Spain & France Bike Tour
Pyrénées to the Sea
"The Leading U.S.-based Tour Outfitter"
by Frommer's Spain 2012 guidebook
Straddling the Pyrenees on the border of Spain and France, the region of Catalonia boasts an incredible range of landscapes. This is the land that inspired Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, and Dalí, not to mention the cycling superstars who train in Girona. We'll bike it all, from mountain massifs to the gentle Empordá plains, from Roussillon vineyards to the Mediterranean Costa Brava.
Join us for an inspired combination of Spanish and French cycling, culture, and cuisine!
- Trip Feedback
- Spectacular routes through Spanish and French Catalonia
- Bicycle the Pyrenees, with gradual climbs and major descents
- Mediterranean biking on the Côte Vermeille and Costa Brava
- Inspiration for Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall
- The Dali Triangle – Cadaqués, Pubol castle, Teatre-Museu in Figueres
- Catalan architecture from Romanesque to Gaudi-esque
- Museum of Jewish History in Girona
- Celebrated training roads of the pros
- Catalan and French cuisine
Day 1: Midday rendezvous in Ribes de Freser, Spain, nestled at the foot of the Catalan Pyrenees. Visit the Romanesque church and take a warm-up spin along the river. Then we’ll get a real sense of place riding the Cremallera cog railway into the magical Vall de Núria, surrounded by 9,000’ mountain peaks. Catalan specialties star at our welcome dinner.
Day 2: On to the Pyrenees and France! Follow the River Freser en route to Camprodon, birthplace of composer Isaac Albeniz, then ascend along the River Ter to its headwaters and the 4,900’ Col d’Ares. Cross into France for an eight-mile descent through storybook scenery, ending in the medieval walled village of Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste, France. Ninth-century texts called the town Prati Asperis in Valis (“the meadow in the wild valley”), and the description still rings true. (47 mi.)
Day 3: A 15-mile downhill passes through steep-walled gorges and Romanesque mountain villages. Stop to visit the fortified Abbaye in Arles-sur-tech and the tempting creperies and Musee d’Arte Moderne in Céret. Along the Route de Vin, plane tree-lined roads frame vineyard views before reaching the Côte Vermeille at Collioure. Look familiar? The Mediterranean setting inspired the art of Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall! (42 or 47 mi.)
Day 4: As the Pyrenees sweep to the sea, our mountainside route rises and falls along the azure Mediterranean, passing terraced vineyards, rocky capes, and seaside resorts. Descend to marsh views and protected parkland, finishing with an easy spin to riverside Castelló de Empúries, Spain. The longer option leads to the picturesque fishing village of Cadaqués and on to Portlligat, where Salvador Dalí had his studio. Relax in style at Casa de la Moneda, a restored nobleman’s house in the ancient Jewish Quarter. (38 or 52 mi.)
Day 5: Visit the Salvador Dalí Teatre-Museu in nearby Figueres. Cypress, sunflowers, and orchards are interspersed with graceful stone masias (farm estates) on our ride across the fertile Empordá plains. In Púbol, admire the castle Dali gave to his wife Gala. Climb through a dense conifer and holm oak forest before descending to lovely Girona, where we’ll settle in for a two-night stay in the Barri Vell (Old Quarter). (38 or 47 mi.)
Day 6: Optional ride through the Vall de Llémena, an idyllic valley lush with boxwood, birdsong, and mountain brooks. Free afternoon to explore Girona’s treasures: Wander the medieval Call (Jewish Quarter), shop and stroll along the lively La Rambla, and savor the views from the top of the city walls. Be sure to pay tribute to la Lleona (the lioness)—locals say that kissing her statue guarantees your return to Girona! (0, 25, 41, or 45 mi.)
Day 7: Pedal the Ruta del Carrilet rail trail to the Mediterranean coast at Sant Feliu de Guíxols, then bike the best of the Costa Brava! The serpentine coast road winds through Mediterranean pines, tops out at clifftop vistas, then dives past turquoise bays and rocky coves. Farewell celebration and overnight in Tossa de Mar, where our hotel is a short stroll to the Platja Gran beach and the turreted Old Quarter. (40 mi.)
Day 8: Mid-morning transfer to Barcelona Airport.
"Thanks for a very memorable and well-organized trip through the Pyrenees and Catalonia. Exquisite scenery, good company, fine meals and accommodations made for a first-rate cycling experience."
- F.B., Virginia
"Loved the Salvador Dali house!"
- S.C., Illinois
"Route/Accommodations/Meals: 10 of 10. Value: 11! Fun: 12!!"
- H.M., Pennsylvania
"I had a fabulous time on the Pyrenees to the Sea trip last September. Hands down it was the best bike tour I’ve ever been on."
– D.F., Washington
"In France there is no sky as blue as the one in Collioure...I just have to close the shutters of my room and I have all the colors of the Mediterranean before me."
- Henri Matisse
- 7 nights accommodations in historic inns and boutique hotels (double occupancy, private bath)
- 6 dinners with wine, 2 picnic lunches, and all breakfasts
- Use of a top-quality 27-speed Marin hybrid bicycle
- Detailed maps, written directions, and background information
- Choice of mileage options on most days; total mileage of 230 to 278 miles
- Two experienced, multilingual Spanish guides
- Support van to carry luggage, provide snacks, and offer assistance and lifts
- Admission to selected museums and historic sites
- Transfers from Ribes de Freser and to Barcelona Airport at specified times
- Gratuities for all accommodations and group meals
- Comprehensive tour preparation information and training tips
- Easy Rider cycling jersey and water bottle
- Airfare is not included.