There are roughly 284 vertical meters, or just over 930 ft, separating Barcelona’s coastal Moll de la Fusta bike path and the Passeig de les Aigües.
Just let that sink into your quads for a second.
Spanning a distance of some 10 gloriously unpaved kilometers between the neighborhoods of Pedralbes and Penitents, the “Water Road” (when translated from Catalan) has become a mecca for local athletes in the city. In other words, if you were looking for an excuse to rent a mountain bike in the Catalan capital, consider this your personalized invitation.
Why does this particular trail hold such a cherished spot in the Barcelona biking community? Well for starters, its winding course is almost entirely flat, traversing the southeastern edge of the Serra de Collserola range. This means less time spent concentrating on topographic variations and more time spent appreciating some of the most magnificent urban backdrops you’re likely to pedal along this side of the Mediterranean.
Then there’s the serenity of the place. Even given the fact that on busy weekends the Passeig de les Aigües can see some 2,500+ visitors, its generous distance affords plenty of room to fit them all in unobtrusively. On top of that, the position of the path high above and just outside Barcelona offers riders the sense of being far removed from the noise, congestion, and pollution of the city’s 1.6 million residents. Not bad for a 20 minute commute by bike.
Finally, as if to live up to its namesake, there’s no shortage of water stations dispersed throughout the trail, so you don’t need to worry if you’ve forgotten to haul your hydration along with you for the ride. Cheers to that.
So what’s the catch?
Well, technically there is none, however savvy readers might still be caught up on that initial 284 vertical meter-climb we mentioned at the beginning. Yeah, about that. You see, while the Passeig de les Aigües itself may be a pleasure to ride, the road to get there is pretty much anything but. No matter which way you cut it, the inclines are steep, and much of that elevation is gained during the final 2-3 km push west from the city center.
On the bright side, should your legs simply not be up to the challenge, you can always opt to drive up to the parking lots on either end of the trail (like the one you’ll encounter if you just keep following Ave. de Tibidabo uphill), or hitch a ride on the Vallvidrera funicular.
That being said, like all challenges, biking this fantastic off-road trail is a treat best savored when earned. And just bear in mind that all that grueling uphill struggle makes for one magnificent downhill ride on the way back home.
As always, you can start searching for your Barcelona ride on Spinlister, and don’t forget to check out our detailed bike map above to get your Passeig de les Aigües adventure started.