Some time ago, it was thought about what to do with the railway infrastructures that over the years have become obsolete in Spain. To answer this question, the Spanish Railway Foundation (FFE) chose to convert the train tracks into itineraries that could be traveled on foot or by bicycle, to do ecotourism in what have been called Greenways.
Since then, the Greenways in Andalusia and other Spanish regions have become a safe bet for sustainable tourism through nature.
More than 2,000 kilometers of abandoned railway lines are integrated into the Greenways Program in Spain, almost the equivalent of crossing the country from north to south and back. However, for this purpose not only tracks have been recovered, but bridges and old railway stations have also been reused that, otherwise, would be condemned to oblivion.
The initiative emerged in 1993, achieving more than 100 Greenways in Spain that are operational. Only in Andalusia there are more than 20 Greenways, around 20% of the total in Spain, with about 500 kilometers of route, which gives an idea of the tourist potential of this new fashion. In other words, approximately one out of every five kilometers of Greenways in Spain is in Andalusia.
But this does not stop here, as the numbers continue to increase. The institutions promote the creation of new Greenways in Andalusia along another nearly 1,000 kilometers of disused railway lines. In addition, the same is being done at the national level with an additional 5,000 kilometers waiting to become new Greenways.
The Greenways of Spain receive millions of visits every year and around them an interesting network of complementary services for tourism, gastronomy and commerce has been created that contribute to the rural development of the regions they run through.
The most popular activities on the Greenways are cycling and hiking, which are attracting an increasing number of followers. Around these routes there are bicycle rental businesses for days and hours, which leaves you everything ready for an unforgettable day of adventure.
In addition, the tourism that is concentrated in the Greenways is suitable for all audiences. Whatever your age, fitness or physical capacity, you have a wide range of options to choose from within the Greenways in Andalusia. In addition, there are multiple Greenways for children, Greenways for the elderly and Greenways for people with reduced mobility.
Of course, even though they are abandoned railway stations and tracks, the infrastructures through which the Greenways run in Andalusia are completely safe and accessible.
The Greenways in Andalusia of short and medium distance, by own consideration, are those that have a distance less than or equal to 30 km. Below you will see these Greenways classified by province and ordered from least to greatest distance.
There are four Greenways in Seville of less than 30 km. These Greenways will show you different places in the province, showing you some of its municipalities and natural environments.
With a length of 2.75 km, Itálica Greenway runs around the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Itálica, through the municipalities of Seville and Camas.
In the vicinity of the municipality of El Ronquillo, the Minilla Reservoir and the Rivera de Huelva (Huelva River), the main river that feeds the reservoir, is El Ronquillo Greenway. With a length of 9.2 km, it offers one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the province of Seville. A journey from south to north where you can contemplate a magnificent landscape of pasture and holm oaks with the constant presence of water. Throughout the tour you will be able to rest and regain strength in the different recreational areas set up for this purpose.
Between La Roda de Andalucía and Pedrera runs Las Lagunas Greenway, which begins behind the municipal booth of La Roda de Andalucía and after several kilometers of route you will arrive to make a stop at one of the most appreciated places of the route, Los Casilleros, where you can rest on the benches and picnic areas at your disposal. The route has a distance of 11 km, passes through the municipality of Estepa and runs very close to the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve in the municipality of Fuente de Piedra, within the province of Málaga.
The Zafra-Seville railway line connected with the Cerro del Hierro (Iron Hill) mines and now, at present, makes up Sierra Norte de Sevilla Greenway. A beautiful route of about 18.7 km between the Cazalla-Constantina Station and the Cerro del Hierro, crossing the Sevillian municipalities of Cazalla de la Sierra, Alanís, San Nicolás del Puerto and Constantina, through the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park, where you can enjoy yourself, strolling through a Mediterranean forest of holm oaks, cork oaks and gall oaks, and the wonderful riverside forest on the banks of the Huéznar river. Among the most notable landmarks, you will be able to witness two Natural Monuments, one that of Cascadas del Huéznar (Huéznar Waterfalls) and the other that of Cerro del Hierro. This road is equipped with four rest areas along its route.
