Boasting a rich and varied history, Catalunya was the first Iberian region to become Roman. It was during the Middle Ages that it developed its own identifiable culture and it remains rich in mediaeval villages to this day. Highlights include the fortified town of Peratallada, where many of the old stone buildings are carved from stone taken from the moat encircling the town - this gives the town its name meaning 'carved stone'. Other highlights include Begur, with its C11 castle perched on the hilltop and the cobbled streets of Pals overlooking Platja de Pals.
Explore this quiet corner of Catalunya and experience a diverse range of scenery and culture that offers something quite different to the rest of the Spanish Mediterranean. Follow a coastline that has inspired creativity in the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salvador Dali. The cycling is varied, with gentle routes winding through olive groves and peach orchards contrasting with beautiful coastal paths overlooking the azure Mediterranean sea.
You'll stay in a variety of charming and characterful hotels, all with pools. The family-run Hotel Garbi overlooks the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell and the elegant Sa Punta is just five minutes' walk from a large sandy beach. Inland you relax in a magnificently restored C14 castle with breathtaking views from the terrace before returning to the coast, with views over the bay, at bustling Palamos.
Arrive at the Hotel Garbi where you'll enjoy a sea view room with private balcony. With such a rich variety of restaurants on offer, just 5 minutes' walk away in the centre of town, you're free to explore the local cuisine for yourself this evening. (Staying at Hotel Garbi, Breakfast only)
Today's ride takes you through the pine forest behind Calella, before leading on to the mediaeval village of Pals with its C11-C13 Romanesque tower and stunning views. After lunch, meander through the pretty hamlets of Palau-Sator (where there has been a settlement since Roman times) and Fontanilles, before looping back to the coast and finishing with a gentle downhill ride to Platja de Pals. (Staying in Hotel Sa Punta, Half Board)
We strongly recommend a visit to mediaeval Begur today, a fashionable hilltop town with C11 castle and outstanding views out over the coast. Alternatively follow the superb coastal walking path, stretch out on the fine golden sand of the beach, or simply unwind by the hotel's semi- Olympic pool. (Staying in Hotel Sa Punta, Half Board)
Your day begins with a ride past rice fields to join the River Ter, before following the river to Torroella de Montgri with its wonderful views of the Illes Medes and distinctly mediaeval features; think narrow streets, colonnaded square, baronial mansions and a rather impressive C14 Gothic church. Leave here and head inland along quiet roads to the village of Gualta with its picturesque C16 bridge and the pretty hamlets of Fonolleres, Matajudaica and Casavells. Finally, ride on to La Bisbal, where you'll stay in a unique C14 castle, once reputed to have been on Dali's shopping list. (Staying in the Hotel Castell d'Emporda, Half board)
Laze by the pool and enjoy the fabulous sun terrace with its superb bar area or follow our suggested cycling circuit which links the beautiful mediaeval villages of Corca, Monells (with a charming square and lovely choices for lunch), and La Bisbal, a lively market town famous for antiques and pottery. Here you can take time to explore the town's historic centre which includes the C11 Episcopal palace and the once-thriving Jewish quarter. (Staying in the Hotel Castell d'Emporda, Half board)
This is a lovely gentle ride that stops first at the walled village of Ullastret. The vast archaeological site here contains the remains of one of the oldest Iberian villages in Spain. Move on via beautifully preserved Peratallada to the bustling market town of Palafrugell, a great spot for lunch. It's then a gentle 5km ride to the seaside town of Palamos, where you'll spend the next two nights in our *** sea-facing hotel with its lovely pool. (Staying in Hotel Trias, Breakfast only)
Once a C12 fishing village, Palamos is now a bustling family seaside resort centred around its colourful port, and has one of the best beaches on the Costa Brava. Here you can walk or cycle to Sant Antoni, explore the warren of mediaeval streets, or simply relax in the sun by the pool or down on the beach. (Staying in Hotel Trias, Breakfast only)
Your route today is filled with things to see and do. Firstly, you'll follow the coast along to the lovely bay at La Fosca, before moving on to the sheltered half-moon cove of Platja de Castell, crowned by the atmospheric ruins of an ancient settlement. Then head inland through the farming hamlets and rice fields of Santa Margarida and Ermedas, before ascending gently to the Sant Sebastia lighthouse with its fabulous views and restaurant for lunch. A final downhill stretch via Llafranc will then carry you back to Calella de Palafrugell. (Staying at Hotel Garbi, Breakfast only)
Please note that cycling helmets are a legal requirement in Spain. As we cannot provide these, we strongly recommend you bring your own.
Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day and £18 per child per day.
The Hotel Garbi is located on the hillside overlooking the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell with its own extensive gardens, shaded by pines.
Room upgrades: Duplex Superior Room.
Duplex Superior rooms offer the same facilities as a standard room with the addition of a mezzanine level with sofa
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:The Hotel Sa Punta, just a five minute walk to the beach is set in beautiful grounds with a lovely terrace area for afternoon drinks. There is also a semi-olympic size swimming pool with spa pool.
Room upgrades: Superior Room or Suite.
Superior rooms are larger in size and have a pool view. Suites are larger still with a sitting area and large terraces and sea views.
NEARBY:The Castell d'Emporda could not be in a better location, perched on a rocky outcrop with breathtaking views from its sun terrace. The building is a superbly restored 700-year-old castle, that is now owned by Albert and Margo, who are both very friendly and speak excellent English.
Room upgrades: Castle Room, Garden Suite or Suite Pere Margarit.
Castle rooms: housed in the original castle building making for a romantic stay. Garden suites: larger than the standard garden rooms (53 sq. metres) and have a separate sitting area. Both the bedroom and the bathroom have balconies! Suite Pere Margarit: (80 sq. metres) was originally the master bedchamber of the mediaeval castle.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:Located on the seafront with stunning views over the bay of Palamos and just a few minutes' walk from the town centre, the Hotel Trias dates from 1900 but has been renovated into a stylish and modern hotel. It is also within easy walking distance of both the beach and the harbour.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
NEARBY:Located in the centre of Barcelona, the Gallery Hotel has 25 years of experience to take care of you during your stay. The rooms are bright and have lots of home comforts included. The hotel also boasts a roof top pool and garden terrace.
The Hotel Ciutat de Girona is located in the historic centre and beating heart of Girona and is just a 10 minute walk from the train station. The hotel has been decorated with iconic images of Girona's past, the historic pictures sit well with the modern decor of the hotel. The hotel has an indoor pool and an indoor cycling area. You are welcomed with a glass of the local moscatell. The restaurant of the hotel if you decide to eat there prides itself on serving food using local products all of which come from a 62.1 mile radius.
Transfers included from Flaca train station at 17:02 and back to Flaca train station at 11:15.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Bikes were excellent as were the reps but the accommodation was poor.
