Leisure Tours

Hidden Girona: La Rectoria San Miguel de Pineda

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Girona may take all the credit for being one of the world’s best cycling destinations but beyond Girona, 40 km to the northwest to be precise, lies the region of La Garrotxa – a volcanic region offering some fantastic riding. In this region, hidden in the small town of Sant Feliu de Pallerols is a unique guesthouse: La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda. We sat down with owner Goretti to find out more about La Rectoria and its history.

The Hidden Gem of La Garrotxa

Can you tell me about the history of La Rectoria? When was it built?
La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda dates from the XII century, it was a rectory until it was sold in 2004.  It was the centre of the small community of Sant Miquel de Pineda for centuries until it became part of the municipality of Sant Feliu de Pallerols.

How long has it been a guesthouse?
We opened October 2011 so for about seven and a half years.
Where are you both from?
I am from Cardedeu (near Barcelona) and Roy is from Aberdeen (Scotland)
What bought to back to Catalunya & why did you choose to open a guesthouse here?
Roy is a chef and had always wanted to have his own business, We loved the idea of doing something together and a Guesthouse with a restaurant came to us when talking about a potential business.  We decided to do it in Catalunya because the season here can be longer than in Scotland so we could trade all year, and may be the weather has also something to do with our decision!
Roy, (the chef!) tell me about the food you serve at La Rectoria?
The food is fresh, home made using local ingredients whenever possible;  Girona beef, Pyrenean trout, Empordà corn fed chicken, fesols del vall (beans), farro (maize flour) and fajol (buckwheat).  From Catalonia’s ‘Mar i Muntanya’ (the original ‘surf & turf’) to lemon meringue pie a fixed 3 course dinner menu that changes on a daily basis is offered along with a small selection of Catalan wines.  And why not complete your dinner with a single malt whisky or Goretti’s homemade ratafia, a local digestif.
What experience do you want to give your guests at La Rectoria?
A place to rest up before continuing on your way. To disconnect and reconnect. To get closer to nature and to slow down. We offer relaxed and uncomplicated service. Comfort, warmth, light, fresh air, homemade local food, a ‘dram’ and pointers on what to see and do. The beds are mighty comfy and you will feel pampered and maybe need to loosen that belt too! And whilst here your options are myriad. There is much to discover in the county of La Garrotxa tucked away in the Pyrenean foothills. Here you stop and take control…La Rectoria is slow tourism.

Thanks for Roy and Goretti for speaking to us. If you want to find out more about La Rectoria you can visit their website.

Cycling Tours in La Garrotxa

You can experience La Rectoria for yourself as part of our Pirinexus Cycling Tour or any custom leisure tour taking in the Via Verde.


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The Synergy of Yoga and Cycling - Eat Sleep Cycle

The Synergy of Yoga and Cycling

By Leisure Tours No Comments

At first glance, cycling and yoga may not seem to naturally go hand in hand, however the benefits of practicing yoga off the bike has been linked to some serious on the bike benefits. That’s why we’ve joined up with our friends at La Bruguera de Púbol to offer a yoga & cycling retreat to combine riding and relaxing in the heart of Girona with cycling-specific yoga classes.

Benefits of Yoga for Cyclists - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

The Benefits of Practicing Yoga as a Cyclist

Kirsti Abernethy of Bindi Yoga explains, (Kirsti lives in the beautiful Empordà, has practiced & studied Yoga for over 20 years):
“Cycling is such a regular, repetitive, rhythmic pursuit, that it often creates tension, tightness and chronic pain in participants. Yoga is an ideal, low-impact, low-stress way of addressing these issues. Stability and strength of the core muscles is also critical to delivering power to the legs, which makes Yoga an ideal way to make your cycling body more efficient.”

Breathing is key in cycling – and many riders have no idea this can be trained and improved. Breathing techniques to improve endurance, as well as staying focussed and calm, can be learned through yoga, and applied to cycling.

Also, cycling, either at endurance, challenge or racing levels, is a heavily mental pursuit, and requires focus, energy management, and mental strength to get through the highs and lows of competition and achievement.  Yoga again, is ideal for developing riders’ awareness of the needs of their minds, bodies and souls, on and off the bike.”

The Yoga Classes

For these interests in common, yoga teacher Kirsti Abernethy ( ) and cycling coach Mike Duff (La Bruguera de Púbol) have come together to develop a series of classes for cyclists, bringing the benefits of yoga to the world of two wheels.

Kirsti’s Hatha yoga classes include asana (postures), breathing techniques for equilibrium, vinyasa (moving sequences with rhythmic breath), deep relaxation, mantra (chanting) and contemplation. Her teaching is inspired by her constant learning and experience of Qi-Gong, martial arts, Dhrupad (North Indian classical singing) and Indian dance.

Yoga Poses for Cyclists

Yoga Poses for Cyclists

Here, she demonstrates two yoga poses, and explains their benefit from a cyclist’s perspective:

Pose: Anjaneyasana
Benefits for Cyclists: Elongates the thighs, opens up the groin and chest – all areas of tension and tightness in regular cyclists. Brings awareness of how to isolate and release the muscles of the lower back consciously, giving riders the ability to do this on the bike.

