If you ever cycled the classical Transpyrenees, maybe you will be interested in the Spanish Transpyrenees.
In this coast to coast cycling trip on the south side of the Pyrenees, there are three main advantages over the northern French side:
- better weather always on the southern Spanish side,
- milder gradients of the mountains, often no-so-steep as the french climbs,
- better quality of hotels and food in Spain compared to the French side (and better pricing at the same time!)
Spanish Transpyrenees trip in 8 stages
Stage 1 Hondarribia-Sant Jean de Pied de Port 108 km (1956 m elevation) with Aritxulegi, Agiña, and Izpegi. Even if there are three climbs in this stage, the starting stage is a doable warm-up stage. Fantastic Izpegi, as you all probably know.
Stage 2 Sant Jean de Pied de Port – Isaba 87Km (2600 m elevation) with Burdinkurutxeta, Bagargi, and Port de Larrau. This stage is mainly on French territory, but at the top of Larrau is the border with Spain.
Very interesting and demanding stage including the unpronounceable Burdinkurutxeta (which means iron cross in the Basque language), with very steep sections. Then the beautiful Bagargui (connected to the close-up Chalets de Iraty). In that part, the road goes through the fabulous Bosque de Iraty. After the steep descent the third climb of the day is Port de Larrau, one of the steepest in all of the Pyrenees. This climb was the battleground on Tour de France 1996 in a stage that ended in Pamplona.
Stage 3 Isaba-Sabiñánigo 129 km (2257 m elevation) with Pierre St Martin (HC), Puerto de Somport (1C)
This is a very interesting stage as both climbs included are not usual at all in any Transpyrenees coast to coast trip. At the top of both climbs it is the french-Spanish border. La Pierre Martin is a very scenic climb which was included in the Tour de France on Tour de France 2015 (victory for Froome). Somport is probably the most used pass in the Pyrenees during history, since the Romans. Also notable that it was the entrance to Spain in the French Camino de Santiago. Very special place as there is an abandoned huge train station part of the France-Spain train line today abandoned.
Sabiñánigo-Castejon de SOS 131 km with Alto de Petralba (2C), Alto de Fanlo (2C), and Alto de Vio (3C). Solitaire roads in the Aragon region, while climbing some less known middle climbs.
Stage 5 Castejón de SOS – Sort 99 km (2190 m elevation) with Port de Fadas, Port de Perbes, and Bretui-Montcortes. Again, this stage has more than 2000 mts elevation in solitaire roads and not very demanding climbs.
Stage 6 Sort-Puigcerdà 100 km with Coll de Cantó. It is a not-very-known climb in the Catalan Pyrenees, very long and demanding, especially on the eastern side.
Stage 7 Puigcerdà-Joanetes Collada de Toses Coll de Canes. Collada de Toses is a very long and scenic climb with a nice wide road with scarce traffic.
Stage 8 Joanetes-Tossa de Mar 129 Km with Alt de Sant Grau, the best possible ending for a trip like this. The final stretch of the road along Costa Brava (in Girona province) is possibly one of the best roads in the Mediterranean.
This suggested Spanish Transpyrenees trip, south side of the Pyrenees is just an idea including some nice climbs and stops.
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