Contrasts of Catalonia (Catalunya) Cycling - Short Break Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Short Breaks, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C04CN
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

5 Days Flight Inclusive
5 Days Land only
Ages: 8+

Trip Overview

Catalonia (Catalunya) is a semi-autonomous area of Spain; steeped in culture, its traditions and festivals date back over thousands of years. Rich in medieval villages, highlights include prosperous Peratallada, peach-coloured Pals and fashionable Begur. The rocky coastline is dotted with pretty fishing villages, crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches which are perfect to explore.

At a Glance

  • 4 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • 3 days cycling
  • All breakfasts and 2 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • GPS route directions and maps 
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels 

Trip Highlights

  • Quiet country roads - perfect for first-timers or nervous cyclists
  • Wide sandy beaches, beautiful bays, traditional fishing ports, sun-drenched villages off the tourist trail
  • Excellent hotels, all with pools, including 14th century luxury castle
  • Lovely sea breeze, perfect cycling conditions - never too hot, even in high season
  • Pretty medieval villages to explore en route and on your rest days

Is This Trip for You?

Average daily distance: 32km ( 20 miles). 
No. of days cycling: 3
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 navigation 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 partner is able to offer child seats up to 4yrs and bikes from 8, these are all subject to availability, therefore we ask that you inquire 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.


This holiday is full of contrasts and variety and explores one of the most beautiful corners of Catalunya. It's gentle cycling too, occasionally off-road, through olive groves, peach orchards and pine forests, and along pretty coastal paths. The landscape is gently rolling for the most part, making this an easy cycle and a relaxing holiday. The changing seasons bring white blossom in spring, sunflower yellow in summer and warm gold at harvest time. Fabulous coastal views, beautiful beaches and aquamarine waters make this an inspirational area.

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
Child min age:
8
Child max age:
11

Itinerary

C04CN map

Land Only

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

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Calella de Palafrugell

    You arrive at your hotel where all Headwater guests are accommodated in rooms with a private balcony and sea view. It's less than 5 minutes' walk to the centre of town where you have so many restaurants to choose from, we've left evening meals up to you. (Staying at Hotel Garbi, Breakfast only)

  • Day 2

    Calella De Palafrugell to Platja De Pals

    Your route today passes through the pine forests behind Calella before heading off to peach-coloured Pals, a lovely medieval town with Romanesque church affording stunning views. After lunch, 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. (Staying at Hotel Sa Punta, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 33 km / 21 miles
  • Day 3

    Platja De Pals to La Bisbal

    You'll begin today cycling past rice fields before following the River Ter to Torroella de Montgri with wonderful views of the Illes Medes. Visit this lovely medieval town with its Roman defensive wall before heading inland along wonderfully quiet roads through the village of Gualta (picturesque 16th century bridge) and pretty hamlets of Fonolleres, Matajudaica and Casavells to La Bisbal. Here you'll stay in a uniquely converted 14th century Gothic castle - once reputed to have been on Dali's shopping list but now owned by Dutchman Albert Diks. (Staying at the Hotel Castell d'Emporda, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 30 km / 19 miles
  • Day 4

    La Bisbal to Calella De Palafrugell

    Today offers lovely gentle cycling, 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. Continue your journey through beautifully preserved Peratallada to the bustling market town of Palafrugell. Then back to Calella de Palafrugell for a final swim in the pool.(Staying at Hotel Garbi, Breakfast only)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 33 km / 21 miles
  • Day 5

    Leave Calella De Palafrugell

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

You stay in a variety of hotels, all with pools, which have been hand-picked for their charm and character. The family-run Hotel Garbi in the traditional fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, is set on the hillside overlooking the sea. The stylish Hotel Sa Punta in Platja de Pals is set in attractive gardens and is within walking distance of the beach or you can cycle to nearby Begur. One night of the holiday is spent at the Hotel Castell d'Emporda, a magnificently restored 14th century castle perched proudly on its outcrop, just outside La Bisbal. The breathtaking views over the plain from its sun terrace are not to be missed.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £236.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and two 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.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by our local agent. 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

Weather Information

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

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at the 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.

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.

Bringing Your Own Bike

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 our Sales team for individual airline fees.

N.B 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 to be 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 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 that 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 Bits

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 or small close-fitting daysack.

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.

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

Passport

Spain

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Spain

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2021) of approximately 1.17 to the GBP, 0.85 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.62 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

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 only need money for two 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 Tourism

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

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.