• Distance 10 km
  • Elevation gain 750m Ave 7%
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

Rocacorba is (a bit) like Girona’s Alpe d’Huez: it’s a tough climb that’s famous for the history that has been written on its slopes.

But that’s where the similarities end. Alpe d’Huez is a bucket list climb due to its often pivotal role in the Tour de France. Rocacorba’s is much less well-known and its reputation is nothing to do with famous races or TV coverage.

Since it was fully paved in around 2000, Rocacorba has been used by some of the world’s best cyclists as a test climb to see what sort of shape they’re in. For pros it’s all about getting a sub 30 minute; the climb has seen some big names turn themselves inside to achieve that. Then there’s the story of Wiggins coming along with his rollers and skinsuit to try and beat the previous benchmark set by Dan Martin…

Of all those that have ridden it, it has been popularised by one man more than any other: David Millar. He lives near the climb and his invitation-only cycling club, Velo Club Rocacorba, is named after it.

 

Looking for numbers for just the climb? It’s roughly 10 kilometres with 750 metres of elevation gain.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights of Rocacorba, Girona

Rocacorba is a demanding hill to climb, so getting to the top in a respectable time is the main highlight. Under 50 minutes is considered a good time for non pros; each member of Velo Club Rocacorba has an objective of their age plus 10 minutes.

It is one for those that love to climb as there’s nothing at the top (other than a large telecoms mast) and the views, while great on a cloudless day, aren’t nearly as impressive as Mare de Déu del Mont.

Start of the Rocacorba climbStart of the Rocacorba climb
Aerial at the summit of Rocacorba Girona SpainThe summit of Rocacorba
View from cummit of legendary cycling climb Rocacorba GironaView from the hand gliding platform at the summit

Route notes

1. Girona to base of Rocacorba: 0-25 km

It’s an easy warm up over flattish countryside to the base of Rocacorba. Near Camos the ground starts to rise, and it’s a draggy, false flat to the unofficial start line.

2. Base of Rocacorba to Pujarnol: 25-48 km

The clock starts ticking as you cross the low stone bridge where the road turns left up into the trees. From the point you cross the bridge, it’s about 10.1km to the top. The first 3km from the bridge have an average gradient of 5.7%.

3. Pujarnol to summit: 48-71 km

You get a short respite as you leave Pujarnol and for about 1km the gradient reduces to an average of 1.7%. Enjoy it while it lasts: the next four kilometres are punishing: an average 9.5% gradient. It flattens out for a short 0.5km or so (gradient back to around 2.6%) and then it’s the last 1.5km crawl to the top, with gradients averaging nearly 8% and max gradients around 15%.

Enjoy the views from over the hang gliding platform; then it’s straight back down again!

Café stops

Though it involves a short detour, the lake at Banyoles is your best bet; it has several cafés around its shore. Try The Aquarium – it’s the café David Millar used to stop at before hitting Rocacorba as a pro.

Cyclist near Rocacorba GironaBeautiful roads and views (credit: John Vicars)
Cyclist at Lake Banyoles near GironaRelaxing at Lake Banyoles after tackling Rocacorba (credit: John Vicars)

Accommodation

We stayed at Hotel Nord 1901, a lovely family-owned boutique hotel in a superb old town location in central Girona. This ride is very accessible from there.

For more suggestions, take a look at our article on where to stay in Girona.

Tips

Read our tips for cycling around Girona before you set out.

While it might be visible from almost anywhere in Catalonia, it’s quite tricky to find Rocacorba. Ask a local – or use our GPX download!

The climb’s name comes from the 12th Century Santuari de Rocacorba. While the road is likely to be quiet, cars do use it. The road is narrow and there have been accidents. Take care.

This is not an easy climb. Ensure you have sufficient food and drink (there are no refreshment stations) and an extra layer of clothing for the descent. Avoid Rocacorba in wet conditions, due to the road surface.

Rocacorba is that kind of iconic climb that inspires people to use its name: as well as David Millar’s cycling and dining club, Velo Club Rocacorba, there’s also Girona’s elite men’s racing team, Rocacorba Racing.

The Olot loop takes you very close to the foot of the Rocacorba climb; people often add it on to the loop.

Found this guide useful?

We’d love to hear from you – comment below or drop us a line.

Don’t miss our other ride guides on the area: find them below.

Check out our ultimate guide to planning a cycling holiday in Girona and other articles on Girona, below.

Please support Epic Road Rides

A huge amount of time and effort goes into the article you’ve just read, all with the aim of helping you!

If you found what you’ve read useful, I’d really appreciate it if you dropped something in the tip jar here.

It’s a way you can say thank you and help us carry on creating top quality content with no annoying ads and no pay wall.

Leave us a tip here!

Looking for an organised cycling trip?

If you want someone to help you plan and book your cycling holiday, fill out this form. We aren’t a tour operator/agent but we work with lots of people who are and will do our best to put you in touch with someone that can help (within 24 hours wherever possible)!

We will use this info to send the enquiry to Clare and/or their team. Our privacy policy explains more and here’s a reminder of our disclosure policy and terms and conditions.







Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.

2 Responses to “Rocacorba, Girona”

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.