Setting down roots for the long term; devoting the time to meeting and nurturing relationships with local experts; knowing—really knowing—the lay of the land and the people who live there. At Butterfield & Robinson we can’t emphasize enough how vital our connections are to our destinations in the world in creating what is simply a superior travel experience. These elements may not be immediately apparent to a traveller, but when the rubber literally hits the road, these are the distinctions that make an incredible difference for you.
Which brings us to Catalonia. Or as we should say brings us back, as 2010 marks our tenth year in the region, which is widely referred to as the jewel of northeastern Spain. The time and resources we’ve dedicated to all elements of this region has helped us craft the perfect biking trip, and allows you the opportunity to see the country as no one else can.
Let’s start with the people, notably Regional Director Nancy Towns, who has been instrumental in refining this trip over the years. While it amuses her to consider her work a ‘job’, she’s always on the lookout for connecting with the sort of local experts who care as much about treating B&R guests to an exceptional time as she is. There are our ever-reliable mountain guides from the Pyrénées who take the kids rappelling on our With the Kids option, to hotel-owner Señor Boix who invites us into his kitchen to reveal the secrets of preparing wild mushrooms, to hotel owner and chef Brigitta, who introduces us the proper way to eat ‘tapas’.
Food and Wine
Yes, food and wine—what an incredible variety of tastes to explore and flavours to sample. Spain may live in the shadow of its Mediterranean siblings when it comes to promoting its wines to the world, but as our many of our travellers have made clear, this region rivals France and Italy for outstanding vintages. With ten wine-making regions in Catalonia, we’ll be sure to introduce you to a stunning range of sophisticated wines, while enjoying the fresh tastes and soaring talents of Catalan chefs all along the way.
We’re particularly excited about our line-up of accommodations—each offering its own special luxury and brand of hospitality. The Hotel Mas de Torrent, for example, is considered one of Catalonia’s most stunning hotels—remarkable, given it was once an 18thC Catalan masia, or typical farmhouse, and is now a Relais & Châteaux property featuring a five-star spa, swimming pool and tennis courts. Or picture yourself arriving at the Torre del Remei (also a Relais & Châteaux property) where one of our recent guests recounts how she was reclining in a bathtub sipping a flute of champagne all within half an hour of her arrival! Yes, with B&R it’s always a short distance from the joys of riding to the pleasures of relaxing.
Like the food you’ll taste and the wine you’ll share, the cycling in Catalonia is first-class. This is considered one of the world’s most stunning regions to bike, and is even the training ground for the Spanish National Cycling Team. Our rides traverse quiet, smoothly paved, small country roads and mountain valleys, and since we’ve taken the time to thoroughly explore, we’ve devised the best routes possible, for conventional cyclists and avid riders alike.
Best of all, our rides will take in a varied landscape, from two days in the Cerdanya Valley of the Pyrénées, to a national park’s mountain pass and foothills, and then into the Alta and Baix Empordà where rolling fields and coniferous forests predominate.
A trip to Catalonia is overflowing with what we like to refer to as those ‘wow’ moments. Whether it’s parents biking along the Mediterranean coastline while watching their kids kayaking below, before meeting up on a brigantine ship further along, to freewheeling down a smooth mountain road from 1,900 metres above sea level, to waking up in Spain and riding across into France for a café au lait, and you understand what it means to trust our brand of adventure over all others.
You’ll hear it time and again with a Butterfield & Robinson trip—there is simply no comparison to what we have to offer. It’s precisely because we take the time to create itineraries that stand out, that rise above, that ultimately give you trips with more meaning and memories that you should, in turn, choose to spend your time with us.
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