We'd like to cycle 3 weeks in july 2016 in Spain.
We tought about going from France border Cerbère/Portbou along the coast in direction of Murcia.
This idea beacuse we've done already Athens to Cerbère in a past trip along Mediterranean sea.
We wonder now how busy the roads can be in July and if they are nice to cycle.
If you have other ideas of trips (+/-3 weeks) that we could do in Spain at that time, We'd welcome advices.
I'm glad to see your post about Spanish trip! I live in Barcelona and I already have been 2 times in Elche (next to Alicante) on bike so I have some experience in riding on the coast and generally riding in this direction.
May be today I will tell you about first part, between the border and Barcelona. Next days I will continue.
First of all you should not even think about ride by road GI-682, between Sant Feliu de Guixols and Lloret de Mar. I have passed twice by that road, in different times and in both cases they almost killed me, crazy motorbikes. In tank - yes, on bike - forget!
From Portbou you can go toward Girona. First by the coast, passing through by El Port de la Selva and Roses. Between these two towns you can visit famous Cadaques, but only if you like Dali's art. I was there 2 years ago and being there I saw that all older viligies/towns on the coast are +/- similar.
The terrain between Portbou and Roses is not flat but you will have nice views: first on the Spanish-French coast and later, closer to Roses, on the Golf of Roses. I would recommend you that path than going more directly by national way N-260, that might be not so nice because of traffic and leak of beautiful views.
From Roses you can go to L'Escala, passing through Empuriabrava, Sant Pere Pescador, Viladamat and Empuries ruins next to L'Escala. This part is more flat and you can mount some track passing by villages and fields.
Then, in my opinion, you should to go Girona, in final part reaching the city by N-IIa or N-II road.
Between Girona and Barcelona there are only 2 ways: or by the coast, by N-II road; or by more interior path, by C-35 road.
Most people says that N-II generally is danger but it is quite comfortable way, especially from Malgrat de Mar. There is some traffic but crossing many time that road I have never had any danger situation. The road is enough wide in difficult parts and also has wide roadside. So you can go by following road to Sils: GI-533, GI-5331 (airport) and GI-555. Then pass to N-II and go toward Tordera, Malgrat de Mar and just straight a head to Barcelona... If you extremely don't like traffic then you can go to/toward Blanes from Tordera and then by GI and BV local roads to Malgrat de Mar and N-II. In this way you should come to Santa Coloma de Gramenet. Now look below how to enter to Barcelona.
If you choose C-35 road (+/- the same traffic like on N-II), so not by the coast, then you should continue by GI-555 till Hostalric (also nice place for short visit) and then continue by C-35 till end of this road so to Llinars del Vallès. Then you take C-251 (it is the same track) till crossing with C-352. You can take that road, to avoid passing by Granollers. There may be some traffic but it is only till 2nd exit, to Valldoriolf. Then by BV-5159 and BP-5002 you arrive to Vilanova del Vallès. From there you should continue by BV-5001 till the end so to Santa Coloma de Gramenet. Closer to the sea you will find some bike path on the right, starting next to turn to Montcada i Reixac, you can follow it but not to the end.
(Enter to Barcelona)
Using your best geolocation skills (or just GPS) you should finish one of above presented parts close to bridge on the street Avinguda de Pi i Margall. There will be a lot of bridges and also complicated road situation (one-way, etc..). Passing that bridge you will arrive to Barcelona and also you will find comfortable bike path, along street Rambla de Guipúscoa.
Ask me if you have any questions! :)
Thank you very much ! It helps a lot.
When you have time, I'll be happy to read the second part.
i have been in 2013 from slovenia to spain. it was good trip. spain was not busy at all, just i didnt put my nose to much inside big cities.
i visited friend in girona and stayed there fro a week. passed ..mountains.. by normal road, with cars. for come back to france i drove on seaside, there are nice places.
We just cycled one month in Spain (November), so I can't say how busy they will be in summer months. But in general even the most minor roads had with very little traffic and were in excellent condition. We travelled from Motril to France. I would stay away from the coast road between Cartagena and Barcelona as it is over developed for tourism and very busy. Andalusia was my favourite province which includes the beautiful cities of Sevilla and Granada, which in my opinion are much nicer the. Madrid or Barcelona. We found that the three digit A roads ( like the A348) were usually a safe bet, but even better were the four digit roads and any road that had a B or D beginning. The N roads that run parallel to the autopistas were also great, but they don't always show up on maps as they can run so close to the autopista, and the turns to follow them are not always marked, you just have pick the proper direction down a service road to pick up the signs for the N road again. There is also a old rail line converted to a bike path 'la via verde' that goes from Velencia to Zaragoza, but personally I find a steady grade all day boring, and always being in tunnels and trenches at high points takes away from the beautiful scenery.
