Girona, a small city in northeastern Spain, has become a popular destination for cyclists from all around the world in recent years. With its beautiful landscape, diverse terrain, and excellent cycling infrastructure, it’s not hard to see why. I had become curious about all the riders and triathletes going there to live or on training camp. Recently, one of my mates asked me if I wanted to go on a trip there and suddenly I was getting off the plane at Barcelona Airport. I spent two weeks in Girona during March and in this blog post, I’ll explore why I think Girona is the best place in the world for cycling.
Scenic routes and perfect roads
Girona is surrounded by breath taking countryside, dotted with picturesque medieval villages and stunning (hilly) coastal roads. There are many well-marked cycling routes, catering to a variety of skill levels and interests. For instance, if you want to test your mettle, you can take on the challenging climb to Els Angels, a mountain pass with spectacular views. Or, if you prefer a more leisurely ride, you can explore the flat terrain of the Girona countryside, passing through vineyards, olive groves, and quaint Catalan villages.
Every type of bike can be at home from cross country mountain bikes to time trial rigs. The road surface is mostly spotless, with holes found only on very small backroads. There’s long climbs with stunning descents, flat smooth roads for time trialists and gravel roads for privateers. As well as the incredible roads, there’s a cornucopia of gravel tracks in and around Girona of varying levels of technicality. There truly is something for everyone
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Girona is well-equipped with cycling infrastructure. The city has over 120 km of dedicated cycle lanes, making it easy and safe to navigate the city on two wheels. In addition, the city offers bike rental services and guided bike tours for those who prefer to explore the area with a local guide. If you’re riding at a slightly higher speed, the roads of the city can be a little safer than the bike paths and with a 30km/h speed limit (or lower) within most of the city faster cyclists move at the same speed as the cars.
Girona has a thriving cycling culture, with many professional cyclists choosing to call the city home. The city’s close proximity to the Pyrenees Mountains, the site of many iconic stages of the Tour de France, makes it a popular training ground for professional cyclists. As a result, you’re likely to spot famous riders out on training rides, and there are many cycling-themed events throughout the year, including the annual Girona Gran Fondo, the famous Traka Gravel Race and much more.
Girona boasts a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. This makes it an ideal location for cycling, as you can enjoy year-round cycling without having to contend with harsh weather conditions. The best time to visit for cycling is from March to November when the weather is at its most pleasant. It can be a little too hot for some in the summer, but there are a number of benefits to training in the heat provided you stay adequately hydrated!
Obviously, I’ve saved the most important thing until last – the cafes of Girona are unmatched! There are many great cycling cafes that offer delicious food and drink, as well as a welcoming atmosphere for cyclists. Some of my favourites were…
La Fábrica Girona
This cafe is owned by former professional cyclist Christian Meier and serves coffee, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. The cafe also has a bike shop and offers guided rides. The highlight is their bagels though – huge, tasty and relatively well priced. The perfect start and end point to any ride.
Espresso Mafia Girona
This cafe is known for its high-quality coffee and espresso drinks, as well as its selection of pastries and light snacks. The cafe has a cosy atmosphere and is a popular spot for cyclists to meet up. This was the first cafe I visited in Girona and it really set the bar high!
Federal Cafe Girona
This cafe is part of a chain of cafes in Spain but don’t let that put you off. The cafe has a selection of craft beers and cocktails as well as the usual cafe stuff. Federal Cafe Girona is a popular spot for cyclists to relax and refuel after a ride.
This cafe is also located in the old town of Girona. The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere and is popular with locals and tourists alike. La Fonda also has a selection of craft beers and local wines.
Eat, Sleep, Cycle
This cafe is located just by the stone bridge in the old town of Girona and serves coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and salads. The cafe also has a bike shop and offers guided rides.
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I’ve been lucky enough to travel around with and without my bike quite a lot in my life and Girona has to be one of the most pleasant places I’ve ever been. Since coming home I’ve spent all my time figuring out how I’m going to get myself back there as soon as I possibly can! Girona is a beautiful town and my trip there is something I’ll treasure for many years. It’s the perfect location for endurance athletes of all kinds, but the cycling culture is unmatched and somewhere that cyclists of all kinds will feel at home.
If you’re thinking of visiting Girona, make sure you take out triathlon travel insurance with Yellow Jersey before setting off on your trip.