Sunday 24 August 2014

Cycling in Parc Natural del Montgrí, near L'Escala, Catalonia

Criss-crossed by hiking and biking trails, the Parc Natural del Montgrí is a fine place to take a robust mountain bike for a traffic-free spin. Although there is a fast stretch of newish tarmac near the campsite on route to L'Escala, you'll spend much of your time bouncing over loose stones and rocks, making some of the climbs quite challenging. It is easy to get lost - the trees can obscure your views of the sea, so look out for the occasional green sign marking the long-distance coastal hiking path. If you work your way from L'Escala across to Estartit and the imposing Castell del Montgrí, you'll probably end up climbing several hundred metres and travelling a good ten kilometres  You might even have to navigate the odd flock of sheep barring the way. There are a couple of lovely old country houses tucked away in the hills above Estartit and it is not clear where their private land ends and this recently-designated national park begins - more signs are needed. Still, it is fun to explore this peaceful patch of greenery. 7/10

Very occasionally, you get a sweeping view of the Gulf of Roses over the treetops.

Watch out for very slow moving sheep