Nothing Beats Catalonia, Spain
Catalonia, with its pristine beaches, warm climate and mountainous views, is arguably one of Spain’s most beautiful places to visit. Add to this its unique Mediterranean culture and delectable cuisine and it’s no surprise that Catalonia has become a premiere tourist destination. But Catalonia isn’t just a place to go for sun and relaxation. It’s also one of the most amazing places on earth to bicycle.
Here are five compelling reasons you should grab your bike and head to Catalonia.
The capital of Catalonia, this city offers more than just the beautiful coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. It also boasts a variety of ancient architecture, such as that of famous designer Antonio Gaudi, who is responsible for several UNESCO heritage sites in Barcelona including the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà (La Pedrera). Visitors will also enjoy the city’s Gothic Quarter, or Barrio Gòtico, one of Barcelona’s oldest areas. With medieval structures such as the Palau de la Generalitat, the Town Hall, the Cathedral, and the Palau Reial dating back further than the Roman Empire, visitors here get the unique experience of taking a virtual step back in time.
If ancient history and culture interests you, then a cycle through this quaint town should definitely be on your itinerary. This archeological site offers a fascinating glimpse back at the ancient Greeks and Romans who settled there centuries ago. With medieval ruins, a museum, breathtaking beaches on which to sunbathe, and beautiful coastline to cycle along there’s plenty to do and see.
- Catalan Culture
Much like Catalonia’s warm and pleasant climate, its people are just as welcoming. The culture there is completely different than that of other parts of Spain and can only be described as unique. For example, various festivals held throughout Catalonia often feature oddities like castells, which are basically human towers. Music and dance are an intricate and important part of Catalan culture, as is the combination of languages spoken there, which include Spanish, Catalan and Aranese. You really must experience the Catalan culture for yourself to truly understand.
This historical city, located in Catalonia’s old Jewish sector, is lined with ancient alleys and multi-colored houses called Les Cases de L’onyar, which dot the river bank and give the city much of its character. Most notable is the city’s historical center, which is surrounded by the same thick walls that have protected it for centuries. The Onyar River divides Girona into two parts which are connected by four bridges. The Centre Bonastruca Porta (Museum of History of the Jews), located in the heart of Girona’s Jewish Quarter (El Call), offers guided tours and provides visitors with an excellent account of the people who inhabited the area before the 15th Century, when the Jews were forced out by the Spanish monarchy.
There is so much to see and experience in Catalonia, but perhaps the simplest yet most compelling reason to cycle here is the very atmosphere itself. With comfortable temperatures and mild weather year-round, there’s never a bad time to visit. In fact, Catalonia is the choice of many pro cyclists because it offers the perfect weather in which to train. The landscape is also ideal, with a variety of options to suit any cycler’s needs. From the challenging Pyrenees hill climbs to the winding Mediterranean coastal roads, the environment is nothing less than perfect.
If its ancient history, rich culture and breathtaking landscapes you seek, Catalonia is the place to be. It’s certainly one of Spain’s greatest gems. And with its small winding roads, challenging terrain and miles of beautiful coastline it’s also a biker’s dream. For the reasons listed here, and countless others, Catalonia is a destination that should be on any cycling enthusiast’s travel itinerary.