First signed EuroVelo route in Spain

EV8 sign

Spain is on many people’s list of dream cycling destinations but until recently there has not been much in the way of infrastructure to support long-distance cycle trips.  The opening of the first signed section of a EuroVelo route in the country is therefore something to celebrate.  EuroVelo Council Member Jens Erik Larsen paid a visit to find out more.

“Girona is a nice old city situated one hour north of Barcelona by train.  The historic centre, known as the Barri Well, is definitely worth visiting with its cathedral and university still surrounded by the original city walls.  Girona also has good facilities for cyclists, including the well-established Via Verde (green cycle route) connecting the town with the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees.

The Via Verde has recently been incorporated within a wider cycle route called Pirinexus, which covers 351 km and forms a circuit around the border between Catalonia and France.  The route would form a good basis for an interesting week-long cycling holiday because it has been developed as a touristic product with accommodation facilities, sights, museums, tour operators, bicycle rentals, website, map and guidebook already in place.  The planning and implementation of Pirinexus was undertaken with funding from European Regional Development Fund within the POCTEFA program.

The eastern leg of the Pirinexus circuit actually forms part of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and as part of the project EuroVelo signs have been installed.  This is an important moment because it is the first part of the EuroVelo network on the entire Iberian Peninsula to be opened and signed with EuroVelo signs.

The opening of Pirinexus was celebrated with a conference in Girona 20th March 2013 organized by Consorci Vies Verdes de Girona.  The Director, Gerard Darnés, had invited me to speak about the visions of the EuroVelo project (in Spanish!).  Gerard is involved with trying to establish a National EuroVelo Coordination Centre in Spain to coordinate the further development of EuroVelo network there and I wish them every success because cycle tourism in Spain is a winning combination!”

Photo: The panel discussion at the conference in Girona (Gerard Darnés seated far right, Jens Erik Larsen in blue)

You can find more information about the Pirinexus route here.