Greenways are former railway lines which have been adapted for use as hiking trails and bike paths in natural settings. There are over 120, and although their length varies a great deal, they are all suitable for cycling tours. The ones listed below are all over 50 kilometres long, so you can plan to spend a day or two bike touring and enjoying the Spanish countryside.
Ferrocarril Vasco-Navarro greenway, between the Basque Country and Navarra
A route more than 100 kilometres long connecting Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country) with Estella-Lizarra (Navarra). The green landscape changes constantly, from mountainous areas to sweeping plains. The middle stretch is the toughest, especially the climb to the Guereñu mountain pass, in the Basque Country. As you enter Navarra the route becomes easier, taking you alongside the river Ega.It’s best to take at least two days to do the whole greenway, so at night you can discover one of its special charms: a clear, dark sky, perfect for stargazing, which has earned it Starlight Trail status.
Vegas del Guadiana greenway, Extremadura
Around 60 kilometres to discover the steppe-like landscape where the Iberico pigs of Extremadura graze, the origin of one of the finest hams in Spain. This is the dehesa extremeña, lying mainly between Campolugar and Madrigalejo. The greenway also runs along the rivers Ruecas and Guadiana, which is where thousands of cranes spend the winter.The route runs between Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz) and Logrosán (Cáceres) and includes three viaducts. This is farming country, with grazing land everywhere.
Ojos Negros greenway, between the Region of Valencia and Aragon
At over 150 kilometres, this is Spain’s longest greenway. It runs from the province of Teruel (Aragón) to Valencia, via Castellón (both provinces of the Region of Valencia). The route descends from the Sierra de Javalambre highlands and their pine, oak and juniper woods, through the Jiloca valley, to the market fields of Valencia on the shores of the Mediterranean.Practically the whole route is tarmacked and there are plenty of bridges and viaducts, as well as barracas (the area’s little traditional cottages, often converted to become character accommodation).
Vía Verde del Aceite greenway, Andalucía
The endless sea of olive groves makes this greenway between Jaén and Córdoba unique. Another feature are the thirteen 19th century iron viaducts along the 125-plus kilometres of the route.The greenway starts in the city of Jaén and passes through interesting towns like Baena, Zuheros, Lucena, and Puente Genil, in Córdoba. A good way to enjoy it is to do part of the route over a weekend, alternating it with visits to these villages, and of course taking part in tasting sessions or activities relating to the local extra virgin olive oil, renowned worldwide.
Campo de Cartagena greenway, Region of Murcia
Pedalling along this easy, flat greenway takes you through one of Europe’s largest market garden areas. The route is over 50 kilometres long, passing by lush irrigated fields, traditional dryland farming, and groves of citrus trees. The greenway runs between the city of Cartagena and Totana, a large town, via beautiful spots like Mazarrón and Alhama de Murcia. It is also very close to the edge of Sierra Espuña Regional Park and the Mediterranean coast.
Ferrocarril Santander-Mediterráneo greenway, Castille and León
This route follows the railway line which once connected northern Spain to the Mediterranean. These days, the stretch between Soria and Hontoria del Pinar (Burgos) is fully adapted. This spectacular route is around 60 kilometres long and ideal for cycle tours and enjoying rural tourism. It begins in Soria, where the heritage sites are a must-see, and goes by peaceful little villages boasting fine examples of traditional local architecture, such as Navaleno and Abejar. There are also natural spaces worth seeing in the surrounding area, such as the Río Lobo gorge, or Playa Pita beach, which might tempt you to extend your trip for a few more days.