Catalonia family self guided biking vacation, Spain

“Take your family on a tailor made week of cycling in the Catalan countryside whilst staying at a small hotel with swimming pool and sports facilities.”

Highlights

Boutique sports hotel | Banyoles Lake | medieval Besalu | local wetlands | prehistoric caves | volcanic national park | Optional horse riding, excursion to Barcelona or Banyoles market |

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Accessible tourism:
We are all can do people, so we will customise what you require so that you can make the most of your vacation. We have had a range of guests with different disabilities stay at the hotel and we are only to happy to help. Activities and the hotel are both accessible. The sports club on the lake is also accessible and looks after professional para-olympic athletes for kayaking and rowing. The bike room, sauna and gym are all on the ground floor of the hotel and there is plenty of space to store all types of bikes. We also have a large van for transport of bike boxes etc. Route maps, GPS routes and emergency back up while biking are all included in your stay. We have over 100 different routes from the door ranging in distance and terrain. Everything is customised to your requirements.
Limited mobility:
We have two fully accessible bathrooms and also 6 new suites all with walk in showers. There is a short ramp or 4 stairs up to the pool area. The gym and tv games room and sauna are all on the ground floor. The dining area is on the first floor and there are stairs to reach it. But for those that prefer they can enjoy breakfast and evening dinner on the patio area enjoying the views or in the ground floor barrel vault. There is also a new shaded outdoor eating area in the garden of the new suites. There is a level footpath around the lake for you to enjoy a hike.We have seen many guests that find walking difficult but once on a bike they are away and can enjoy exploring the area by bike. Onsite we have a cycling coach, sports injury therapist and massage therapist should you want to enjoy some coaching and get going cycling. We are very used to helping guests learn to ride a bike.
Wheelchair:
Activities and the hotel are both wheelchair accessible. The hotel has two wheelchair accessible bedrooms, both with a roll in shower with seat and a double bar by the toilet and a lower easily accessible sink. The door ways for the rooms are 90cm wide. The pool area is accessible up a ramp and has a large patio area. There is no hoist but we are here to help and we have inflatables/buoyancy devices as required. There is also a small sit down whirlpool to cool off in and relax. The dining area is on the first floor and there are stairs to reach it. But for those that prefer they can enjoy breakfast and evening dinner on the patio area enjoying the views or in the ground floor barrel vault.
blind or limited vision:
We are more than happy to cater for people who are blind or have limited vision. In addition the door code pads have braille numbers. There is a large bike room on the ground floor of the hotel to store many different bikes and are van is large enough to transport tandem bikes. We have had groups with up to 6 tandem bikes for a bike tour.
Deaf or limited hearing:
We are more than happy to cater for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.
Cognitive conditions:
Everyone is very understanding and helpful and this area is quiet and relaxed. For example Autistic children have found the quiet large rooms and the woods at the back of the property to allow them to relax. There is also a quiet place to find peace.
Free from food:
We take nutrition very seriously. Meals are all freshly cooked from fresh ingredients. Special dietary requirements are absolutely no problem. We are used to allergies, intolerances and special requirements. We customise everything as required, just let us know in advance, so for example if you have a nut allergy, we will remove nuts from the kitchen for your stay.
LGBT:
Everyone is welcome. We have guests from all over the world, from all ages, all genders, all backgrounds. We want everyone to be able to have a healthy active happy vacation.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Catalonia family self guided biking vacation, Spain

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

We think about water and power usage and what waste we are producing. So all electric items use the least watts possible. We do have a large AC unit run by PV electric solar panels in the center of the building to keep the bedrooms at a good temperature (25C indoor temp even in the last heat waves). People are always amazed how cool it is in the Summer inside. We also have shutters fitted to all the windows, so we can shut the shutters in the Summer to prevent the sun warming up the rooms. As the walls are really thick and as we have thought about window placement, this means in the Summer the sun misses the south facing windows due to the sun height, but in the winter can warm up the rooms as the sun is at a lower height and therefore shines in. We also vent in the cool night air in the Summer. The new suites have the eco ventilation for the night and we run the AC in the afternoon via the PV panels. To keep what PV electric we make we first turn on the central AC unit in the main building, as that keeps its temperature well. Then in the afternoon we move the solar power to the AC units in the new suits to get them down to 24C and then at night we turn on the eco ventilation. The window and the roof placement for the new suites allows for shade in the Summer and the suns warmth in the Winter, so we hardly ever need to heat the new garden suites in Winter.