In the province of Huelva you will find a short and medium-distance Greenway, but with which you can enjoy a day of nature with a typical Mediterranean landscape.
For almost a century, the mining train traveled through what is now Guadiana Greenway, an itinerary through the Huelva mountains of West Andévalo, between the village of Puerto de La Laja, in the municipality of El Granado, and the mining village of La Isabel, in the municipality of El Almendro. A journey of about 17 km through a steep orography, with streams very embedded in their descent towards the Guadiana River, which will accompany you along a beautiful Mediterranean forest. You can regain strength in its two rest areas enabled for this purpose.
There are four Greenways in Jaén with a short and medium distance, and each one of them will show you a different image of the orography that makes up this wonderful province.
Linares Greenway is an itinerary of just over 6.6 km of descent that runs between Linares city and Guadalimar River, passing through the district of Linares-Baeza Station. During your tour you will be accompanied by olive groves and riverside vegetation.
With about 6.7 km, Vadollano Greenway runs between Linares and Vadollano Reserve, through a landscape lined with olive trees.
Guadalimar Greenway has an itinerary of just over 15.3 km in length that runs through the hills of olive trees that separate Guadalimar River and Guadalquivir River, crossing the municipalities of Linares, Ibros, Lupión, Torreblascopedro and Begíjar. During your tour you will see one of the richest places in these lands of Jaén with the omnipresent olive grove. However, as you progress, you will go from Vega del Guadalimar (Guadalimar Vega) to the Vega del Guadalquivir (Guadalquivir Vega), crossing the olive-growing countryside. Finally, the route ends in the hills that close Guadalquivir River basin to the north, offering magnificent views of Sierra Mágina.
Taking advantage of the route of the old railway from Baeza to Utiel, Segura Greenway runs for 27 km through the municipalities of Arroyo del Ojanco, Segura de la Sierra, Puente de Génave, La Puerta de Segura, Génave and Villarrodrigo, passing through Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, as well as the olive-growing countryside of hills. You will also have the opportunity to contemplate the gallery forest in the surroundings of the Guadalimar River, with beautiful views of Sierra Morena.
Two are the Greenways in Granada of short and medium distance, both pass through a mountain landscape, although through different places within the province.
Sierra Nevada Greenway runs for 1.65 km, through the municipality of Güejar Sierra, between Fabriquilla Reserve, next to the tail of the Canales Reservoir and up to the Barranco de San Juan (Saint John Reservoir) car park. The route follows the Genil River gorge and takes advantage of the route of the old Sierra Nevada tram, which linked Granada with the Barranco de San Juan. On your way, through Sierra Nevada National Park, you can enjoy beautiful places such as Maitena Reserve or Charcón Reserve, taste mountain food in restaurants dotted around the area, bathe in the crystal clear waters of Pozas de Maitena (Maitena Pool), enjoy the riverside vegetation that originates on both banks of the Genil River or practice different water sports in the Canales Reservoir.
The Guadix-Almendricos Greenway (Sierra de Baza section) runs through the municipalities of Baza and Caniles, in the middle of the Altiplano of Granada and in the vicinity of the Sierra de Baza Natural Park. The route takes advantage of the old railway line that linked Granada and Murcia. On your tour you can enjoy the rich and lush vegetation of the Vega de Baza.
In the province of Almería you can go hiking or cycling on two short and medium-length Greenways.
Lucainena de las Torres Greenway has a 5 km itinerary, which can be extended to another 8 km, sharing this last section with motor vehicles and which runs through the municipality of Lucainena de las Torres, taking advantage of the route of the old mining train between Lucainena de las Torres and Agua Amarga. The route passes through the lands of the sun, through the Sierra Alhamilla Natural Park and the Rambla de Lucainena, between farmhouses, silence, desert, solitude, mountains and ravines, where the presence of any hint of vegetation is worthy of praise.
