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Five 6 h routes on the roads around Girona

Disclaimer:

All routes require experienced bike handling in traffic and endurance. Be aware that I needed around 6 h for these routes but komoot predicts sometimes even 7 h for very fit athletes. Some roads are very narrow and there might be trucks or busses coming towards you that need more than half of the road. Bring tools and material to fix smaller issues like a flat tire on the road. Take care of your hydration and energy level. I calculate with 20 g - 40 g of carbohydrate per hour on an easy tempo and try to fuel as regularly as possible and not all at once. It´s much harder to come out of a lack of energy once your in it than constantly refuel your body. Also I recommend tubeless tires with 28 width or more as the roads are not always the cleanest.


Route 1: "G6.1: Girona - Sant Hilari - Montseny - Sant Celoni" (157 km, 2300 m)

Description:

After leaving Girona behind you, you will be lead over a little road to the beautiful village of Brunyola in the direction of Santa Coloma de Farners, the capital of el Girones neighbor region la Selva. Side note: If you want to taste something nice from this region, Brunyola produces the best hazelnuts I have ever tried and you can find them in several shops in and around Girona. Next city, Santa Coloma, already has a good fountain to fill up your bottles. Now the hilly part of the route starts. It goes up 650 m on a swinged road to Sant Hilari de Sacalm - famous for its many fountains such as point 6 on the track. The climb continues a little longer to a height of 1.000 m after the city before a nice little descent. After crossing the C-25 you will enter the Parc Natural del Montseny which includes the highest point of this route. You will reach it after another 650 m climb which in his upper parts has one of the best views towards the Pyrenees. Heading down to Sant Celoni you will face a 1.150 m descent - a good opportunity to shake out your legs and recover a little. After all this climbing and 2/3 of the distance I decided to make a stop in the old city of Sant Celoni at the Cafeteria Granier which is located at point 10 on the track. Admittedly the next 12 kilometers to Hostalric on the C-35 are not the nicest but there is not much of an alternative. That will be compensated by the next 25 km of fluid riding on lower traffic roads and finalized on the final 20 km by a very small road through little villages - one of the classy ways to get in and out of Girona.



Route 2: “G6.2: Girona – Angles – Sant Hilari – Roda de Ter – Sant Esteve d`en Bas” (172 km 2690 m)

Description:

This route is quite a long one, but the climbs have a really moderate gradient and are very varied. It leads out over the bit busy N-141e to Angles. A variation (Route 2.1: “G2.1 …) of that would leave Girona over the district of Vilablareix instead of Salt and take the small road GI-540 via Estanyol to Angles. From here you paddle up the eventually fresh but beautiful valley of Riera d`Osor to Sant Hilari de Sacalm which is 500 m vertically on 24 km distance. Don`t loose your focus while looking at the scenery because there might be some goats on the road, but they are nice and cute. At route point 4 you can fill your bottles at the same fountain as in Route 1. Afterwards you continue a little on that climb until you face one of the best views to the Pyrenees in the region at km 50. With a little counter climb of 200 m the next 30 km go down to Roda de Ter with its beautiful bridge over Riu Ter, the river that Rio Onyar runs into in Girona right after the bridge where the route starts. Here is could be a nice place for a break before heading into the second and last major climb of the day because besides the two villages on this climb other options are rare until Sant Esteve d´en Bas at km 126. To be precise, there are some restaurants with beautiful views on the side of the road, but you should check the opening days if you want to plan your break there. I can also recommend this early-break-strategy because you can enjoy the marvellous scenery up to Coll de Bac better if you´re not running low on energy. Another mental booster is that from Coll de Bac its just a little hill to Coll de Condreu and form here over the remaining 60 km it mostly goes downwards. After Sant Esteve you got to ride 12 km on the busy C-63, but as it´s going down most of the time you won´t need too long for that part. Turning left in les Planes d´Hostoles will bring you to one of the highlight roads of Gironas cycling community. After the final climb of 150 m, you can swing down the beautiful Vall de Llemena, where I lived my first two months of my stay in Girona in the little village of Sant Esteve de Llemena. There is probably no time of the day where you won´t see a cyclist on that road which leads you back directly to Girona.

Note: This route is also very nice to do it the other way around except of the downhill from Sant Hilari to Angles. Because of a lot of gravel on that road I would recommend, to go back to Girona over Santa Coloma instead.


