Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

cycling marseilles to barcelona

Cass GilbertCass Gilbert Posts: 12
edited November 2008 in Tour & expedition
I'm heading off to Marseilles on Wednesday to see a friend, then planning to ride over to Barcelona and flying/training home from there. Does anyone know if there is a nice scenic way of riding between the two cities, perhaps via some hills? I'm planning to go light and take a tarp and sleeping bag. Are campsites still open this time of year? I'm okay with being a bit chill. I'm taking my cyclocross bike, so both tracks or road would be fine - in fact, some off road riding would be fun.


  • Cass - I am no sure if this recent thread will help or not... ... t=12584010

    ... but I'd like to know how you get on.
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
  • zonczonc Posts: 37
    Having lived out there you could do worse than heading inland - the coast road is busy all year with traffic between France and Spain. arles, St gilles, Nimes d40 then n110 to the north of Montpellier then down the coast road N112 to Frontignan Sete Capd'Agde to Beziers. north of narbonne into carcassone and then down to Limoux . (fine fizzy wine (blanquette de Limoux comparable to Champagne...mmm..).D118 which will take you into the foothills of the Pyranees, small and rough but amazingly wild routes. The Col de la Quillane onto Mont Louis and then the N 152 to Spain then you can choose several routes down to Barcelona. Wild camping is not a problem but make sure of the weather forecast - check with local cafes as to the snow report (meteo)

    Have a great time..i wish i was going....

  • thanks for that link, very handy, and the route ideas. Zonc, when you say 'small and rough' do you mean the roads or the hills - ie do you mean it's bumpy tarmac, or actually unpaved? Just deciding on what tyres to take at the moment... I'll probably go for Halo Twin Rails that I have, as they're fast and comfortable on smooth tarmac but can handle coarser grades, and even tracks, quite well.

    any vague ideas as to how long a ride like the one you suggest would take - just thinking in terms of booking my return transport, and allowing a couple of days in Barcelona to take in the sights.

    A friend of mine mentioned going via Puigcerda, I think it was, which is 150km or so from Barcelona.
  • zonczonc Posts: 37
    how long is a piece of string?

    Depends of what distances you can/would like to travel.

    i would allow aprox 5-7 days...this gives you time in between to shoot the breeze.

    Your tyre choice ought to be fine. some rough stuff but all ok on 28mm touring tyres.
    It is lumpy in places and bumpy (road wise) in others!

    let us know how you get on..envy ..what's that?

  • thanks zonc. how about going over col d ares? is that more direct/ a bit quieter?
  • zonczonc Posts: 37
    can be......

    may as well try it. i only went with a friend in a 2CV...hardly a car!
  • Just thought I'd offer a quick run down of the route I took in the first week of november. Most of the time, it was cloudy in the morning, then cleared up by the afternoon. Pretty good cycling weather heat wise. The weather took a turn for the worse in the pyrenees, so I ended up detouring round to the coast, where the sun was shining.

    I used IGN 1:250 000 maps, (languedoc roussillon and bouches du rhone), just 4 euros each at FNAC.

    rough route: Mirabeau (North of Aix, my starting point at a friends house), via Pertuis, Eyguieres (nice, lots of wild camping potential), Arles, to Saintes Maries do la Mer. wild camped on the beach. 150km or so. Some bigger roads but plenty of space for bikes.

    SM de la Mer, via La Grande Motte, south of Montpellier to a little spot near Caux (north of Pezenas) - camped in an organic vineyard - lovely area round there: lots of small, quiet roads. 130 or so.

    Caux, via Cebazon to Homps. Great road, quiet for the most part, super smooth. then picked up the canal du midi waterside trail to Caracassone (again, very nice, a little rough in places so better for 700x30c+ tyres), and south to a great backpacker hostel in Preixan. (called Sidsmums) 130 or so.

    Preixan, via Limoux, Quillan, St Paul de Fenouillet to Perpignan. Busy at first (it was a weekend) then better from Quillan, through a gorge, quiet, snow capped peaks in the distance and lovely picnic posts. Very gentle climb. Killer headwind for the last 20km into Perpignan though. 125kms or so.

    Perpignan via coast road into Spain. Not sure where, as I didn't have a map and just hopped on a train when it was getting late, as I needed to be in Barcelona that evening. Train to barcelona just 9 euros. Quiet road on the french side once out of the sprawl of Perpignan, lots of superb spots to swim (cold but refreshing) and seaside villages to stop in, a few hills but nothing to worry about. I imagine this road would be busier in the summer season.

    All in all, a lovely tour. The roads were broader the first couple of days, then quieter in the Languedoc. The foothills of the pyrenees were great, will have to return to ride the passes in better weather - I just had a tarp and a small summer sleeping bag. Looks like there is loads of potential round there, given more time.

    All the shops seemed to shut at 1pm, some until 5pm in the smaller villages! (it was sunset at 5.30). Internet at lovely Sidsmums, and at the YHA in Perpignan. (bit of a dump, that place).

    I was planning to visit Manosque too (NE of Aix), as I'd heard it was lovely and the surrounding area is stunning, but it rained that day!
Sign In or Register to comment.