On the other hand, on an itinerary of just over 20 km, the Guadix-Almendricos Greenway (Huércal-Overa section) runs between the Almendricos halt, a district of Lorca in the Murcia region, and Huércal-Overa, in Almería. The route uses the route of the old railway from Guadix to Almendricos. On its way, you will be struck by the contrast that the Sierra de Enmedio originates with its wild slopes populated with esparto grass and the agricultural fields of citrus trees, olive trees, almond trees and orchards, watered by a drip system.
The province of Córdoba has five short and medium-length Greenways. Each one has its charm and something that characterizes it.
Cerco Greenway will mean a trip to the origins of the Industrial Revolution in Spain, a circular route of 2 km through the Industrial Siege of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo, in the urban area of the town. This place has been declared a Cultural Interest Asset and the most remarkable things you will see are the coke oven chimneys, the lead smelter and displacement workshop, the Mina Santa Rosa (Saint Rose Mine) and the refractory material factory. This Greenway connects with La Maquinilla Greenway.
A section of just over 3.2 km that runs through the municipality of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo is Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo Greenway. The route runs between the French Quarter and the urban area of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo, passing by the building of the management of the old Metallurgical Mining Society, the old Mining Hospital, the French School, the Flour Factory and the narrow gauge station of the old Pueblonuevo del Terrible.
Forming a 4.5 km path that runs through the municipality of Fuente Obejuna, Fuente Obejuna Greenway is located. On your way, you will be able to enjoy holm oak, cork oak and gall oak forests, accompanied by an undergrowth of aladierno, honeysuckle and broom.
In an 8 km long itinerary the towns of Belmez and Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo are joined by La Maquinilla Greenway, from La Maquinilla platform, passing through the Mina San Antonio (Saint Anthony Mine), in Belmez town, to the old industrial fence of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo. The route runs through the Alto Guadiato Valley, near the “Alto Guadiato” Special Bird Protection Zone and Sierra de Albarrana. Its tour will make you travel to one of the most important industrial heritages in Spain.
Minería Greenway has a section of about 14.6 km that runs between the old El Soldado Station, in Villanueva del Duque, and the municipal boundary between Villanueva del Duque and Belmez, crossing the municipalities of Villanueva del Duque and Hinojosa del Duque. On your tour you will be able to witness the overwhelming place created by the ruins of the mining past at El Soldado Station and enjoy the wonderful holm oak meadows, ending with a mountain landscape in the first foothills of Sierra Morena.
The province of Cádiz has three Greenways of short and medium distance that will take you to know different landscapes and municipalities.
One of the Greenways that you will find is Matagorda Greenway, with an itinerary of about 3.6 km in length that passes through the municipality of Puerto Real, between the Marisma Toruños (Toruños Marsh) and the Pinar de La Algaida. On the way you will enjoy a landscape of marshes.
With an itinerary of 8.25 km in length, the Puerto Real - San Fernando Greenway passes through the municipalities of Puerto Real and San Fernando, through the Bay of Cádiz Natural Park. As in the previous one, on your way you will enjoy a landscape of marshes.
On a route of just over 16.2 km, Entre Ríos Greenway runs between Rota and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, passing through Chipiona, taking advantage of the old railway line that linked Jerez de la Frontera with Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Throughout its journey you will be able to appreciate agricultural fields, pine forests, fishing corrals in Chipiona, a dune cord and the Atlantic coast.
This part describes the Greenways in Andalusia that have a distance of more than 30 km. By provinces you can see the different Greenways that you can go hiking or cycling.
In the province of Seville there are two long-distance Greenways, one of them is of great importance for its tourist interest.
