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8 Day Smugglers Trail Cycling Tour in Catalonia, Spain

Besalú, Garrotxa, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Self-Guided Cycling Tour Spain

Of course, eBike Catalonia do not suggest that you start any illegal trade activities as this tour name suggests, although you will go deep into the wild mountain land of northern Catalonia. You will trace the steps of smugglers and outlaws that are known to have passed through this area for many years and took much-needed shelter within the mountains.

Key information

  • Trip type: Self-guided
  • Lodging: Point to Point
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Starts and ends in: Besalú
  • Difficulty level: Moderate (Cyclist needs to have a good level of fitness, terrain is mostly hilly or unpaved but they will ride on flat terrain sometime,31-45 miles per day), Challenging (Cyclist needs to have high level of fitness, must be an active rider, the terrain includes really challenging climbs/or 46-80 or more miles per day)
  • Total distance: 300 kilometers / 186 miles
  • Total elevation: 14000 meters
  • E-bike: Available to rent / 300 EUR per week

Highlights

  • See the dense nature of Garrotxa
  • Visit the "Little Mongolia” of the Pyrenees
  • See the panoramic views of the Pyrenees mountains
  • Swimming breaks at turquoise natural pools
  • Luggage transfer included
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 8 participants
Airport transfer available:
Barcelona–El Prat Airport (US$559 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Girona–Costa Brava Airport (US$170 per person)
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Accommodation

During this tour, you will be accommodated in rooms with shower and toilet facilities (approximately one or two nights of which will be with shared shower and toilet facilities).

When booking a shared room, if there is no one to share the room with (due to cancellation or the absence of a room-sharer) the participant will be charged a single supplement.

Program

This is an e-MTB tour and you will require a good level of physical fitness and technical bicycle riding in varied terrains. This tour is classified as moderate to challenging! Even though the electric bikes give you an extra push on the uphill climbs, there will still be some parts of the tour where you will need to push or ride your bike downhill and uphill in problematic topography.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Besalú

This medieval town on the river has been a pit-stop and place to shelter through the ages. Besalú will take you in for the first night before you start this e-bike trail in an enchanting lodging with views to the famous medieval bridge. This charming location is a perfect place to start your adventure.

Day 2: Exploring Alta Garrotxa - rocky mountains

A long first day of e-biking lies ahead of you, pedaling throughout the heart of Alta Garrotxa with moderate slopes. This remote area hides villages such as Lliurona and is surrounded by mountains. From time to time, deer can be seen in this area, you will have to keep your eyes-peeled to spot on!

You will enjoy a picnic for lunch with spectacular views to the Bay of Roses on the Mediterranean Sea. Following the mountainside of Bassegoda, an iconic mountain, and through an amazing valley you will later arrive at Castellfollit de la Roca, which is surrounded by woodlands and meadows. This town was built on top of a spectacular basaltic cliff, which was created thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption.

  • Distance: 55 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 1600 meters approximately

Day 3: Water dips, mountains, and charming villages

Your trip today ascends through woodlands of evergreen oaks towards the villages of Oix and Beget. Along the way, river pools will invite you to take a quick dip in the refreshing mountain water. Lunch will be served in a lovely village surrounded by mountain peaks.

This captivating village was a meeting point for outlaws and smugglers long ago. During the afternoon, you will cross into a wild area, surrounded by deep forest and rivers. You will spend the night in a lively mountain town where you can taste the area´s local products.

  • Distance: 50 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 3000 meters approximately

Day 4: Keep it up towards the highest point

This circular track takes you to the summit and the most challenging Pyrenean day of your adventure. You head deep into a stunning area and ride among high mountain meadows, fir tree woods, and free-range cattle. Enjoying the most spectacular mountain views, the sensation of freedom is stupendous! In front of you, you will catch a glimpse of the mystical mountain massif of Canigó.

Down to the east appears the Gulf of Lion on the Mediterranean Sea. You will feel like you have stepped back in time, and right into the shoes of the smugglers! You will understand why they would use these high lands as a secret lair and hideout.

