatives will go over your itinerary in step-by-step detail. Leaving Girona, you will head southeast toward the Mediterranean. As you near the sea, you’ll notice an increase in elevation leading to the Sant Grau climb. From there, you will head north on a magical route along the coast toward the town of Sant Feliu de Guixols. This port-turned-beach resort town is situated on the romantic Sant Pol Bay. Here you will spend the evening fewer only a few minutes' walk from the beautiful Costa Brava.
Heading towards the town of Calonge, you’ll tackle the Col de la Ganga, the day’s major climb. Once that’s out of the way, 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. After coasting down the mountains, make your way north and pass through three typical medieval villages: Forallac, Ullastret, and Palau Sator.
Once you cross the Ter River, you’ll arrive in the town of Torroella de Montgrí, worthy of a stop. Head towards another medieval town, Bellcaire d’Empordà, and ride on to reach the incredible archaeological site of Empúries. Since the early 20th century, this major excavation project continually uncovers relics dating back to ancient Greek settlers (around 575 BC). Spend the night in Sant Pere Pescador, a scenic coastal town with a large beach!
Start today by wheeling through Empordà’s wine region, consisting of 41 vineyards. Some estates will be open, if you fancy a tasting. Then, travel through the medieval town of Castello d’Empuries. Having been an 11th century economic center and capital of the county, the town center combines the best of quiet rural charms with magnificent medieval architecture. After crossing the Serra de Rhodes natural park, you will reach the coast and the town of El Port de la Selva. This town is tucked back in a bay along the Costa Brava, wedged between the Cap de Creus and Serra de Rhodes natural parks. It is also home to the impressive Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, built into the side of the Verdera Mountain.
If “sexy” could be used to describe a ride, it would certainly apply to the last part of today’s ride! You’ll pedal north along Catalonia’s curvy coast, passing tiny coves bedecked in immaculate white, comma-shaped beaches and glittering Mediterranean water, creating a visual metaphor of Mother Nature in a corset. After crossing into France, you’ll have another wine tasting opportunity in Banyuls-sur-Mer, your base for the night. The vineyards here produce a sweet wine that is considered to be France’s most complex vin doux naturel.
Although not known for any specific site, Banyuls-sur-Mer has received the prestigious 'Pavillon Bleu' award for its cleanliness and facilities. With respect to that, you may wish to take dip in the Mediterranean or enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the many waterfront restaurants before starting today’s ride.
Leaving Banyuls, you will pedal north, parallel to the coast (known as the Cote Vermeille in France) and toward the town of Collioure. This shockingly beautiful coastal village has an artistic past and its scenic views have inspired creative masters like Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Dufy, Chagall and Marquet.
You will continue north through a few more picturesque coastal resort villages to reach Argeles-sur-Mer. 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 bullfighting series. You’ll spend the night in Amélie-les-Bains, a town noted for its numerous thermal spas.
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 Col d’Ares. This mountain pass reaches 1,513 meters (4,963 feet) and serves as the border between France and Spain. Gravity will then pull you down into Camprodon at incredible speeds, 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 restaurants and surrounding “austere beauty,” blends old with new, highlighted by the Carmelite Cloisters, which date back to the Renaissance.
Your final day of biking takes 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 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 Sant Hilari Sacalm ascent, a famous training ride for many pros, you will pass through the spa town and capital of the comarca (county), Santa Coloma de Farners before turning north toward Girona.
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice. If needed, we can arrange for your transfer to Barcelona.
4 nights in 4-star hotels, 2 nights in 3-star hotels, and 1 night in a luxury farmhouse
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