What is gravel? The best routes in Catalonia

All cycling enthusiasts will have noticed by now that in recent years a trend has emerged that is here to stay: gravel. But do we know exactly what it consists of and how can we put it into practice in a simple way, without leaving Catalonia?


Gravel is a fashion that is characterized by its hybrid aspect. Cyclists who are tired of having to choose between road and mountain are in luck. Gravel allows them to switch from one mode to another with ease and duplicate the routes they can enjoy without having to change vehicles. Gravel bikes are characterized by curved handlebars reminiscent of road bikes. However, the wheels are prepared to withstand more intense soils than just asphalt, such as dirt or gravel. And all this without losing a bit of efficiency in any terrain.


With a gravel bike it is very easy to enjoy some of the most popular mtb routes in this Autonomous Community. These are four options that do not disappoint:

  • Route of the Royal Monasteries of Catalonia: tourism lovers will want to start with this route, as it connects some of the most important monastic centers in the province of Tarragona, such as Santes Creus. It is an ideal route for those who are looking for the perfect combination of nature and tourist centers.
  • Collsacreu pass: the ascent to this pass is undoubtedly one of the most interesting stages of the Tour of Catalonia. This first stage of the race starts in Calella, a town on the Maresme coast that will delight any cyclist. The climb to the mountain pass, although demanding, is not the hardest route of the Vuelta.
  • Montserrat: there are different ways to ride this mountain range, an old acquaintance in Catalan cycling. Although road routes predominate, Montserrat is a must on the list for its landscape, of a unique beauty in the region.
  • Collserola Route: this option is specially designed for those cyclists who live in Barcelona and are looking to disconnect from the big city without having to make a long trip. The 35 kilometers that make up this route are beginner friendly and make it a very easy route to enjoy on a spring Sunday.
  • Tracks Cerdannya Gravel: The route consists of two different routes with 212 km and 285 km, designed to be completed in three and four stages, respectively. Each route also has two tracks, one with a 50/50% asphalt/earth ratio and the other with an 80/20% ratio. These two tracks will be available to the biker who follows the route, so that at each intersection the participants will be able to choose whether to follow the route by land or by road. In this way, each group will be able to adapt the route to their needs. In any case, the cyclist will discover an ideal territory for the practice of gravel, where the paved roads end at the arrival to the ski slopes, but the forest tracks with good road surface continue to make dreamy mountain passes, surrounded by lakes and fir forests beyond 2000 m of altitude.

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