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Take a look inside Barcelona’s Olympic stadium and gaze at the Mediterranean sea from a 15th-century monastery—all on the Ronda Verde bike route. This bicycle beltway forms a figure of eight encircling Barcelona with one loop, and suburban Badalona with another loop. Just follow the green signs and green bikes painted on the street, bike lane or pavement. Ronda Verde maps are posted at major intersections so you can see where you are on the route.
Barcelona Loop—23 km
The Barcelona loop of the Ronda Verde is still under construction, with
sections missing between Carretera de les Aigües and the Rio Besós path.
1) Start on the Carretera de les Aigües in Collserola. To reach this dirt road, you can ride up the steep Avinguda Vallvidrera from Sarrià. Another option is to ride the funicular from Peu del Funicular to the Carretera de les Aigües. This dirt road skirts the edges of the hills, with spectacular views of the city, the port, and the Mediterranean.
2) Head west to Plaça de Mireia. You can stop for a coffee and admire the views of the Llobregat river valley and the forested hills of Collserola.
3) The Ronda Verde continues west and descends through old towns consumed by Barcelona’s expansion. You’ll soon reach a peaceful garden oasis called Parc de Can Boixeres tucked between apartment towers. Here, you will see a 17th-century farmhouse turned into a neoclassical palace in 1902, set in a Modernista garden with mosaic fountains and gazebos.
4) The route travels through less distinctive neighbourhoods on its way to the coast. At Gran Via, cyclists stay on the pavement, then cross south toward a bright red skyscraper. Completed in 2010, the Hotel Santos Porta Fira won several architecture awards for its exterior twisting design. From here your journey continues south until your final hill, Montjuïc, is in sight.
5) Montjuïc has a difficult history. On the southern flank of the hill, the 15th-century castle housed political prisoners and served as a killing ground for most of its history, including during Franco’s dictatorship. At the base of Montjuïc, pass through a large tunnel where intrepid rock climbers may hang above you. Climb the road to the Olympic stadium for a free glimpse inside, and imagine it filled with cheering fans.
6) At last, the Ronda Verde descends to the waterfront and you pass the tall column of Christopher Columbus apparently pointing toward the new world, but in reality pointing toward northern Africa. Look north up La Rambla to see the hills of Collserola in the distance where your bike ride began. Continue on the sidewalk to the dockside restaurants of Barceloneta where a platter of paella is a perfect end to your Ronda Verde journey.
Badalona Loop—28 km
1) To reach the Badalona loop, start from Barceloneta and ride along the beach path heading up the coast (east) toward the Parc del Fòrum and its massive solar panel. If riding along Barcelona’s busy beaches isn’t your style, take your bike on the metro to El Maresme-Fòrum station and start this loop from the Museu Blau.
2) As the beach ends, the Ronda Verde heads inland across the paved square next to the Museu Blau—Barcelona’s natural science museum. Mirrored panels on the building reflect the sky and give the illusion of transparency. Follow the green bike logo painted on the ground and head toward the tall Telefónica building. Turn right on the pavement by Avinguda Eduard Maristany.
3) Cross the Rio Besós into Badalona. From the bridge, you can see ducks and egrets in the estuary and the sea beyond. After the bridge, the path travels through an underpass with slogans on one side and animal paintings on the other. Ride toward the hills on the wide path in the Parc Fluvial del Besós—a welcome antidote to the urban industrial area. Pedal next to the lawn on the riverbank and watch out for rollerbladers.
4) At Passeig de Santa Coloma, take the Ronda Verde ramp away from the river to the suburban town of Santa Coloma de Gramanet. Keep your eyes open for markings on the brick sidewalks and street signs that indicate the route.
Soon, you will ride uphill on a paved path separated from the street. Your destination: Parc de la Serralada de Marina. The park’s 3,000 acres roll toward the sea, and include vineyards and olive groves.
5) Get ready for more climbing: the route follows a dirt road through hills of oaks and pines toward the Monastery of St. Jerome in the Murta. In this 15th-century cloister, Christopher Columbus told King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella about his ‘discovery’ of North America. Check out the views of Barcelona’s Montjuïc in the west and the sea to the south. This marks highest point on the loop, it’s all downhill to the sea from here!
6) The Ronda Verde continues on the dirt road through clusters of ochre buildings and red tile roofs, passing small gardens and old barns. Soon, the route returns to paved paths and the streets on the north edge of Badalona.
7) After riding through an underpass beneath the busy main road, you reach the seaside path. Follow the green Ronda Verde signs and turn right to start your journey back to Barcelona. Rest on one of the many seaside benches facing the beach, or enjoy refreshments at a local café. Admire the yachts and sailboats as you cruise past the Badalona marina.
Continue west through Badalona, cross the Rio Besós bridge, ride past Museu Blau, and return to Barceloneta via the beach path.
Bike Rentals & Tours
Budget Bikes: www.budgetbikes.eu
Barcelona By Bike: www.bicicletabarcelona.com