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camino catalan

An Unforgettable Cycle Tour Awaits on the Catalan Way

The Camino Catalan (or Catalan Way) provides an exciting alternative to the most popular Camino de Santiago routes. It has its origins in the Middle Ages when pilgrims would land in Barcelona and head to Santiago de Compostela.

What Is the Camino de Catalan?

The Camino Catalan starts from the Monastery of Monserrat (Monestir de Montserrat). It is here that pilgrims would gather before setting off on their long journey to Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

Many of these pilgrims would enter Spain through Catalonia, before making the pilgrimage to Santiago via Lérida and Zaragoza.

The Camino Catalan is the first section of the journey that takes pilgrims from the Monestir de Montserrat to Santiago. There are two routes, both of which eventually link to the Camino de Santiago:

  • The Camino Catalan Septentrional
  • The Camino Catalan Zaragoza

Camino Catalan – Initial Stage

The initial stage of the Camino Catalan is identical for both routes, taking you west from the Monestir de Montserrat to Tárrega. Here the route forks, with the Camino Catalan Septentrional heading northwest toward the Pyrenees and the Camino Catalan Zaragoza continuing west to Fuentes de Ebro.

This first part of your cycling pilgrimage is a little less than 80 kilometres – a single day’s ride that transports you from one monastery to another, the Abbey of Montserrat in Tárrega.

The Camino Catalan Septentrional

This route links with the Camino Frances which enters Spain at Somport in the Pyrenees. Along the route, you will discover rich heritage and historical sites. These include the amazing monastery of San Juan de la Peña, where it is said the Holy Grail was discovered. There are also many Templar castles to explore – we recommend those at Monzón and Loarre.

This route will take you through:

  • Tárrega
  • Linyola
  • Algerri
  • Tamarite de Litera
  • Monzón
  • Berbegal
  • Pueyo de Fañanás
  • Huesca
  • Bolea
  • La Peña Estación

The route is easy, and well signposted. However, you should be prepared for a more challenging finale as the route heads north toward the Pyrenees as you cycle through Huesca and toward Somport.

The Camino Catalan Zaragoza

On this route, you take the western fork at Tárrega and head toward Lleida before continuing to El Burgo de Ebro, where you will link with the Camino de Ebro. This route is less than 200 kilometres and travels through:

  • Tárrega
  • El Palau d’Anglesola
  • Lleida
  • Fraga
  • Candasnos
  • Bujaraloz
  • Pina de Ebro

This is the easier of the two Camino Catalan options.

Be Prepared for a Challenge

Even though cycling the Camino Catalan is a great cycling option for cyclists of all abilities (the routes are mostly even without rugged terrain to traverse), the journey is not without its challenges.

If you cycle the Camino Catalan in the summer, be prepared for the heat. You’re inland, and won’t benefit from coastal breezes. In the spring and autumn, be prepared for a little wind, especially in the Monegros near Zaragoza.

Depending on which route you take, you should be physically prepared for between three and seven days of cycling. It can be completed quicker, but you’ll want to take in the sites and historic places along the way.

Indeed, deciding what you wish to see and where to stay may well be your biggest challenge. Both routes offer plenty of variety. You can stop in small villages, or large towns. You’ll find incredible local delicacies along the way, and should make time to revel in the regional culture.

Four Tips to Make the Camino Catalan an Unforgettable Cycle Tour

The Camino Catalan takes you into the heart of Spain. You’ll have the opportunity to experience the country in a way that most tourists will never experience – the real Spain.

To make your Camino Catalan cycle tour both enjoyable and memorable, our essential cycle tour tips are:

  • Plan your trip well ahead of time, including everything you wish to see and do
  • Prepare yourself physically for the ride
  • Pack well for your cycling tour
  • Book your accommodation early

Not sure where to start? Feel free to get in touch with us at Bicilona – we’ll be happy to share our local knowledge and bike tour expertise with you.