The best cycling was in the mountains. We cycled in the mountains around Granada, east to the coast on the A348 and from Velencia to Barcelona. The remainder of the time we were along the coast, it was beautiful in places, but much busier, and I'm sure even more so in the summer. If I were to do it again I would bike east on the south side on the Sierra Nevada mountains and then head north on minor roads all the way to Barcelona. I would highly recommend taking the train into big cities. Train staff are helpful, the tickets are cheap and bikes are free.
Hope that helps a bit.
Today I will explain how to pass from neighbourhood of Barcelona to Tarragona. Next day I will put a map with explanation how to pass through Barcelona.
Outside of Barcelona and the El Prat airport you should take B-210 road and go to its end and then turn on the left toward the sea. After pass above C-31 motorway, you should continue along the beach to the end of seaside walkway. It ends in front of Port Ginesta. If you look on the entrance to this place then on the right you will have a short tunnel under railway and road. You have pass through and later take C-31 road. This road does not look nice, there will be some traffic, the road is not so wide and it is not so comfortable to go by this way. To Sitges it has 15 km, a half up and a half down. The drivers go quite carefully; along this road goes other but toll road. There are some places to stop and take a rest or take some pictures. There is no any other way to go from Castelldefels to Sitges.
When you reach Sitges, then pass through the city (many people say that is very nice but, personally, I don't see anything interesting there. Bacardi's inventor was born there) and go toward C-246a to Vilanova i la Geltru and later to Cubelles. From that place you have to continue along the coast till Roda de Bara and there till Punta de la Guineu. In that point ends the seaside road and starts path only for pedestrians. It has about 1km and is very nice. I have passed twice by bike but do it carefully or just walking and enjoying views. This is all for not passing by N-340 road which is not so nice in that part. N-340 stops to be danger after roundabout in Urbanizacion Sant Jordi because in that point heavy trucks go toward AP-7, and also in that part N-340 forks on coast and AP-7 part. You, obviously, continues by coast part of N-340 toward Altafulla and finally to Tarragona.
Thank you very much Lukasz.
I'm putting all your information on Google map so if someone's ever interested by it, here are the links.
From Portbou to Barcelona
From Barcelona to Tarragone
WOW! I'm really impressed!
It looks nice on Google Maps. Next week I will check it carefully :)
Me and a friend are planning to cycle from Malaga to Alicante but not sure which route to take. We have been advised to go along the coast but it seems this can get busy using the N-340.
We are planning to camp along the journey and have 6 days to complete the route in order to get a flight back to the UK
Can anyone recommend a route which avoids the busier roads.
Proposed route below
Thanks in advance
Alternative more inland using google maps
And another built using Strava
Tarragona to L'Ampolla
Between Urbanizació Àliga and L'Ampolla (about 72km) it is possible to pass by the coast side of the railway. Just pass above the railway and highway bridge and turn on the right. There is some short street and later you have to pass walking may by about 150 m and you will rich wild beach (Cala de l'Àliga). Then you should go up and there you will find good and straight road to L'Ampolla.
L'Ampolla to Orpesa
The zone between L'Ampolla and Sant Carles de la Rapita it is Delta of Ebro river. Nice place to pass through. Spanish rice grows mostly there.
Between Peníscola and Alcossebre there is a ground path, passing through a park. It may be difficult pass if you have slick road tire but full MTB is not necessary.
From Alcossebre to Orpesa I have matched mostly N-340. There may be some traffic but people mostly will go by the highway, just next to this road. Also you could look for some slower road between N-340 and the coast.
Orpesa to Sagunto
As you can see, it is mostly by N-340. National road all the time passing through towns and villages so not so fast. If you don't want to see Castellon then you could think about N-225 and CV-18 to Nules.
I didnt know how to leave Sagunto by main road so I went by Port de Sagunt. During holidays there is no traffic but I can imagine that normally there is some movement.
So somehow to Puçol and later straight a head by CV-306 and CV-300 to Valencia.
Valencia to Xàbia(Javea)
In Valencia got plenty of bike paths. When you find the correct one to leave the city then it will be easy. The part of route that I marked in Valencia may be not correct so don't follow it without checking where you are.
And later, till Cullera, there is a bike path so it is easy and relaxing. Also you can go by CV-500 and CV-502 (it is almost the same route).
About 109km there will necessary pass by N-332. I remember that there was some traffic and I tried to avoid this part but it is not possible. Fortunately is quite short. I didn't pass to Dénia.
Xàbia to Alicante
This part may be a little bit hard, mostly because of sun and N-332. Less villages to take a rest and only this road.
If case of any problems don't forget that this is a railway along this route. Rare trains (also called trams) but better be aware of it.
And finally, I recommend you to go to Elche/Elx to see a palm tree park. First along the coast toward to Arenals del Sol and later by L'Altet and CV-849 and Av. de l'Altet to Elche. I haven't been farther...
Ask me if you have any question! :)
Thank you very much for your work on google map, it's gonna help a lot !