bacchus travel

An Electric Experience in the Empordà

John Deere

An Electric Experience in the Empordà

An Electric Experience in the Empordà 2000 1500 Bacchus

Guest of Bacchus, John Deere, experiences an electric, epicurean cycle tour in Northeast Catalonia

Over a glass or two of red earlier this year with my good friend, Tony Wallington, he inveigled me into joining him for a real taste of Catalonia. “Off the beaten track cycle touring from vineyard to vineyard through the depths of the Empordà, a region dubbed by many as the undiscovered Tuscany.” I said I liked the sound of it. He said I might like it even more with an electric bike.



Josep Maria, Tony’s Catalan counterpart, picked me up from medieval Girona and we set off to our first overnight location. His passion and knowledge of this north-eastern knuckle of Spain – in particular, the family-run vineyards of Alt & Baix Empordà, where the majority of their cycling adventures are based – had me hooked.

Only an hour and a half drive north of Barcelona, the Empordà is relatively unknown given its gastronomic, viticultural and olive oil producing heritage. Wine and olive oil were first introduced here over 2,500 years ago when the Greeks, Romans and Arabs inhabited the area.



My culinary adventure on two wheels begins hidden in the contours of the undulating Garrotxa national park and weaves its way to the Costa Brava coastline over the course of four days. We are staying in a restored medieval farmhouse tonight with wonderful landlady, Monica. She has been longing to give us our first taste of Catalonia since we arrived – a mouth-watering spread of homegrown produce accompanied by an impressive selection of organic Empordà wines.

I am excited to learn that tomorrow I will be cycling to the cellar of my favourite claret yet – Mas Ponsjoan’s 2012 vintage blend of tempranillo, monastrell and jaqué grape varietals – though my mind wonders what sort of condition I’ll be in when I get there.



Of course, I need not worry. My knees and I give in to the lure of the electric bike and it is a sage choice indeed, as I am to gratefully discover on the spectacular Ardenya Massif coastal route, featured in a Spanish stage of the Tour de France in 2009.

If, as all purists would insist upon, you ride this route without electrical assistance, a reasonable level of fitness is required. That said, at no stage is the route totally overwhelming for the traditional pedal pushers, and we have the comfort of knowing the aptly claret-coloured Bacchus broom wagon is always close behind, ready to sweep us up and take us to the next hidden gem.



From charming overnight stays in idyllic locations, to grape picking and tasting with local winemakers at Mas Ponsjoan and a special 7-course tasting menu in the quaint fishing town of Cadaques, each day brings something new and extraordinary. It is the meticulously crafted concoction of experiences reflecting real Catalan life and the enthusiasm of the local characters we meet – not forgetting the mouth-watering cuisine, excellent wine, and good-natured camaraderie of cycle touring – which is enthralling. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

Learn more about our cycle tours in Catalonia