We have a solar pool cover and a PV solar system run the AC and the hotel in daylight hours. This means our pool is swimmable from March through to November all via the suns power. Our light bulbs are all eco and we think about each watt that is used. Our hair dryers are all 1kw rather than 2kw for example and we do not have electric kettles. Instead we provide thermoses of hot water for tea and coffee in the dining room and kettles on the gas rings of the BBQs. We look at each product and try and reasearch and buy the ones that used the least amount of power but still function well.

We plan to keep buying PV panels and adding more AC units as the number of heat waves escalate, so that we are not burning fossil fuels to keep cool. We also plan to buy an electric renault vehicle and more PV panels so we can do airport and train station transfers using the power of the sun. We are off grid, but do not be scared, most people do not even notice.

Environment

We think about water and power usage and what waste we are producing. We plant local plants like olives and lavender that require little watering. We have left the wood at the back of the property that we look after and harvest, but still keep the healthy trees. The harvested wood is then used in the wood burning stoves. We have underfloor heating as in the winter the nights can be a little chilly. The historic house has been rebuilt in the old ways but with added insulation, so it stays warm in winter but cool in Summer. The walls are 60cm thick, so slowly heat up in the Summer and then keep their heat through the winter. This system works really well, so you do not need much AC, but we do have a large AC unit run by PV panels in the center of the building to keep the bedrooms at a good temperature (25C indoor temp even in the last heat waves). People are always amazed how cool it is in the Summer inside. We also have shutters fitted to all the windows, so we can shut the shutters in the Summer to prevent the sun warming up the rooms. As the walls are really thick and as we have thought about window placement, this means in the Summer the sun misses the south facing windows due to the sun height, but in the winter can warm up the rooms as the sun is at a lower height and therefore shines in. We also vent in the cool night air in the Summer. The new suites have the eco ventilation for the night and we run the AC in the afternoon via the PV panels. To keep what PV electric we make we first turn on the central AC unit in the main building, as that keeps its temperature well. Then in the afternoon we move the power to the AC units in the new suits to get them down to 24C and then at night we turn on the eco ventilation. The window and the roof placement for the new suites allows for shade in the Summer and the suns warmth in the Winter, so we hardly ever need to heat the new garden suites in Winter.

We have a solar pool cover and a PV solar system run the AC and the hotel in daylight hours. This means our pool is swimmable from March through to November all via the suns power. Our light bulbs are all eco and we think about each watt that is used. Our hair dryers are all 1kw rather than 2kw for example and we do not have electric kettles. Instead we provide thermoses of hot water for tea and coffee in the dining room and kettles on the gas rings of the BBQs. We look at each product and try and reasearch and buy the ones that used the least amount of power but still function well.

All waste is divided and what can be recycled is recycled. We also compost. All of our waste water goes through a septic tank which technically produces drinkable water. We water our garden from the old cisternas which are connected to our roof, so we collect rainwater to fill the cisternas, as they did in the old days. We run the whole of our small boutique hotel on 4kw usually, but can up the power automatically for example if everyone turns on their hairdryers at the same time. But usually we run at less than 4kw, which for such a large place is unheard of in Spain.

We plan to keep buying PV panels and adding more AC units as the number of heat waves escalate, so that we are not burning fossil fuels to keep cool. We are off grid, but do not be scared, most people do not even notice.

