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Cycling in the Natural Park of Foix


In a recent entry, I have already dealt with the superb geographical position of Vilanova i la Geltrù, which besides being blessed by the Mediterranean sea is located within 15 kilometres of three of the 12 Natural Parks of the Barcelona province. The nearest and most easily accessible of them is probably the Parc del Foix, a wonderful natural area consisting in the artificial pond created by a dam retaining the flow of the Foix river, and the surrounding hills.

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A short but fascinating itinerary will bring you in the heart of the park, to the medieval hamlet of Castellet, and then back to the coast. Setting off from Vilanova i la Geltrù, you will head northward, following the road signs for L'Arboc (county road B2115). The road will soon start climbing gently, leading to the top of a low hillock from which it is still possible to catch sight of the seaside. However, it will be one of the last opportunities for a maritime view, as, after a brief descent, you will make your way inland. At first, the surrounding landscape will mainly consist in gently sloping hill and vineyards, whose inviting fruits will be a real temptation in late summer or early autumn.

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After a few kilometres, though, the first rocks will make their appearance at the side of the road, as the setting gradually becomes typically undulating. Our itinerary will reflect this progressive change, characterised as it is by continual short climbs and falls. A road sign on the right will announce the beginning of the natural area Parc del Foix, and soon after you will catch sight of the pond, called Pantà del Foix. Going past the dam, you will have the opportunity of admiring the shiny reflection of the sun on the placid water surface. Going on with the climb along the valley of the Foix, it is also possible to admire a spectacular stone bridge, resembling with its arches the structure of the ancient Roman aqueduct.

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Accompanied by the beauty of the pond, which may help mitigate the effort required by the continuous (though moderate) ascent, you will finally get within sight of the medieval hamlet of Castellet. However, reaching it will imply climbing the hill on top of which the castle is located. First built in 977, the fortress underwent several restoration works, but still preserves some of the original components. Due to its position (it is situated right on borderline between the Penedés county and the coastal zone), it has played a crucial role over the centuries.

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A short descent will bring you past the village, and after a couple of bends it will be time to resume the climb. Leaving the road for L'Arboc and turning left towards the upcoming hills (following the road signs for Clariana - Gornal), indeed, the road will gradually rise again through a pleasantly fresh wood. After about one kilometre, where a zone devoid of vegetation allows a wide view over the surroundings, it will be time to turn left again (following the sign for La Creu les Angels). From now on the itinerary will be quite savage and solitary: better avoid getting there in late afternoon. A discontinuous climb will lead you through a wonderful pine forest, ending up after a couple of kilometres in a built-up area corresponding to the highest part of the village of Costa de Cunit.

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It is really worth stopping for a while, right at the top of the climb, in order to appreciate the breathtaking view on the seaside and the underlying village of Cubelles. Despite the scarcity of road signs, it should not be difficult to find your way: after a steep stretch of descent you will have to turn left into a larger road, which you will follow until a large roundabout. Having gone through it, you will then take the only way going down, reaching after a few kilometres the village of Cubelles. A large and quite busy road will finally take you back to Vilanova, completing therefore a nice 30-kilometres itinerary for the Parc Natural del Foix.


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