The Via Verdes of Spain
There are more than 6,000kms of abandoned railway lines across Spain. Most of which, have never been completed, let alone used. There were ambitious plans to connect even the smallest villages by rail. All of these plans fell apart during the Civil War and the years that followed it. For over forty years, the lines lay in disrepair, most of them being slowly consumed by the surrounding countryside.
n 1993, the Vias Verde program was launched. The Spanish initiative was modelled on the UK’s and the US’s Greenways program. Its aim was to introduce environmentally friendly tourism into rural areas, primarily by developing upon the railway infrastructure that was already in place.
The resulting Via Verdes provide ideal cycling and walking tracks for the whole family. Railway lines, by their very nature, are relatively straight and avoid steep gradients. The resulting Via Verdes are flat, traffic free and ideal for cycling or hiking. Most of them also pass through areas of spectacular natural beauty.
As nearly all the vias are tarmaced and properly signposted, they are considered wheelchair friendly and suitable for the elderly.
No motorized vehicle of any sorts is allowed on the vias, providing a unique way to immerse yourself into the Spanish countryside.