Welcome to the Costa Brava! We start with an easy rolling warm up ride through the fertile countryside behind L’Escala and past the Empuries, which is a very important Greek roman archaeological site by the sea. After our ride we savor wines paired with local cuisine of L’Escala, which boasts the best sardines and anchovies on the Mediterranean coast.
Today’s loop is primarily rolling with a major easy climb. Thanks to the hills, scenery, and charming villages like Peratallada and Bisbal, this stretch of the Mediterranean Coast is one of the most attractive in Europe. After a guided visit in Girona – a historical and monumental city with a cathedral, old fortifications, and a particular Jewish Heritage – enjoy a unique Catalan seafood extravaganza in the medieval center of the town.
Finally the first real climbs of this adventure across Spain. In the first part of the ride with rolling hills we’ll cross the lush volcanic natural park of ‘La Garrotxa’, with more than fifty sleepy craters. A mandatory stop in Olot, the main village in the area before we ride towards Ripoll, with a long climb of moderate difficulty. Ripoll is at the feet of the Pyrenees, born in the Middle Age around a Benedictine monastery.
La Seu d'Urgell
We’ll keep riding parallel to Pyrenees mountain range, in the wild Sierra of Cadí and ending in La Seu d’Urgell, settled in a beautiful quiet valley between two rivers, where excellent cheeses are produced. Not a difficult ride despite the elevation gain. It’s a long climb at the beginning, then once we reach the Segre Valley a long gradual downhill to get our hotel.
La Seu d’Urgell is few kilometers from the Principality of Andorra, a micro state landlocked between France and Spain visited by many skiers also attracted by the duty-free shops. If you like to stretch your legs, after a warm up to Andorra we’ll climb the Col de la Gallina, a challenging climb with 15-18% stretches introduced recently in the Vuelta. Otherwise a shorter ride and then to pool at the hotel.
This is a longest ride of the tour, parallel to the French boarder and through the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees. This area is where many outdoor/extreme activities are organized. The near valley of Val d’Aran has always been geographically isolated from the rest of the country, and has managed to preserve perfectly its traditions and its own language called ‘Aranes’. Two main long climbs (Coll de Canto’ and Coll de la Creu de Perves) and their respective downhills await our itinerary today. Then it’s two sort ascensions will be the feature of the ride. Bonansa is located in the central Pyrenees, close to the Spanish-French border. In a beautiful natural spot near the Noguera Ribagorzana river.
Today’s ride will be in a remote area as soon as we cross the Catalan Aragon border, due to the geographic characteristic of this region, it has always preserved magnificent Romanesque buildings mainly monasteries and churches. Our destination, Ainsa, is a medieval town considered one of most beautiful of Spain. Only one main climb today, with a lot of downhill.
A recovery day, easier ride with one easy climb and mainly rolling section will take us to Jaca, the main town at the feet of Aragon Pyrenees, it’s also a base for the winter sports very close to the French-Spanish boarder. The area of Jaca is involved in the major Granfondo of Spain, Quebrantahuesos, where more than 10,000 people participate every year.
A long but easy ride will take us to Pamplona, It is the historical capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former Kingdom of Navarre. The city is famous worldwide for the running of the bulls during the San Fermín festival, which is held annually from July 6 to 14. This festival was brought to literary renown with the 1926 publication of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises. Pamplona is also a mandatory stop for the pilgrims on The Camino de Santiago.
On last day of the tour we arrive in the Basque Country or Euskadi , it is an autonomous community in northern Spain with a unique Indo-European language. Our route will be on the Atlantic side of this region where we ‘ll ride through lush green forests and grazing land.
A shuttle will be available to take you to San Sebastian after the tour!