Total tour distance: 92 miles
Daily tour distance: 23 miles
Difficulty: 30 / 100
Here in the coastal Emporda region of Catalonia, fresh ingredients come from terraced olive groves going back to the times of the ancient Greeks, rice paddies near Pals, kitchen gardens, small farms, and the Sea. It’s a beautiful place to ride the bike, taste, cook, explore, and just enjoy the gorgeous country and relax in our 3 wonderful hotels: in Girona's Old Town, at the foot of the Gavarres mountains in a medieval town, and right at the coast in the port town Palamos. This tour has everything a food-lover needs: Your stay begins with a visit to a sheep farm (or olive oil farm) sampling local dairy products (or exquisite olive oil). The same night in Madremanya you will experience the chefs tasting menu––a delicious introduction to the regions cuisine. The next day you will actively participate in your first private cooking class (followed by lunch). That plus quiet country roads, the fish market of Palamos, exploration of art in the footsteps of Dali all combine to make this an unforgettable tour!
Day 1 | Arrival at Girona
The lodgings are all located a short walk or taxi ride from the station in the town centre. There is plenty to see and do in this interesting and vibrant city. Girona is famous for having one of the best preserved Jewish old towns in the world. The Cathedral boasts one of the largest stone vaulted spaces in Gothic architecture, and the walk along the cities ancient walls is a recommended highlight. This combined with hundreds of restaurants and bars and a thriving coffee culture make Girona a great place to spend a few days. Note; the restaurant Celler Can Roca is rated the 2nd best restaurant, worldwide! This needs to be reserved far in advance, let us know if you want a reservation, and keep in mind we do not include this meal but will make your reservation if available. Lodging: deluxe 4 star boutique hotel in the old city.
Day 2 | Transfer to Siurana and ride to Madremanya - 38 km
Transfer from Girona to Siurana d Emporda (40min). Visit the small cheese farm Mas Marce, famous for its traditional fresh cheese recuit, usually eaten as a dessert with honey but also in salads. Their recuit is hard to get because most of the production goes to restaurants. Manel & Natalia elaborate prize winning aged cheeses. The milk from their sheep was ordered from restaurant El Bulli and they deliver yoghurt to the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. Alternative if today is Monday: visit the olive producer of Mas la Bomba, Olis Dauro.
This route takes you from the northern Alt Emporda region to the region of Baix Emporda. It passes through the most interior part of the region, the hilly areas on the western borders of the alluvial plain. This is an eminently agricultural area where we can visit typical rural villages such as Sant Miquel de Fluvia with a Romanesque monastery and Sant Mori and its castle.Deluxe boutique hotel, excellent tasting dinner menu included!
Day 3 | Cooking Class
A Catalan cooking class with the resident chef at Hotel La Placa, one of the region's masters, highlighting local ingredients in classic Catalan dishes. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch and then you have a free afternoon to do as you please. You can lounge by the pool, or take your bike to visit the medieval villages of Madremanya and Monells. Following the tasting menu of last night and your deluxe lunch, we leave dinner open tonight for you to choose; some suggestions will be provided.
Day 4 | Cooking Class and loop bike ride - 30km
The second cooking class takes place this morning again with your chef at La Placa; today he will be highlighting a different type of cuisine -Traditional & Modern Tapas. Again, after enjoying your lunch, you can do a bike tour in the afternoon with an opportunity to visit one of the local pottery shops with typical ceramics in the small town La Bisbal d Emporda. Explore the countryside in depth including some small but very charming medieval villages such as Monells, Madremanya and Pubol. In Pubol you can visit the Gala Dali Castle and discover the surrealist world of the prominent Catalan artist Salvador Dali. Return to Madremanya and your same hotel. Dinner open again tonight.
Day 5 | Madremanya to Palamos - 50 km
This route takes us from Madremanya to the coast, passing through the rolling countryside of the Empordanet and a large number of medieval settlements: Cruilles, Peratallada and Palau Sator. Take a rest on the lovely Castell cove, with its Iberian settlement and the Fosca Beach before reaching Palamos. Although its seafront is stony and wild – which is why it is called the Costa Brava (Wild Coast) – the landscape can suddenly become softer, giving way to wide beaches with different textures of sand. Then, and every bit as appealing, there are the hidden-away coves to be found just below the high rocks of the coastline. A great place to appreciate this variety is at Palamos. You have a seaside hotel tonight in upper floor category room; with a special upgraded menu at dinner included!
