The northeastern corner of Spain makes up the long-successful region of Catalonia where early industrialization and tourism have allowed it to develop much faster than the rest of Spain. With the main spoken language Catalonian instead of Spanish, it can often feel like you are in a different country while wandering the streets of Barcelona, or taking in the views from the Pyrenees.
With Catalonia being one of Europe's most densely populated regions, almost everything is accessible via Spain's second city Barcelona. Barcelona is one of the world's most interesting and dynamic cities, with its world famous Gothic Quarter, museums, shopping, and monasteries like the UNESCO recognised Sagrada Familia. Day trips out of Barcelona are fantastic as well, as you can climb northwest to the Abbey at Montserrat, or make your way into the Pyrenees to the north. Barcelona is busy beyond belief but worth the stay for at least a few days.
Cycling the Costa Brava to France is one of the more popular trips in all of Europe. You climb and descend along the rugged coastline of northern Spain through tourist towns and seaside villages, stopping to take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean whenever the day gets too hot. North along the coastline from Barcelona brings you to Figueres, home of the Teatre-Museu Dali, one of Spain’s most visited attractions.
Most people find themselves riding through Catalonia either to or from the Pyrenees Mountains along the French border. Very few places offer the same quality of recreation as the Catalonian Pyrenees, with their towering peaks, river valleys, mountain villages, and cultural sites. You can start your day with breakfast high amongst the clouds, and wind your way down to a glass of wine and tapas on the sunny Mediterranean coastline. Catalonia can be crowded, and hectic, yet it remains one of the most dynamic and memorable regions of Spain. It’s easy to connect to France, and Barcelona makes for a great central hub, so despite the crowds of tourists, and the bumper to bumper traffic, it can be a fantastic place to ride your bike.