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Tours

Bordeaux to Barcelona – 2019/20

£1,849.00£1,869.00

TOUR REF: BB91 / BB21
TYPE: Road Cycling
LEVEL: Challenging
DATES: 
14 Sept – 26 Sept 2019
12 Sept – 24 Sept 2020
DURATION: 15 days / 14 nights
ACCOMMODATION LEVEL: Standard

Clear
  • Optional Extras

    • 300 £
    • 60 £
    • 60 £

This is a classic ride that takes you from southern France across the Pyrenees to Spain. There is a superb variety of scenery along the way – vineyards, mountains, gorges and the fabulous rock formations around the hilltop monastery at Montserrat. There is a rest day in the Pyrenees and a free day at the end of the trip to explore the city of Barcelona.

This is a fantastic cycling holiday with an excellent variety of terrain and scenery so that there is something for everyone. Although the route takes you through the mountains of the Pyrenees, the trip has been designed to appeal to all cyclists – the first few days offer some easy riding giving you the chance to prepare yourself before tackling the high mountains. The trip ends at Barcelona, one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

After spending the first night in Bordeaux, the following day you begin cycling, following a cyclepath out of the city, the route taking you through some of the vineyards that Bordeaux is famous for. You then continue south through the vast pine forests that cover this area of France.

Leaving the forest behind the route gradually becomes more undulating, taking you through rich farming countryside and fields of maize and sunflowers and some attractive sleepy little villages, the distant mountains gradually getting closer. After crossing the Garonne Valley you pass through the beautiful little village of St Bertrand de Comminges, which is dominated by a huge cathedral and continue into the Pyrenees, the route taking you over the first major climb in the mountains, the Port de Bales.

The next day is a Rest Day in the busy little spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon, nestled in the hills beneath the popular ski resort of Superbagneres. We say rest day, but depending upon numbers there may well be the opportunity to climb some of the nearby peaks: there a number of possibilities, including the Tourmalet!

From Luchon the route takes you over the wooded Col de Portillon and into Spain, then over the mighty Port de la Bonaigua. At 2072 metres above sea level this is the highest point on the trip, and from here there is a 25 mile descent down to Sort. The route then continues through a fascinating rocky landscape, crossing a couple of minor cols as you gradually descend out of the mountains.

The final big climb of the trip takes you into the Sierra de Montserrat, a distinct rocky outcrop on the edge of the Pyrenees that rises dramatically from the surrounding plain. At the top of the mountain is an ancient monastery, and we spend the night in the hotel here.

From Montserrat the final ride takes you out of the hills and into the bustling city of Barcelona. You have a full day free to explore this fascinating city before returning to the UK.

We will be staying at small family-run hotels (larger establishments in the major cities of Bordeaux and Barcelona, and at the monastery at Montserrat).

This trip connects seamlessly with our Barcelona to Gibraltar trip, and you are welcome to book both.

If you would like to read other people’s comments on our holidays then check out the Customer Comments page.

Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrive at Bordeaux. Remainder of the day free to explore the city.

Day 2 – Bordeaux to Villandraut – 46 miles
Route follows a cyclepath out of the city and then continues through rolling vineyards, before crossing the Garonne River into the Gascony Forest.

Day 3 – Villandraut to Barbotan – 56 miles
Easy riding through the vast pine forest of the Landes de Gascony Regional Park, you pass the Notre Dame des Cyclistes, a small 12th century church filled with cycling memorabilia, ending the day at the busy spa town of Barbotan-les-Thermes.

Day 4 – Barbotan to Marciac – 42 miles
Continuing south the route takes you through the rolling countryside of Aquitaine, passing through fields of maize and sunflowers and sleepy villages.

Day 5 – Marciac to St Gaudens – 57 miles
Route continues through the foothills of the Pyrenees as you head towards the mountains.

Day 6 – St Gaudens to Bagneres-de-Luchon – 45 miles
The first day in the mountains has a challenging, but fabulous ride over the Port de Bales, and then a long descent down to the popular spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Day 7 – Rest Day at Luchon. But with the possible option to climb some famous nearby peaks, including the Tourmalet! 

Day 8 – Bagneres-de-Luchon to Arties – 30 miles
A nice short day that starts with a climb over the wooded Col du Portillon, taking you into Spain and along the Aran Valley.

Day 9 – Arties to Sort – 45 miles
A superb ride that takes you over the beautiful Port de la Bonaigua, with a long 25 mile downhill ride to Sort.

Day 10 – Sort to Coll de Nargo- 42 miles
The route continues through the mountains, taking you over the Collado del Canto and along the Segre Valley.

Day 11 – Coll de Nargo to Solsona – 44 miles
This is another excellent days ride that takes you along a quiet mountain road through some superb scenery and past some amazing rock formations.

Day 12 – Solsona to Montserrat – 56 miles
A longer day that takes you through the dry rolling hills of Northern Spain, ending with a climb through rocky crags to the monastery at Montserrat.

Day 13 – Montserrat to Barcelona – 40 miles
The final days riding takes you out of the hills on a meandering route that takes you through the suburbs of Barcelona into the city.

Day 14 – Free day in Barcelona.

