Biking Terres de l’Ebre Greenway in Spain
So maybe I’m not always about food and craft beer travel here at TWG. Sometimes, I like to put the fork down and head out for a little adrenaline filled adventure travel.
Shocking. I know. But it’s true. Life can’t always be lived in a beer mug. Every once in a while, it’s good to breathe a little fresh air outside of a shaded beer garden and experience the great outdoors. To strap on a helmet, hop on a bicycle, and get ready for an afternoon of uncomfortable bicycle seat fun. Where it’s just you and 30 miles of heart pounding, mountainous trails through the Spanish countryside.
That’s exactly what I did along the Greenway in Terres de l’Ebre, Spain. Sort of.
A Wandering Gourmand Kind of Bicycle Ride
Maybe I over exaggerated just a little. Sure, the Greenway does cut through the Spanish hillside, but we were coasting along the downhill portion as we followed the Zafan Valley Railway from the village of Arnes to where the trail joins the Ebro River.
I guess I should also mention the promise of a stop at an aguardiente distillery along the way and a multi-course lunch with copious amounts of wine at the end of the ride, er, coast.
Yeah, this was my kind of bicycle adventure.
A Little About Terres de l’Ebre
Terres de l’Ebre is a lesser explored region of Catalonia for reasons I can’t quite explain. I spent three days touring the ancient villages, following the footsteps of Picasso, drinking tantalizingly good wines, sampling fresh regional cuisine, and exploring the great outdoors without the chaotic crowds found in the region’s more populated hot spots of Barcelona and Costa Brava. My short amount of time left me craving more.
Terres de l’Ebre is two-hours south of Barcelona. The area starts at the coast and follows the Ebro River from the Delta de l’Ebre inland. It’s dotted with lush wetlands, producing some of Spain’s freshest vegetation, and rugged mountainous terrain, making it the perfect spot for adventure and food tourists alike.
And Then Some About the Greenway
The Greenway is one of the many highlights of Terres de l’Ebre. The trail was built along the abandoned Zafan Valley Railway and connects Arnes to Tortosa with 30 miles of paved trail perfect for hiking or biking. The trail itself awakens the child within as it traces the railroad over bridge and through more than 40 tunnels.
While we completed our portion in a day, it’s easy (and recommended) to spend a few days following the route, stopping at the many stations and villages along the way. Some highlights include Horta Sant Joan, where Picasso invented cubism; Pinell de Brai for its thermal waters; Prat de Comte for L’esprit de Compte (the previously mentioned aguardiente distillery); Benifallet for an exploration of the caves, dinner (best artichokes of my life), and an overnight at the hostel; finally, wrapping up in the regional center of Tortosa.
The trail helps you to explore the unique cultural character of the area. As much as I joke about the distillery visit, it wasn’t just about the alcohol. Although the spirit, made from the byproducts of wine, was pleasantly sweet and strong, it’s fabric in the village is the real draw. Within the village of 200 people are 14 stills. Each year, the residents celebrate the spirit at the annual Festa de l’Aiguardent held in October. It’s an event that’s on my bucket list.
Biking Terres de l’Ebre Greenway
For the trip, we rented our bikes from Esgambi at their main office in Horta Sant Joan. When we we done, they picked them up for us at Benifallet Station since we didn’t continue on the trail to Tortosa. Instead, we hopped into kayaks to complete the journey. More on that next week…
However, if you want a different pick-up and drop-off location along the trail, Esgambi can accommodate.
Want to go on a similar trip?
Our tour stayed at Mas del Cigarrer in Horta de Sant Joan. It was a comfortable and clean stay in the Spanish countryside. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor. There’s a hostel at Benifallet Station along the way. We didn’t stay there, but the food was awesome. Check out what others had to say about it. Lonely Planet’s Discover Spain guide will help plan the rest of your trip.
Disclosure – Muchas gracias to Terres de l’Ebre for inviting me to bike the Greenway. Sometimes tourist boards invite me on trips, and sometimes, I go on my own accord anonymously. Regardless, readers receive my honest feedback as my opinions are not for sale.