  • Distance: 50 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 2200 meters approximately

Day 5: A landscape like Mongolia - land of herdsman

Thanks to the power of your e-bikes you can reach the high mountain meadows which are home to wild horses and cattle. It is colloquially known as the “Little Mongolia” of the Pyrenees - you will experience untainted natural surprises up here! Pathways among white birch woodlands and spring waters lead you down to the quaint village of Sant Joan de les Abadesses.

  • Distance: 55 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 3300 meters approximately

Day 6: Garrotxa - land of volcanoes

You will ride the last peak and continue to the flat lands of the high mountains. From here you will spend the day descending while passing the wild and mysterious mountain range of Sierra de Milanys and the rocks of Puigsacalm. The rocks here were formed beneath the ocean millions of years ago.

The next leg of the adventure will see you return to the dense nature of Garrotxa, where dark green colors are contrasted against volcanic stones. Your night stay will be at an authentic village from the Middle Ages.

  • Distance: 60 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 2500 meters approximately

Day 7: Follow the tracks of bandits

During the morning, you will enjoy a relaxed e-cycle past volcanoes and later in the day, climb up to a Romanesque Church (where you can ring the bell!) with impressive views across the volcanic zone. Now you will enter into the land of the famous bandit called Serrallonga, who became a kind of Catalan Robin Hood during the 17th century.

During the picnic, you will be able to jump into the fresh natural pools of the River Ser. Through the intense forest area, the path brings you back to the fresh Mediterranean Sea air during the afternoon. Arriving to Besalú you will complete the final part of the Smugglers trail.

  • Distance: 30 kilometers approximately
  • Ascent: 1000 meters approximately

Day 8: Departure

Back to reality and to abiding by the law, hopefully with a lasting smile on your face and lots of tales to tell about your experiences here! eBike Catalonia hopes to see you again soon on another one of their e-bike tours.

Skill levels

Intermediate:

  • Can cycle for 3-4 hours
  • Average riding experience
  • Little assistance required
  • Comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • Average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • Steep ascents and descents

Advanced:

  • Can cycle for 5-6 hours
  • Extensive riding experience
  • Assistance on demand (if required)
  • Experienced with riding a variety of bicycles
  • Comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Location

For centuries, the Pyrenees Mountain range has been both a border crossing and a hiding place. Smuggling across the mountain border and avoiding controls has been a regular human activity throughout history.

Many of the paths that are used today for your enjoyment with the e-bikes were open to smuggle illegal products throughout history. This included art masterpieces during times of war and essential products during periods of shortage to name a few.

This route with e-MTB, which passes through the Catalan Pyrenean foothills and the Pyrenees Mountains is quite technical and physical, although it is made easier thanks to the support of your e-bikes. Going through high mountain forests, meadows, and charming villages you will enjoy spectacular views and breath-taking landscapes.

The Smugglers trail is something truly special and is just perfect for adventurers and real mountain lovers! You will not want to miss the scenic views and the tasteful accommodation options that this tour has to offer!

You will enjoy a dynamic e-MTB tour from the lowlands of Catalonia, to the alpine mountains of the Pyrenees, and back again! Magnificent vistas will be your reward for the steep climbs along this route.

Food

During this tour, your daily breakfast is included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • GPS with detailed route
  • Luggage transfer included
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Taxes on stays in tourist establishments
  • Daily breakfast

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Transfer prices

The price is for a private taxi for 1 to 4 people.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) or Girona-Costa Brava Airport (GRO). eBike Catalonia would be happy to organize your personalized arrival / departure to the respective start /end points. If needed, they can book a taxi transfer or reserve train tickets in advance for you.

Airport: Barcelona–El Prat Airport Airport transfer available: Barcelona–El Prat Airport (US$559 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Girona–Costa Brava Airport Airport transfer available: Girona–Costa Brava Airport (US$170 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 14 days before arrival.
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