The Vías Verdes: a different way to discover Spain
Green Route © Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles
Touring the Vías Verdes ('Green Routes') – old railway lines which have been restored for use by walkers and cyclists– is a different, fun and environmentally-friendly way of exploring our country, its culture and its landscapes. This an option which is ideally suited to all ages, as well as respecting the environment and combining sports and fresh air. Would you like to find out more?
When trains finally ceased to run along these tracks, they fell into disrepair. Today, however, the rails have been removed from these railway corridors, and along the routes that were previously plied by locomotives and their carriages, you can now see bicycles, walkers and day-trippers. There are 2,400 kilometres of these 'Green Routes' to be found all over Spain. They are easily reached, comfortable for walking and cycling and with no particular technical difficulties, and are ideal for a whole range of public: everyone from senior citizens to young children, and including people with reduced mobility such as the elderly and the disabled.
It is well worth taking a trip along any of these trails where motor vehicles are strictly prohibited. The routes are closed even to mopeds, and are synonymous with safety and respect for the environment. From north to south and east to west, there are over 100 itineraries and thousands of kilometres to be covered, along fascinating routes which pass through spectacularly beautiful landscapes where you can discover part of Spain's cultural heritage. The explanatory panels and signposts along the way provide useful information on the artistic and natural features in the area. And in some cases there are guides and guided visits available for certain areas: you just have to choose that route.
When you set off on your adventure, it's advisable to take some basic equipment: sports clothing, comfortable shoes, a torch, a rucksack with water and food, and if you're on two wheels, –of course– your bike. In any case, on some routes there are places where you can rent bikes. Along your way, you'll also find accommodation, hostels and restaurants where you can recharge your batteries.
There are a whole a host of possibilities, ranging from routes of barely six kilometres, urban trails and country paths, to stretches of as much as 120 kilometres. All in all, this is definitely an original and varied alternative which is guaranteed to reveal a wide variety of natural and cultural spaces of outstanding value, in an easy and environmentally-friendly way. The Vías Verdes network also organises a number of seminars and activities such as cycle touring events (some at night), sport days, photography contests, in addition to the European Green Routes Day.
More information: www.viasverdes.com