The Via Verdes of Spain
There are more than 6,000 kilometers of abandoned railway lines across Spain. Most of these were never finished because of the Spanish Civil war.
In 1993 the Via Verde programme was introduced to convert these lines into spectacular cycling and walking routes.
Via Verdes are ideal for cycling or hiking and most of them pass through areas of spectacular natural beauty. They are flat, tarmaced, and traffic free (motorized vehicles are not allowed).
Olvera Via Verde, Officially known as Via Verde de la Sierra, Cadiz
This route is about 30 minutes drive north of Ronda, 90 minutes from Marbella. It starts in the beautiful Andalucia town of Olvera and ends 36.5 kilometers away in Puerto Serrano.
The Via Verde de la Sierra crosses the mountains of Cádiz and Seville. One of most beautiful Via Verdes in Spain. the Olvera Via Verde was voted the best Greenway in Europe in 2009 and was runner up for the ‘Excellence’ award in 2013.
You cycle through thirty tunnels, across four viaducts and past three former railway stations: Olvera, Coripe and Puerto Serrano. These stations have been converted into hotels and restaurants.
The Olvera hotel has bedrooms in the style of railway carriages which is a nice touch.
Peñón de Zaframagón and the Chaparro de la Vega
Two areas of ecological interest are the Peñón de Zaframagón natural reserve and the Chaparro de la Vega.
The Peñón de Zaframagón is half way along the Olvera Via Verde, at the foothills of the Sierra de Grazalema. It’s home to one the largest nesting colonies of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) in Europe.
The Chaparro de la Vega is a seven hundred-year-old holm oak with a diameter of more than 28 metres.
Cycling the Olvera Via Verde is Challenging but you can come back by car
Most people start the trip in the village of Olvera and cycle to Puerto Serrano and then back up again. There’s an uphill gradient on the way back to Olvera but it’s not too bad and you can always ride one way and return in our support vehicle or catch a taxi (the taxis have bike racks).
You can Visit the Official Via Verde site in English
Here’s a nice promotional video you might like to watch: