The Thomson Backyard. This is where we train our ride leaders and where many pro-riders make their home. Test your legs on some of the richest and most challenging cycling terrain in Europe.
Please note that this is an Invitation-Only trip and is only open to VIP repeat guests and their friends.
Catalonia is Thomson Bike Tour’s backyard and we’ve been cycling around the region for the last 20 years, building up an amazingly detailed knowledge of the area. We’ve enjoyed this region so much that we’ve decided to share the most epic and beautiful rides with our VIP guests.
Our journey starts in the Mussara mountains on the southern border with Valencia, heads north through the vineyards and hills of the Priorat wine region and ends with a grand finale in the Catalan Pyrenees near Girona. Expect traffic-free roads, some of the best mountain scenery you’ll encounter anywhere in Europe - and conquer a number of iconic climbs from the Vuelta a España and the Volta a Catalunya. Along the way we’ll stay in a 10th century castle, a 12th century monastery and a 15th century converted manor that hangs on the edge of a cliff with the most unbelievable views! Join us for the trip (and ride) of your life!
Welcome to Catalonia
Our trip starts at Barcelona airport where our staff will be there to welcome you. After the transfer to our hotel in Tortosa we’ll have lunch, orientation meeting and bike build-up before heading out for our first ride in Catalonia.
This is a warm-up ride like no other. We kick off the trip with the stunning and very challenging climb to Mont Caro. With an average grade of 8.3% over 14km, Mont Caro is one of the toughest climbs in Catalonia, and has featured in many pro races including a fantastic stage at the 2017 Volta a Catalunya where Alejandro Valverde beat Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. Enjoy!
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 9:00am - either at Barcelona Airport or at the TRYP Barcelona Airport Hotel
La Fontcalda Canyon
Riding from Tortosa we start our journey north following an old, rehabilitated train track through some beautiful canyons and gorges. After 30km we reach the Fontcalda Sanctuary and hot water spring where the first major climb of the day awaits.
Enjoy the absolutely stunning views from the top of the climb before the long, twisty descent that leads to Gandesa. From here we head straight into the Priorat wine region where the famous vines cling to the super-steep hills that feature throughout this region. After a number of short climbs we reach Falset in the heart of the Priorat wine region. Some Priorat wine will definitely be on hand at dinner this evening.
The favorite playground of local cyclists and home to one of the toughest gran fondo rides in Spain, the Mussara mountains are a spectacular place to ride.
The playful terrain is a constant succession of climbing and descending on deserted roads through wild vineyards and stunning rock formations.
Tonight’s hotel is inside the spectacular Poblet Monastery.
The Pyrenees foothills
Today we head north through Central Catalonia to our hotel in Solsona in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
After 40km we reach the town of El Pont d’Armentera where we start the long climb through the El Gaia canyon, topping out 15km later with some beautiful views of the Santa Perpetua castle and church.
At the 100km mark make sure you have your climbing legs ready as we start the climb to the monastery in Pinos - and save some energy for the last couple of km where the gradient gets serious. The Pyrenees mountains will be in full view from the top of the climb to Pinos - but we’ll save those for tomorrow!
Cadí-Moixeró National Park
Several big climbs today as our ride takes us into the Pyrenees. Again, the roads will be virtually traffic-free and we can enjoy this region that is absolutely perfect for road cycling. First up is the Cadí-Moixeró National Park, well-known by local riders and the many pros that live nearby - but also loved by hikers and historians from all over the world who travel here to enjoy the wild, ruggedness of the area.
After today, names like Coll de Pradell or Coll de Pal will be engraved in your memory for their splendor and the challenge that they present. Welcome to climbers paradise.
How to describe a ride that starts with a climb like Coll de Subirana and ends on a road and hotel that are literally hanging off a huge, remote cliff.
Again get your legs and eyes ready, this one could easily turn into one of your all time favorite rides. It certainly is for the high number of Girona-based pro riders that live and ride these roads daily.
We’ve kept the best for last on this trip. We started the trip with a big mountain from the Vuelta a España and we’ll finish with one from the Volta a Catalunya: Valter 2000 - which tops out at 2000m and very close to the French border. Recent winners on this climb have included Nairo Quintana and TJ Van Garderen.
To get there we first have to tackle the super-challenging Coll de Collfred with some really fantastic views and the climb to the Coll de Burgueres through the village of Ogassa.
All this with no cars, spectacular views, remote villages and you have all the ingredients of another Thomson Bike Tours classic ride.
Unfortunately, our trip must come to an end. Our shuttle will take you to Barcelona Airport, arriving at approximately 9:30am.