Community

Where we can we buy local in season produce, so for example our onions are Figueres onions, apples & pear from local orchards, local wines etc. We also have our own small vegetable garden. We buy locally and use local companies for almost everything. We also support the local restaurants, by booking tables for our clients. We send our clients to the local best shops if they require anything and let them know the local market days etc.
We use local companies for the laundry, garden maintenance, electrician, mechanics and the local butcher and bakery etc. We employ people from the village and the near by town of Banyoles. We send guests to the local restaurants, bakeries and shops.
We also advertise and support the other local adventure companies in the area. For example we would closely with Fang Aventura that offer painballing, quadbiking, water trekking and other adventure activities. And also with the local horse riding stables that offer horse treks and also riding lessons. It is important to us that all the local companies thrive and if we can all work together we can provide a good local economy without the need for people to leave the countryside to move to the big cities for work. In doing this we also provide a great service to our clients were they can come to Mas Pelegri and enjoy a variety of activities.

We offer good wages to locals and train them. For example we have been employing a local guy and supporting him in his studies to become a more qualified sports coach.

We are part of the local community and support the Gegants (this is a local tradition where at festivals the local Gegants (people wearing huge heads, to make them look like giants) go and dance and perform. We also help all visits with maps and information about everything in the local area, from festivals, to museums, to sites of interest and the times of the local markets etc.

We campaigned with the local community against high voltage power lines being put in the area. The campaign was not completely successful but we did manage to get them moved so as not to disturb as much of the local wildlife. We all offered to club together to pay for them to go underground, but the electrical company said this would set a precedent and would not allow it. Which we find ridiculous. In the end the power company said they would put the line where they wanted it or they would work with the local town councils to come up with the best solution, although they would not bury it. So we did have a small effect, but not the one we wanted. The MAT is a very controversial project here, but it has all been passed in Madrid and Catalunya is very angry.

5 Reviews of Catalonia family self guided biking vacation, Spain

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 11 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Fiona and Gareth did an excellent job in making our biking vacation a success. They planned the right level of routes (distance and altitude) for the different rides. It was a great place to relax too. The rooms are spacious and practical (lots of bike gear). We had a great vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Trust Gareth to plan the right level of activity, he knows his business.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


They took us to local restaurants so we could understand the area. Their choice was excellent, and we went back to Al Born twice as it was very good. They
also recycle glass, paper, cans and plastic.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent, thanks to Fiona and Gareth.

Reviewed on 26 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We loved the mountain biking trails.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The biking routes are quite difficult, good for our active teenagers. but maybe not suitable for all.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We visted two local restaurants and went horse riding, all run by local people. We were encouraged to recycle our rubbish.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a great time.

Reviewed on 13 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The peaceful setting with all the lovely cats and kittens that are being so kindly cared for. The lovely swimming pool and great cycling on and off road. Day in Barcelona, well worth doing and actually this works very easily using the direct bus. 20 euros return ticket.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would definitely suggest hiring a car as the hotel is quite a distance from places to go. There are bikes to hire, taxi and buses but this can work out more expensive than hiring a car for a week and not so convenient if you want to come home after eating dinner when dark in the evening. Meals at hotel quite pricey for what they are compared with other places we ate out at.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, encouraged to walk and bike, local riding school, restaurants recommended,
encouraged to use towels economically etcLow key, simply but beautifully restored and renovated hotel building.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A good week in a quiet location with activities if wanted. Lovely small hotel and pool, clean facilities and very friendly, helpful owners.

Reviewed on 16 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The wonderful hospitable hosts Fiona and Gareth did everything to make sure we had a lovely vacation. The beautiful building, and huge swimmingpool, the wonderful meals and the other guests have also contributed to making us feel at home right away. We did some marvelous maintain biking and road biking tours.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you wear suitable sports clothing also on the mountain bikes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, while cycling through villages we visited the local shops and restaurants. The hotel was self supporting, and low in electricity use.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Wonderful vacation for active people who love nature and do not like tourist traps.

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The 30k mountain bike ride that took in parts of the local scenery that would have remained unseen without the guidance and assistance of our host.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


For full flexibility hire a car.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not especially although the riding stables did do well out of the visitors.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A great vacation and well worth considering for a return. The hosts accommodate families that want to be off the beaten track just as well as cycling or other sport enthusiasts.

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