This holiday was to be a special treat after a stressful year moving house plus a major renovation project. I am not a strong cyclist, and we chose the Catalan Coastal Cycling because it had the same pattern of two night stays with alternate days cycling and at leisure which we had enjoyed two years ago on the Venetian Villas and Vineyards holiday. Headwater emailed on 31 August 2016 in reply to our enquiry to say that all hotels had confirmed availability, so we booked our flights. On 5 September 2016, we got an email from Headwater to say that the Reservation Team at one of the hotels, the Castell d’Emporda, had accepted our booking in error as they already had a wedding booked for what would have been the second night of our stay and could only accommodate us for one night. We had looked forward to the two nights at the Castell as the highlight of our trip, had specially wished to visit the ceramic workshops at the nearby town of La Bisbal on the “rest” day, and did not feel confident of cycling around 35 kilometres on each of two consecutive days. I asked if another hotel could be found that could accommodate us for two nights, but was told that this was not possible. Our flights could not be cancelled or changed, so we had no option but to go ahead and accept the offer from Headwater of a refund of £72 per person to reflect the difference in price between the Castell and the next hotel where we would now spend three nights. In the event, the two consecutive days cycling were extremely tiring (as previous reviewers have noted, some of the cycling on this itinerary is on off-road tracks which makes it more strenuous than the equivalent distance on tarmac). When we arrived late in the afternoon at the Castell, a large British wedding party was there, with the main terrace area entirely occupied with tables for dinner and live music for them. The upgrade to a suite (offered to us by way of apology for the booking error) was of limited interest as we were there for such a short time, though the complimentary bottle of cava was more appreciated. What I find particularly unacceptable is that when I expressed astonishment that a hotel of this standard could make such a mistake with our booking, Headwater told me “it happens all the time, they’re not very organised out there”. We have been organising our own independent travel to Europe and the US for over thirty years and have never had this happen before. It is no encouragement to use (and pay the premium for) the services of a travel agent. To conclude, I would like to say that the other three hotels we stayed in were excellent, obviously popular with Spanish people, and our two reps, Brian and Olivia, were friendly, helpful and efficient. However, the experience of paying for an expensive holiday which does not turn out to be as expected is not one we are likely to repeat.
Thoroughly enjoyed this holiday . Chose the harder/longer options every day and suggest a reasonable level of fitness required to do this. Probably would have chosen easier options some days or rest days in high season when weather warmer - mid October it was around 20C so great cycling/sightseeing weather. Enjoyed all the unspoiled medieval villages. Hotels all high quality but different in character. Will certainly try similar holidays with Headwater in the future.The reps Brian and Olivia were very personable and it was reassuring to know they would be available if required.
Overall a very enjoyable holiday in great locations with good accommodation. The local representives were helpful and cycles and equipment excellent.
* the route guides need to be revisited generally, but specifically in relation to routes through towns. (If you require more specific information, I don't mind speaking in more depth about this.
* The Garbi hotel is satisfactory as a transit hotel....an over night on the way in and out. But should NOT be used for additional add on days. The place is soulless and despite us upgrading it felt no better than some travel lodges we have stayed in. The hotel has great potential because of its location and basic facilities, but it has passed it's best.
* The El Castell hotel needs to be looked at carefully by you for the future. If it continues to develop its wedding reception business which it is doing from information I gleened during our stay then your guests are going to be side lined with regards to service if they find themselves there at the same time as a wedding. They currently do not have the facilities to cater for both.
On arrival after a long day cycling we were told that we could only be booked in for dinner at 9pm ....in the poolside bar. They made as good a job as possible with the space they had. But this is a 4 star hotel which didn't come cheap especially with an upgrade. The other issue with the hotel is that there was not one scap of written information in the room about any of the hotels facilities including opening and closing times. This caused a potential problem on the second day when upon returning from another days cycling we we advised that the earliest dinner booking was 8.30pm. We quickly changed with the intention of getting a snack from the poolside bar. This was at almost 3.30pm and we were advised that the bar did not provide food after 3.30. As it happens the chef was cleaning down and I think took pity on us and provided us with a snack.
excellent. very informative guides and route plans with excellent accommodation provided
A very enjoyable holiday. A good opportunity to see a foreign country. Safe cycling routes and good hotels.
Olivia and Brian were good reps, giving us enough local information without going in excessive detail. We felt they were available if needed, but fortunately did we not have to contact them at all (apart from travel during the stay)
This was our first self guided cycling holiday and it lived up to our expectations . From the office to Brian and Olivia , the service was excellent,professional and personable. The quality of hotels was of a very good standard with superb food and locations. The routes were were diverse, interesting, well supported with comprehensive notes and gave us the feeling that we had really seen and experienced the region. Brian and Olivia were hugely supportive , caring and very personable . We felt that we were not alone on our first cycling trip and they were a phone call away if needed. We really enjoyed our holiday and looking to another one next year in another European country. Mark and Philippa Furness.
