From Sky to Sea
A perfect companion to our original HighRoad Pyrenees tour, these 7 days begin in the rural and rugged Ariège Pyrenees, a place of lost valleys and soaring peaks that will make you feel like you’ve made a secret discovery! Before crossing the mountain range from France to Spain on a tiny, local frontier road, we spend a night in the pretty village of Céret, famous for its j70uicy cherries and modern art museum that was opened with the help of Matisse and Picasso.
After a few challenging days in the mountains we descend towards the Mediterranean and the Costa Brava, where artists such as Salvador Dali lived and painted. From our seaside village hotel we travel across the plains to our final destination, Girona, one of the most interesting, historical and fun little cities in Europe.
In between your daily efforts we will make sure you are well rested and fueled, with our excellent hotel partners and local restaurants.
HighRoad Pyrenees-Girona is one of our ‘Challenging‘ bike tours. Distances can be up to, or over, 100 km (60 miles), with some long sustained climbs of 10 km (6 miles) or more. Riders should be experienced and have good confidence in their fitness and abilities on the bike.
Tour Distance: approx. 550 km
Climbing: approx. 9500 m
- Double occupancy: €3100
- Single Supplement: €500
- Deposit: €500 per person
Accommodation and Dining
- 7 nights accommodation
- All breakfasts, lunches and 6 dinners (including wine)
- Energy bars, gels, snacks and water on your rides
- Pick-up at Toulouse Airport (TLS) and drop-off at Toulouse Airport (TLS)
- All ground transport and baggage transfers
- Owner-operator guides to see to your needs
- Maps and elevation profiles of each day’s route
- Support van that will be on the road with you, offering assistance, encouragement, and nutrition
- 44|5 Cycling Tours jersey and water bottle
- Transportation to France
- Alcohol outside meals
- Hotels before and after your tour
- Personal expenses, such as mini-bars, telephone or souvenir purchases
- Bikes (we can arrange for rentals)
Day to Day
A typical day on your Pyrenees-Girona tour will begin with a healthy buffet breakfast. Many rides will end back at your hotel (or the next one along the route) for a post-effort lunch, but on longer days in the saddle it will be a quick – and light – lunch on the road. You will always have a few hours in the afternoon to relax and explore your surroundings before we meet for a dinner of delicious local fare.
Transfer to Tarascon-sur-Ariège and shake-out ride
Your HighRoad Pyrenees-Girona tour begins at Toulouse airport, where we’ll pick you up and transport you to the heart of the Ariège Pyrenees and our first hotel , the charming Manoir d’Agnès. After setting up your bikes we’ll take a “shake-out” spin through the valley. In the evening we’ll have our traditional ‘welcome dinner’ and talk about the amazing rides to come.
Ride: Col de Port Loop. Approximately 73 km and 1700 m of ascent
Our first ride of your tour traces a westward loop through the Ariège Pyrenees that includes the Col de Port, featured in the Tour de France since its very first foray into the Pyrenees in 1910. Going deeper into the mountains your loop rises and descends on pristine roads, through dense forests and open pasture land. The view of the magnificent landscapes from our last col of the day – the Port de Lers – is worth all the effort you’ll put in today!
Ride: Tarascon to Molitg-les-Bains via . Approximately 117 km and 2700 m of ascent
Highlights today include the deep, rural atmosphere of this hidden area of France, with alternating attractive forests and pastureland. The route is hilly, but apart from your main objective of the day (Col de Jau – 1506m), there is nothing too challenging. We will aim to be in the hot spring resort hamlet of Molitg-les-Bains sometime after lunch, so that you have a full afternoon to enjoy our thermal resort. You might even decide to take a mud bath before dinner!
Ride: Molitg-les-Bains to Céret via Col Palomère and Col Fourtou. Approximately 72 km and 1200 m of ascent
You will find that today’s route differs from the previous rides, as we transition from the Ariège Pyrenees to the drier Pyrenees Orientales (Mediterranean). Day 4 sees you riding past fruit orchards, vineyards and olive groves and Mediterranean pines dot the landscape. We cross many small cols today, but nothing is too high or difficult. Our main goal of the day is Col Palomère, which is 19 km long, but only steep near the top. We descend to the Catalan village of Céret in the afternoon, giving us enough time to explore the area and perhaps visit the famous modern art museum (opened with the help of Picasso) before a village-center dinner of delicious local fare.
