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Carcassonne to Barcelona Cycle

France, Spain Cycle TOUGH
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About the Challenge

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS CYCLES

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.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR KING OF THE MOUNTAINS CYCLES


Carcassonne to Barcelona Cycle

6 DAYS
  • Own flight arrangements; meet at hotel.* The ancient fortified city of Carcassonne is a fabulous sight and a wonderful place to start our challenging ride. Make time to ensure your bike is properly assembled and comfortable for tomorrow. Dependent on your flight-times, any free time can be spent exploring the castle and narrow streets of Carcassonne. 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.  (Flights and transfers to hotel not included. Lunch not included)

    *It is easiest to fly to Carcassonne. Toulouse (approx one hour away) is also an option.

     

  • An early start takes us south out of Carcassonne, and 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.  (Lunch not included)

    Cycle approx 115km (70 miles)

    Route Profile

    Carcassonne to Ax-les-Thermes.png

  • Today is a day of two halves – up and down! – and three countries! 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.  (Lunch not included)

    Cycle approx 90km (55 miles)

    Route Profile

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

  • Another mountainous day ahead of us, as we ride through the beautiful Catalan Pyrenees. On quiet roads, our surroundings are stunning, passing through shady pine forests and steep rocky mountain slopes – much of the area borders a Natural Reserve. We start heading uphill almost from the start, taking us up 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 wooden 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.  (Lunch not included)

    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 wonderful 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.  (Lunch not included)

    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)


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    This challenge requires a minimum of 6 participants
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £249 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,050 Airline Taxes - Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • Meals except where specified (breakfast and dinner will be provided at hotels each day)
    • Snacks en-route
    • Accommodation on a twin-share basis
    • Discover Adventure leader and roving crew member for mechanical support/ coaching and support vehicle
    • Mapping, GPX files and route information

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Lunch (opportunity to buy lunch to carry with you, or stop in a café en-route) and any meals specified 'not included' in the itinerary 
    • Travel insurance
    • Flights to Carcassonne/Toulouse and from Barcelona
    • Transfers between airports and hotels
    • Bicycle
    • Cycle helmet (compulsory) and water bottles
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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 www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
  • This challenge has been designed specifically for small groups. They can run with a minimum of 6 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.

  • 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.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed. 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.
    You can obtain a quote with Insure to Travel from our website at: https://www.discoveradventure.com/essential-information#/buy-travel-insurance, or you may choose to take out your own travel insurance, just remember to let us know the policy number and emergency phone number!

  • 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 requirements on our website; 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.


Testimonials

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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Nicki - November 2018


It is very hard to describe just how wonderful this trip was me. The sense of achievement crossing the Pyrenees is something I will never forget. The fun, the laughs, the exhilaration, the sore bottom are all things I hope to never forget too (well maybe the bottom
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part). Can't thank you enough for making a middle-aged mother of three feel like she can conquer the world. I have had the most wonderful time away with DA, the crew were fabulous, the route was breathtaking, the accommodations were comfortable (and in some instances luxurious) the food was ample and delicious (especially the celebration meal at the end) and the overall care and attention to detail by discover adventure was absolutely perfect.  Thank you to everybody involved it truly was the most incredible trip which has made a novice cyclist quite obsessed with her bike! Huge thanks to all at Discover Adventure.
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Nick - October 2018


The crew were all particularly brilliant this time. Thanks to them for making it a very memorable trip.

Matthew - October 2018


Just brilliant!

Graham - October 2018


Physically demanding, emotionally uplifting, extraordinary memories and a wonderful crew. Thank you so much!

Beth - October 2018


I had the best 4 days ever cycling on this trip. The route was breathtaking at times and the crew encouraged and supported us all the way. I shall never forget my time cycling to Barcelona. Thank you to everyone for all their hard work in making this a trip to remember.

Nigel - November 2016


Quite simply a brilliantly organised & thoroughly enjoyable trip. The DA team could not have done more to help,support and encourage you.

Cycle Training Weekends

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£180 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Cycle Training Weekends take place in and around the valleys and ridges of the chalk downs around Salisbury. They are designed to gauge your fitness so that you can be confident you are well prepared for the challenge ahead!

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | tough (3)

Trip grade 3 web

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

TOUGH trips can involve tough terrain, with some very rigorous days; weather, altitude and/or basic living conditions will add to the challenge. They demand good stamina, fitness and a determined attitude.

See Trip Grading Explained.

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Our 2018 / 2019 Challenges Brochure is available by Post or Download