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Carcassonne to Barcelona Cycle 6 days France, Spain


About the Challenge

This challenging, spectacular ride takes us from the beautiful fortified city of Carcassonne, through the rolling hills of Cathar country before reaching the mighty Pyrenees. Here we tackle the long twisting climb of the Port d’Envalira (2408m), in the tiny mountainous kingdom of Andorra; as you reach the top you've have emulated the pros from the Tour de France and Tour of Spain - a huge achievement. From Andorra we cross into Spain, riding south through the stunning Catalan Pyrenees to wonderful Barcelona.

This is a challenging ride over beautiful, testing terrain - you’ll be glad to reach Barcelona and celebrate your achievements in this iconic city.


Dates & Prices

Katie - November 2018

Amazing challenge through spectacular scenery. Superb crew support and organisation. Staff were fabulous as always on these trips. Helpful, patient, knowledgeable, organised.  The accommodation was excellent, the Parador, in particular, a surprise. Great food and
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plenty of it. Last night's meal outstanding.
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Carcassonne to Barcelona Cycle

  • We meet at our hotel in the ancient fortified city of Carcassonne,* a wonderful place to start our challenging ride. After assembling and checking your bike for tomorrow, any free time can be spent exploring the castle and narrow streets of this fabulous city. We meet up in the evening for dinner and a detailed trip briefing before getting a good night’s rest in preparation for tomorrow’s efforts.

    (Lunch not included)

    *Transfers are at your own arrangement. It is easiest to fly to Carcassonne and make your own way to the hotel. Toulouse (approx one hour away) may also be also an option; there are locally-based transfer companies.

  • An early start takes us south through the foothills of the Aude. This is countryside synonymous with the Cathars, and there are crumbling hill-top ruins scattered around this region, as well as ancient abbeys and churches. Our rolling roads give us a gentle warm-up, and it’s beautiful countryside. This is wine country, and we pass photogenic vineyards as we head closer to the Pyrenees. Our terrain becomes hillier as we pass the halfway mark, culminating in the Col de Marmare, a gradual climb bringing us to 1361m. It’s a gentle climb and shouldn’t be too much for anyone, but it’s long and a good benchmark for our first day. From here it’s a wonderful descent on hair-pin bends down to the spa town of Ax-les-Thermes. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx 115km (70 miles)

    Route Profile

    Carcassonne to Ax-les-Thermes.png

  • Today is a day of three countries and two halves – up and down! We set off south from Ax, heading through a gently rising valley; this is a nice warm-up, as the gradient ramps up a little as we near the border with Andorra. It’s not until the second half of the climb that the gradient becomes more challenging, so it’s all about pacing yourself. The views of the mountain scenery around us are spectacular, with high peaks visible ahead; you may still be able to see snow on their summits. The Port d’Envalira has featured in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain, and is the highest paved road in Europe. As we near the border with Andorra most of the traffic heads through the tunnel, leaving us to appreciate a largely traffic-free finale to our climb. It’s a huge achievement as we reach the top, at 2408m. The rest of the day is downhill! We set off down sweeping hair-pin bends which soon settle into a steady descent, passing through small towns and villages as we cross Andorra. We cross into Catalan Spain; our hotel lies in the small town of La Seu d’Urgell, a short distance after the border. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx 90km (55 miles)

    Route Profile

    Ax-les-Thermes to La Seu d'Urgell.png

  • Another stunning and mountainous day ahead of us, as we ride through the beautiful Catalan Pyrenees. On quiet roads, we pass through shady pine forests and steep rocky mountain slopes – much of the area borders a Natural Reserve. We head uphill almost from the start, to our first col. It’s a steep climb in places, but much shorter than yesterday’s big effort. A gentle descent gives us some respite before the gradient ramps up again for our next climb – again, quite steep in places. We pass picturesque mountain villages, and there is plenty to take our minds off our legs! Reaching the day’s highest point at 1671m, we enjoy an exhilarating descent to Sant Llorenç de Morunys, a lovely mountain town with its 11th-century church and monastery. Our route now rolls along over undulating roads, passing through wooded valleys; the most rugged part of the mountains is now behind us. A short climb throws a last challenge before we have a wonderful downhill ride into historic Berga. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx 100km (63 miles)

    Route Profile

    La Seu d'Urgell to Berga.png

  • Our last day brings us out of the mountains, on a diverse, undulating day through lovely rural scenery. We pass traditional Catalan villages and small towns with ancient churches as we ride through wooded valleys and farmland. It’s a beautiful day and our spirits will be high with the mountains conquered and Barcelona ahead of us. We stop at a viewpoint overlooking the city, then descend and ride together into this wonderful, vibrant city. Scattered with impressive and iconic buildings and monuments, it’s one of Europe’s most popular cities, with a cultural heritage including artists such as Dalí, Picasso, Miró and Gaudí. We see the iconic spires of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia basilica on the skyline as we ride, and finish at this unique and impressive symbol of the city. After time to freshen up at our hotel, we head out for an evening of celebrations to mark our monumental challenge. Night hotel.