Pose: Prasarita Padottanasana
Benefits for Cyclists: Strengthens & lengthens the inner legs & backs of legs, tones abdominal organs, and opens the chest.  Also helps to relieve lower back ache.

La Bruguera Eco-Retreat Centre

La Bruguera Eco-Retreat Centre

The setting for these activities is worth a mention – introducing La Bruguera de Púbol. Formerly the home of Catalan artist Casademont “Le Vieux” and his family, it consists of 9 acres of oak and pine forest and gardens, a large villa, a purpose built yoga studio, a forest treatment room and a heated saltwater pool, nestled in the beautiful rolling countryside of the Baix Empordà.

Sustainability is important to the new owners, Mike & Michelle, and they’ve completely renovated the estate’s infrastructure such that electricity is provided from solar panels, heat and hot water from heat pumps or log boilers, and water from on-site wells. Guests can focus on their self-improvement, knowing it comes at no cost to the environment.

Guests can enjoy meals prepared onsite by chef Cabell d’Àngel, with ingredients grown in the estates vegetable gardens. In keeping with the philosophy of sustainability the menu is vegetarian, with each dished designed to contain all the macro-nutrients yogi’s and cyclists require to stay fueled all day.

Yoga Classes for Cyclists

Experience The Synergy of Yoga & Cycling

If the above has got you interested in the benefits of yoga for cycling then find out more information by following Kirsti & La Bruguera on Instagram:
@labrugueradepubol & @yogakirst or visit them online at and For any of your cycling needs (or to book a yoga cycling retreat) give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online.

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A Different Side of Catalunya - The Pirinexus 360 - Cycle Tour

The Pirinexus 360 – A Different Side of Catalunya

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Catalunya is well known for its road cycling pedigree by now, the droves of riders that frequent the roads around Girona are testament to that. But if you’re after a different way to explore the region then look no further than the Pirinexus 360. As the name suggests the route is a circular 360 km loop. From Girona, it heads north to Olot, Camprodon & France via the Pyrenees Mountains, before heading south and downhill to the Costa Brava, and looping back around to Girona. The route can be completed in either one monster chunk for the epic riders out there, or in smaller more leisurely rides taking in the beautiful towns and villages along the way.

The Pirinexus 360 Cycle Route

The Pirinexus route is divided into 7 stretches of distances between 22 and 73km and is designed to be completed in small segments in order to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and tranquillity of the off-road riding. The well-signposted route crosses through some of the most beautiful landscapes and charming villages Catalunya has to offer including the coastline of the Costa Brava and charming towns in the south of France.

Starting from Girona the route is best completed at a leisurely pace over 5 – 8 days to take full advantage of the varied and richly cultured towns and villages interposed throughout. So let’s break down the Pirinexus 360 route!

Girona – Olot

The first section is a 57 km stretch that sees you head north-west from Girona to the town of Olot, passing through three ‘comarcas’ and 12 towns and taking in the valleys of the Rivers Fluvià, Brugent and Ter. The first ‘comarca’ is Girones, heading out of the city towards the industrial towns of Salt and Bescanó and Bonmatí to the town of Anglès, which is home to a walled medieval town. The medieval town of Amer is the final town in the Girones comarca before the route enters the ‘Zona Volcanica de la Garrotxa’ of which Olot is the capital, an area of astonishing natural beauty and geological interest. As you pass through Sant Feliu de Pallerols you will be able to spot volcanic rocks parallel to the route. From here both the natural and man-made spectacles are in abundance, from a 9th century castle, to natural springs and gorges, sprawling valleys and beautiful churches.

Stay in:
– La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda, Sant Feliu de Pallerols
– Mas Rubio, Joanetes

Eat at:
– Les Cols, Olot
– La Rectoría offers a fabulous menu.

The Pirinexus 360 Cycle Tour - Girona - Olot

Olot – Camprodon

The shortness of this section of the Pirinexus 360 belies its difficulty, it is the hilliest section of the route with 900m of elevation but it is possibly the most beautiful.

From Olot the climbing begins straight away with the Coll de Coubet, a steady climb of around 9km, at the top the road plateaus to reveal fantastic views of the Pyrenees. From there the route takes a right along the rolling road to the Coll de Santigosa and beautiful comarca of El Ripollès. The route follows the road until the 12th Century Romanesque Church of Sant Pol and then crosses the Gothic bridge into Sant Joan Les Abadeses. From St Joan the tranquil lanes traverse the valley until Camprodon, a picture-postcard town populated mainly by the moneyed Barcelona second home owners and the 12th century Pont Nou bridge. Also home to the Birba biscuit factory, whose produce can be found in most shops in the area.

