3 Epic road loops from Girona

Girona has become one of the best known destinations for road cycling in Europe, its much hyped and for good reason.

We have been renting bikes and running trips here in Girona since 2009, many people ask where to ride and what is my favorite loop.

This blog gives 3 of the best epic days from Girona, you can also check out our Girona bike packing page for some options outside the city.

We are always looking for ways to make sure our clients get the most out of their visits to Girona and during their week here many people ask to have at least one massive epic all day rides that you can claim bragging rights on for months to come.

What makes a ride epic ? it’s a combination of factors, distance and climb certainly but also the less easily defined qualities like the adventures had along the way, the landscape, the challenges you faced and the sheer scale of the ride, so the most epic ride does not always need to be the longest.

These are my recommendations for epic days from Girona based on the above:

1 El FAR

 

One of my personal favorites I have to say. I have used this ride several times on the Thursday shop ride and people always enjoy it. It’s a long ride at 145kms and it’s lumpy with 2000 m of climb, But it’s the landscape and the quality and enjoyment of the roads that makes this one an epic ride for me.

The main climb is the Coll de Condreu at roughly 1000 m, the road is two lanes and the conditions is excellent. The landscape here changes with the seasons, as not all areas in the Girona region do, as the forest here is deciduous, covered in mainly beech trees. In the summer the climb is nicely shaded as a result.

From the top is a 2.5 km run up to the focal point of the ride. Sanctuary of El Far, a 15th century Romanesque church and the more modern restaurant both perched on top of a 200 m shear drop cliff 1100 m in the mountains. The view is second to none and if it’s a clear day you can see over 100 km to the sea. The coffee is good and the sandwiches large, what more can you ask for ?

The route then descends back down the climb, it’s a great surface, two lanes and a pretty fast open descent with only a few tight corners. After rejoining the road that returns us to Girona we have a near continuous 25 km downhill, it’s a shallow grade but downhill nonetheless and fast. The last climb of the day crosses over the hills by the village of Brunyola with its castle and another opportunity for a water or coffee before the route returns to Girona. This area is rolling hills and fields with even the odd vineyard and very different from the huge beech trees of the Guilleries mountains.

The route continues back into Girona itself, concluding what hopefully has been an epic day in the mountains.

EPIC STATS:

Distance: 145km

Climb:2010m

Est riding Time: 5 to 7 hours

Epic rating of coffee stop: 8/10

DOWNLOAD EL FAR GPX TRACK BOOK A BIKE FOR THIS RIDE

2 CAP DE CREUS

 

This route takes riders north from Girona into the area called Empordà, a county famous for wine, olives, Salvador Dalí and if you are a cyclist headwinds.

The route is also a long one at 177kms, but although there are climbs the cumulative climb is relatively low at 2200 m. The rides leave Girona and winds its way across the Empordà countryside. Low rolling hills and very picturesque, it’s very similar to Tuscany in many ways. The ride where possible utilizes as many of the extremely quiet back roads that the region is so well known for. It’s a pretty flat journey into the Northern half of the county which is where Salvador Dalí lived and has his famous museum in the city of Figueres, but that is a vivid for another day as this ride skirts the city and heads for the Cap de Creus peninsular.

A natural park and protected area, Cap de Creus is a rugged jut of land right on the Mediterranean Sea and the border with France. Very rugged and void of trees, Cap de Creus is very different from the lower parts of the county and the Girona area itself.

The first real climb of the day is the 8 km Serra de Rodes, used many times in the Volta and culminating at the medieval monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. Nestled just over the brow of the mountain its like something from a film set, but no games of thrones it’s a real place. The route of the ride passes below the monastery on a hair-raising decent to the seaside. This road has recently been resurfaced and is in great condition, narrow in places and twisty but with two lanes it’s a stunning 5 km plummet of a road.

The descent finishes at the village of El Port de la Selva, a quintessential Mediterranean whitewashed fishing village. Still small and relatively undeveloped it provides the perfect venue for a seaside coffee and snack with a great view back up at the mountain we have just ridden up and hurtled down, the seafood is of course recommended.

After a well-earned halfway rest stop the ride continues climbing back up away from the Sea with a more gentle grade of 5% for 9kms over Perafita, before descending once again back to the plain of Empordà.

Passing through the Aiguamolls wetland bird sanctuary and the medieval fortified town of Caselló d’ Empuries, more vineyards and fields of flowers it’s a flat and stunning journey south.

But its would not be an epic ride without a little surprise, so this ride arrives back in Girona over the famous climb of Els Àngels, providing a little sting in the tail.

The climb is roughly 10kms and after 150kms its hard enough, but its downhill all the way back into Girona where a well-earned super should be waiting and maybe even a beer.

EPIC STATS:

Distance: 177 km

Climb:2200 m

Est riding Time: 5 to 7 hours

Epic rating of coffee stop: 8/10

DOWNLOAD CAP DE CREUS GPX TRACK BOOK A BIKE FOR THIS RIDE

3 VALL D'EN BAC

Another of my personal favorites, a classic pre Pyrenean route, used by so many local sportifs. This area is overrated and underexposed, the rides have very little traffic and are well away from the beaten track the only problem is finding them.

This route begins leaving Girona via The Vall de Llemena valley. Many of the Bike breaks rides use the quiet and well known way to leave Girona county and head to the high mountains.

After passing the town of Olot the climb begins in earnest. The first pass of the day is the Coll de Santigosa at just over 1000 m, well surfaced and shaded with a reasonable grade of 8%. The after a short descent the ride take the principle road a short distance to the village of Sant Pau de Seguries.

Now right on the edge of the Pyrenees we take the tiny farm road into the Vall d’en Bac. It’s a road that no one can work out why they build, a seldom used roller coaster of a road, 20kms long incredibly beautiful and well away from traffic. Certainly not easy with some short punchy climbs and steep technical corners.

The ride then passes Olot again and heads into the heart of the La Garrotxa region. The recommended lunch stop is in the village of Santa Pau. This medieval 13th century fortified town is one of the most picturesque in the area, a maze of alley ways and narrow streets with several excellent places to eat and get a coffee.

The ride then returns to Girona passing the lake at Banyoles on the way just in case another stop is needed.

EPIC STATS:

Distance: 180 km

Climb:2700 m

Est riding Time: 5 to 7 hours

Epic rating of coffee stop: 8/10

DOWNLOAD VALL D'EN BAC GPX TRACK BOOK A BIKE FOR THIS RIDE

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