Coast to Coast

Ebro Delta


10 – 12 April 2019

Click here for our Ebro Delta walk map.

It’s not easy to get to Deltebre in the Ebro Delta by public transport so we decided to walk from the nearest train station: 14.5 km which took 3 hours 15 minutes following the coast and through the Natural Park wetlands.

So exciting; there are still many flamingos, almost close enough to touch, in the sea. It was so windy to make walking difficult but the flamingos just calmly stand there, head into the wind. Over 300 species of birds can be found here at different times of the year.

Rice is a traditional ingredient in many Catalan dishes and it’s grown here in the Delta.

Flamingos are present all year round in the Delta but we weren’t expecting to see them in the rough sea
Small lagoons …
… and canals support many different birds
Oysters and mussels are farmed in the bay
On the other side of the path, farms are ready to plant rice – a traditional ingredient in Catalan cuisine
Rice and duck from the Delta
Man buying wine in Deltebre Market (€1.90 a litre for Priorat red)

We had allowed two days in Deltebre for bike riding and kayaking but the wind was too strong for either so instead we took a 90 minute boat cruise out to the mouth of the Ebro. Click here for the boat company (it’s in Spanish but the pictures are nice).

Boats like these, pulled by mules, once carried rice 250 km up river to Zaragoza, then drifted back down with wine
There’s one about every 50 meters on the banks of the Ebro – not boat wharves but eel traps

Poblenou Del Delta

13 April 2019

It’s 20 km from Deltebre to Poblenou Del Delta via the Natural Reserve of La Tancada; the first 10 km on a road between dry ploughed rice fields. Today the wind had died away allowing for some nice reflections of the birds in the lagoon.

The small town has a few dozen white-washed houses, every second one seemingly a restaurant offering Delta gastronomy for the hundreds of visitors to the Natural Reserve. We went for the wood fired paella at Lo Pati D’Agustí.

In La Tancada Natural Reserve
The thatched roof Ebro Delta cottages are one of the oldest types of traditional housing in Catalunya
Paella home delivery from Lo Pati D’Agustí, our paella marinara with local rice and seafood cooked on a wood fire

Sant Carles de la Ràpita

14 April 2019

We left Poblenou early, at 8 am, for the 14.5 km 3½ hours walk to Sant Carles de la Ràpita. It’s calmer, less people and more birds then.

We left early, 8am, whilst the Delta was still and calm, full of birds
Some birds we spotted today
A highlight of the trip – lunch at Musclarium 2 km off shore
Muscles and oysters are grown in the sea beneath the restaurant; can’t get any fresher than that!


15 April 2019

The Camino from Sant Carles is 13.3 km (3 hours 10 minutes) to Amposta with a diversion to Els Ullals (Eyes) de Baltasar.

The route follows the canal built in 1778 by King Carlos III to link Amposta to the coast avoiding the dangerous mouth of the Ebro and facilitating trade with the Americas. The canal is now used to irrigate the rice crops.

Last minute ploughing of the rice farms for today the water is released and flooding begins
A local man we met walking recommended we divert to Els Ullals de Baltasar
Underground rivers emerge here to form unique circular “eyes” | Yellow Flag Iris | European White Water Lilly
Amposta – remains of the 10th century castle/fortress on the Ebro River


16 & 17 April 2019

From Amposta we decided to follow the Camí Natural de l’Ebre (GR99) rather than the Camino to Tortosa. At 14.7 km (3 hours 20 minutes) it’s a few k shorter than the Camino and follows the Ebro more closely.

Tortosa has a 2000 + year history – founded by the Romans, 400 years of Muslim rule, then Crusaders and recent heavy bombing during the Civil War. It used to be on the coast but after 2,000 years, it is now about 30 kilometers inland because of silting at the mouth of the river.

14th century Ebro defensive tower | old abandoned house | Ebro River | canal from Amposta to Tortosa
First stop – Tortosa’s Art Nouveau Municipal Market for coffee and tapas
Castle of la Suda above Tortosa – the Romans built the first walls but the Moors shaped the Castle
Tortosa city wall, each barrio was responsible for the upkeep of their section of the wall
College of Sant Jaume i Sant Maties established 1564 to educate young Muslim converts
Two of the Italian Renaissance sculptures of the royal couples of the Crown of Aragon adorning the gallery
Santa Maria Cathedral, construction began in 1347 in Catalan Gothic style but remains unfinished
Built on the remains of a Roman temple, a mosque and a 12th century Romanesque church


17 April 2019

From Xerta to Tortosa along the Via Verda (literally Green Way, meaning Rail Trail) is 15 km. The train ran for 30 years but stopped in 1973 and the track was converted to a hiking path. We took a bus there and walked back, 3 hours 20 minutes. It’s an easy off road and mostly flat path popular with bike riders.

Xerta railway finally closed on September 17, 1973 (Ayuntamiento de Xerta)
Via Verda | Shepherd | 12th century Torre d’en Corder | Aldover Station | Rail bridge over the Ebro, 1868