Stay in:
– Alberg Rural Ruta del Ferro, Sant Joan de les Abadesses
– Hotelet del Bac, Camprodon

Eat at:
– Mitic Restauraunt, Camprodon
– Ca ‘Enric Sant Joan

The Pirinexus 360 Biking Route - Olot - Camprodon

Camprodon – Ceret

It is on this section of the route that you will enter France for the first time. Leaving Camprodon, the juxtaposition of the contrasting cultures of medieval Catalunya and the low Pyrenees become apparent. The area is steeped in history with and a wealth of cultures and cuisines to sample. The views from the Coll d’Ares, which marks the border between Spain and France, are breath-taking and stopping to savour them before crossing into France is essential.

Ceret itself is known as the cherry capital and is also widely considered the home of the Cubism art movement so for art lovers a visit to the Museum of Modern art is a must.

Stay in:
– Hôtel Vidal, Céret

Eat at:
– L’Atelier de Fred Ceret

The Pirinexus 360 Cycling Tour - Camprodon - Ceret

Ceret – The Costa Brava

From Ceret the next point of interest is the communce of Le Boulou, where various remains of the old part of the village can be seen including an magnificent 832kg bell-tower, the ornately decorated Eglise Sainte-Marie and the statue ‘du petit tambour’ or little drummer boy which depicts the child mortally wounded in battle. Indeed this entire section of the route is peppered with plenty of historical interest and medieval, historical remains. The area is also known for having been at the forefront of the cork industry throughout the 20th century. Crossing the Coll de Panissars and back into Spain through La Jonquera, a town of dual interest as both a commercial and cultural centre the route eventually reaches Capmany – an integral location within the wine-making trade home to an array of cellars producing D.O Empordà wine.

Tasting Empordà wine is a must in this area, there are plenty of producers, many of whom offer tours of their vineyards and cellars with tastings. Following the river Llobregat from Capmany comes the town of Peralada which is steeped in history home to the ancient walled settlement of Ibers as well as a castle museum. A short detour from the route on this section of Pirinexus is Figueres a town perhaps most famous for being home to the Salvador Dalí museum dedicated to the surrealist painter who resided in the down. Those interested in nature will enjoy the Aiguamolls Natural Park which is home to an array of local bird life. Crossing the wooden bridge over the River Muga you will reach the coast and Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe. Following the coast down you will then reach the fishing town of L’Escala famous for its anchovies. Stop just north of the town for a luxurious evening by the Mediterranean.

Stay in:
– Hotel Spa Vilamint Garriguella,
– Hostal Empuries, L’Escala

Eat at:
– Hostal Empuries

Pirinexus 360 Bike Route - Ceret - Costa Brava

L’Escala – Girona

A large section of this segment runs parallel with the coast taking in the many towns of the Baix or ‘low’ Empordà region including Pals, where yet more medieval remains can be seen. Following on from Torrent is the area of the Gavarres Massif bordered by Palafrugell, a picturesque town characterised by an unfinished bell tower and the Modernist Tower of Can Mario, an old factory which has been converted into the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture. The coastal section comes to an end at the fishng town of Sant Feliu de Guixols, the route then heads north-west and is scattered with towns containing myriad medieval structures and remains before finally re-entering the Girones commarca. Through the corkwood forest comes the town of Lllagostera before crossing the fault lines which created the hot springs that are dotted in the area into Casa de la Selva. From the cork region comes the ceramic region and the town of Quart where a pottery museum can be accessed straight from the Via Verde before heading back to Girona.

Stay in:
– Hotel Alga****, Calella de Palafrugell
– Hotel Sant Pol, Sant Feliu de Guixols
– Hotel Ultonia, Girona
– Hotel Peninsula, Girona

Eat at:
– Calau, Palafrugell
– Massana, Girona

Pirinexus 360 Cycling Vacation - L'Escala - Girona

Tailored Pirinexus 360 Cycle Route

The Pirinexus route provides a fantastic vehicle by which to view an area rich in culture and history from the tranquillity of cycling-specific infrastructure free from traffic. Cycling the Pirinexus allows for a thorough exploration of the area which the road does not always provide and the accessibility of the roads and trails means that it can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities.

There are a myriad of ways to tailor your cycling tour of the Pirinexus like:

  • Luxury Leisure – Take as many days as you possibly can, stay in the best luxury hotels, enjoy gourmet food experiences. Enjoy the company of a private guide & the back up of a personal support vehicle.
  • Self-Guided Simplicity –Find your way along the trail at your perfect pace. Enjoy the freedom of a light bike and the luxury of luggage transfers – your bags will be waiting for you at your final destination.
  • Bikepacking Cycling Adventure – Go it alone with a GPS (or map and compass for a true adventure), and bike-pack your way to happiness. If you’re time-pressed, pack your tour into 3 or 4 days and up the pace on a lightweight bike, elegantly packed with all your gear.
  • Endurance Challenge – Did you know every year cyclists attempt to ride the whole 360 km loop in under 24 hours? Fancy it? Let us know and we’ll gladly support your valient attempt.

Tailored Pirinexus 360 Bike Route - Eat Sleep Cycle

Pirinexus 360 Cycle Tour

If you think that riding the Pirinexus route sounds like something you would like to take on then make sure to give us a call on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info! We’re now accepting bookings for next season so make sure you secure your saddle now!

See more information about our Pirinexus Cycle Tour packages.

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