Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 11:57

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: Spain
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 7 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 7 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 12+
  • Trip Code: C06CN

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 6 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days cycling (including 2 optional rides)
  • 70% tarmac, 30% dirt tracks and coastal paths
  • Gentle terrain throughout
  • E-bike hire available on request (supplement applies)

Highlights

  • 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

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.

Families
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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local agent is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to set up your bike and go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. In an emergency, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age: 12

Itinerary

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

Land Only

  • Start City: Calella de Palafrugell
  • End City: Calella de Palafrugell

Land Only Itinerary

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.

Distance covered: 21mi (33km)

Meals included: Breakfast

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

Distance covered: 12mi (20km)

Meals included: Breakfast

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.

Distance covered: 19mi (30km)

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.

Distance covered: 16mi (25km)

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.

Distance covered: 21mi (33km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Leave Calella de Palafrugell

After breakfast, depart Calella de Palafrugell

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

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).

Single supplement from £ 524

Food & Drink

All breakfasts and 2 evening meals included.

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.

Transport

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by our local representative. They are usually able to dispatch a taxi should you need it, but may wish to charge you for this service. You will be pedaling under your own steam but the emergency number for our local operator is in the trip notes if you need assistance.

Weather & Seasonality

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.

Weather Charts

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Calella de Palafrugell on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Hotel check-in times are normally from around 4pm.

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
British Airways Heathrow to Barcelona 09:35/12:45 then rail Barcelona Sants to Girona 15:40/16:15 then transfer to hotel 50 minutes. Return: Transfer to station 50 minutes then rail Girona to Barcelona Sants 12:56/13:34 British Airways Barcelona to Heathrow 18:15/19:35.

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Calella de Palafrugell
Location end: Calella de Palafrugell

What To Take

Essential Equipment

Helmets are compulsory in Spain and a legal requirement, you must bring one with you as they are not provided locally.

Warm top and leggings for the early spring and autumn departures
Swimming costume
Windproof and waterproof layer
Comfortable shoes and clothes for the days off the bike if you want to explore the towns

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use custom made Headwater hybrid bikes. All bikes are supplied with:

  • 1 handlebar map holder
  • 2 rear panniers
  • 1 bike lock per 2 people
  • 1 puncture repair kit per 2 people, which includes a pump

If you are booked as a group, but intend to cycle seperately please let us know in advance if you wish to have additional map holders or repair kits.

Seat and handlebar heights will have been set up in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust. Our representative will be on hand to assist you and can fit pedals and your saddle if you wish to bring these with you.

Please note helmets are not provided, please take your own on this trip.

Bike Repairs
As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We’ve teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we’ll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices.

For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to your sales representative for individual airline fees. Please note, this does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and in the ‘Is this trip for you?’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft, you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra bike accessories

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum bag (fanny pack) or small close-fitting daysack.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries, wearing a helmet is a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Reading List

There are not many books written on the area, however, there are several useful websites that offer information on the towns and area:

www.gencat.es – the regional government site has some articles in English.

www.costabrava.org – has links to many towns’ websites.

Practical Information

Visa

Spain

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Spain. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/spain
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html

Vaccinations and Health

Spain

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus and rabies. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Spain's time zone: Europe/Madrid (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

European plug – 2 round pins.

Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling

Money

Spain's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can’t get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need money for four dinners, all lunches, snacks and drinks and entry for any sites you wish to visit. Depending on your choice of restaurant dinners will range in price, we suggest allowing approximately €15-35. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy produce from local markets or shops and make up a picnic. However, if you stop at a café you can easily spend €15. We would recommend budgeting for €5-15 for lunches and allow an additional €10 a day for any extras.

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… 

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.