120km, 1800 meters of climbing. Everyone loves the coast loop and with very good reason. The first time I rode it I could not believe how beautiful the Mediterranean coast was - right here on our doorstep. I still feel that way every time I ride here. This route selection is a slightly longer loop and includes my favorites - the climb of Sant Grau and the amazing section towards Sant Feliu de Guixols, a stop at Dulce Pikika (aka THE Cake Shop) in Platja d’Aro, before leaving the coast via Calonge, La Bisbal and taking smaller and flatter roads home. There are many different roads to take home after the cake shop so I’ve suggested these as they’re lesser known and very useful to know about.
Riding south from Girona, there are several options but many of them include bigger roads, so the one via Fornells de la Selva, Caldes de la Malavella (home of Vichy Catalan) and Llagostera certainly stands out head and shoulders above the rest! This is one of the flatter areas around Girona and it makes for a very gentle start to the ride. Farmers’ fields, quiet lanes, and possibly a few tractors, you should not see much traffic but keep an eye on the road as some sections are cemented instead of tar and can be a bit bumpy. Not for long though.
After Llagostera you head straight for the hills and the biggest climb on this route - Sant Grau. 8.5km long it only has an average of 4% - but that’s because it has two dips in the climb, one a third of the way up and another right before the top - which has fooled many a rider into believing they were at the top.
The downhill - well - the downhill is the reason I suggest this route as opposed to going from Llagostera to Tossa de Mar. That option would give you more time on the rollercoaster coast road between Tossa de Mar and Sant Feliu de Guixols - but it means you miss out on the amazing view on the descent. At the beginning you are hidden in trees but you soon drop out from them and are welcomed to an amazing view of the ragged coastline. Rocks, breaking waves, and beautiful blue waters - words simply cannot do justice to the view. Sadly my photographic skills have never done it justice.
Once the winding descent ends you turn left, joining the Tossa de Mar road, along the coast towards Sant Feliu de Guixols - for a deceptively hard section of road. Up, down. Left, Right. Wiggle wiggle. The road is as breathtaking as it is well, breathtaking.
Next up is possibly the longest stretch of road through built up areas, about 15km if you’re looking at it from a ‘glass half empty’ perspective, but it certainly doesn’t feel that bad, especially if you stick to this route. And of course - you are obliged to stop at Dulce Pikika - the infamous cake shop. An omelette roll is my go to fuel of choice - but their coconut tarts always make my life difficult as well (among other delights). As usual, the cafe is marked by a slight detour on the route - at 61.5km.
Leaving the cake shop it’s not long before you head inland again and from Calonge you climb up La Ganga which is a nice and steady 4km climb before you drop down the other side towards La Bisbal.
From here there are many different ways home, the most popular probably being the same way that the “Girona Classic Loop” ends, but I have taken a completely off-piste option as the roads are much less obvious. It means sticking on a slightly bigger road towards Corca, but after that you turn left on yet another tiny back-road that swoops it’s way over gentle rollers towards the tiny village of Pubol - where Dali had bought a castle for his wife.
Pubol once again has several roads leading to Girona but by far my favorite is towards Foixa - where you are rewarded with yet another stunning view over fields towards the coast and of course, small roads. One very short gravel section is part of this return loop, followed by some beautiful orchards. Only the very end of the ride is on a slightly bigger road, the C-66. but sadly there is no other alternative coming from this direction. Don’t worry - I make that sound bad because we are spoiled here in Girona, not because it really is.