Route 3: "G6.3: Girona - Olot - Campordon - Castellfollit - Banyoles" (174 km, 2560 m)

Description:

You leave Girona over one of the cycle highways where you will meet riders over riders at all times of the day. It goes out through Sant Gregori and after a leaving this small city behind you, you are in pure nature with very few houses and villages over the next 30 km. At the end of the beautiful Vall de Llemena, there will be a little climb and downhill before you have some time on the busier C-63. There is a cycle path to avoid the traffic but it´s graveled. When you pass the little tunnel at 43 km you will see a brilliant view on the massive Puigsacalm on the other side of the valley. Now follow the signs to Olot and then Andorra. You will be on bigger roads until 68 km but it´s not too much traffic. Then you turn right on a very beautiful climb 350 m which continues to rise slightly until Campordon. This village is worth to take a break at and enjoy. Also, you should refill your bottles somewhere as villages and cafes get rare for the next 45 km. These 45 km are mostly on tiny roads with great views and beautiful nature. Maybe you can take a break as well in the little village of Oix, but it might be difficult with the opening hours. After the last climb of 100 m and a little descent the view on the cliff of Castellfollit will appear in front of you. It´s not part of the route to go right and take a look at the city but the opportunity is there and there are two nice patisseries and a bar too. The service road of the A-26 will bring you back in the direction of Girona. There is almost no traffic and a nice view on the climb of Mare de Deu del Mont with its rocky top and remarkable last traverse of the road until you reach another marvellous village, Besalú, with its imposing Pont de Besalú over Rio Fluviá. The way to Banyoles is a bit busier but afterwards it goes back on a small road over Camos and Palol de Revardit. Before you come back to Girona there is unfortunately an almost inivenidable 2 km part on the very busy C-66, but it has a wide side strip to ride on and it’s a very common way for cyclists between Girona and Banyoles.

Route 4: "G6.4: Girona - Els Angels - Llagostera - Costa Brava - Sant Grau - Lloret de Mar" (174 km, 2590m)

Description:

Clearly, there must be a route to the sea with a nice part on the Costa Brava so here you are. The way out is probably over the most famous hill around Girona, the way up to Els Angels. Personally, I enjoy the decent on a nice pavement with a beautiful view more than the wavy ascent – keep your eyes open for a glance at the old village of Madremanya in the last parts of the descent, you can only see it for a few moments. It stays wavy, up and down with climbs not higher than 200 m over Cassa de la Selva and Llagostera until Sant Feliu de Guixols, at where you reach the coastline. It stays hilly but the view is now just amazing, and it gets even better when you climb up the longest climb of the day to Sant Grau of 400 m. The way back down is difficult be focused. As you reach Llagostera the second time, you might take a break or wait until being back at the coast in Tossa de Mar. Here you find a famous cycling café but it has classic Spanish opening hours, which means that its closed during fiesta between 1 pm and 5 pm. There are two 150 m – 200 m waves left, one over to Lloret de Mar and one back in the direction of Sils. Close to these bigger cities the roads are a bit bigger and busy but the people are used to cyclists and careful. After 6 km on the chilled service road of A-2 you can either stay on it and go back to Girona asap or, as the route leads you, take a smaller and more quiet way over Caldes de Malavella and some small villages until you reach Girona.


Route 5: "G6.5: Girona - Sant Celoni - Collformic - Santa Coloma" (167 km, 2370 m)

Description:

This route is a bit of a counter clockwise variation of Route 1. The way out of Girona to Sant Celoni is very direct to not escalate the longer way around Parc Natural del Montseny over Collformic. As Route 1 it has also the 12 km on the busy C-35 from Hostalric to Sant Celoni but the rest of the first 50 km before the climb is calm. On the beautiful 1.000 m uphill to Collformic you will find nice views to the east on the Mediterranean?? sea and a fountain on the right side of the road at 74,8 km of your route to fill up your bottles. The road back down to Santa Coloma is nicely rolling with a brilliant view on the Castell de Montsoriu in the beginning. In Santa Coloma you can find some nice Cafés such as my favorite one in the area, Bar Restaurant Sant Marti on the Plaça Farner in the old town, to make a stop before you hit the last 30 km. After the last hill of over 100 m on the C-63 you will be lead back to Girona over a beautiful small road via the village of Brunyola, Salitja and Aiquaviva.

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