We enjoyed the lovely Catalunya countryside and villages, the contrast of coastal and rural cycling was most enjoyable. Hotel Sa Punta was the best we've had with Headwater and the others were very good too, each quite different from the others. We did feel that there were too many inclines and rough tracks for this to be a 1 bike grade, maybe 1+ would be our classification. Having been on three other 1 bike holidays, this was more challenging.
Wonderful, quiet cycle routes through stunning countryside and coastal villages. Catalonians were extremely friendly and welcoming and the whole area was clean and well maintained.
Holiday was very good, gentle relaxed cycling in nice area and traffic free roads and tracks. Hotels and food were of a high standard.
An enjoyable holiday: a beautiful part of the world; the hotels were very good; the cycling was not strenuous but overly detailed and confusing directions for the cycling routes was frustrating and meant that our pleasure on the rides was diminished.
We enjoyed the cycling in Provence two years ago much more.
An enjoyable experience. Some very contrasting hotels during the holiday. A great way to see the local area.
First of all a big thank you to Jim & Katie Illingworth (headwater reps). This our 8th trip with Headwater and Katie & Jim are by far the most well prepared reps we have encountered. They have put lot of effort into helping guests make the most of their holiday with nice touches such as preparing a list of recommended restaurants by other guests to help on the days when we had to make our own arrangements. After reading reviews by previous visitors we chose the easy grade of cycling this year to give us time to enjoy the journey and explore the villages and coves along the way. The holiday lived up to all the positive reviews, and was our most relaxing holiday for years. This was our first visit to Catalunya and it is a very different place to southern Spain (Costa del Sol), the people are very polite and friendly and English is spoken in most places so our phrase book did not get much of an airing. The cycling was not difficult at all and you have plenty of time to enjoy the prettier villages.
The included meals were of a very high standard as were these hotels. We were advised by Jim and Katie that if the hotel at Palamos was not busy and you are allocated a room to the side or rear of the building without a balcony to ask for an up grade. We did this and were given a 2nd floor sea view room with a balcony for an extra 10 euros per night. Well worth it.
Glad to see Headwater are now including cycling suggestions for the rest days, this was much appreciated as on previous holidays we have spent the evening before planning our own route notes.
Our best holiday with Headwater since our visit to Provence.
The only comment we would make to improve the holiday are in regards the over descriptive notes for directions for which we felt compelled to find every detail on the notes and seemed to be stopping every few hundred kilometers or so to check notes. For example it would be simpler to record 'keep on straight ahead to the next T junction an ignore all turnings for 2 km' - whereas for example, the notes detail sign posts to a destination on the left in detail and instruct you to continue straight ahead. This said, we did not need to use the OS maps for the whole of the holiday.
We would not cycle in this area which is too urban really. The route notes require stopping every 100 or so meters in large parts of the journey to check directions.
We have been cycling to different parts of Europe for the past 7 years so we have a little experience of what to expect.. Headwater certainly is the best company we have cycled with. It was not the most interesting place we have been to but we wanted some sunshine and we certainly had that.
The holiday over all was very enjoyable BUT the 1 cycle rating was far from accurate. The 'tracks' mentioned in the brochure were rutted farm tracks full of sand and rubble. This was incredibly hard to negotiate, especially with the bikes we had which had narrow wheels not suitable for the purpose. The dry surface of the tracks meant the sand and rubble moved under us making it quite dangerous. This was not pleasant easy cycling but required all one's concentration to keep upright at times.
Occasionally the directions were out of date, or inaccurate, causing us to get 'lost' on several occasions.
J & S English
A terrific holiday, just the right balance of activity and relaxing days off. We love Headwater cycling holidays, this is our fifth, and we will be booking another soon.
A great experience cycling on Costa Brava coast route but just as well our guides/reps told us about and downloaded for us the gps as paragraphs missing from guide route. The notes had been cut and pasted from portrait to landscape and some notes did not transpose. The other independent coup,e had the same problems.
The food, service and attention to detail was top class at the Sa Punta. We upgraded to a sea view room but was of course charged.
