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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 .