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Spain’s Costa Brava: Cycling Dali’s Landscapes

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations
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  • Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
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    Overview

    Short Description

    Discover a surprising side of Spain, the Costa Brava, during our latest bicycling vacation to this magnificent country.

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    Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
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    Itinerary

    : DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Spain

    Depart from home and travel to Spain. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

    : DAY 2: Arrive Barcelona / Transfer to Girona

    Upon arrival at the Barcelona airport, claim your luggage. If your luggage is delayed, fill in a PIR form before leaving the baggage claim area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the baggage claim area. Please make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall, where your VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will make arrangements for your transfer to your hotel in Girona, the cultural capital of Catalonia. Transfer time is approximately 90 minutes. VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Girona during your stay. You have the rest of the day to relax or to begin your exploration of the city. If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m. You may store your luggage at the reception desk.  Hotel: Nord 1901

    : DAY 3: Bicycle Vacation begins / Walking tour of historic Girona

    VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Meet your VBT representative in Girona at the hotel Nord 1901 at 9:00 a.m. The contact information for the hotel will be included with your final documents. Please contact your first hotel to advise them of any travel delays or changes so the staff can alert the VBT Trip Leaders. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Old Town of Girona before shuttling to the foothills of the Pyrenees, where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders for lunch. Please be dressed for cycling for your warm-up ride before departing Girona. VBT Pre-Trip Extension and Air Package guests: This morning, meet your local guide at the hotel and set off on a walking tour of Girona’s Old Town. Discover this city’s ancient past as you cross the Onyar River into one of Europe’s largest Jewish quarters. You will also pass the Church of St. Felix and the town’s splendid Cathedral, which boasts one of the world’s largest Gothic naves. After your stroll, don your cycling clothes and shuttle to the foothills of the nearby Pyrenees, where you’ll meet your VBT Trip Leaders for lunch. After, attend a bike-fitting and short orientation, and begin your afternoon’s warm-up ride through scenic mountain valleys. Back in Girona tonight, your small group gathers for a welcome cocktail reception before enjoying a delicious welcome dinner poolside at the hotel (weather permitting). Hotel: Nord 1901 Meals: B, L, D Daily Options: 7 miles (12 km)

    : DAY 4: Púbol / Castell Dali Gala / La Bisbal d’Empordà

    Bid farewell to Girona today and shuttle into the heart of the historic Baix Empordà province of Catalonia to the quaint medieval village of Púbol. Here, you’ll visit Púbol Castle, purchased by Salvador Dali in 1970 as a gift for his wife Gala. Enjoy a glimpse into Dali’s personal life and witness his many talents as you see some of his original paintings, sculptures, and custom-designed furniture. You can also admire some of Gala’s haute couture dresses, designed by Christian Dior exclusively for her. Gala continued to live here until her death in 1982. She chose her beloved Púbol Castle as her final resting place and is buried in the cellar’s mausoleum. Later, ride through lush farmlands and small villages where you may enjoy lunch at leisure in one of the village cafes. After lunch, you’ll cycle to La Bisbal d’Empordà, the capital of the province of Baix Empordà which is best known for its ceramic and antique shops.  From here it is a short ride to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a special dinner, on the hotel’s lovely terrace (weather permitting), with the majestic Pyrenees giving a perfect back drop to your sumptuous meal. Hotel: Castell d’Empordà Alternate Hotel:  Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa Meals: B, D Daily Options: 19 or 27 miles (31 or 44 km)

    : DAY 5: Loop ride through medieval villages of Pals and Peratallada

    This morning, you’ll ride into the surrounding rural landscape past fields of sunflowers, fruit orchards, and rice fields, pausing throughout the day to step back in time into a few of Baix Empordà ’s medieval villages. Coasting into Pals, you will be charmed by cobbled stone streets and an impressive Gothic Quarter whose facades feature pointed arched windows, stone balconies, and semicircular arches. The town’s Roman wall with its four square towers and the Romanesque clock tower—Torre de les Hores (Tower of the Hours) —date to the 4th century. After you explore this historic village enjoy lunch at your leisure.  In the afternoon, continue cycling to the village of Peratallada. Its name translates into “carved stone” —an apt label, as most of the buildings were built from stone taken from the moat that still encircles parts of the village. This atmospheric town has been declared a historic artistic monument. Its dominant structure is the Castle of Peratallada, dating to 1065 AD; restoration of this now privately owned castle revealed traces of a Bronze Age settlement. Take some time to visit some of the artists’ galleries here before getting back on your saddle for your return ride to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to relax by the lovely swimming pool. This evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner in your hotel’s elegant dining room. Hotel: Castell d’Empordà Alternate Hotel:  Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa Meals: B, D Daily Options: 29 miles (47 km)

    : DAY 6: Apple Orchards and Cider Farm visit / Mas home-hosted lunch

    After breakfast, you’ll cycle towards the Mediterranean Costa Brava and your home for the next three nights. This glorious ride traverses scenic countryside vistas overseen by the snow-capped Pyrenees in the distance. Your destination is the province of Alt Empordà (upper Empordà), north of Baix Empordà (lower Empordà). Take a break from riding as you pass through a lovely apple orchard and learn about the cider production in this special region of Spain.  Later enjoy lunch at a typical mas – a small Catalonian farmhouse. Our hosts Eva and Marc will indulge us with food grown from their organic farm and offer us the opportunity to sample the rice harvested from nearby Pals. After lunch enjoy a scenic ride past a medieval mill before arriving to the village of Parlava.  Here you may opt to continue riding or shuttle to our Mediterranean beachfront hotel.  Once at the hotel, wander along the waterside cycling path into the town of L’Escala. You may also want to splurge and treat yourself to one of the hotel’s many spa options. This evening, enjoy dinner on your own in one of the hotel’s restaurants or walk along the beachside cycling path to a restaurant in the neighboring village of Sant Marti d’Empuries. This small village was first settled by the Greeks in the 6th century BC and was an important medieval political center. Today, it maintains much of its medieval charm, so it’s easy to imagine what life may have been in that bygone era. Hotel: Hostal Spa Empuries Meals: B, L Daily Options: 21 or 35 miles (34 or 56 km)

