Secrets of Spain: the delightful Delta de l’Ebre

 

Mother Nature has blessed the world with numerous beautiful places. Only she can choose the most perfect colours and ingredients to design environments that can affect us deeply. In my early days of living in Spain, I discovered the Delta de l’Ebre, which I fell in love with immediately. This is a place for anyone who appreciates beauty, nature and peace.

Delta de l-Ebre Catalonia Magical Landscape

A magical landscape

Located in Southern Catalonia, the Delta de l’Ebre has an enchanting, magical landscape that seems to go on forever. This natural park is the largest wetland in Catalonia. Its magical landscape includes sand dunes and unspoilt beaches, rivers, lagoons, marshes, salt pans and paddy fields.

Delta de l-Ebro Paddy Fields

Calling all foodies

The paddy fields of the Delta de l’Ebre have been producing rice ever since 1860. You can choose from 14 different varieties, which make up the 45 million kg of rice, that are produced each year in the Delta. 98% of Catalonia’s rice is produced here, and the Delta’s rice production makes up 20% of total Spanish rice production.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the rice is only used in paella, it is used in many different ways – and actually Catalonia has embraced its production with a foodie initiative called Much More Than Rice. A series of 10 creative dishes prepared by the renowned Michelin starred chef, Carme Ruscalleda, were served at the launch in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona. Not long after, her book, which includes 50 exciting recipes was released. Of course you can sample great rice dishes in plenty of locations in Catalonia, however, as you can imagine, the pride and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation in relation to rice, can be most strongly felt in the Delta. The area is also rich in other food ingredients, including wonderful oysters and mussels.

Delta Ebro river boats

Calling all photographers

I think I can let these photographs speak for themselves. I hope they give you a small taste of why I love the Delta de l’Ebre. Whether you enjoy recording your holiday experiences, or you’re really into photography – the landscape here is magical and delightful, and full of variety to trigger your visual talents.

Delta Ebro Sunrise

A birdwatcher’s paradise

The Delta Ebro is a birdwatcher’s paradise. In fact you don’t even need to be into birdwatching to appreciate the great range of birds you see as you travel into the Delta. It’s hard not to be impressed by the variety, which amounts to around 350 bird species, including exotic pink flamingos.

This is one of the top sites in Europe to enjoy birds, and birdwatching is an all year round activity in the Delta de l’Ebre. Thanks to the locals, the left bank area first became protected in 1983, and the right bank became protected two years later. These days the Delta has been designated by the European Commission as a European Destination of Excellence – EDEN.

Little Egret Ebro Delta

Explore the Delta de l’Ebro on horseback

A magical way to absorb the unique environment of the Delta, is to explore it on horseback. Personally I can’t imagine a more perfect way to spend some time than cantering along a beautiful beach.

I have also explored the Delta on a bike, and if you like cycling, this is another wonderful way to really feel and sense the surroundings.

Horse Riding in the Delta de l-Ebre

Houses that seem lost in water

Another one of the charms of the Delta are these houses that appear to be lost in the water. Even though I’ve been going there for years, I still wonder how it must be to live there, and especially what fun it must be to get back after a party night out!

Delta Ebro Houses

Beautiful beaches

Although the Delta does get its fair share of visitors, the beaches still remain unspoilt and at least when I’ve been there, they don’t appear to get overrun with tourists. Of course the area is also protected, which you can understand more about by visiting the eco-museum in the natural park.

Delta Ebro beaches

Location, location, location

The Delta de l’Ebre can be found approximately 150 km south of Barcelona, and around 70 km south of Reus, where there’s an airport, as well as a city well worth discovering. There are small towns in the Delta where you can find accommodation, as well as gateway towns and villages, such as Sant Carles de la Rapita, Les Cases d’Alcanar and L’Ampolla. All of these are on the coast.

If you’re a city person, try to visit Reus and Tarragona, which are only 14 km apart, and both of which are around an hour’s drive in the direction back up to Barcelona. You can discover Tarragona in my last article here, and Reus will be featured in the future.

If you want to stay in, or visit a city that is more local, then consider Tortosa, which is around 30 km from the Delta. Tortosa has plenty of cultural and artistic heritage, and has its own Parador in a superb setting. If you are planning a trip in July, try to get to the Tortosa Renaissance festival, which is fabulous. In 2015 the dates are 23rd to 26th July.

Paradors (paradores in Spanish), in case you aren’t familiar with them, are Spanish state run luxury hotels set in historic buildings.

