The Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees are teeming with forest tracks, paths and mountain bike tracks to ride and to help you explore the area close up. Here are eight trails of varying difficulty and length, suitable for all levels and ideal for combining clocking up kilometres, ascents and descents, different scenery from the sea to fields of crops and forests and stunning views. What are you waiting for?

Credit: Alex Gosteli

1. Sant Pere Màrtir d’Amer, a small part of La Selva

This route starts at the old Amer railway station and is very varied, with gentle descents and climbs. From the hills surrounding Amer and Sant Julià there is a superb panoramic view of the cliffs of Sant Roc and the Ter valley. You’ll ride along forest tracks through woodland to the chapel of Sant Pere Màrtir, where you can stop for a rest. Further on, you come to the river Ter and you can turn off a few metres down the old road to Sant Julià where you’ll find a medieval bridge from the 11th century. It’s well worth it!

Difficulty: moderate

Distance: 21.3 km

Total ascent: 416 m

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2. Maritime Gavarra, pedalling through the Baix Empordà

If you want the challenge of a difficult route full of technical stretches, this is just the one for you! Starting out from the old train station in Castell d’Aro, there is a long, steep hill waiting to put you through your paces up to the Golf Club. This is the starting point for a technical descent through the ruins of Mas Riera towards Romanyà. A heavenly spot awaits you halfway along the route: the Castanyeda spring, an unforgettable place full of natural contrasts. The last stretch to Castell d’Aro is along a complicated, technical, but exciting, trial bike track which will take you to your final destination.

Difficulty: hard

Distance: 26.9 km

Total ascent: 328 m

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Credit: Volata

3. The Muga Natural Path, a ride through the Alt Empordà

This route is perfect for discovering the wildlife of the Alt Empordà as you ride close to the Muga Natural Path, a water course that connects the areas of the Alta Garrotxa, Les Salines and the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park. The route starts precisely in Empuriabrava and ends up in Sant Llorenç de la Muga and is suitable for all riders. It passes through such picturesque villages as Castelló d’Empúries, Peralada, Cabanes, Pont de Molins, Boadella and Terrades. Along the easy-riding track, you’ll come across wetlands, fields of crops, woods, old mills, cascades and ice cellars. As you can see, there are so many attractions that the time will simply fly by!

Difficulty: easy

Distance: 42 km

Total ascent: 332 m

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4. Inland through Pla de l’Estany

Great beauty and considerable difficulty are two of the features that you’ll find on this circuit through Pla de l’Estany. Don’t be taken in by the name, suggesting a flat area, because in fact the trail is a series of ups and downs. It starts in Palol de Revardit and you’ll ride through picturesque country villages and see various Romanesque churches all over the place. This barely 40-kilometre route will give you the chance to discover paths that many of the local inhabitants don’t even know. Don’t miss out!

Difficulty: hard

Distance: 43 km

Total ascent: 625 m

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Credit: Volata

5. Climb to Sant Grau, in the Gironès area

This trail starts and finishes at the Centre BTT in Sant Gregori and follows the Llémena riverbed to the point where it joins the river Ter. It then continues towards the village of Constantins, passing by the Can Perris spring, where a forest track then leads up to the top of Sant Grau (495 m), with its breathtaking views and the remains of Tudela castle. To return you’ll go down a high-speed technical forest track to the starting point. Just keep pedalling, as they say!

Difficulty: medium

Distance: 22 km

Total ascent: 383 m

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6. From Montagut to Sadernes, discovering the Alta Garrotxa

This pretty route provides a bit of everything and right from the beginning it includes a challenging descent along narrow paths. The route then heads for Castellfollit, via Mas Espigulé. At this point the path is very stony and complicated and you may have to get off and carry your bike over it. You’ll then find a track that will take you to Santa Bàrbara, a chapel with stunning views of the area, your pay-off for all the effort. After you have admired the landscape, ride on to Sadernes and the majestic Romanesque bridge over the river Llierca. From here you continue towards Tortellà and Montagut, the village where the route starts and ends. It is the perfect circuit for discovering a small part of the Garrotxa area!

Difficulty: hard

Distance: 23.6 km

Total ascent: 834 m

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7. Linking the valleys of Camprodon and Ribes with the Ripollès

The longest trail of all goes through the Ripollès area and joins the valleys of Camprodon and Ribes in a challenging ride that climbs to an altitude of over 2,000 m, thus requiring good weather.  Leaving Vilallonga de Ter you have to go up to Tregurà, where you continue to climb along a forest track that will take you to the slopes of the Balandrau and Puig Cerverís, the highest point of the route. After going over a cattle grid you come to the valley of Pardines, where a descent will take you down to the village that gives the valley its name. From here, you climb once again following the Collada Verda track with its stunning views. Now it is definitely all downhill back to Vilallonga. After 52 km you deserve a good lunch!

Difficulty: hard

Distance: 51.86 km

Total ascent: 1,593 m

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Credit: Alex Gosteli

8. From Ger to Montmalús, riding through La Cerdanya

The little village of Ger is the starting point for this short but explosive route that will captivate you. The ride goes through places that will make you stop to admire the scenery and, although it is a moderate – hard route, every turn of the pedal will be worth it. The circuit’s challenge becomes apparent once you reach All, where a long, continuous climb goes on for 7 km up to the abandoned village of Montmalús. From here, a high-speed, technical descent will be the pay-off for all the effort and will afford you spectacular views of the entire Cerdanya valley. Get those legs pumping and up you go!

Difficulty: moderate – hard

Distance: 16 km

Total ascent: 626 m

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Accommodation and bike hire

You may find that more than one trail appeals to you and that you don’t want to limit yourselves to doing just one. In that case, you can have a look at the range of accommodation specially catering for cyclists in the different areas and organise your own route! On the other hand, if you just want to have a go at doing a trail and don’t want to bring your bike with you, you can always hire one at any of these firms. The important thing is to explore the region, it doesn’t matter how!