Girona is one of the world's most popular spots for cycling athletes and many professionals train in the region. But, passionate amateur cyclists come to this beautiful Catalonian city to explore its picturesque surroundings by bike, especially when it’s cold and muddy at home.
It may come as a surprise, but you can also ride your bike here far away from tarmacked roads. You can enjoy Girona just as much on your gravel bike as your racer.
For this collection, I went the extra mile and already took on this gravel journey. I will show you how to ride from the capital of Catalonia Barcelona to Girona, following gravel almost the whole way.
This collection is what you make of it. If you're fit and raring to go, you can complete all three stages at once and do the whole route in one day. If you prefer smaller distances to fit in some sightseeing in Barcelona, you can take three days and ride the stages roughly as I have suggested. Or, you can do it like me; with a tent and a mattress strapped to my bike, I was totally flexible and could simply stop where I liked.
Although you start in the second largest city of Spain – Barcelona – it doesn't take long until you ride on quiet gravel roads far away from any civilization. The route feels more remote than it actually is.
Along the way, you will discover beautiful nature parks and small towns which don’t even have a shop. To avoid detours, be sure to bring enough provisions along for the ride. But don't worry, if you ever have a major breakdown or if your strength runs out, "rescue" is never far away as the entire route runs more or less parallel to the railway line between Barcelona and Girona. Regular regional and express trains provide a perfect backup in case your plan should change.
If you are travelling without a tent and would like to plan overnight stays, it is a good idea to make a short detour between the second and third stages. There are a few hotels in Cardedeu and you will also find suitable accommodation during the rest of the third stage.
Reaching Barcelona is normally easy. If, like me, you prefer to avoid air and car travel, the train is a great alternative. There are very fast connections that can easily beat your car. A few years ago, Girona opened a new station for high-speed trains, which makes the arrival/departure by train very comfortable.
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The excitement is slowly growing: Girona, the new Mecca for racing cyclists, will soon be reached. "Only" this third stage of gravel fun is waiting for you. It is particularly tough at the beginning: the route climbs steeply up to the 642-meter-high el Corredor. When you have done that, an enjoyable descent is waiting for you. Then the route runs much flatter, but no less beautiful.