Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

7 days
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Self-Guided Cycling

Ride through beautiful villages and rural orchards

This beautiful but gentle route is perfect for first time cyclists. The rides take you through olive groves and peach orchards to sun-drenched villages and picture-postcard fishing ports and pretty bays. The self-guided itinerary and short distances allow you to take everything at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time to soak up the sun on the undeveloped Catalan coast. Your days will end in luxury with our specially selected hotels, including a restored 14th Century castle, all of which boast swimming pools.


  • Ride through beautiful villages and rural orchards
  • Soak up the sun on sandy beaches and beautiful bays
  • Spend two nights in a luxury 14th century castle

Key information

  • 6 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days cycling (including 2 optional rides) with luggage transfers
  • 70% tarmac, 30% dirt tracks and coastal paths
  • Gentle terrain throughout
  • GPS route directions and navigation app
  • Countries visited: Spain

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
  • Solo traveller supplements (where only one person is travelling on a departure date)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request)
Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Cycling

Leisurely: 10-13km/6-8miles an hour


Low altitude; 70% tarmac, 30% dirt tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 233.0km/20.0miles
Day 320.0km/12.0miles
Day 430.0km/19.0miles
Day 525.0km/16.0miles
Day 633.0km/21.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


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Calella de Palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell
  • Day 1

    Start Calella de Palafrugell.

    If you have arranged to join the transfer we will meet you at Flaca railway station and take you to your hotel (35mins) where you are accommodated in rooms with a private balcony and sea view. It is less than 5 minutes walk to the centre of town where you have so many restaurants to choose from that we have left the choice up to you. Calella is a lovely seaside resort, popular with Spanish visitors, which boasts three little sandy coves, all popular for sunbathing and swimming.
    Premium Hotel

  • Day 2

    Ride to Platja de Pals

    Your route today passes through the pine forests behind Calella before heading off to Pals. The village was abandoned following the civil war, but has since been lovingly restored and has won many architectural awards. The narrow lanes lead to Gothic houses, a Romanesque clock tower and medieval walls. There are plenty of cafes, so it makes for a very pleasant coffee or lunch stop. You will then head on through the pretty hamlets of Palau Sator, where there has been a settlement since Roman times, and Fontanilles before looping back towards the coast and a gentle downhill ride to Platja de Pals. Here there is a stretch of beautiful golden beach, more than two miles long and our hotel is only 5 minutes walk away, so absolutely ideal for an afternoon dip or evening stroll. Here we stay in a gastronomic hotel where your evening meal can be taken in the hotel restaurant or on the terrace.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Free day in Platja de Pals or optional ride

    Today is a free day, so if you wish you can take full advantage of the fantastic location by the sea. You can relax on the beach, follow the superb coastal path for a lovely walk or simply chill out by the hotel's pool. If you are feeling more energetic we strongly recommend a great circular ride through the pine forests to medieval Begur. It is a fashionable hilltop town with an 11th century castle and outstanding views over the coast.

    Optional ride approx. 20km.
    Premium Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Platja de Pals to La Bisbal

    Today's ride will begin by cycling past rice fields before following the River Ter to Torroella de Montgri with wonderful views of the Illes Medes. The town was originally the Royal Port for the Kings of Aragon before the river started silting up, however, the town still retains its medieval core and walls. The Placa de la Vila, a porticoed square designed as a meeting point on the model of the Greek Agora and Roman Forum boasts the 15th Century Ajuntament and a lovely sundial dating from 1725. It is a great place to stop for lunch before heading inland along wonderfully quiet roads through the village of Gualta, with its picturesque 16th Century bridge, and the pretty hamlets of Fonolleres, Matajudaica and Casavells to Castell d'Emporda. Here you will stay in a uniquely converted 14th Century Gothic castle - once reputed to have been on Dali's shopping list.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day in La Bisbal or optional ride

    Castell d'Emporda was lovingly renovated by its owners and turned into an amazing place to stay in a fabulous location. The restaurant is renowned and full of character and you will enjoy food grown locally and prepared with flair. There is a lovely patio area so you can dine outside if it is warm enough. If you just fancy a lazy day at the hotel then the restaurant offers a lovely 3 course lunch or tapas at the bar and then you can just enjoy the pool. In the centre of the castle there is also Europe's largest scale model of the Battle of Waterloo, the 18 square meter representation is well worth a look. There is also plenty to explore in the local area and we recommend taking a trip out on the bikes. Our suggested cycling circuit takes you through the pretty medieval villages of Corca, Monells, which has a pretty square and lots of options for lunch, and La Bisbal - a lively market town famous for antiques and pottery. It is worth taking the time to explore the old quarter including the Carrer de Call, formerly a Jewish ghetto - its intricate arches are still intact today.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    La Bisbal to Calella de Palafrugell

    Today we follow a gentle route, stopping first at the walled village of Ullastret. The vast archaeological site here contains the remains of one of the oldest Iberian villages in Spain. Founded in the 6th Century BC the settlement was protected by magnificent walls, part of which can still be seen. Within the walls you will find ruins of dwellings, temples, cisterns, silos, public squares and other remains of a bustling community. Your journey will then continue via the beautifully preserved walled village of Peratallada and onto the bustling market town of Palafrugell, a super spot for lunch. The route will then guide you back to the coastal town of Calella de Palafrugell for your final evening. Once again we have left the restaurant choice up to you as there are many options.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Leave Calella de Palafrugell

    After breakfast, depart Calella de Palafrugell

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 evening meals inlcuded.

