5 Northern Spain
Catalonia is home to so much great cycling that it’s as a good a place to go pro spotting as it is to ride. It really does have the lot. Coastal routes, rolling hills, cool forests, unspoilt hinterland with some fabulous roads to explore it all on. Popular routes include the ride from Girona to Barcelona, which takes you through verdant valleys to the coast, where it weaves past ancient hill forts and through medieval villages before delivering you to the Catalan capital. If you fancy something a little more testing, the Montserrat mountain range awaits, where gradients of 9% and above provide a stern test amid stunning surroundings. And should you fancy something just a little less taxing, there’s always Las Via Verdes (or the Green Ways) –kilometre after kilometre of disused railways lines that have been converted into mostly flat, traffic-free paths that are perfect for a gentle spin through this exquisite part of Europe. These offer a variety of distances ranging from the brief but beautiful Vies Verdes de Girona ( just 16km) to the 154km-long Ruta Terra Alta which is partly paved and follows the old railway line from Tortosa to Pueblo de Hijar, cutting through the Pàndols and Cavalls mountain ranges. As for the weather, you can expect an average of 20°C/68°F in September and 17°C/63°F in October.
FLIGHT TIME: 2hrs 5 PRICE: Flights from approx £60 return to Girona MORE INFO: touringcatalonia.com