    Cycle approx 130 km (80 miles)

    Route Profile

    Berga to Barcelona.png

  • After a leisurely breakfast, you may have time to relax or see the sights, depending on your return flight schedule.

    (Lunch not included)

Dates & Prices

Prices may vary depending on date.


  • Meals except where specified 
  • Lunches & Snacks en-route
  • Accommodation on a twin-share basis
  • Discover Adventure crew and vehicle support
  • Mapping, GPX files and route information



  • Transport (inc flights) to Carcassonne and from Barcelona
  • Bicycle
  • Cycle helmet (compulsory) and water bottles
  • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
  • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
  • Travel insurance
  • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions

Detailed Information

  • Your trip will be led by an experienced Discover Adventure leader and a supporting crew member for groups of over 12 participants. Our leaders are selected for their knowledge and experience, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises; they are also trained in first aid. The crew will have mobile phones and/or radios where appropriate, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. The support vehicle will be with the group all of the time, and  will carry all luggage and spares.

    The route will be supplied as a GPX file and therefore there will be no route marking by way of orange arrows (helping us to reduce our carbon footprint). 

    You will also have access to the the route via Google Maps which will show where your position is relative to the route - therefore helping you get back on track if you go off course. This will also show you the location of upcoming climbs and water-stops. 


  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

  • For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check
  • We usually stay in hotels or lodges of a 2-3* standard or equivalent. Standards may vary between the hotels but they are generally comfortable and convenient for our route. Hotels are often on the outskirts of towns to minimise unnecessary extra mileage and avoid traffic.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels convenient to our route. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.

    There may be a limited number of single rooms subject to request, on a first-come first-served basis, after you have booked. Extra charges will apply.

  • This challenge has been designed specifically for small groups. They can run with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants.  We have capped the number of participants on this trip to 15 so that our crew can concentrate on client experience and give coaching on route.

  • The food provided is plentiful and will give you plenty of energy. Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply.

    All food is included except where specified. Dinners are generally eaten in the hotel. A packed baguette for lunch can be arranged with your crew or you are free to stop en-route and enjoy some of the local fayre. Please let us know of any dietary requirements well in advance.

    A roaming vehicle will provide additional water and snacks to boost your energy during the ride - these will replace our standard water-stops which you may have experienced on previous challenges. On climbs, large water barrels may be left en-route. 

    This system will enable our crew to provide you with greater support and coaching during the ride. 

  • In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to cancel your booking, we would ask that you notify us in writing either by post or email.  Your cancellation will be considered effective from the date the notice is received. Registration fees, amendment fees and insurance premiums are non refundable and, depending on your payment option and how close it is to your challenge departure date, you may be liable for a cancellation charge.

    Full details of all cancellation charges may be found in the Terms and Conditions of booking.

  • We have a Passenger Portal which will give you more details of the challenge itself. It also enables you to see any outstanding information we need, the countdown to your challenge departure, see your outstanding balance, make payments and update your contact details. You can access this via the following link - Passenger Portal Log in.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • Participants who sign on to these trips must meet the following criteria:

    • Cycle at least 100miles per day at an average pace of 20km per hour, over an undulating route. Failure to do so may result in receiving significantly less support from the challenge leader

    • Completed previous multi-day cycle trips

    • Confidently and efficiently fix a puncture by replacing the inner tube 

    • Confidently navigate whilst riding using a Garmin or mobile phone app

    • Ridden a Category 1 or HC (Hors catégorie) climb before and have the right gear set up for this - note, this may mean having a climbing cassette fitted to your bike

    • Must be able to carry adequate clothing to cope with mountainous weather - jacket, arm and leg warmers, gloves and under hat

    • Must be able to confidently descend using drop handlebars or have their bike set up with secondary brakes

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check your requirements using our partner, Visa Machine, website here; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

    If you are still to buy some kit don’t forget that Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need offer all Discover Adventure participants 10% off any purchases you make with them. Please ask us for the code if you do not have this already.

  • Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed or at least 8 months prior to travel. Should you need to cancel on medical grounds, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date). 

    You should also ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation.

    Once your travel insurance is arranged, just remember to let us know the policy number and 24hr medical emergency phone number which is provided by your insurers!

    For more information about travel insurance, please click here.