Aerial view of the ruins at Empúries  (Lluís Carro)Aerial view of the ruins at Empúries (Lluís Carro)

Following the Mediterranean


Following the Mediterranean

Say goodbye to the clock, you will not need it. You are in Ulldecona, a municipality of Terres de l'Ebre that invites you to look towards the past. You have to travel this route without noticing the time, just looking at the map to find the next stop on the road that will run along the Catalan coast.

Beginning in Ulldecona is no accident: here you will find the rock paintings of the Abrics de l'Ermita, a collection of thirteen caves declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. From here you start the path to the Natural Park of the Delta de l'Ebre, the largest aquatic habitat in Catalonia, with more than 330 different species of birds. Or to put it another way: 6 out of 10 of the species of birds that live in Europe live in the park. Nature in its pure state. In addition, it is also considered a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Fun at PortAventura World
A very different bird is the icon of your next destination, the Woody Woodpecker bird. You have come to PortAventura World, one of the most important amusement parks in Europe. Its attractive leisure offer has incorporated the Ferrari Land theme park, with eleven new attractions for the whole family. Do you dare to ride the Red Force? It is a spectacular attraction that has an acceleration of 0 to 180 km/h in only five seconds. Take the test: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And you're flying...

An empire that still shines
To recover from the strong emotions you do not have to go far, thirteen minutes away is the ancient capital of the Roman Empire in Hispania, Tarraco. Reviving its imposing past is easy, walking through the remains of the ancient walls, the amphitheatre, the circus, and other vestiges declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. When you are in Tarragona, do not forget to go to the balcony of the Mediterranean, a viewpoint to contemplate the line of the horizon that traces the mare nostrum with the Roman amphitheater at the feet. Free the mind and seize the day.

The beaches of mare nostrum
And if we talk about the mare nostrum, it is necessary to mention its beaches. Catalonia has 280 kilometers of beach, many of them extensive, such as Tamarit beach, crowned by the castle, and those of el Garraf and Sitges - formerly called the Blanca Subur-, an emblematic municipality, the birthplace of Modernism and with an important cultural effervescence. The great beaches continue, crossing the Delta del Llobregat, along the Maresme, dotted with localities with a marked marine character.

Welcome to the Costa Brava
The crossing of the Tordera will mark the entrance to the Costa Brava, where mountain and sea embrace eachother and the small coves try to break through the cliffs. Villages like Palamós, Begur, Cadaquès, and Sant MartÌ d'Empúries, together with the archaeological complex of the first Greek settlements of the peninsula, have turned it into one of the most admired corners of the region. Inland villages such as Pals and Peratallada have also contributed, where the medieval spirit survives.

Cross the Natural Park of the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà
After this detour inland, the route returns to take to the Mediterranean Sea with the horizon as a reference to go towards the fishing town of Llançà. Before arriving, you will have to cross the Natural Park of the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, a succession of ecosystems with rivers, sea, lakes, wetlands, beaches and sandbanks, lagoons, grasslands and crops.

From Llançà you continue heading North to arrive at the last municipality of the Costa Brava before crossing to France, Portbou. The train station made it popular years ago when many passengers had to wait there to change trains, since on the other side of the border the width of the track was different. This is how many people discovered this little treasure, next to the Natural Park of National Interest of Serra de l'Albera, with its coves and beaches. As they say, accidental discoveries are the best.