Family cycling holidays in Catalonia

Catalonia is home to many professional cyclists, and a prime training ground for many more. Why so? Spain’s far northeastern province boasts superb, diverse terrain, from Pyrenean foothills and snow-dusted peaks to dirt tracks through countryside, woodland, olive groves and vineyards, and surfaced, low-traffic roads through quiet villages and idyllic coastal scenery. That, combined with a refreshing Mediterranean and mountain climate, makes Catalonia an immensely appealing destination for cycling, whether you’re in training, or simply after a two-wheeled holiday.
And, of course, Catalonia is also perfectly suited for family cycling holidays, where it’s less Lycra, more laid-back, with no steep summits to climb but instead coves and beaches to swim from, forests and lakes to explore, and a host of cultural and active diversions to combine with your exertions in the saddle. Most of the time you’ll be riding on trails that are closed to cars, that can take you through ever-changing landscapes of wetlands that are a haven for birdlife to medieval stone villages, fields of poppies and sunflowers, and volcanic hills.
Like many places in Spain children are welcomed everywhere, including late at night in restaurants, but not many other parts of Spain can rival Catalonia for cycling, or other activities to do and places to see alongside, from horse riding to kayaking, forest sculpture parks, prehistoric caves and day-trips to Barcelona, Figueres or Girona. Flexible itineraries mean you can adjust the length of your rides based on recommendations from your operator and hosts, or add in a rest day here or there.
You might stay in luxurious townhouse in Palamos, a historic fishing town just east of Girona with long stretches of sand north and south, or at a countryside sports hotel and spa out in the countryside, with a 25m pool, massage suite, sauna and on-site cycling training and treatment for sports injuries.

What do family cycling holidays in Catalonia entail?

These are tailor made, self guided trips, though certainly in the countryside guides can sometimes be arranged. You’ll be equipped with route maps and GPS and, as they are centre-based tours, you’ll need nothing more than a daypack to carry water, sunscreen and definitely a camera. Some are best-suited to families with kids aged 10 and up, while others have no minimum age as there are plenty of very easy routes available.
Stay near the old quarter of Palamos, and the surrounding Costa Brava coastline is dense with designated cycling trails, spanning hundreds of kilometres. You might pause to watch a fish auction, head out sea kayaking, and every day enjoy tapas or a seafood lunch at a local restaurant (we always recommend eating locally sourced food when on holiday – low food mileage and somehow tastes so much better too).
Out in the countryside a short drive (or transfer) north of Girona, you’ve got literally 100s of cycling trails right on the doorstep offering an enormous range of distances and terrain. You could be riding between extinct volcanic cones and ancient lava flows, around picturesque lakes or through golden fields, with a swim and a massage waiting for you on your return every afternoon. Does that sound good? No need to answer, we know.

Our top Catalonia Holiday

Catalonia family self guided cycling holiday, Spain

Catalonia family self guided cycling holiday, Spain

Customised road cycling tour in Girona, Catalonia

From €350 to €770 8 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Catalonia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go

We’d suggest you look at between mid-April and early June, or alternatively September and October, to take your family cycling in Catalonia. July and August can get very sultry. Inland areas can be a little chilly and damp in early spring and autumn, but not especially so and the air is so much fresher up in the mountains. Travelling off peak also helps spread the benefit of tourism income to these areas throughout the year. Another great reason to consider autumn is the chance of tying in your cycling with one of the region’s many food or medieval festivals. And if you’re looking at the Catalonian coast, then it’s going to be warm enough for a swim pretty much all year-round.

Catalonia is becoming hotter and drier as a result of the climate changing – summer heatwaves are now more common, while rainfall and thunderstorms are becoming more sporadic. The best way to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling is to eat locally produced food wherever possible, and to go overland instead of by air. Both Palamos and Girona can be easily reached by train from London, in as little as 10 hours.
Vivian Campbell, from our supplier Cycle Catalan, shares some advice on cycling in Catalonia with kids: "Cycling in Catalonia is lovely for families. The distances are quite short – 35km a day on average. You can base yourself in the village of Calonge and cycle to the beach or to the sea kayaking... It’s nice as cycling’s becoming quite popular again, a lot of people are taking it up, so you get families that have just bought bikes and then decide to do a cycling holiday and get really enthusiastic once they’ve been, and it’s like a new thing that they’ll incorporate for life once they go home. It’s healthy but also a nice thing to do as a family. People say it’s the best family holiday they’ve ever been on!"
“Every day was memorable. Cycling through sunflower and rice fields, arriving at gorgeous medieval villages and lovely beaches. The house is excellent, very well equipped and located and very spacious. The bikes and equipment were excellent. Palamos itself is great. It has a very long sandy beach and a nice, safe and welcoming atmosphere. There is a lot to see and do in the area that we want to go back for more! The holiday is totally flexible and you can do as much or as little cycling as you want. The cycling is easy and even though it was hot, we managed to do most of it.” – Mary Mills on a Catalonia family cycling holiday
“We've been on a number of holidays as a family, but I have to say that this was my favourite ever one. Because you tailor the cycling to suit yourself, it's the perfect combination of relaxation and activity.” – Jane Edwards on a Catalonia family cycling holiday
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Samu] [All photos: Mas Pelegri]