A few weeks ago we introduced a nice cycling trip in the Catalan Pyrenees. But climbing the eastern Pyrenees has many other options.
Now, let me show you another version of a cycling trip in the eastern Pyrenees.
In this trip we include some very nice climbs, quite known in the cycling world. It is 5 stages long and start/finish is in the french/Spanish border, at Cerbere.
This is our suggestion:
Stage 1 Cerbere-El Pertus. Start direction north, and in Banyuls sur Mer we lead inland to climb the short but very steep Col de Banyuls. After the long descent, we head north at the very border to climb a dead-end climb called Pic Neulós (literally Misty peak, in Catalan language), via Col de l’Ouillat. Then descent to El Pertus to stay overnight.
Stage 2 El Pertus-Arles sure Tech. This stage includes a couple of nice unknown border passes. They are La Vajol (a former pass for Catalan exiles people during the Civil war in Spain) and Alt de Costoja, a nice wide climb crossing villages as Maçanet de Cabrenys and Tapis. No more than 90 km but plenty of climbing in solitaire roads.
Stage 3 Arles sure Tech-Camprodon. One of the main Catalan border passes is Col d’Ares, which is the main pass at this stage. It is very demanding on the north (french) side. Not the same from the Catalan side. The stage could lead straight to Camprodon, but the route heads to a very nice and demanding loop, climbing a couple of short but very steep mountains. Absolutely wonderful area for cycling in tiny solitaire roads.
Stage 4 Camprodon-Puigcerdà. Camprodon is a nice mountain village. This stage starts with the climb to the pretty known Vallter 2000. This climb, included at Volta a Catalunya for several years, is a demanding Hors Categorie climb, but could be skipped if necessary (bad weather, etc.). Without this climb, the stage is just 90 km long including la Collada de Toses, a very classic pass in the Catalan Pyrenees, a very long climb but not steep at all. Destination city it Puigcerdà, capital of the Cerdanya region, famous ski destination for the Catalan people.
Stage 5 Puigcerdà-Cerbere. Last fifth stage is the longest by far, but mainly in descent to the coast. The climb of the day is Col de la Perche at 1618 mts at km 18. After that point, a long and mild descent towards the coast, often with tail wind. All in all, 156 km to Cerbere, the starting point of the trip.