Day 15 – Transfer to airport to return home.

Holiday Details:

The Area: This trip takes you through three distinct regions, the Aquitaine region of France, the high Pyrenenean mountains that straddle the border between France and Spain, and the Catalan region of Spain. The area to the north and east of Bordeaux is home to some of the worlds finest vineyards, but south of the Garonne River the landscape is mostly a vast pine forest (now a Regional Park), which gradually becomes hillier as you approach the Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees is a high mountain range that forms a natural border between France and Spain. Less well developed than the Alps it is a beautiful area of high rocky peaks, forests, meadows and streams.

Crossing into Spain you pass into Catalunya, a distinct region with its own language and culture. The Spanish side of the Pyrenees tends to be drier than French side, with noticeable differences in the landscape and vegetation. In the foothills of the Pyrenees are several groups of impressive rock formations, the most distinctive of which is Montserrat, a saw-toothed rocky outcrop which is also home to an ancient monastery.

On the coast, to the south of the infamous “Costa Brava” is Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya. Boasting some outstanding Gothic and Art Noveau buildings, as well as some great museums, it is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Europe.

The Tour: This is a Fully Supported Holiday with a tour leader and a vehicle to carry all the luggage and provide additional assistance if necessary. With a mix of gentle and more challenging cycling the holiday gives you a chance to enjoy this beautiful area. Although parts of the route are mountainous the daily mileages on these days is less to ensure that the trip is suitable for anyone who cycles fairly regularly. Passing through the Pyrennes there are several long climbs, but these are generally well graded with plenty of switchbacks. Hills here are nowhere near as steep as hills in some parts of the UK. Gradients usually around 7% or 8% (that’s about 1 in 14 or 1 in 12). There are, of course, also some exhilarating downhill stretches as well as more level sections along river valleys. The majority of the route follows minor roads and these are usually delightfully quiet.

There are a few busy little towns and villages along the way, and some of these have heavier traffic for a while. There are a limited number of roads in the Pyrenees and so we are sometimes forced to use ‘main’ roads for a while and some of these can be moderately busy, particularly in Spain. The route ends in Barcelona,and there is heavy traffic on some sections of road as you approach the city, but this is unavoidable.

Accommodation & Food: Accommodation is in small family run hotels, generally graded 2* or similar, offering clean and comfortable rooms. Single people travelling alone will be booked into a twin bedded room with another person of the same sex – unless the additional single supplement has been paid. We book rooms with en-suite facilities where available, but this cannot always be guaranteed. Breakfast is provided at the accommodation, most hotels also have a restaurant attached for an evening meal, or there is at least one other restaurant nearby.

Start: The holiday starts at the accommodation in the centre of Bordeaux. The railway station is nearby with regular TGV trains from Paris (with Eurostar connections from London) or flights are available to Bordeaux from Bristol, Edimburgh, Gatwick, Liverpool, Luton and Manchester airports in the UK.

Finish: The holiday ends in Barcelona. You have 2 nights here. The last full day of the trip is free to allow you to explore the city before you return home the following day. Intercity trains connect Barcelona with Paris (with onward Eurostar connections to London) and flights are available from Barcelona to Bristol, Heathrow, Leeds, Liverpool, London City, Luton, and Stansted airports in the UK. Note: The cost of travel to Bordeaux and the return from Barcelona is not included in the cost of the holiday. You may book flights or trains yourself or if you wish us to make the booking for you we can do so (an additional fee is payable). A separate form will be sent to you if required.

Cycle Transport: If required we offer a cycle transport service to take your bicycle from your home in the UK to the start of the holiday, and return it to your home at the end of the trip (additional fee payable).

Documents: You require a passport to visit France. Nationals of some other countries also require a visa. Non EU passport holders should check with the nearest French and Spanish Embassies. You are also required to have travel insurance for the duration of the holiday. If you do not purchase insurance from us you will be required to provide evidence of a suitable alternative policy.

Bikes: All types of cycle are suitable for the trip. The most important thing is that the bike functions properly and that you are comfortable riding it. Whatever type of cycle you are taking you should make sure that it has suitable gears for this sort of trip. As previously mentioned parts of the route are hilly and most people find that they need a bottom gear of about 25 – 30 inches, which will usually mean having a triple chainring. If you are riding a mountain bike then you should fit it with narrow ‘slick’ tyres.
You should also make sure that you are able to carry some spare food and clothing with you on the bike. The route does cross some wild exposed areas with little in the way of shelter and no services, and you can get cold descending some of the higher passes if the weather is bad.

Weather: The weather at the end of June is generally very warm and sunny, with temperatures in the valleys in the high 20’s or low 30’s. However you should be aware that mountain weather is unpredictable and it can change very quickly, and there is also a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm.

Tour Price includes:

Hotel accommodation
Breakfast
Vehicle support
Services of leader/mechanic
Local transfers
Route information
Local transfers to/from airport/railway station

Tour Price does not include:

Lunches or evening meals
Snacks or drinks required during the day
Travel to Bordeaux/from Barcelona
Cost of any optional excursions, entrance fees etc

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about any of our trips, please call us on 0800 002 9559 or send us a message below.