The food at the Castell d'Empria was good but not a patch on Sa Punta. Service wasn't too wonderful either and knowledge of dishes. Facilities in bathroom below standard ie no separate towel/soap in separate bidet area. The views and location though were fantastic so I think they rely on this to pull them through. The cycle up to the Castell was really steep as you can imagine but can't change that! Bit tough though at the end of 32 km; came at it another way the next day.
In Paloma's The room at the Hotel Trias would have been at the back so we asked for a front room which they were able to do at no extra cost, so worth asking. The Gallerie seafood restaurant was great but we paid through the nose, £90 and no credit cards accepted, our co cyclist who also came into the restaurant after us, were scratching about for enough cash to pay later! We had Just 3 plentiful fish dishes, one dessert and 4 glasses wine. The old waiter just told us what special fish he had that day, there was no menu. So beware!
One of the best (out of eight) cycling holidays we have done. Catalonia is a beautiful area, ideal for cycling by the coast. The representatives were excellent. Thoroughly enjoyable trip, busy working out our next year's jaunt!
Arrangements comprehensive, cycling testing at times though enjoyable, hotels all well situated and of a very good standard.
This 8 night trip visited a good mix of hotels and places. The cycling was mainly gentle, through orchards, cycle tracks and numerous medieval villages. Pleasant mix of activity and gastronomy!
This was our first Headwater holiday and we really enjoyed it . The coastal catalan area is great for cycling with beautiful countryside and unspoilt villages . Although we booked for August, the weather was not too hot . Route maps were very clear. The hotels were of a high standard and great places to relax after the daily exercise. A very enjoyable week.
Hotels were lovely . The region has some stunning scenery ,and beautiful villages.
Well done Headwater
In the circumstances, given the accident, very difficult to make comment on this occasion. The hotels were extremely satisfactory. And the countryside, certainly from the inside of a taxi, or the Headwater transport looked very interesting. A trip to maybe repeated in the future!
Dear Mr Anderson,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive whether complimentary or critical is valuable in helping us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future and is always well received.
It was great to see that you rated your holiday overall as good to excellent. Although, we were sorry to read that one of your party had an accident whilst on holiday, we hope they have made a speedy recovery. It was pleasing to read that during this stressful time you found our rep helpful and supportive. We will pass on your positive feedback to him.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater this summer and we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
Beautiful countryside to cycle in cpntrasting so well with the equally gorgeous coves and beaches - thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would wholeheartedly recommend this holiday.
Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was very helpful having the Headwater local back up. Will definitely use Headwater again.
We found the cycling to be very enjoyable. Excellent instructions and maps and lots of variety in the scenery - coastal and inland. Rather more riding on tracks [often sandy or stony] than expected, but little traffic to worry about. Thought the overrall grading was higher than 'soft'.
First class hotels throughout. Cannot speak too highly of the couriers, Alan and his wife. We were lucky to have fine weather throughout, so a very good holiday.
Only small drawback was the long time spent travelling - air/rail took the whole day, both outward and return
Cycling for softies but the fitter you are the more enjoyable especially if you want to cycle and get the best from some of the 'rest day' route possibilities.
A real holiday.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. I would never have seen this area of Spain doing a normal Hotel/Package deal. It is like a mini adventure with someone else doing all the arranging, absolutely loved it. Look forward to doing another one soon.
The holiday was a perfect. We cycling along quiet country roads alive with butterflies and birds, scented with blossom and decorated by a myriad of wild flowers. The route took through a quieter version of parts of Tuscany with hill top villages and stone farms but had the advantage of including a wonderful coast line of rocky coves and sandy beaches, so I swam and swam. The June/July weather was kind to us; hot sun but a cooling breeze, and then at the end of the ride, a great hotel and a good dinner. What more can I say!
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We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
No departures between August 5 & August 23 inclusive.
Transfers included from Flaca train station at 17:02 and back to Flaca train station at 11:15.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Catalan Coastal Cycling. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.