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9 Days Guided Motorcycle Tour Spain and France Through the Pyrenees

Gavà - Besalu - Llivia - Boltana - Lleida, Spain; Villeneuve d'Olmes - Pau, France

Pyrenean Mountain Motorcycle Tour France and Spain

McTours has picked out the best twisty mountain roads for this motorcycle tour. You begin and end the tour in Barcelona and cross the Pyrenees to France and back. Each day, you visit different places of interest including Cartha Castles, religious sites, and many old villages and towns. McTours takes you to these places along relatively quiet backroads with outstanding scenery.

Key Information

  • Terrain: asphalt
  • Bike: rental or personal bike
  • Mileage: 1645 kilometres / 1035 miles
  • Daily rides: 190 - 300 kilometres / 120 - 190 miles
  • Meals: breakfasts and dinners

Highlights

  • Traverse the Pyrenean Mountains
  • Ride superb high mountain passes
  • Start and end your tour in Barcelona
  • Tour around the French and Spanish border region
  • Hire from a great range of motorcycles or bring your own
  • Visit exciting medieval towns
  • Stay in wonderful locations
  • 8 nights' accommodation

Styles


7 riding days in English
Spoken languages: English
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Accommodation

Your accommodations will be at three to four-star hotels provided by McTours including the beachfront AC Hotel by Marriott at Gava Mar and Hotel Castell de Ciutat a former mountain fortress high in the Pyrenees.

Program

Daily distances differ from some of McTours' other tours because this tour stops in a different town every night and you really want extra time to unpack and relax. The pattern will be the same format as usual riding in 90-minute blocks between each stop giving or taking 15 minutes.

Day 1: Gava Mar (Spain), near Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN)

Guests will arrive at various times today or earlier so nothing is formally planned but the 4-star hotel is on the beach front in Gava Mar, so you sit back and relax after travelling or head to Barcelona for sightseeing. There is a lot to see and do in Barcelona and there will be something to interest everyone.

Selective Barcelona's highlights include Casa Batllo, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Mercado de La Boqueria, and Montjuïc Castle but there are many more places of interest and far too many to list.

You might wish to wander the streets admiring the architecture by Guidi (such as Casa Batllo) and others of the Catalan Modernism or you might like to do some shopping or visit the market. Then again, you may prefer to relax at the hotel pool or on the beach.

You shall regroup for dinner at your hotel for formal introductions and to discuss the plan for the week ahead.

Day 2: Gava Mar to Besalu, 225 kilometres / 140 miles

Those hiring bikes will find them ready first thing in the morning so you can depart soon after breakfast heading north through some great twisty mountain roads. This first day of riding is a relatively light journey heading north from Barcelona to Besalu. The route you shall take is indirect and traverses varied road types but all in all, expect to spend about four hours in the saddle. You break for morning coffee at a café close to Massís del Montseny which towers to just over 1,700 metres and the route continues with twists through the mountains to Les Guilleries park where you stop for lunch. The final stretch takes you through Girona and past the city's imposing Cathedral en-route to your final stop. You rest for the night at a three-star hotel in Besalu. It is a quaint old building with many of the bedrooms having mountain views or overlooking the old town bridge. The name Besalu is derived from the Latin Bisuldunum, meaning a fort on a mountain between two rivers. The medieval walls and Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià river help to emphasise the fortification that this ancient town commanded.

  • Approximately a four-hour ride

Day 3: Besalu to Llivia, 240 kilometres / 150 miles

As you head north towards the Spanish / French border, you will be on steep mountain roads. These roads can be twisty and narrow so the progress is never hasty. Depending upon the progress made, you might take a refreshment break at the hamlet of Rocibruna shortly before reaching the border. Otherwise, you break at the border (if the café there has re-opened). Regardless of the refreshment break, you shall stop momentarily to admire the panoramic views at the border crossing into France before beginning your descent. You pass through the village of Arles, not to be confused with the town near Parc Camargue, this Arles is a town of about 2,500 population and situated in the southernmost valley of France on the banks of the Tech river. You stop for lunch a little further down the river at Amelie-les-Bains-Palalda where there are several nice cafés. As you continue your descent from the Pyrenees, you visit Ille-sur-Tet where the rock formation of 'Le Orgues', organ pipe-shaped rocks that are quite dramatic, is located. You then head back towards the Spanish border crossing into the Spanish department of Llivia where your hotel for the night was converted from an old farm building.

