This ride is awesome due to the loop from Llagostera. It epitomises what cycling Costa Brava’s coastline is all about. It’s got long but gradual ascents (the one to Sant Grau is unforgettable – more details below), sweeping descents, incredible panoramas and one of the best coast roads we’ve ever ridden.
If you’ve lost your love for cycling, do this ride: it’s impossible not to feel happy.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
The rollercoaster Costa Brava coast road is fantastic: great tarmac, winding (but not overly technical) descents, little traffic, and views. The views! Craggy red rock cliffs, capped with gnarly green trees. Rugged, deeply furrowed coves with sparkling, crystal clear turquoise water.
It’s a total cracker which you’ll remember long after you’ve left.
1. Girona to Llagostera: 0-25 km
The first 25km to Llagostera are on quiet, country lanes through pretty hamlets and dense copses.
Note: instead of taking our lesser known route, many cyclists choose to ride the C-65 out of Girona to Cassà de la Selva, before cutting onto the GIV-6741 towards Caldes de Malavella. We much prefer our route as it avoids the C-65, which is one of the main roads out of Girona to the south and is not particularly pleasant.
2. Llagostera to Tossa de Mar: 25-43 km
This is where the real fun begins. It’s an easy climb out of Llagostera on a road that takes you up into the mountains. You’re surrounded by woodland and, while the road has a carriageway in either direction, we saw more cyclists than cars when we rode it. It’s a gorgeous, looping descent downwards and it’s easy to build up some cheek-rippling speed, if that’s your thing! 10km later you’re deposited at the glistening shoreline in Tossa de Mar.
Tossa de Mar is a memorable place with an exceptional fortified medieval town – the only one on the Catalan coast and listed as a historic monument in 1931. It would make a good spot to meet any non-cyclists as there is plenty for them to explore including the old town itself and several beaches. It’s also a great place for coffee or lunch. Pick from beach cafés, canopy-covered restaurants or somewhere in the old town (5 minutes by foot).
3. Tossa de Mar to Llagostera: 43-70 km
The 10 kilometres from Tossa de Mar to the turn off for Sant Grau are cycling bliss. You’re on an undulating road that snakes its way along the rocky coastline, with views from every bend. The road wiggles out in front of you and down below are crystal clear bays and sandy beaches.
Once you turn off for Sant Grau, you’re on a narrow, singletrack road that winds 6.3 km upwards, accumulating 375 m in height. It’s never too painful with gradients averaging 5% (though watch out for the half kilometre just before the top where gradients are just into double digits). All the way up you get panoramic views over the wooded mountains and down to the sea. It feels very secluded and peaceful. The only other person we met was a Cannondale-Drapac pro rider who went past so quickly, we couldn’t even identify him!
Just before the summit is Sant Grau monastery. It’s built in neo-Romanesque style, and its imposing, grey walls stand 360m above sea level in the heart of the mountains. Head through the cavernous, arched doorway, and you find a pleasant courtyard with a little bar/restaurant. It is a memorable place for a quick drink or snack
Then it’s time to enjoy the glorious 10km descent down to Llagostera.
4. Llagostera to Girona: 70-95 km
We recommend returning to Girona the way you came – see 1. above.
Your best bets are:
- 25 km or 70 km: Llagostera is a small town perched on a little hill where you’ll find an array of restaurants.
- 43 km: stop and soak up the relaxed sea views at one of the beach cafés or restaurants in Tossa de Mar.
- 57.5 km: you’re just shy of the summit, but the bar at Sant Grau monastery is very pretty, with a nice outside courtyard as well as internal seating.
Hotel Nord 1901 was our home for our trip to Girona. It was a great place to stay, and this ride is easily accessible from there.
For more suggestions, take a look at our article on the best cycling hotels in and around Girona.
There are plenty of different route variations from Llagostera. For example, if you want a longer ride and to take in more of the epic coastline, instead of cutting inland up to Sant Grau, you could continue to Sant Feliu de Guíxols before winding your way back inland on the GIV-6621, GI-662, GIV-6613 and GIV-6612.
Take particular care when descending – it’s twisty, and there is often dirt and debris on the road.
The sixth stage of the Tour de France visited the Costa Brava coast road in 2009. The route included the stretch between Tossa de Mar and Sant Feliu de Guíxols.
You may notice that some of the trees have had their bark stripped towards their base. That’s because they are cork trees – the area is one of the biggest cork producers in the world.
Read our tips for cycling in Girona before you set out.
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Don’t miss our other ride guides on the area: find them in the related rides section, below.
Check out our complete guide to planning a cycling holiday in Girona and other articles on Girona, below.
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