5 North­ern Spain

Bikes Etc - - TRAVEL -

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

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