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.
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