Author: Leandra Kristin Morich

Torroela de Montgrí

Costa Brava on two wheels

Costa Brava on two wheels – from the French border to Barcelona by bike

250 kilometers done, 4 bike breakdowns and 100 percent adrenaline in the serpentines – those are the results of our bicycle tour along the Costa Brava.

We, that’s Rafa, passionate biker from the Basque region, and Lea, German intern at the Costa Brava.

Portbou – Colera – Llanca

We start in Portbou right before the French border. Equipped with tent, sleeping bag and repair kit for the undesired breakdowns, we set off to for our adventure trip. „To Barcelona en bici“ is our enthusiastic idea when riding our bikes downhill the narrow alleys to the deep blue sea.

The steep road that appears behind Portbou makes me suddenly doubt. Not only our bikes but also my enthusiasm is slowed down when looking across the 650 meter high mountain range in the direction of Colera. To reach our following destination Llança, there is no other choice but crossing the uphill section in front of us – what the heck, I told myself already regretting this crazy idea. As student from the Netherlands where mountains are most likely to appear in magazines, I started feeling the first concerns whether I was indeed prepared for this tour under the Catalan sun. ‚Don’t chicken out right from the beginning‘, I told myself while pedaling the serpentines to Colera.

On our way to Colera

On our way to Colera – I am not yet sure of the adventure that we started…

Shortly afterwards, all regrets are gone. I don’t regret a single second of the exhausting climb in breeding heat. Far too beautiful is the breathtaking view over mountain chain falling into clear blue sea and the feeling to have mastered all the serpentines with your own efforts. Every centimetre is rewarded with the view over coast, land and water. Downhill the mountains and powered by immense sensation of liberty, we head towards Colera with 43 km/ h on our speedo. A quick break with a cold coke at the beach before crossing the next hills southward to Llança.

View over Colera

Nothing but the blue sky, vaste ocean and the hilly landscape in our view!

It is Friday evening and the night market along the beach boulevard in Llança welcomes us. Strands full with clothes, catalan pottery and regional delicacies invite to stroll. After a quick dip in the sea, we quickly fish for clean clothes – then there is nothing like heading into the bustle of tourism! We enjoy pasta and kalimutxo, a typically Spanish mix of red wine and coke before falling onto our sleeping pads.

Llança – L’Escala

Day 2: A quick stop at the supermarket in the morning. We buy some food for the day and unfold our cycling map . The sun is already quite high in the sky when we leave the first mountains behind. Although our second day has already started, we are still spellbound by the impressive landscape along the wild coast. Once arrived at the bay of Roses, we have a view over the entire golfe of Roses. Just in front behind the sea appear the silhouettes of L’Escala on the other side of the baie – our final destination for tonight.

Mountains close to Llança

Bike reparations between the mountains of Cap de Creus.

We fight our way through the touristic turbulences to Santa Margarita and further to Empuriabrava always along the coast. Thanks to its many canals, the small holiday resort is also known as the „Venice of Spain“ . A quick gaze at the white yachts that characterize the townscape before escaping the busy tourist places into the natural parc and birds paradise Aiguamolls d’Empordà. A bridge over the Muga river into a calm zone in the heart of the natural parc. Its birdwatching places are famous among ornithologues.

Aiguamolls

A cycling path leads through the natural parc Aiguamolls d’Empordà.

In Sant Pere Pescador, we cross the Fluvià. Along the appel trees and campsites, we follow the direction of L’Escala where the many bays invite for a break at the sea. Here, at the feet of the ruins of d’Empuries – a heritage of the greek and romain founders of L’Escala – we have to take a bath again! Our summary of the day: a great stage and very varied with mountains, calm bays and touristic holiday resorts at the same day! We spend this night on a camping in Riells (L’Escala) reviewing our impressions before falling asleep.

Aiguamolls

L’Escala – Sant Feliu de Guixols

Day 3: After our morning routine in front of the local supermarket, a piece of baguette in the left hand and the map in the right, we made our plan for the day! Our next destination is L’Estartit that we reach via the small town Torroella de Montgrí. We walk our bikes through the cheerfully colored alleys. High facades and the century-old walls give shadow in the old city of Torroella de Montgrí. After a quick side trip to the historical market place and the town church in baroque style, we follow the main road to the beach of L’Estartit.

Torroela de Montgrí

Torroella de Montgrí

We stop at the beach just in front of the impressive islands of Medes that emerge from the deep, blue sea and I quickly realized we have a lucky day! A pedal boat rental offers pedal boats with plastic slide on top and a long-cherished childhood dream comes true. The decision is clear, we don’t hesitate and enjoy one hour with the slide pedal boat off the beach in L’Estartit – just great!

Rocks off the coast in L'Estartit

Rocks off the coast at l’Estartit

However, we slowly start to feel that time flies by and our final destination Barcelona by bike will not be easy to reach within four-days-time. We will have to cheat a little bit. Following the direction Sant Feliu de Guíxols, we turn away from the coast at a certain moment to take one of the regional trains in the hinterland that brings us at low-cost directly to the centre of Barcelona.

rafa-leandra-blog

More on the topic „Barcelona en bike“ can be found on our Costa-Live blog on www.selected-property.com and in the following edition of our magazine.

