Cycling from Figueres to Girona: Seeking Dalí!
With my bike I get on the train to the town of Figueres. Here I visit the Teatre-Museu Dalí in Figueres, in search of the world-famous surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Cycling from Figueres to Girona, through a beautiful landscape!
Bringing a bike on the train in Spain
Cycling on dirt tracks, along rugged coastlines, through the woods and along medieval villages. For a week I discover all the different landscapes of Girona by bike. And today, my first day of cycling in Spain, I am seeking the world-famous surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Just over 40 kilometers from Girona you will find Figueres, a town that houses the famous Teatre-Museu Dalí.
It is August and that means early in the morning it is already over 30 degrees. A return trip to Figueres might be a bit too ambitious. That’s why I take the train to Figueres and will cycle back to Girona. I buy my ticket at the Girona train station. Only € 4.10 for a single ticket to Figueres, and bringing the bike is free of charge. Even in the morning rush hour! In the train I take a look at the route I Paul from fietseningirona.nl made. Paul has chosen a number of beautiful routes for the coming days. Today I make a trip from Figueres to Girona, through small medieval towns, a route that goes up and down the Catalan hills.
In Figueres I can park my bike at Hotel Plaza Inn Figueres. A hotel that is completely decorated in the style of Dalí. I immediately start looking for the museum. It turns out the museum isn’t difficult to find. The dark red building is decorated with huge eggs. I buy my ticket and I can immediately enter the museum. When I exit, a couple of hours later, I notice it has become quite crowded. The Teatre-Museu Dalí is the second most visited museum in Spain, after the Museo del Prado in Madrid. It is therefore advisable to buy your ticket online in advance.
The Dali Museum used to be a theater. The building got seriously damaged in a heavy fire near the end of the Spanish Civil War. The mayor proposed to Dalí – who was born in Figueres – to renovate the theater and turn it into his own museum. Dalí himself contributed to the design and construction of the museum and he literally left his mark on every little detail. Also on the outside of the building, which has become the most striking building in the wider area.
A work of art in itself
In fact, every space in the museum is a work of art in itself. You will not only find paintings here, but also drawings, sculptures, holograms, photography and other objects. So in the courtyard you can see a Rolls, and when you are standing on top of a staircase a seemingly random arrangement turns out to look exactly like the face of Marilyn Monroe. In another room you see holograms that change when you keep looking at them. In the museum you fall from one surprise to another.
You do need some imagination. No explanation can be found anywhere in the museum. No wall panels or labels with explanations. Dalí wanted the visitors to discover his works of art on themselves and wonder. And you’ll certainly be surprised! You can see the influence of Dalí everywhere in the building and many works are made especially for the building. It is a wonderful museum, and also fun to visit with children.
Cycling from Figueres to Girona
I walk around the city for a while and then it is really time to get on the bike. Paul has created a route of about 70 kilometers and with 620 altitude meters. Just like the hiking route that I walked a day earlier, this route was also loaded into my Garmin. So I don’t have to worry about the route.
First I cycle to the village of Sant Miquel de Fluvià. I find a small supermarket on a street corner. It hardly has the size of a student dorm. Behind the counter stands an old lady. She rattles off, and I do not understand a word. But I can buy a sandwich and a bottle of water and I have lunch with a view of the Església de Sant Miquel de Fluvià.
Up and down: the hilly landscape of Girona
Then I end up in the hilly landscape of Girona. Even in this heat, mid-summer, it is a green area. I constantly cycle up and down and there is no meter of flat roads. I cycle through the village of Bàscara. A nice town with a small square with some cafes. Then the bike ride continues, up and down the hills again.
“I know this road!” I realize. The last time I was in Girona I cycled here with my racing bike. “I am almost in Banyoles”, I think optimisticly. But on a mountain bike you are quite a bit slower than on your light road bike and on these hills today I am… well, a bit slower. Meanwhile it is also over 35 degrees and it turned out I have to conquer headwinds the entire ride. So a 70 kilometers solo bike ride is quite a distance.
The Lake of Banyoles
Fortunately, cycling more slowly also means that I have more time to enjoy the route. From the hillside I enter the town of Banyoles. The Lake of Banyoles is already shimmering in the distance. Often, people are rowing or swimming in the lake. Triathletes who train here in the spring often make their training meters in the lake. As soon as you get to the bike path next to the lake, you see a few bars. The second bar on my right is a favorite with many cyclists: Estany de Banyoles. The outdoor bar has its own beach and a deck that goes a bit into the lake. Here you can take a refreshing dive. You definetely aren’t the only cyclist who jumps into the water in cycling outfit!
Sitting in my chair I dry my clothes in the sun. Delicious, sitting in the shade to cool off. An espresso, an ice-cold cola and a bowl of crisps. Just enjoying this great day. I can all the time I want.
Banyoles to Girona
From Banyoles it is another 20 kilometer or so to Girona. A few hills are still awaiting me and then the last part is mostly descending. I come through small medieval villages, which I realize have already cycled past 10 times. Today I decide to stop. I walk through a deserted village, where I see no one outside of a lazy cat. The streets with cobblestones rise steeply, to a church that has been standing there for at least a century or 5.
The last part I cycle through a quiet forest and a few unpaved paths. Then Girona emerges again, with the cathedral proudly protruding above the city. And at the cathedral, I know by now, a nice terrace is waiting for me. Cycling in Girona, I can get used to that!
Cycling holidays in Girona
Do you want to cycle this route too? Then go cycling in Girona with fietseningirona.nl. During a 5 or 7-day cycling tour you will discover the landscapes around the city of Girona and the Costa Brava. You cycle along perhaps one of the most beautiful coastlines in Spain, and then cycle back to Girona via Figueres. A versatile tour, along sand paths in the woods, along the rugged coastline, via hidden waterfalls, through medieval villages and past a number of Dali museums. The 5 or 7 stages make a wonderful trip!
I was in Girona at the invitation of fietseningirona.nl. They also arranged the beautiful Bianchi bike for me. The Dutch organization Fietsen in Girona (Cycling in Girona) organizes bicycle trips, with luggage transport and, if necessary, technical assistance along the way. And because they know all the beautiful places in and around Girona, they create beautiful routes for you! They can also arrange a one-day route, for example with a visit to the museum in Figueres and a beautiful cycle route back to Girona.