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Barcelona to Carcassonne; The Spanish & French Mediterranean

10 nights/11 days

Spanish and French Catalonia - fantastic rides and scenery taking us from the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean to the romantic medieval city of Carcassonne, with vineyards and haunting castles along the way, as well as probably the finest food on any of our bicycle tours. Join us on our most epic adventure through some of the most exquisite locations off-the-tourist track.

San Feliu de Guixols San Feliu de Guixols - Girona Girona - Olot Olot - Besalu Besalu - Cadaques Cadaques to Collioure, France (by train) Collioure - Le Boulou Le Boulou - Cucugnan Cucugnan to Lagrasse Lagrasse to Carcassone Final Day

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
San Feliu de Guixols

After an a.m. pickup in Barcelona we'll transfer 103k/ 64m to the beautiful Costa Brava with its turquoise water, secluded beaches and pine-forested coastline. Our destination is the habour town of San Feliu de Guixols once the haunt of Italian seamen and traders. We'll be staying in a luxurious waterfront hotel so you'll have the afternoon free to enjoy the beach or go for a walk along the waterfront into town to visit the 10thC Monastery. The evening will find us enjoying the exquisite Catalan cuisine at our Welcome Dinner.

Day 2
San Feliu de Guixols - Girona

Our first day on the bikes will be part of a two-day ride along Spain's most famous "Trails-for-Rails". The easy route we'll follow today will take us through the pastoral countryside of rural Catalunya following the old tramline that once linked Girona with the Costa Brava. We'll arrive in Girona in plenty of time to explore this fascinating town with the highest standard of living in Spain. The medieval Jewish quarter, known as the Call, is the best-preserved in Western Europe. Group Dinner. (Ride of 41km / 25.5miles)

Day 3
Girona - Olot

Our second day's ride will continue north along one of Spain's first "Trails-for-Rails" - an incredibly scenic ride through woods of oak and beech into the volcanoes of the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcanica de la Garrotxa. An area of exceptionally lush foliage due to the fertile ash and lava soil the extinct volcanoes (30 +) left behind some 12,000 years ago. Our destination is Olot - a town with four craters within its urban limits! Volcanic Group Dinner. (Ride of 55km / 34miles)

Day 4
Olot - Besalu

Today will start with a guided hike through the Garrotxa Volcanic Park to the little medieval 15th C hermitage at the bottom of the crater. The hike will take us through the spooky maze-like beech forest that covers the Garrotxa Volcanic Park. Time permitting we will then take a little wooden train into the heart of the largest volcano over an astonishing landscape of hardened lava. From here we'll ride on to Banyoles and around Banyoles Lake where the 1992 Olympics held their rowing events. Later in the day, we'll reach our night's destination - the enchanting medieval village of Besalu with its imposing 11th C fortified bride and perfectly preserved Jewish Miqwe (bathhouse). Free Evening. (Ride of 32km / 20miles)

Day 5
Besalu - Cadaques

Easy riding today as we head east to Figueres (Dali's birthplace) and the famous Museo Dali. Satisfyingly bizarre this was his greatest work and his final resting place. From Figueres we transfer to the postcard perfect fishing village of Cadaques - the star of the Costa Brava. Here, time-permitting, we'll visit Dali's house in nearby Port Lligat. Group Dinner. (Ride of 52km / 32.5miles)

Day 6
Cadaques to Collioure, France (by train)

Today we take a quick train (it's impossible to cycle safely) over and through the Pyrenees to the French Cote Vermeille (Red Coast) and the postcard perfect seaside village of Collioure. In turn Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visigoth and Arab - Collioure eventually was discovered by Fauvist artists like Matisse and Derain and immortalized in their paintings. There'll be time to take a tour of the town by following the Chemin du Fauvisme - a trail of reproductions of some of the more famous paintings and where they were painted! Free Evening.

Day 7
Collioure - Le Boulou

Our first day's ride in France is an easy one. Woodsy riding brings us to the charming little town of Ceret where the main draw for millions of art lovers is the Musee d'Art Moderne. Many of the works were donated by an earlier generation of artists who spent much time in Ceret. Among them were Picasso, Matisse, Chagal, Maillol and Gris. We'll have plenty of time to visit the museum and have a bite of lunch before crossing a bridge built by the devil in 1321! Our night's destination is the little town of Le Boulou which has been an important crossroads for centuries. Group Dinner. (Ride of 53km / 33miles)

Day 8
Le Boulou - Cucugnan

Our longest ride of the tour. As we ride northwards today, our first stop will be the tiny walled village of Castelnou. Meticulously preserved by its inhabitants, Castelnou is now home to many artists and artisans and makes a perfect lunch stop while investigating the local handicrafts. We ride on through Languedoc-Rousillon, the largest wine region of France. Domains (wine estates) advertising free tastings, beckon you to the right and left as you pedal along. The end of our day's ride will be in the little 10thC village of Cucugnan at the base of the breathtaking Cathar Castle of Queribus where we'll have a wine-tasting before our Group Dinner. (Ride of 50.6km / 32miles or 70.4km / 44miles)

Day 9
Cucugnan to Lagrasse

Today's ride finds us wending our way through another superb gorge along the Riviere Torgan and bringing us to Villerouge-Termenes with its little castle. Here the last of the Cathars was captured and burned at the stake in 1321. Our night's lodging will be in Lagrasse, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and sporting an immense abbey founded by Charlemagne in the 9th century. Group Dinner at a medieval castle. Look, Ma, no hands! (Ride of 43km/ 27miles or 64km/ 40miles)

Day 10
Lagrasse to Carcassone

A short pretty ride today to give us time to explore fairytale-ish 12th century Carcassone with its soaring walls and pointed turrets. One of the most stunning castle fortifications in the world, with a complete village within its walls, it was the mother of all of the great Cathar castles in southern France. We'll have plenty of time to play lord & lady while we explore its many sights before ending the tour with a Gala Farewell Dinner.

Day 11
Final Day

We'll say "au revoir" at breakfast and offer an a.m. shuttle to the airport for those leaving. Some of you may want to stay and explore Carcassone more fully and perhaps others may want to move on to Paris or Provence - all quickly and easily accessible by train from Carcassone.

Duration: 10 NIGHTS/ 11 DAYS

Included: all breakfasts, 8 dinners w/ wine

Price is per person, based on double occupancy and exchange rates at the time when this page was published. Price subject to adjustment for exchange rate fluctuations. For smaller or larger groups, consult us for a quote.

Dates:

May through September

Price:

On Request

 

Contact us to reserve your place on this tour. Of course you can always contact us for more details or to let us arrange a custom tour that matches your interests and schedule.

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