From Terra Bike Tours® Barcelona we show you the gravel bike ride we have designed. The goal of this route is to connect five medieval castles in the forests north of Barcelona. Leaving the town of Caldes de Montbui (thermal village) we link the castle of Montbui, the castle of Gallifa, the castle of Guanta, the castle of Sentmenat and the castle of Plegamans. The route is designed for gravel biking, with some pavement sections, sections of cement, sections of very dirt road, some slightly more technical sections and crossings through some of the towns in the area.
We start the tour in Caldes de Montbui, a spa town since Roman times, located 35 km north of Barcelona. It is a good place to start an adventure as you have several hotels, a campsite and a hostel to stay. We leave from the wall at the back, touching the stream, recently rebuilt and documented from the SXII to reach the Prison Tower, one of the old entrances to the walled city. Tower that was reformed in the SXIX to turn it into a prison.
In this video (subtitles in English) you can see the bicycle route we chose, the castles, the diversity of the route we did with the Gravel bicycles running through compacted tracks, stone tracks, some small footpath, short sections of secondary road, cemented tracks and cobbled streets when crossing some towns. The route is the best definition of what is meant by Gravel, the variety of types of routes and the flexibility of being able to reach any corner with your bike while we get to know new corners and buildings and of course we stop to contemplate the spectacular views from the locations of the old castles.
Route designed to be done by Gravel bike at 35 km from Barcelona city center
Once outside the vila de Caldes and after crossing an urbanization we will enter several uphill slopes with uneven terrain that will take us to the first of the five castles, the Castell de Montbui. Castle documented in 987, residence of the barony of Montbui. It had several owners including Ramón Berenguer I, Ramon Cabanes, the Torrelles and the Sentmenat. It remained in operation until 1714 when it was demolished. Next to it we see the Hermitage of St. Mateu from S12, currently undergoing reconstruction. The view from the castle pole reaches up to the city of Barcelona, being able to contemplate the entire valley of the villages of the Vallés
Although they are not properly castles, we pass by various buildings of interest related to the medieval world. In Sant Feliu de Codines, for example, we can visit Can Xifreda, a modernist building built by various architects and inspired by a Mozarabic castle. Nowadays, it is a museum that stands out for having the bastion of St. Feliu that was designed and built by Gaudí, who visited St. Feliu assiduously.Once entering the forest we find the hermitage of Mare de Deu del Grau, a small hermitage, very hidden. from the SXIII, difficult to find.
From St. Feliu to the second castle of the route we enter a lonely forest, first downhill tracks with some stone but optimal for gravel biking to the valley of the Caldes stream, and then uphill up to tracks in better condition until the castle. The second castle on the tour is the Gallifa Castle. Iberian remains from the 12th century BC have been found. Although the castle dates from 999 since there is a document of sale from the count of Barcelona to the vicar Bonfill. The Gallifa family were the owners for a long time. Currently there is little left of the castle but the Chapel of Sta. Maria, a Romanesque church is well preserved. The enclosure was restored as a meeting space and in defense of ecological values with the image of the Mare de Deu de la Ecología and renamed the Sanctuary of Ecology.
From Gallifa we will start the more technical section down slopes but very irregular and quite stony. The gravel bike with a sufficiently wide deck will have no problem riding these paths that cross the lush forest. Without being a castle, a place that deserves mention is Sant Sebastiá de Montmajor. Small village built between SXI-XII that is within the municipal district of Caldes de Montbui and that in its day depended on the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallés. From here we will drive along the road that takes us to the El Farell urbanization, a road with very little traffic, almost zero during the week.
Once off the asphalt, we will return to tracks with a certain level of difficulty, although surmountable by our Gravels in a constant initial up and down, and then descend to the third castle of the day. We found is that of Guanta. Although the true castle of the SXII is in ruins and is close to the Guanta waterfall, which has a spectacular 50m waterfall. after the rainy days. The misnamed castle is actually the Castellet de Guanta and it is a 15th century farmhouse, renovated in the 19th century. It currently has a restaurant that is well known and valued by mountain bikers. From Guanta we descend on a track that although cars go up, the floor is in such bad condition and the descent is so fast that the bicycle shakes more than if we were to circulate on the crossbars of the train track.
The last two castles are Sentmenat and Plegamans, already in more urbanized territory. The first is a large Gothic building rebuilt in 1069 on older buildings, belonging to the Sentmenat lineage until in 1101 it passed to the lords of Montcada , to be recovered in sl S15 by the Sentmenat, to whom it still belongs today. In recent centuries it was used as a farmhouse, losing its defenses. The second, Plegamans, is also a Gothic building built between the XIV-XV centuries. the original tower is from the SX. Messrs. Ramon de Plegamans and Marimon de Plegamans stand out. Currently headquarters of the Folch i Torres foundation with a museum inside dedicated to the five writer brothers of this family.
Once back in Caldes de Montbui, the bicycle route, along some pleasant tracks parallel to the Caldes stream, takes us to the Marimon Tower, which is currently a 115Ha agricultural complex. The chapel is documented from 1342 and belonged to the Marimon, one of the richest families in the area with properties in Palau, Caldes and Bigues, during much of the Middle Ages. Today it belongs to the IRTA, Institute of Agrifood Technology of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It is a space highly valued by athletes in the area to walk, run or cycle on routes without difficulty and very pleasant among groves