Traditional Spanish food such as paella, chorizo and albondigas (meatballs) can be found on just about every menu in Catalunya, but there are plenty of tasty local specialities too. Local cuisine features plenty of fish, including world renowned anchovies from L'Escala, and botifarras (black pudding) from the mountains. A delicious starter is Pan Catalan, which is lightly toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes and garlic. The geography of the area has developed regional cuisine mixing 'surf and turf'; combinations such as chicken and lobster, or rabbit with prawns. Fruits also feature strongly with dishes combining chicken with figs, or pheasant and grapes. Dishes tend to be rich and hearty but there are also plenty of vegetable options for vegetarians. Catalan foods also feature sauces in many dishes, which are usually rich in flavour.

The region is also renowned for the production of Cava, around the town of San Sadurni de Noya. There is a herby, smoky, grassy flavour to some of these as a result of the grape varieties and climate. The region also produces some of Spain's best wines. Though we do not cycle through San Sadurni de Noya, try the wine from this region if you spot it on a menu.


The trips runs from April through to October (except 5-23 Aug) with the early and later part of the season experiencing cooler temperature, highs averaging 18-20 degrees celcius and lows averaging 11-15 degrees Celcius. In the height of July temperatures will reach highs of 28-30 degrees so it is important to be prepared for this. There is always a chance of rain throughout the year, so it is always best to be prepared.

Is this trip for you?

Average daily distance: 31km (19 miles).
No. of days cycling: 5 (including 2 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is gentle throughout.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. The maps and route notes are provided in a link and can be downloaded to your phone via a GPS app. A local agent will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. Our local agent is able to offer child seats up to 4yrs and bikes from 8, these are all subject to availability, therefore we ask that you enquire about these on booking. As a guide, we have suggested that 8 yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities.

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



All hotels have been specially selected for their warm welcome, location and regional cuisine. On this trip we use 3 and 4-star hotels, all with en suite facilities and swimming pools. A real highlight of this trip is the Castell d'Emporda, a restored castle with individually decorated rooms and wonderful food. Your included evening meals will all be taken in the hotels, which pride themselves on their regional cuisine.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory single room supplement (please see dates and prices on the website).

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2013


    A fantastic cycling holiday in the hidden Costa Brava, hardly any traffic or other people, with superb hotels and delicious meals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Despite not cycling much in the UK, we managed the distances easily, although I was sometimes defeated by the hills - the countryside is NOT 'pancake flat' as described on the website and my legs protested. However, it was a great feeling not to have to dismount all the time! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan's route notes were very detailed so no chance of getting lost (although if you need reading glasses you will be stopping frequently to check them).  On the rest days, there were several route suggestions. He also very kindly came to pick us up earlier than scheduled, thus avoiding a wait of several hours at Flaca station.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some hills! Despite the breeze, we were sweaty and red-faced when we arrived at the hotels (all of which were up a hill) but a quick shower and a swim restored us. You may wish to take gel saddles!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The route notes would be easier to read while cycling if they went across the page, instead of in two columns, and if they were in a larger font than 10 pt.
  • Reviewed July 2013


    Very good holiday with excellent cycling routes, good quality bikes and some unique hotels.  We did not realise that the Costa Brava had so many medieval villages relatively close to the coast. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to cycle up all the hills without getting off was for me inspirational.  The views from the outdoor dining area at the hotel Castella d'Emporda  were wonderful, as well as the garden area.Pals was a lovely medieval town and we wish we had spent more time there rather than pedalling off to the next place on the itinerary

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan was very efficient and keen to make sure the route directions were up to date and everything running smoothly.  His directions of how to get to and from Flaca station were invaluable. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We flew into and out of Barcelona airport and on paper the onward train journey looked slightly complex.  However, if you follow Alan's instructions in the trip notes they are spot on and the journey is relatively easy.  Oddly enough, BA from Heathrow to Barcelona was cheaper than Ryanair to Girona at the time we booked but Girona is much nearer to Flaca where you can be picked up by Alan.. The price of drinks at hotel Castell d'Emporda and hotel Sa Punta seemed very high and were not itemised on the bill at check out. To avoid surprises at check out time you may want to do what some guests did and check the price at the time of ordering the drink.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was our first cycling holiday and we did not know what daily mileage and terrain would suit us best.  We cycle at weekends but nothing more seriously than that and this holiday suited us very well.  The hotels provided very good facilities at the end of a day's cycling- you could relax and eat well.

Dates & Prices

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Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 0203 993 4668, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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