Ride: Céret to Port de Selva via Col de Banyuls. Approximately 97 km and 1500 m of ascent
We continue our eastward route through the foothills of the French department of Pyréneés-Orientales, past pretty Catalan villages that lead us down to the Mediterranean Sea. Your route hugs the coast for 15 kilometers before climbing over our ‘secret col’ (we’ll tell you the story, don’t worry!) out of Banyuls-sur-Mer. At the top of this lovely, lonely climb you are in Spain. From here we descend towards our last challenge of the day: to the gigantic Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, from which you have unobstructed views over the Mediterranean and a fantastic descent to your seaside hotel in El Port de Selva.
Port de Selva to Girona. Approximately 103 km and 1300 m
We leave the Mediterranean Sea today, climbing immediately through cork and parasol pine forest, before a long, flat ride past scenic Catalan villages that takes us to our second and final climb of the day – Els Angeles. From the monastery at the top of this how mountain, it’s all downhill to our hotel right in the center of Girona…in plenty of time for a drink and some tapas before dinner!
Ride: Girona Loop. Approximately 90 km and 1500 m of ascent
Our final day of riding weaves it’s way through the stunning countryside west of Girona. Today’s main climb will take us up almost 800 m of quiet and gentle roads to the village of Sant Hilari Sacalm, where a `cortado`coffee stop is always a good idea. From here, we follow the Osor river downhill on our way back to Girona, enjoying its cooling effects and tree-lined banks. The perfect way to end an outstanding week of cycling.
After breakfast we will transfer you to Toulouse Airport.
44|5 has chosen your Pyrenees-Girona accommodations for the best mix of comfort, cycling services and location. You’re always within walking distance of village centers, restaurants, bike shops and other necessities.
Le Manoir d’Agnès***
A converted manor situated on the main route to Spain and Andorra, Le Manoir d’Agnès has been lovingly renovated to combine old-world charm with functional modernity.
Grand Hotel de Molitg****
Tucked away into a hidden Mediterranean valley, The Grand Hotel Molitg is the perfect place to ride to after your Queen Stage. This 4-star establishment has a thermal hot spring spa, outdoor heated pool, and a wonderful restaurant, where you’ll be dining tonight!
Le Mas Trilles***
Housed in a 14th century Catalan manor, le Mas Trilles sits serenely on the river Tech, surrounded by the Roussillon hills. Enjoy the outdoor pool or just relax in the flower-scented garden.
Hotel Spa Porto Cristo****
The Hotel Porto Cristo is housed in a 19th century Empire style building, less than a block from the Mediterranean. Inside you’ll find stylish rooms with all amenities, a restaurant, cozy reading room and more.
Hotel Ciutat de Girona****
Hotel Ciutat de Girona is located in the historic and cultural heart of Girona, just steps away from the best restaurants and bars the city has to offer. The hotel combines modern style and amenities with Catalan hospitality and personality. The heated indoor swimming pool will help soothe tired legs after a long ride.
We finish our tour less than an hour from the wonderful Catalan city of Barcelona, which is a perfect place to relax and explore after a strenuous bike tour! If you’d like to extend your holiday simply get a flight into Toulouse and out of Barcelona (BCN). Trains run every 30 minutes from Girona station to the center of Barcelona.
What people have to say about our HighRoad Tours
Perfection in Touring
From the moment John and Gerry picked up our group in Grenoble and took us up to the Alps my wife and I knew that this cycling trip was going to be memorable. Both are exceptional guides and went the extra mile to satisfy our needs on and off the bike . Whether they were… Read more “Perfection in Touring”
Martin - California
More than just guides
Both John and Gerry were very knowledgeable and helpful with the entire process and planning of our trip. A group that start out as 3 and grew to 7, they created a custom trip, fully supported, guided and included outstanding food! They shared their knowledge and history of the areas visited ( Mount Ventoux and… Read more “More than just guides”
Ed - USA
We had a group of 15 – 11 riders and 4 non-riders for a 10 day custom trip, climbing big hills, eating and enjoying the French ambiance of the area. We’re a “diverse” group, requiring significant adaptation, both before and during the trip. John and Gerry are patient and accommodating throughout, As a result, we… Read more “Excellent Trip”
Ken - USA