Day 6 | Cooking Class, Espaix del Peix, Fishing Museum & Fish Auction
Palamos is a major port, the only commercial harbour in the Province with one of the last remaining fishing fleets on this part of the Mediterranean coast. It is famous for the locally caught prawns (Catalan: gambes). Mans work at sea has become an unrivaled spectacle of colour for visitors, when, in the middle of the afternoon, the fishing boats dock at the port and unload their catch. In Palamos, however, the world of fishing does not end at the quay; it continues at the Fishing Museum. With its focus on fishing, the museum is unique in the Mediterranean. The museum presents the past, present and future of fishing by means of a permanent exhibition and programme of activities associated with fishing and the sea along the Costa Brava. Today you get to know the great fishing tradition in Palamos and its great gastronomic legacy in a thorough visit to the port witnessing the arrival of the fishing boats in the afternoon and the subsequent auction of the catch to wholesalers and restaurants. The cooking class takes places around noon and includes your lunch. After, you will be guided through the experience of the market - which only takes place Mon-Fri but not during heavy seas when the boats don't go out. Same hotel tonight, dinner on your own. (B,L)
To note: Cooking Class at Espai del Peix, 3hrs elaborating 3 or 4 different dishes with the chef and lunch, guided visit of the port (arrival of fishing boats), auction and museum. End of activity around 5pm.
Day 7 | Loop bike ride and winery visit - 30 km
A short ride to the foot of the Gavarres Mountains to the unique winery-hotel Bell-lloc, a relatively young bodega with an interesting philosophy. “Naked wines” with a natural and ecological elaboration in small quantities. Tasting Begins: 11:30 with a visit to the bodega and wine tasting. After, there is a lunch; “Platillos”, a selection of various cold and hot dishes of their homemade products. After this, you ride back to the hotel in Palamos with your last night and dinner on your own. (B,L) Note: this bodega has an underground cave that can feel claustrophobic for some people. There is a whole identity behind the hotel, the winery and the farm: It's all about identity, ecology and sustainability. They call their wines “naked wines” because they don't add any chemical substances and don't even put a label onto the bottles (only around the neck).
They use only local ingredients and make their own marmalade, soap, cured ham and other cold sausages.
Day 8 | Departure Day
Pick up at 9:30 am at the hotel for return to Girona and the train station. If you wish to book extra nights or additional activities in the region, please inquire in advance. Extra nights in Barcelona possible as well; please book in advance.
- 7 nights deluxe lodging - upgraded rooms, see below
- Breakfast daily
- 2 gastronomic dinners with 1 Tasting Menu
- 4 lunches
- Luggage transfers between hotels
- Local Girona based emergency support
- Orientation and bike set up on Day 2
- Day 2 transfer and Day 8 departure transfers
- Road books with riding route maps and cue sheets, suggestions for visitation and dining.
- Cooking classes as mentioned in the itinerary - 2 at La Placa and 1 at Palamos
- Guided visit of the Palamos port and fish market
- Cheese or olive oil tasting on Day 2
- Additional services and stays can be arranged separately.
We have included upgraded rooms in the hotels shown in the Itinerary tab; this is subject to availability and rates can change if the category isn't available.
Accommodation: 7 nights in deluxe 3 and 4 star hotels. Both basic and upgraded tours stay at the same hotel, but in different room categories. All lodgings offer a private bathroom and a variety of other amenities. Hotels include:
- Hotel Historic**** in Junior Suite
- Hotel La Placa*** Double Terrace (can be upgraded to a Suite for a supplement)
- Hotel Trias*** in Upper Floor Sea View room (can be upgraded to Hotel LaMalcontenta*****)
Dates : Saturday & Sunday* - From March 31 to Oct 30; due to limitations on the days of the week available for the cooking classes and fish market days; we are limited to start days of Sat/Sun only; but for the most visits and best experience a SATURDAY start is best.