THE COSTA DAURADA MUCH MORE THAN A SURPRISING CYCLING VACATION
Huge luxurious campsites, fantastic hotels, long, beautiful sandy beaches, an azure blue sea and an inland to soak up culture. Port Aventura in Salou is also one of the largest and most spectacular amusement parks in Europe, the family will be short of time to do everything the heart desires.
Along the coast
The coastal region begins north of Tarragona and runs through Salou, Cambrills, Miami Platja (Playa), L’Hospitalet de l’Infant, Calafat, L’Ametlla de Mar and L’Ampolla to the delta of the river Ebro.
Around that delta you can discover one of the most varied natural areas on the Spanish Mediterranean, the Parque Naturel Delta del Ebre. Fertile land provides an exceptional bird population. Some 250 bird species breed here. For bird watchers, hikers but also simply for mountain bikers or gravel bikers, the Ebro river delta is a true paradise! Officially, the Costa Daurada continues up to and including the village of Alcanar (also a beautiful village!)
The medieval city of Tarragona is without doubt one of the highlights of the Costa Daurada. The beautiful historic buildings tell the story of the city’s fascinating past. Tarragona is a sunny port city with lots of charm, plus some of the most beautiful beaches nearby. The large Roman amphitheater (UNESCO World Heritage List) overlooking the sea was built at the end of the 2nd century. It is 109.5m long, 96.5m wide and can accommodate 14,000 spectators. Looking down over the ruins, it is easy to imagine the horrific events that took place here. The Old Town is also a succession of cultural and historical sites. If you are planning a leisurely ride/recovery ride, Tarragona is the place to be.
The route of the six cols
At www.costadaurada.info, you will find wonderful routes for MTB and road cyclists. The route of the six cols seemed like one to try. A round trip of 125km, 2250hm, highest point 979m with slopes up to 16.8% is quite tough.
We start in Cambrils and the route goes through the municipalities: Montbrió del Camp – Riudecanyes – Duesaigües – Porrera – Torroja del Priorat – La Vilella Baixa – Escaladei – La Morera de Montsant – Cornudella de Montsant – La Mussara – Vilaplana – Alforja – Les Borges del Camp – Botarell – Montbrió del Camp – Cambrils.
This is one of the most difficult but immediately beautiful routes on the Costa Daurada. The winding roads to the historic Priorat, past vineyards, the viewpoint Montsant in the Natural Park and the return along the Mussara road are to remember.
The route to the Priorat along the interior roads of Montbrió, Riudecanyes and Duesaigües, leads you, with roads surrounded by vineyards of Grenache and Carignan grapes past the Coll de la Teixeta 541m). From here you continue the route via the Collet del Pere Joan (418m) through the historic Priorat to Torroja del Priorat, La Vilella Baixa and until you reach Escaladei, the monastery where the winemaking tradition of Priorat has been preserved for centuries.
From now on the warm-up is really over and things get serious, because until La Morera the road goes up steeply with gradients up to 16.8%. However, you cycle here through a unique environment: the Montsant Natural Park. You climb up to the summit to 743m altitude. Feast your eyes when you can and besides the suffering, don’t forget to enjoy! Now it goes along the road from Cornudella to La Mussara and we ride up and down on a plateau for a while until the highest point of the route at 979m above sea level, immediately the highest rideable point of the Costa Daurada. After a beautiful descent, one last climb to L’Alforja and then at breakneck speed via Les Borges del Camp, Botarell and Montbrió del Camp back to Cambrils, where in the meantime everything is set up for an evening of dancing and fun. But first, a nice shower and some recuperation for the legs.
The six cols
1-. Coll de la Teixeta: 541m – 11.6km – average 3.3% – max 13.3%
2-. Collet del Pere Joan 418m – 2.5km – average 6.6% – max 8%.
3-. Pujada de Arboli: 351m – 3.4km – 6.7% average
4-. La Morera de Montsant: 743m – 9.9km – 4.7% average – max 16.8%
5-. Coll d’Alforja: 641m – 5.4km – 5.3% average – max 7.8%
6-. La Mussara: 961m – 5.9km – 5.8% average – max 8.7%
The routes in the Costa Daurada are of unparalleled beauty and you can make them as easy or as difficult as you want. Flat roads to very steep and long climbs, you can find it all in this beautiful region.
You can read the full article in Cyclelive no. 66 available at the better bike stores or download it from our website.