From the Pyrenees in the north, to the Ebro Delta in the south, Catalonia offers cycling lovers the ideal conditions to explore this fascinating region.
Countless road and mountain bike trails weave in and around the diverse landscape, from long-distance routes to a network of 6,400 mountain bike trails. Families especially will appreciate Catalonia’s superb network of ‘Greenway’ routes along paved over disused railway lines.
But a cycling holiday here is about more than just pedal power. You can choose to follow the coast down the Costa Brava, tackle the peaks of the Pyrenees climb the wooded volcanoes of the Garrotxa, ride through the flat wetlands of the Ebro Delta, or tour vineyards. But a Catalan cycling holiday will invariably include the chance to sample a delicious Catalan meal and a stay in a friendly family-run hotel.
Road rides | try these!
For road cyclists the joy of Catalonia is cruising uncrowded roads or taking on challenging climbs in the Pyrenees or coastal mountain ranges. What all rides have in common, from epic mountain rides, to shorter, flatter, easier rides for all levels, is that they let you experience the Catalan scenery, culture and history up close and personal.
Santa Susanna - Volta al Montseny
This is a long, circular itinerary, traversing the coastal mountain ranges, the northern plain of Vallès, through the valley of the river Tordera, and crossing the Montseny Natural Park. Take a moment to stop and rest in the gardens of Jalpí Castle, a 19th century walled fortress, surrounded by its lake.
Cambrils Mar I Muntanya
This very entertaining route from the coastal town of Cambrils lives up to its name of ‘Sea and Mountain’ by taking you through the wine lands of Priorat and Baix Camp. After the third and final climb of the route, Coll Teixeta, you descend to Duesaigües, a village surrounded by ravines and the castle d’Escornalbou.
This long distance route is a veritable challenge for those who want to test their cycling strength and stamina. Its irregular circuit begins and ends on the coast near the coastal holiday resort town of Lloret del Mar on the Costa Brava, taking on some seriously steep climbs through the volcanic cones and lava flows of the Garrotxa region inland.
Duration: 6 days
Pirinexus is a dip-in, dip-out circular trans-border touring cyclist route which links the regions on both sides of the Pyrenees at the eastern end of the mountain range between Spain and France. The main section of the route is 353 km long, on top of which there are 175 km of additional itineraries which take you to the many sights of interest along the route, such as the Dali Museum at Figueres. Almost half of the entire route runs along greenways and the rest uses rural tracks and quiet roads.
Pirinexus transborder route
Pirinexus is a dip-in, dip-out circular trans-border touring cyclist route, which links the regions on both sides of the Pyrenees in the east between Spain and France. The main section of the route is 353 km long, on top of which there are 175 km of additional itineraries. Almost half of the entire route runs along greenways, with the rest on rural tracks and quiet roads.
La Ruta del carrilet garrotxa to Empordà
This easy ride along old converted railways which have been paved is perfect for a first family bike tour, as it’s flat and traffic free. Ride from Olot in the heart of the volcanic Garrotxa region to the coastal village of Sant Feliu de Guíxols and most of the riding will even be slightly downhill, as you pedal through the fascinating medieval city of Girona to the sea.
MTB rides | try these!
Catalonia is a dream for mountain bikers with more than 6,400km of marked itineraries, including some amazing long-distance rides that link its network of 18 Mountain Bike Centres.
You can discover the beauty of the landscape in the Val d’Aran, go around Cadí-Moixeró through the impressive crags of the Cadí Serra, do a section of the Camí dels Bons Homes in the region of Berguedà or delve through Paisatges Barcelona into the Vall de Sau-Collsacabra, where the Cabrerès-MTB is held every May.
In Terres de Lleida, in the Montsec, you can try a variety of routes between the reservoirs of the Noguera.
On the Costa de Barcelona you can go on a route through the hermitages along the paths of the Montnegre, and on the Costa Daurada there is a multitude of MTB tracks that take you through the mountains and along the beaches.
points for MTB itineraries in the area. The centres themselves cover over 100km of routes, with differing levels of difficulty, and they are all signed with information on local nature, landscape and culture.
Centre BTT Pallars Jussà, Pre-pyrenees
Marked trails: 263km
The Pallars Jussà region is nestled in the Pre-Pyrenees (Montsec, Comiols and Boumort). The Mountain Bike Centre spreads out around La Pobla de Segur, the region’s geographical centre, and the routes criss-cross around the Sant Antoni reservoir and through the basin formed by the Noguera Pallaresa and Flamisell Rivers, which flow down from the surrounding mountain ranges.
Centre BTT santa Susanna Montnegre
Marked trails: 318km
This historic region between Barcelona and the coast is ideal for exploring by mountain bike. From the Santa Susanna MTB Centre there are a total of eight mountain bike itineraries, ranging from challenging all-day rides such as the 25km Santa Susanna to Tordera route to the 7km Ruta de les Ermites, which will have you visiting historical hermitages and spectacular beaches.
La ruta Trans Catalunya
Marked trails: 1,220km
This challenging long-distance mountain bike ride circuit takes in the whole of Catalonia, linking up the 18 different BTT Catalunya Mountain Bike Centres, and enabling riders to fully experience the incredibly diverse landscape of Catalonia. Of course you don’t have to ride it all in one go!
At the moment there are three defined itineraries of the Trans Catalunya route:
• Catalunya Central-Pyrenees, 8 stages, 450km.
• Mediterranean, 7 stages, 420km.
• Western, 8 stages, 350km.
Catalonia has two fascinating, family-friendly networks of Greenways (vias verdes). These are disused railway lines converted into spectacular yet easily accessible routes reserved for cyclists, walkers and horse riders, with hardly any steep inclines – perfect for children.
Terra Alta, Zafran Valley and Baix Ebre
With 40 tunnels and numerous viaducts to take you literally through the mountains and over steep ravines, this disused paved railway line runs from Arnes, past streams you can swim in and medievel mountain-top villages to Tortosa.
The four Vias Verdes sections in northern Catalonia are the Iron and Coal Route from Ripoll to Ogassa; the two Carrilet routes from Olot to Girona and Girona to Sant Feliu de Guíxols on the coast; and the ‘Little Train Route’ from Palamós to Palafrugell.
Catalonia has built up a network of cycle-friendly hotels catering to the needs of cyclists. The Bed&Bike label provides an assurance that the establishments holding it – especially accommodation and restaurants – offer suitable services which have been thought out with cyclists in mind, from single night stays, to laundry facilities.
Other features include:
• Flexible meal times.
• Cycle-friendly menus.
• In-house guides to recommend routes and provide technical advice.
• Workshop area to allow you to carry out basic repairs to your bike.
• Secure area within the premises to store your bikes overnight.