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.
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 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. From our hotel we head north to join the route of the Gran Fondo Classice dels Murs. As it’s name would suggest, the route is a series of short, steep climbs that link the many medieval villages that characterize the region.
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!
Coll de Serra Seca
A spectacular ride today through some of the most picturesque mountain scenery in the Pyrenees. Our first challenge is the Coll de Serra Seca which featured in the 2009 Tour de France followed by one of the best descents in the Pyrenees. Our next climb, The Montant de Tost, has 21 switchbacks just like Alpe d’Huez, but is infinitely more beautiful than it’s French counterpart.
We end the day with the stunning descent from Montant de Tost and the final climb to the Coll de Josa. Today’s ride is one of our favorite rides of the year - enjoy!
Coll de Pal
Another beautiful ride in the high Pyrenees mountains. Enjoy the beautiful early morning views of Pedraforca mountain from the hotel before embarking on the long descent to Guardiola de Bergueda.
A few km of flat takes us up the valley through Baga and to the start of the highest climb of the week, the 2100m Coll de Pal. From the summit we descend back down the same road then start the climb towards the Coll de la Creueta, another one of Catalonia’s most spectacular mountain roads.
A beautiful ride through the Catalan countryside then follows and sets us up nicely in St Esteve d’en Bas for our final day ride.
Into Girona Province
Regarded by local riders as one of the toughest climbs in Catalonia, the Coll de Collfred provides a fitting end to this challenging trip.
From the hotel we have a 5km warm-up through the flat countryside around Sant Esteve before we hit the 10% slopes that mark the start of the Collfred. The summit lies 13km ahead so measure your effort on the steeper sections that are reminiscent of the Mortirolo. At the 90km mark we start our second climb of the day, the Coll de Bracons, a favorite with pro riders that live in nearby Girona. A steep descent leads us to our final climb, the Coll de Condreu and the single track road to the finish of the ride in Tavertet.
Our final hotel is an absolute gem, boasting some of the best views we’ve ever seen from a hotel.
Unfortunately, our trip must come to an end. Our shuttle will take you to Barcelona Airport, arriving at approximately 9:30am.