    : DAY 7: Vineyards and Cork trees / Picnic lunch / Peralada and Vilabertran / Ancient Greek & Roman ruins of Empuries

    After breakfast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, you will shuttle 45 minutes to the bucolic mountain town of Cantallops near the border of France for the starting point of today’s ride.  You will cycle through a rural landscape of vineyards, olive and cork trees before meeting your leaders who will have prepared a lovely picnic lunch for your enjoyment. Later continue riding to one of the most important sites in the area – the perfectly restored Peralada castle.   You will complete your cycling today in the village of Vilabertran, famous for the Santa Maria de Vilabetran monastery as well as the setting for Dali’s 1913 painting Vilabertran which he painted when he was nine years old. Later, shuttle back to the Mediterranean coast and enjoy the hotel spa (additional cost), beach or explore the neighboring ruins of Empuries, some of the most important Greek and Roman ruins on the Iberian Peninsula. Admission to the ruins is included, and you may take as little or as much time as you wish with an audio self-guided visit of this archaeological site, including one of the finest amphitheaters outside of Rome. Please Note: For guests with a Land Tour start date of Tuesday, The Dali Museum is closed on Mondays; therefore the Dali Museum will be included this morning prior to your ride. Dinner tonight is at your leisure. Dine at one of the hotel’s restaurants or walk along the beachside cycle path to enjoy a quiet meal in the village of L’Escala. Hotel: Hostal Spa Empuries Meals: B, L Daily Options: 22 miles (35.5 km)

    : DAY 8: Mediterranean Cruise along the Costa Brava / L’Estartit / Medieval Torroella de Montgri / Farewell Dinner

    This morning, you’ll shuttle to neighboring L’Escala’s marina. Here, you’ll embark a chartered boat for a private cruise along the scenic Costa Brava. During this thrilling tour, you’ll cruise past gorgeous coves and the dramatic, craggy rock formations of the Islas Medes jutting into the sea. These crystal-clear waters nurture a significant biodiversity, making it one of the most important marine reserves in the Western Mediterranean. Your Trip Leaders meet you at the end of your cruise in the port of L’Estartit, with your bicycle ready for the day.  Your ride today is watched over by the massive Montgri Massif, which to some locals looks like a sleeping bishop. You’ll see the ancient Montgri Castle perched on its summit as you pedal along. Stop for lunch on your own in the medieval town of Torroella de Montgri, resting on the banks of the Ter River. Once a royal port for the Kings of Aragon, it retains its medieval core and stalwart walls. This evening, join your Trip Leaders and travel mates for a festive farewell reception and dinner at your lovely beachside inn. Much of the menu is harvested from the hotel’s organic garden, and you will sample some of Catalonia’s finest wines over this special meal. Hotel: Hostal Spa Empuries Meals: B, D Daily Options:  16 miles (25.5 km)

    : DAY 9: Transfer to Figueres / Dali Museum / Transfer to Barcelona / Bicycle Vacation ends / Begin optional Mallorca Extension

    VBT provides a morning transfer to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dali, for an included tour of the Dali Museum. (Note: For guests with a Land Tour start date of Tuesday, The Dali Museum is closed on Mondays; therefore the Dali Museum will be included the morning of Day 5.) VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: After the tour, transfer to Barcelona’s Hotel 1898. The tour concludes here at approximately 2:30 p.m. You will need to make your own transfer arrangements to the Barcelona airport. Departing flights prior to 5:00 p.m. are not recommended. If you have an earlier departure, you will need to make your own transfer arrangements to Barcelona. VBT Air Package guests: After the tour, transfer to the Hotel 1898, centrally located on Las Ramblas Boulevard near the Placa de Catalunya, for your final night in Spain. You have the remainder of the afternoon and evening free for independent exploration. VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: After the tour, transfer to Barcelona’s Hotel 1898 with your fellow travelers.  Here you may enjoy a short afternoon break before transferring from Hotel 1898 to Barcelona’s International airport for your late afternoon flight to Palma de Mallorca. Upon arrival at the Palma de Mallorca (PMI) airport, claim your luggage. Exit the Luggage Collation area through Gate C.  A VBT representative, holding a VBT sign, will meet you at the Airport Meeting Point near Exit 4.  If you are not able to locate the representative go to the Moltona Viatges  Office for assistance. (At this time, please verify with your VBT representative the time of your transfer at the end of your trip from your Mallorca hotel back to the airport.) You will transfer by private car or van (about 30 minutes) to your centrally located hotel in Palma de Mallorca. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do during your stay.  Air Package Guests Hotel: Hotel 1898 Post-Trip Hotel: Hotel Saratoga Meals: B

    : DAY 10: Depart for home

    After breakfast* this morning, you will transfer to the airport for your departing flight **. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time. *Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served. **VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your Transfer Reminder. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. Transfer times are about 40 minutes to the Barcelona airport. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense. Meals: B

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    532 VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations Travel Reviews & Ratings

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    4.9 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
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    Spain’s Costa Brava: Cycling Dali’s Landscapes

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    Awesome, memorable vacation

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    vbt-bicycling-and-walking-vacations-18889

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