The secret is out that the Costa Brava and Girona Pyrenees are a mecca for cyclists of any discipline, including those looking for the leg burn of a mountain port climb.
Roads, trails, climbs — something for everyone. Spectacular scenery wherever you look. The cycling community has already discovered the wonders of the Costa Brava and Girona Pyrenees as an ideal location for a great day’s cycling. But here we are going to focus specifically on road cycling, and mountain ports, in particular, to bring you a roundup of six mythical ports in the Girona province that will put both your legs and your endurance to the test.
Get ready to climb!
14 km — +800 m
A true classic. A very popular climb with local cyclists, it was put firmly on the international cycling map when the likes of Lance Armstrong and David Millar began using it as a test bed, being able to gauge their precise level of fitness after training at Rocacorba. A demanding cul-de-sac and an essential to add to your wish list of challenges.
12 km — +1,100 m
Catalonia’s cycling skyscraper. The numbers speak for themselves: 12 km with an elevation gain of 1,100 m. A typical long, tough high mountain port, an authentic cycling experience, which, following some truly spectacular 180° bends, finishes at the Vallter 2000 ski resort.
7 km — +472 m
Spoiler alert: your efforts will be rewarded with superb views at the end of the climb. The climb to the Sant Grau port, also known as Cadiretes peak, although not excessively hard, is truly emblematic. It makes a great addition to a ride along the road that runs parallel to the sea between Tossa de Mar and Sant Feliu de Guíxols, a route included in The Telegraph’s World’s Top 10 Cycling Roads.
18 km — +1,111 m
Legs and mountains. That is the best way to sum up this demanding climb that lies between the regions of Garrotxa and Alt Empordà. A quiet, narrow road that climbs up to the shrine of Mare de Déu del Mont (with a restaurant) where you can record your victory by snapping a selfie with the sculpture of the poet Verdaguer against a stunning backdrop of the Pyrenees.
8.8 km — +517 m
Pedal to one of Catalonia’s Romanesque treasures. No matter which route you follow up to the summit, your efforts will be rewarded with views of the impressive medieval monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. The ramps are sure to make a big impression. As will the views, particularly if you strike out early and catch the magnificent sunrise over the sea.
11 km — +481 m
If you are staying in the city, you can cycle straight from Girona to the path that leads up to the shrine of Mare de Déu dels Àngels. This climb, with a gentle profile, is very popular with amateur and professional cyclists alike; Simon Yates, Kristen Faulkner, Robert Gesink, Kasia Niewiadoma and many others have all trained here. As an interesting aside, the port’s summit is crowned by the chapel where Salvador Dalí and Gala were married in 1958.
If this list has whetted your appetite for more climbs, take a look at the Costa Brava – Girona Pyrenees road cycling map for many more routes, access to tracks and recommendations from George Hincapie and Johnny Weltz.
+ Download the road cycling map