Tortosa At Night

Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Catalonia Valencia.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Excellent as we have just been in Spain so reading about more places to visit next time is great timing. I only found out in Valencia about the many uses of rice and that rice is such an important ingredient. A paradore in Delta de l’Ebre would be ideal.

  2. noel says:

    Wow, yes this is definitely the Spain I would love to explore, unspoiled, less tourists and a really authentic experience. Lovely article.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Sounds like a wonderful area that I’d love to explore. It takes off many boxes for sure as I’m a great foodie, an avid photographer who loves wildlife and beaches with the occasional city thrown in for good measure. A perfect fit I’d say!

  4. Núria says:

    Great post!!! We think Delta de l’Ebre is one of best places in Catalonia!!
    I hope, you write about the beautiful places like Miravet, Montblanc, Falset, Santa coloma de Queralt,….

    Thanks!!!

  5. You know how much I loved my visit to Costa Brava and I realize I just scratched the surface. You have me longing to go back Jackie with this post. What a gorgeous area to explore. I think the Delta de l’Ebre just jumped to the front of the list.

  6. Delta de l’Ebre sounds delightful! Hopefully this post won’t make it too touristy by the time we visit :-). Seville, Costa Brava, Granada, Ronda and now the Delta de l’Ebre – there’s so much we want to see in Spain!

  7. it seem very peaceful and les-touristic destination. I love the beach and the people with the horse, it looks like a romantic fairytale.

  8. Paula – thanks for your comment, and glad it gives you some inspiration for your next trip back. I think when you experience it you may feel that a Parador might be nice, but somehow or other it would need to be rice or fishing related, to fit in properly. :)

    Noel – yes it indeed authentic, and with your photography, I know you’d love it.

    Kathryn – you would definitely appreciate the nature and wildlife there, as well as the food and perhaps a glass of vino or cava also? :)

    Nuria – Moltes gracies. I will indeed….you’re so right and I am feel so lucky to be here. Do keep an eye out, I can’t say when, but for sure they will be featured in the future.

    Alison – I know from what you wrote how you loved the Costa Brava, and you will definitely love the Delta as well.

    Janice & George – yes that’s always a risk. It is a protected area however, so hopefully they will continue to maintain a balance between the “success” of increased tourism and the amazing natural heritage that is the Delta de l’Ebre.

    Phoebe – a girl after my own heart. I took that photo some time back, and between that scene and a few other factors (threw in a couple of amazing horses) I have been learning to horse ride…so when I feel ready, I will do it there for sure. :)

  9. Victoria Tucker says:

    Spain isa treasure and I can’t wait to go back and go to the Delta de L’Ebre. What a wonderful post and thank you as I had not heard of it. Enforce!

  10. Hi Victoria,
    Thanks so much for your kind, and yes I entirely agree that Spain is a treasure! :) I hope you have a wonderful time when you come back and visit the Delta de l’Ebre.
    Warm regards
    Jackie

  11. Aidan says:

    nice article, i was here in april for a weekend, did a bit of exploring with a local friend.
    amazing area, the rice fields seem never ending. i genuinely feel sorry for the workers to be out there in that heat (as i do similar work in ireland, except nothing like the size of area in delta l’ebre and of course the heat).
    the houses as you say are impressive, just in the middle of no where.

    town i stayed in was Amposta, lovely town too.

    the estrella is good :)

  12. Hi Aidan,
    It is an amazing area, and great that you had the chance to explore with a local friend! Aren’t the houses funny? And yes the Estrella is good!!
    Thanks
    Jackie

  13. Kurt says:

    I’ve been to Spain 3 times and on the last trip saw this park you write about. I would love to visit the park someday and after reading your story and seeing the photos know that I would love it!

  14. Hi Kurt, great to hear you’re getting to Spain so much, it is a wonderful country. You should definitely make a point to visit the Delta de l’Ebre on your next trip, it is very special.
    Warm regards,
    Jackie

Leave a Reply


Comment guidelines - please read:

1) Use your own name, not a site name or keywords.
2) Links are allowed in the 'Website' field only.
3) Please do not advertise and make sure your comment is relevant and adds value. (If you would like to advertise, there are a number of free and paid ways to do this - please contact us for details.) .





If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

 
 
6 things to do on the Aeolian Islands of Vulcano and Lipari6 things to do on the Aeolian Islands of Vulcano and Lipari : The Aeolian Islands located in the Tyrrhenian Sea consists of seven be...
5 of our favourite islands in the Mediterranean5 of our favourite islands in the Mediterranean : Summer is a great time for island hopping. And there are fewer places ...
The top 5 Italian city breaksThe top 5 Italian city breaks : Surrounded by the clear blue seas of the Mediterranean with a spine of...