Bicycle tours and route suggestions are available as well under www.baixemporda-costabrava.org and www.viaverdes.cat .

Fluvia river

Cap de Creus – Day Trip

Costa Brava from mountains and valleys – a day trip around the Cap de Creus

„Solamente diez“ – a common phrase among all those who ever visited a Spanish market. It is exactly here, at the weekly market in Sant Pere Pescador, that our day trip starts. Surrounded by market criers and accordion music, the various stands along the Fluvià river offer from food and fashion to beach towel and accessories everything your heart desires for successful holidays! Well equipped with fresh fruits, vegetables and sun hat, we set off to discover the nearby and outlying region around the Golf de Roses!

Aiguamolls de l´Empordà

Vast sea, long sandy beaches, the soft chirping of birds – it is here at where the Fluvià flows into the Mediterranean Sea where to start the day. The water mouth is situated in the middle of the natural park of Aiguamolls de l´Empordà and offers a daily-changing spectacle of nature. From small to large, from calm to impetuous and wild, the panorama of the water mouth changes depending on the weather.

Landzunge

View across the Fluvia river to the natural parc Aiguamolls de l’Empordà.

A deep breath of sea air while looking across the surrounding sea bay of Golf de Roses before continuing our journey across the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà to Roses. The colorful tourist place Roses appears as colorful as its name promises and gives already in the pre-season a taste of holiday flair. Sheltered from the winds by the impressive foothills of the Pyrenees, the beach bay of the city part Santa Margarita welcomes everyone for a fresh cooling in the sea.

Yacht habor of Roses

Yacht Habor in Roses

The Moorings of the yacht habor in Roses

We follow the beach promenade to the yacht habor of Roses – not without any stopovers though. Far too tempting are „Café con leche“ and Churros in the numerous cafés and bistros while green parrots in the top of the palms chant along our way.

Beach Roses

The blue sea in Roses is well-sheltered from wind.

On a visit to Roses, one should definitely stop at its cheerful city centre that borders with the beach promenade on the lefthand-side. There is something for everyone here: colorful stores and various restaurants create a pleasant atmosphere, several shops offer ice cream that you can enjoy on the Placa de l’Esglesia in front of the church.

Citadel of Roses

Roses Citadel

The Portal of the Citadel in Roses

In around 200 meters walking distance from the beach is the 2500 years-old Citadel of Roses. The former archeological site established by Greeks and Romans covers an area of around 12 hectares and serves nowadays as cultural museum and event location. An open-air cinema will present Spanish movies here on various evenings throughout the month of July – certainly a unique experience in a great setting.

Breathtaking panorama – Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus

Stone-bridge Cap de Creus

Leaving Roses behind, we take a small detour to the highlands of the natural parc of Cap de Creus near Cadaqués– a welcomed change to the touristic hurly-burly along the cost. Via the villages Palau-Saverdera and Vilajuiga, we arrive at our destination: the ancient Benedictine Monastery Sant Pere de Rodes. Built by Romans in the eighth century, the impressive stone building offers a breathtaking view over the coastlines of El Port de la Selva. Small serpentine roads seem to almost disappear in the impressive mountain ranges and deep valleys that are encompassed by the vast, blue sea at the horizon.

Road Sant Pere de Rodes

The serpentine road to the monestary Sant Pere de Rodes sidles through the unaffected landscape.

Sant Pere de Rodes

Sant Pere de Rodas

The Monastir of Sant Pere de Rodas – Costa Brava

This impressive panorama gives a taste of how freedom feels, we think while being unable to identify the horizon between sea and sky. Today’s ruin of Sant Pere de Rodes is accessible for visitors who want to explore the church nave and its surrounding penury-old walls. A restaurant on the inside offers not only fresh fish, Serrano ham and other typically catalan specialties but also a panoramic view over the magnificent landscape.

Arriving by car at a free parking place, visitors can follow a short path that leads to the entrance of the ancient monastery and a little further to the summet of the old caste ruin of Castell de Sant Salvador de Verdera. Hikers who reach the summet enjoy a panoramic view at 680 meters above sea level.

Sant Pere de Rodes

Centuries-old stone walls towering over the natural parc Cap de Creus.

Port de la Selva

As the day draws to its close, we follow the serpentines downwards to the traditional fishing village Port de la Selva. Some fishers are returning from work as we walk along the port. Strolling through the alleys of Port de la Selva, we discover colorfully decorated streets with ancient rock steps and traditional architecture. Old, wooden fishing boats lay at the beach between us and the blue sea. Our journey with the many new impressions made us hungry and we stop for dinner at a traditional restaurant where our evening fades out with local fish and a glas of wine.

Beach of Port de la Selva

Old fisher boats decorate the beach in Port de la Selva.