We interviewed our Spanish tour manager and tour leader Joan Escosura about Bicycling Catalonia’s Costa Brava Plus! Barcelona. Joan is very excited to introduce our travelers to his home region in northern Spain.
What excites you the most about the ExperiencePlus! trip along Catalonia’s Costa Brava?
I am proud to say that Catalonia is my home and I look forward to sharing a part of it with our riders. It is hard to stop listing reasons why the Catalonia Costa Brava tour is so wonderful but a few reasons that come to the top of my mind are: the region’s long history, rich culture, world-renowned cooking tradition, varied and stunning landscapes. There are so many special spots that I can’t wait to show you (but I should warn you that I am very biased towards this region!).
What about the riding? How does this compare to our other tours in Spain which are fairly challenging?
I’m thrilled to have played a part in creating a tour in Spain that offers gentler terrain (levels 2-2.5) in a country and region where hills and valleys seem to grow like mushrooms! In Catalonia we’ll ride to the sea over gentle hills and the flat terrain of the Emporda area and then inland towards some hilly areas which are ripe for exploration for those looking for extra miles. I believe the ride into Cadaqués, the loop to Cap de Creus and the ride towards Olot are all going to quickly earn legendary status as “must-dos” among ExperiencePlus! travelers. A highlight for me (and I hope for our travelers) will be the last day’s ride into Barcelona (on the 12-day itinerary) and cycling the famous Ramblas towards our hotel. Last but not least, in the recent years Girona has become the mecca of the pro-riders: the short distance to both the Alps and Pyrenees and the huge amount of secondary roads in the area with great pavement and very little traffic, offering challenging rides has made it very appealing for many teams as their training grounds. My hope is that in the end everyone will discover their new favorite ride(s) and that you will grow to cherish Catalonia as much as I have!
What can you tell us about the food in the region?
It’s no coincidence that Catalonia has the highest number of Michelin-ranked restaurants in Spain, and the reason is simple: mountains, fields, sea, and Mediterranean weather. When in comes to food we like to say Catalonia is “the north of the south and the south of the north.” Girona borders with France as a great source of knowledge and inspiration to achieve excellence in cuisine. Catalan cuisine has also been influenced and benefited greatly from its southern location and the cornucopia of flavors, aromas and spices that have come from the Far East through northern Africa. These unique factors have evolved to create the exceptional cuisine that we enjoy today and which I am very pleased and proud to share.
A number of famous artist are from this area – will we get to see any of their work?
Artists and architects have made Catalonia and the Costa Brava their home and have considered the region an inspiration, including Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Antoni Gaudí. On our cycling trip we ride to Cadaqués and visit one of Dalí’s homes. We’ll also stay in Figueres where the Dalí museum is located and take a guided tour of the museum. Our Plus! tour ends in Barcelona where you’ll become familiar with a few of Mirós’ sculptures and paintings as you stroll Las Ramblas. Barcelona is also considered the Modernist mecca featuring the largest collection of buildings designed by the master Antoni Gaudí including the Sagrada Família, and the magical Park Güell both of which I encourage everyone to visit.
Are there other cultural sights that you are excited to share?
We will stay in the old Jewish quarter in Girona, one of the best preserved in Spain. We also explore the history of the Emporda region starting with Peretallada, a pedestrian friendly medieval village in the farmland of Girona, and other towns such as Pals and Monells are one of the best preserved medieval towns area in Europe, and then we visit the Roman town of Vic. Needless to say: those of you who love ancient spots, and buildings made from stones that have been sculpted by years of history, will be in heaven! Last but not least, Barcelona is one of the most interesting and surprising cities in Europe in my opinion, both in cultural, architectural culinary and other aspects…
Any final comments?
I can’t wait to see people’s faces after enjoying an astonishing meal in one of the best restaurants in Girona, ruled by one of Ferran Adrias (founder of el Bulli) disciples in the in the fisherman village of Cadaqués — what could be better after a remarkable ride than a gorgeous meal with excellent wine? There’s so much to be enjoyed that I can’t wait to start this tour. I hope everybody will love it!
A sneak peak of this unforgettable tour:
Ready to join us? Find your departure date and book today!
2019 Departure Dates
Sep 12-19 – Sold out wait list available
Jun 20- Jul 1
Aug 22- Sept 2
Sep 12-23 – Sold out wait list available