Not even 2 hour motorway drive south Barcelona airport, on the Mediterranean coast, we find Ebro’s Delta, one of the most famous river deltas in Europe, a wetland location containing 320 sq. km. of Natural Park. Most recent survey has revealed over 300 species of birds that are either resident or migratory to the Ebro Delta.
This nature reserve, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and full of contrasts, is an ideal setting to get away from crowds and stress of big cities: wild beaches of large dune fields, spaces where there are plains and salt mirages and extensive rice fields. Photography lovers will also discover a spot where the beauty of a sunset with the stylized shadow of a group of flamingos is worthy of the most demanding camera objectives.
Situated 1.5 hour motorway drive south Barcelona airport, the Delta can be discovered in several ways - by foot, bike, boat, car or just by a combination of all the options. A weekend long stay is a perfect timing.
The best time to visit the delta is autumn, from October to November, when the rice has been harvested and the fields are filled with migrating birds. The best times to observe are the dawn and dusk, when they forage for food.
Bird-life of the Delta
Birds are all around the natural reserve. In general, the Ebro Delta attracts millions of bird species every year. There are several other species in the delta as well since some dunes, bays, and shallow beaches are all around it.
- The Greater Flamingos that can capture your attention.
- It is said that there are about nice species of herons that invade much part of the delta.
- In the lagoons a wide array of ducks, Red crested Pochards and Black-necked Grebes compete for space.
- See also Shorebirds as well as migratory birds.
- The Gull-billed, Lesser Crested Tern, Caspian, and Whiskered will complete your experience.
Routes to discover the Delta
Most recommended route goes from south delta to north delta, starting in Alcanar, a small pleasant village. Take a walk, enjoy a rice meal in one of the good restaurants it offers. A short drive from there, we find Sant Carles de la Ràpita, a town anchored in a natural harbour, the Alfacs bay, ideal for the practice of sailing, rowing, surfing and other water sports and best viewpoint from where to enjoy unforgettable sunsets.
From Sant Carles we will enter the Ebro Delta in the southernmost part of the reserve. Along the coast, pass by Poblenou del Delta, from where the great lagoon L’Encanyissada can be explored. Nearby, the House whip, a former hunting lodge, houses an ornithological museum. La Tancada, situated next, is the second lagoon area at Poblenou spot.
El Trabucador bar is a narrow sandy isthmus accessible by car that leads to the top of the Banya, one of the bird most important nesting places in the Mediterranean. Continue towards Sant Jaume d'Enveja. A track parallel to the river, heading north, leads to Buddha Island, which includes a representation of all the natural environments of the park. The island can only be visited as a guided tour but can be seen from a dune lookout located on the left bank of the river.
In 2010 a bridge was inaugurated to connect Sant Jaume d'Enveja and Deltebre, an infrastructure totally integrated into the life of the Delta. It is equipped with two car lanes, a bike lane and a rest area along its 250 meter length. Deltebre is the largest town in the delta and the headquarters of the Eco-museum Delta Nature Park. From here, itinerary continues until Riumar Beach, the only one with service available.
A walk or bike ride will allow you to admire Garxal lagoon and a group of small islands and lagoons. Continue to Platja de La Marquesa beach to start a pleasant walk along El Fangar. Punta del Fangar is a peninsula about 6km long and 3km wide that goes into the sea north of the mouth of the Ebro. It offers different natural environments: beach, mobile and fixed dunes, sandbanks and bay. This is an important nesting area protected by woodpeckers and gulls, among other seabirds. It is also an important refuge for life for many reptiles, insects, micromammals and some amphibians.
The route of El Fangar cannot be complete until the Fangar lighthouse is reached. Due to its uniqueness and as it stands out in the arid environment, this lighthouse has become one of the most characteristic architectural and landscape symbols of Terres de l'Ebre, as well as one of the most photographed spots. It can be reached walking along the beach, a 4km trek in an unspoiled spot, between the dunes and the sea.
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