The Ebro Delta, a nature reserve to discover
The Ebro delta is a natural space of great biological wealth in which more than 500 plant species coexist, more than 300,000 birds of 300 different species, being a wintering or resting area during migratory periods.
This natural reserve is full of contrasts, since the wild beaches of great extensions, the dune fields, the lagoons, the flat spaces where mirages take place and the salt pans share the space with the agricultural exploitation of a large part of its surface., mainly rice paddies. In short, it is an ideal environment to get away from the crowds and stress of big cities and experience nature in its purest form.
The delta can be visited in several ways, on foot, by bicycle, by boat, by car..., although if you want to stay for the weekend, the best option is to combine all the options. In other words, you can travel the longest distances by car and make several stops at the viewpoints by taking a bike ride or on foot. In any of the cases, and given the ease with which one can get lost on the roads of the delta, we advise you to go to the information center of the natural park located in the town of Deltebre before starting, to organize your outings with all the needed information.
We propose a route that goes from south to north starting with Alcanar, the southernmost municipality in Catalonia. There you can visit the Remei hermitage, a building from the 16th and 17th centuries, and from there go up to a nearby hill that houses an Iberian settlement.
About fourteen kilometers north from Alcanar, you will arrive atSant Carles de la Ràpita, a city anchored at the entrance to the largest natural port in the Mediterranean, that of Alfacs. Its bay is ideal for practicing sailing, rowing, surfing and other water sports.
From Sant Carles you can enter the Ebro delta through the southernmost part of the natural park. If you skirt the bay you will reach Poblenou del Delta, a town from where you can explore the great Encanyissada lagoon, the largest in the delta. Nearby is the Casa de Madera, a former refuge for hunters and which currently houses an ornithological museum.
Next to the Encanyissada is the Tancada, the second lagoon in the area. If you take a detour to the right you will enter the Trabucador bar, a narrow isthmus of sand five kilometers long that you can drive by car until you reach Punta del Banya, one of the most important nesting places for birds in the Mediterranean. In this area you will find the salt flats of Trinidad. They cannot be visited, but you can see them from a nearby viewpoint.
From Poblenou del Delta you can head towards Sant Jaume d'Enveja, a town with origins in the exploitation of salt and the construction of the Ebro canal. From there there is a track parallel to the river that, in a northerly direction, will take you to the Isla de Buda, which brings together a representation of all the natural environments of the natural park. However, you should know that the island can only be visited by hiring a guided tour, although you can see it from a dune-viewpoint located on the left bank of the river. Without straying too far you can also enjoy the wildest and most virgin beaches in the delta: Mitjorn, Alfacada and Serrallo nudist.
In 2010, Lo Pasador was inaugurated, linking the towns of Sant Jaume de Enveja and Deltebre. The bridge has already become an emblem and an infrastructure fully integrated into the life of the Delta. What's more, walk through it when the afternoon falls; admire the sunsets from its highest point; taking a walk around the neighboring town... is already part of the daily life of the inhabitants of this territory. Lo Pasador has two lanes for cars, one in each direction, a lane for bicycles and a rest area along its 250-meter length. It has a careful design, friendly and well integrated into the landscape environment. At night it lights up and creates a beautiful reflection in the waters of the river.
Once you cross Lo Pasador you will reach Deltebre, the largest town in the delta and where the Ecomuseum of the Delta Natural Park is based.
From here if you take the T-340 you will reach Riumar beach, the only one in the delta that has services. Next door is the Garxal lagoon, a group of small islets and lagoons that can be admired on foot or by bicycle. You will also find the river port of Gatxo, from where tourist boats sail along the mouth of the river and reach the islands of Buda and Sant Antoni.
A little further to the left of the Riumar beach you will find the Marquesa beach and Punta del Fangar, a large area of sand with the best preserved dunes on the entire Catalan coast. Since it is almost at sea level at times, and depending on the strength of the wind, it remains flooded.
To say goodbye to the Ebro delta, we recommend you return toSan Carlos de la Rápita and go up to the Guardiola viewpoint, from where you will have unforgettable panoramic views of the delta. If he does, he'll definitely come back.
How to get?
If you are coming from the AP-7 motorway, towards Barcelona – Valencia, you can choose between exits 39 (l'Ampolla), 40 (l'Aldea-Tortosa) and 41 (Amposta-St. Carles de la Ràpita).
If you come from the national N-340, you can choose any of the four exits in the direction of Deltebre.
You can also arrive by train, with the line that connects Barcelona and Valencia.
When to go?
The best time to visit the delta is in the fall, from October to November, when the rice has been harvested and the fields are filled with migratory birds. The best hours to observe them are at dawn and dusk, which is when they come out to look for food.