TRIATHLON HOLIDAY LOCATIONS (SPAIN)
Girona is a lovely city in Catalunya, Spain. Its not too big and everything is walkable. They speak Catalan, but everybody understands you if you speak Castellano or English. Already when you will arrive, you will notice, this city is FULL of crazy road cyclists! Everywhere you go, you’ll see people sitting in lycra in coffee shops after their rides. It also has A LOT OF cycling gear shops and all the nice coffee/ breakfast places are often owned by some former cyclists or decorated with bikes.
It has a lovely old town with a great vibe in the evening. People sitting outside, drinking Aperol and beer, laughter and nice warm weather.
Swim: There is the iconic GeiEG pool, which has a Olympic 50m pool. The super cool thing about it, is that they open the roof in summer, so it’s basically an outdoor pool. Around it there are areas to chill in the grass. There is also a smaller inside pool, which I never visited, since it was mostly occupied by kids. Apart from the great 50m pool the facilities are a little old, but it’s still nice. Entrance per day costs 14 Euros.
Bike: Well – I guess there is no better place to be. There are so many cycling routes, that I didn’t manage to see all the top ones. There are some iconic climbs, but also some roads with are more flat. On a usual training evening I would at least meat 30-50 cyclists on the way I guess. A lot of routes are also protected by trees, so even in the middle of the day, it does not get too hot.
Running: Girona is quite hilly, so I was a little worried about finding decent not too steep running routes. But there are some really nice routes around the river, partly on a bit of nice gravel road without too much gravel.
Best coffee shops:
- La Fabrica: Best breakfast in town & really good breakfast. Nice to sit outside after a long ride.
- La Communa: Obviously this needs to come here – owned by Jan Frodena, also a hotspot for all triathletes. Great coffee & food. And super nice if you have to work a bit.
- Café Federal: Nice location in the middle of the city. Good coffee and decent food as well.
- East Sleep Cycle Café: Also a special place for all cyclists for obvious reasons. Coffee place opens early, so you can have a little breakfast before you start your ride or afterwards when you come back.
Andorra de la Vella
I did not expect much from Andorra, maybe because I did not inform myself very well in advance, I only knew it’s great for cycling in the mountains.
I was super pleasantly surprised. I would call it the Dubai of Spain, only that it’s not in Spain. There are so many great things about this place. There are a lot of shopping opportunities, especially sports shops focused on skiing, hiking, cycling and running with for my Dubai eye – good prices. Like the name is suggesting, the town is in a valley in between mountains. For that reason, there is not a lot of space, so buildings tend to be quite high for European standards. A river floads in the middle of the city, which gives a nice ambience. Furthermore, there are a lot of good hotel options in summer, very good restaurants and everything is extremely clean and well-cared for.
I went to 2 different pools, which were both great. One municipality indoor 25m pool with very nice facilitites including a sauna and a gym (gym costs extra). It cots 5 Euros per day, which is fair. It is situated in the north close to Escaldes.
The second pool is part of a big sports complex and a bit far out from the city. I walked 30min along the river, but it was very much worth it. It is a great 50m indoor pool and it also has a smaller fun pool outside, which you are free to use with the entrance you pay. So you can swim and afterwards chill on the sun loungers outside or in the kids pool. Entrance is 6.50 Euros, which is more than fair for what you get.
If you love hills – you will love Andorra. I went on 3 rides. 2 of them I rode parts of the Ironman 70.3 route, which were hilly with amazing views. Not a lot of traffic at all, you’re just cycling in pure nature. Downhills are quite scary to be honest, although I am a rider who likes to take risks. Andorra Ironman is definitely something I am not planning in the near future, but for leisure training cycling, it’s great!
My third ride I took in an area, that was a bit more busy and I unfortunately got unlucky and hit by a car. Riding on a designated cycling lane, a car driver did not pay attention and turned right without seeing me. Nothing happened though.
By Lea Mex