  • Approximately a six-hour ride

Day 4: Llivia to Villeneuve d'Olmes (France), 220 kilometres / 140 miles

As Llivia is a part of Spain within France, it is no surprise that you cross the border today as you leave Spain to re-enter France to descend to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne where you break for lunch. The ancient fortified city is an interesting place to visit but be prepared to walk because traffic is forbidden in the city and you need to park outside the city walls. You then head back south to the Pyrenees and end the day in a country house hotel in Villeneuve d'Olmes near Foix. You should arrive early enough for you to relax by the pool, stretch your legs in the parkland around the hotel, or climb the hill to see a ruined Cathar castle; the choice is yours.

  • Approximately a four-hour ride

Day 5: Villeneuve d'Olmes to Pau, 300 kilometres / 190 miles

Sticking to the lesser-travelled mountain roads on the French Pyrenees, you pass through many charming mountain villages making stops in Saint-Girons named after a fifth-century saint but with more ancient history having considerable Roman connections.

Your next stop is the French spa town of Bagnères-de-Luchon where the rivers L'One and Pique converge.

You pass through Lourdes, one of the world's most famous pilgrimage sites but will only stop there on request because your hotel is a four-star spa resort located beside a golf course on the outskirts of Pau a few miles further on.

  • Approximately a six-hour ride

Day 6: Pau to Boltana (Spain), 190 kilometres / 120 miles

You head south from Pau to cross over the back into Spain. The photograph gives an insight to the fantastic scenery you see along this route.

Picking your way through more pretty mountain villages, stop at Broto for lunch.

Later, you shall spend time exploring Ainsa which is close to your destination, a five-star spa hotel resort converted from a former monetary.

  • Approximately a four-hour ride

Day 7: Boltana to Castell de Ciutat, 225 kilometres / 140 miles

You begin the return journey to the east along high mountain roads. The surface can be a little broken from the harsh winter weather so the progress is never quick in these parts. You take a break in Tremp which is a town of about 6,000 population but most of the villages you shall pass are small and the area is mainly hill farms. There are so many mountain passes you can take in this region but one of the McTours' favourites is the L511, Coll de Boixols to Coll de Nargo, which has good surface and superb views, so, you will want to stop and take pictures. You end the day in a former castle just south of the border with Andorra. Some might want to cross the border to Andorra which is favoured by many for tax-free purchases but note that it is not uncommon to be stopped at the border where a tax might be levied. Others will prefer to stop and enjoy the excellent hotel facilities.

  • Approximately a four-hour ride

Day 8: Castell de Ciutat to Gava Mar, 245 kilometres / 155 miles

You end the journey heading to Solsona where much of the old town fortifications remain. The town is about 10,000 population and makes a pleasant stop.

As you continue south, you take your next stop at Montserrat, not to be confused by the Caribbean Island the Christopher Columbus named after this location, this Montserrat is where you will find a Benedictine abbey and the backdrop is a multi-peaked range of mountains.

Your final section of the journey returns you to your hotel at Gava Mar and close to the airport which is convenient for those with onward travel. You stay for dinner, bed, and breakfast and depart the following day.

  • Approximately a five-hour ride

Day 9: Departure

This is your departure day.

Notes

  • McTours has a range of motorcycles available for hire and can also source additional machines from a number of mainstream dealers. Motorcycle availability must be confirmed. Prices and terms will be set by the dealers who supply the bikes.
  • Please note that maps are indicative because it is not always possible to enter all the waypoints and on the day of departure as McTours needs to review the routes based upon the latest traffic and weather information available making changes as and when necessary.

Location

On this guided motorcycle tour, you will ride some of the best motorcycle routes in the Pyrenees visiting both Spanish and French sides of the mountains.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Guided tour
  • Breakfasts and dinners
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Free gifts including a McTours T-shirt, quality pen, breathalyser, keyring, inspection light, McTours Hi-Viz vest, and warn Hi-Viz shell gillet (depending on the climate)

What's not included

  • Motorcycle rental (a range of bikes are available including BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and Moto Guzzi)
  • Riding gear (McTours can arrange rental of suitable attire at an added cost)
  • Fuel
  • Lunch
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 56 days before arrival.
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