Sierra Greenway runs along the route of the old railway infrastructure that was never completed and that would have gone from Jerez de la Frontera, in the province of Cádiz, to Almargen, in the province of Málaga. This route consists of 38 km through a mountain landscape, passing through the towns of Olvera and Puerto Serrano, between the provinces of Cádiz and Seville. This Greenway is the only one that has the recognition as Route of Tourist Interest of Andalusia. It is also included within the Natural Roads National Network belonging to the Natural Roads Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
With just over 91 km, Campiña Greenway connects Córdoba city with the Sevillian town of Marchena. A suggestive itinerary through the cereal-growing countryside of the Guadalquivir Valley, crossing the municipalities of Córdoba, Guadalcázar, La Rambla, La Carlota, Écija, Fuente Palmera, La Luisiana, Fuentes de Andalucía and Marchena. In the itinerary there are 15 rest areas enabled and on your route you will be able to admire, in addition to the monumental ensembles of Córdoba, the baroque urbanism of La Carlota, the monumental ensembles of Écija and Marchena and the Roman baths in La Luisiana.
The Greenways in Huelva, with a long route, runs through Serranía de Huelva, showing you a very varied landscape.
Through a beautiful corridor of about 33.2 km, Molinos de Agua Greenway enters the heart of Serranía de Huelva, following the route that linked Minas de Buitrón (Buitrón Mines) with the jetty that the mining company owned in San Juan del Puerto, where the starting point of the route is located, structuring the Campiña-Andévalo tourist destination. During your tour you will have the opportunity to enjoy a great variety of landscapes, countryside, pine forests, cork oak meadows and eucalyptus repopulations, as well as visiting places of great heritage interest, both historical and ethnographic.
Between Jaén and Córdoba you can walk the longest Greenway in Andalusia. In it you will be able to know a large number of municipalities in both provinces.
With 128 km of itinerary, Aceite Greenway is the longest Greenway in Andalusia. It runs between Jaén and the old Campo Real Station, in Puente Genil, crossing the municipalities of Jaén, Torredelcampo, Torredonjimeno, Martos and Alcaudete, in the province of Jaén, and Luque, Baena, Zuheros, Doña Mencía, Cabra, Lucena, Moriles, Aguilar de la Frontera and Puente Genil, in the province of Córdoba. On your journey you will be accompanied by an endless sea of olive trees, and you will have the opportunity to pass through thirteen impressive metal viaducts from the 19th century.
The long-distance Greenway in Almería is one more section of Guadix Almendricos Greenway, described in other sections for the provinces of Almería and Granada in the short and medium distance.
With 38.5 km in length, the Guadix Almendricos Greenway (Almanzora Valley section) runs through the Almanzora Valley, taking advantage of the route of the old Almanzora railway, which linked the cities of Murcia and Granada and which mainly transported esparto, mineral of iron and marble from the nearby quarries of Macael. On your way, you will be able to enjoy the wonderful orchard of crops that Vega del Río Almanzora (Almanzora River Meadow) offers and the magnificent panoramic views of the Sierra de los Filabres, with its slopes of pine trees and its peaks over two thousand meters high.
The two long-distance Greenways in Córdoba coincide with two Greenways in other provinces, which, due to their length, run through the province of Córdoba. These are the Campiña Greenway, in the province of Seville, and Aceite Greenway, in the province of Jaén.
The long-distance Greenway in Cádiz coincides with one of those in Seville, also long-distance. This is because they share their route between the two provinces.
Sierra Greenway makes up a 36 km long route that runs between the municipalities of Puerto Serrano and Olvera, where no train ever passed. On its way it crosses the municipalities of Coripe, Montellano and El Coronil, in the province of Seville, and runs along the banks of the Guadalete River, the Guadalporcún River and, in the highest part, the Guadamanil River. Between illuminated tunnels and viaducts that hang themselves into surprising balconies, you will have the opportunity to witness such spectacular places as the Peñón de Zaframagón (Zaframagón Rock), one of the most populated vulture reserves in Europe.