Although here in Spain we call “vía verde” –Spanish for greenway– any easy, cyclable trail running through natural spaces, the term is quite more specific. Actually, “Vía Verde” is a registered trademark by the Spanish Railway Foundation (FEE), and its use is legally limited to itineraries which take advantage of old train layouts. Thus, strictly speaking, Greenways in Spain are tracks following disused railway lines which have been recovered and reconditioned for use by walkers, cyclists and for horse riding, and to be accessible to everyone including disabled people. Closed to motorized traffic, with gentle slopes, and surrounded by nature, Greenways are ideal for family cyclotourism. Easy, safe, and pleasant to run along, they’re perfect for the young to go on their first MTB outings. Today, we invite you to discover the Catalan Greenways by MTB.
Catalan Greenways by MTB
The FFE acknowledges 9 Greenways in Catalunya. Being less strict in the definition, we could add the Tren Petit Greenway and the Vall Fosca Greenway –although the latter is not very well reconditioned, and it might be difficult to do by bike. What are these Catalan Greenways by MTB, then? Well, let’s see them.
Greenways in Tarragona
The Tarragona province is crossed by two Greenways connected to each other, which allow us to go from Aragón to the Ebro Delta. They run on the old railway of “Val del Zafán”. The first part, known as the Terra Alta Greenway covers 23 km from Arnes-Lledó to Pinell del Brai. There, it encounters the second part, called the Baix Ebre Greenway, which is 26 km long and gets us to Tortosa.
Two spectacular Greenways that have it all. The stunning sceneries of the Massís dels Ports, with its canyons, caves, and karstic landscapes of great beauty. The orchards of Baix Ebre. The Ebro Delta Natural Park. All of it complemented with cultural visits of great interest, as sanctuaries and chapels, the archaeological sites at Benifallet, or the amazing historical and artistic complex of Tortosa.
Greenways in Girona
Most Catalan Greenways are in the province of Girona. Many, many kilometres that can be divided into mor feasible stretches. Or, why not, connect them to cycle from the Pyrenees to the sea.
The Carrilet Greenway may be the most important one. It’s divided into 2 parts, 54 and 39 km long respectively, from Olot to Girona and from Girona to Sant Feliu de Guíxols. And it passes through such emblematic places as the city of Girona itself –which is a mandatory visit–, the Volcanic Area of La Garrotxa, the Ter’s riverside, and the monumental set of Castell d’Aro, among many others!
The Iron and Coal Greenway (Via Verda del Ferro i del Carbó) goes from Ripoll to Ogassa skirting the Ter riverside. It stands out because of the industrial heritage and the magnificent medieval ensembles in Ripoll and Sant Joan de les Abadesses. Furthermore, it’s connected to MTB routes through the Pyrenees and, if you make the effort of connecting it with the Carrilet in Sant Joan de les Abadesses, you can get to Costa Brava. Amazing, isn’t it?
The Tren Pinxo Greenway is shorter and more modest, but not less interesting. It’s still in reconditioning process, however. Currently, it goes only from Girona to Sarrià de Ter. In the near future –hopefully– it will get to Serinyà through Banyoles. Quite a lovely track, 4.5 km long, perfect to let the children pedal around.
I have to mention the unregistered Tren Petit Greenway as well. It’s in the Baix Empordà region and it connects Palamós and Palafrugell. Through the Empordanet lands, which Josep Pla described masterfully, this greenway offers you a 7 km lovely track for the best family cyclotourism.
Greenways in Berguedà: let’s look after number one!
Without forgetting the 1.5 km of the Vallès Greenway connecting the Bellaterra train station and the Castelltort colony (Sant Quirze del Vallès), it’s safe to say that the greenways in the province of Barcelona are concentrated in Berguedà. And, since it’s my home region, I should give them some publicity, don’t you agree?
In Berguedà, we have two small greenways, short and easy, but still of great cultural and scenic interest. One is the Llobregat Greenway, which connects Cal Rosal (in Berga) and the reservoir of La Baells. The other one, the Nicolau Greenway, skirts the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park boundary for 6 km, from Guardiola de Berguedà to Sant Joan de l’Avellanet. Two Catalan Greenways by MTB which, in a single morning, will delight both children and adults. And with countless things to do in their surroundings!
The Llobregat Greenway runs for 6.5 km through the gorge of the Llobregat river and the area around the reservoir of La Baells. In the process, it unveils for us part of the area’s industrial heritage, as the old textile colony of Cal Rosal or the Carme Colony, which today rests beneath the reservoir’s waters. Moreover, it passes by Sant Quirze de Pedret, a Catalan Romanesque jewel and it takes you across the Llobregat river by the Gothic bridge of Pedret.
As for the Nicolau Greenway, I must highlight the viewpoints and the wooden footbridges, including a stunning 35 m long suspension bridge. Furthermore, the natural environment is a marvel and it’s full of history. In Guardiola we find the amazing Sant Llorenç prop Bagà Romanesque monastery. In Sant Joan de l’Avenallet, the charming landscape of the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park and a Romanesque chapel await us. And, halfway, there’s the village of Bagà, historical capital of Alt Berguedà. There, you really should visit the 13th-century Old Town, the Medieval and Cathars’ Interpretation Centre, and the Palace of Pinós, residence of the old Barons of Pinós which is decorated with some magnificent mural paintings of the 18th century.
Here in Berguedà, Pedratour gives you everything to complement your route through or greenways by MTB. If you’d like to visit Pedret and Sant Llorenç prop Bagà, we have offer to discover the Romanesque heritage in Berguedà. . If, as you do the Nicolau Greenway, you feel like diving into Bagà’s medieval history, we take care of your visit to the Medieval and Cathars’ Centre. IAnd if the greenways were too easy for you, don’t forget we’re in the Pyrenees! Take a look at our MTB section! You’ll find plenty of MTB routes of different levels and e-MTB rental options in case you don’t want to run out of breath!
See you in Berguedà!