Spain's 5 best cycling Greenways 

What are the best Greenways in Spain? A difficult choice when you add more than 3,000 km of roads across the country.

One of the main boosts of more family-friendly cycle tourism in Spain is undoubtedly the progressive development of infrastructures that have fallen into disuse.

A development that began 30 years ago and whose main objective is to revive the unused railway lines, cattle tracks and other historic paths that have been gradually restored, reaching more than 3,000 km of Greenways that can be enjoyed on foot or by bike.

This set of Greenways has been able to give a second life to these infrastructures by giving particular value to the paths of great landscape value and at the same time linked to history, since most of them are connected to lines of railway that have not been used for years. This combination of landscape, history and route suitable for all levels makes the Greenways in Spain highly recommended.

In this post we recommend what we consider to be the 5 best Greenways in Spain, although we know that this choice may be unfair: all of them, in their own way, have contributed to enriching Spain's landscape and historical heritage.


Vía Verde de Ojos Negros Greenway

The Ojos Negros Greenway is the longest in Spain. In fact, it is so long that it was decided to divide it into two sections. With more than 160 km, it connects the town of Teruel with the Valencian coast, which gives rise to a great diversity of contrasts throughout the route. Its name comes from the mines that bore the same name located in Teruel, and which were the final destination of the Sierra Menera mining railway. This railway began operating in 1907, transporting iron ore from the Ojos Negros mines to the port of Sagunto. It was exclusively used for the transport of ore, and its lifetime reached the early 1970s. Unlike other railways that were outdated, in this case the stoppage of its activity was not due to the cessation of mining activity, but rather on the contrary: the railway became so small for the high demand for transport required, that the mining company agreed with Renfe to use the Central de Aragón Railway line.

The section corresponding to Teruel has 92 km of Greenway that follows the route of the Sierra Menera mining railway. Here we will be surrounded by abundant oak groves, on a route that leads from the Valle de Jiloca valley to the Sierras de Javalambre and Gúdar to the Valle de Palancia valley, where we will be surrounded by abundant oak groves. Once we enter Valencian territory, this landscape will gradually turn into the characteristic set of colorful almond and orange trees so typical of the community. You can enjoy the Ojos Negros Greenway with our stage route on a trail rich in nuances and historical heritage.


Vía Verde del Aceite Greenway

If the Ojos Negros Greenway is extensive, the Aceite Greenway is not far behind. This route, which we have included among the best Greenways in Spain, is no less than 128 km long and connects the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba.

Its name can be easily guessed if we are aware of the richness of the oil production in Andalusian lands. In 1893, the first trains began to run along this track, linking the capital of Jaén with Puente Genil, on a railway mainly designed for the transport of merchandise, especially oil. Hence, it was nicknamed with the popular name of the Tren del Aceite (Oil Train).

Except for a small section with some slope, most of this route is flat, making it suitable for family cycling. Of course, the great protagonists of this route are the abundant olive groves that surround it, although we will also find some vineyards. By the way, there is an unwritten prohibition: if you take a sandwich with you on the road, you must add a good dose of extra virgin olive oil from the region. Any other option is a sin.


Vía Verde de Sierra de Alcaraz Greenway

The Sierra de Alcaraz Greenway connects the plain of Albacete to the province of Jaén following the basin of the Jardín river. It is divided into two sections of 74 and 19.5 km respectively. The first section includes the municipalities of Albacete, La Herrera, Balazote, Casas de Lázaro, Robledo and Alcaraz, and the second Reolid, Salobre, Vianos, Villapalacios and Bienservida.

This Greenway was originally supposed to connect the municipalities of Linares (Jaén) and Utiel (Valencia). The ultimate goal was to be part of a section of trails passing through Teruel and Lleida and connecting to the French network.

However, a combination of misfortunes meant that this route remained half finished: the Civil War and its consequences for all the infrastructures, the depopulation of some of the territories it had to cross and its late start-up, when the private vehicle began gradually to gain ground, meant that it was never put into service.

And all this despite the fact that at the beginning of the 1960s everything was ready for use, with little more than the installation of the corresponding signage. At that time, a World Bank report strongly judged that this line and another were going to have ruinous economic consequences for the Public Treasury.

We can then speak of a Greenway that hides the history of a failure in transport infrastructure planning... but fortunately it was possible to enjoy this magnificent Greenway decades later.

Thanks to it, we can cross the plains of La Mancha, stop for birdwatching at Laguna del Arquillo or Ojos de Villaverde, enjoy the spectacular landscape of the Sierra de Alcaraz or stay at the old Robledo station, today restored into a rural accommodation (another of the great charms of Greenways without a doubt).


Vía Verde de Tajuña Greenway

In the heart of the Community of Madrid, we meet the Tajuña Greenway, which connects Arganda del Rey and Ambite to Guadalajara. A 52 km route in which we will come across churches and hermitages, the prehistoric caves of Perales de Tajuña, as well as its castle, or the Palace of the Marqueses de Legarda, dating from the 17th century. In addition, a few kilometers from the Greenway, we can visit the train museum in Arganda del Rey itself, which has the great attraction of being able to travel on a historic steam train for 4 km along the only preserved section of the Tajuña Railway. It is a must if we want to go back in time when cycling along this Greenway.

This railway, popularly known as the Tren de Arganda, which whistles more than it walks, remained true to its slogan until its last days: it was extremely slow due to the locomotives used and the bad condition of the tracks. So much so that passenger traffic was suspended in 1953, although until 1998 a small section was still used exclusively for transporting concrete to the Vicálvaro district.

Part of the route of this line has been reused for line 9 of the Madrid metro, which reaches Arganda del Rey, and which allows us to connect with the part of the route that has been kept as a Greenway.


Vía Verde de Senda del Oso Greenway

The Senda del Oso Greenway is probably the most impressive of all the Greenways in Spain. It is not surprising given its location, in the heart of the Valle del Oso, in Asturias, a region with one of the most unique mining traditions in Spain. 

It is precisely thanks to the route of the old Teverga and Quirós mining trains that we now have the possibility of traveling this Greenway with a comfortable route suitable for everyone.

The first, Teverga, dates from 1874, and linked the iron and coal mines of the Valle de Quirón valley with the Trubia station, over a 30 km route. Later, an additional branch line from Caranga de Abajo was added to link with the Teverga mines, adding 10 km more track. Its tunnels were so narrow that they were partly responsible for the death of some brakemen (who were basically workers who had to loosen or tighten brakes as the driver saw fit) who hit the overhanging rocks as they passed from one wagon to another. 

The train was dismantled in 1963, although the mines remained operating until 1992. 

The spectacular nature of its surroundings can be quantified if we take into account that within a range of less than 5 km of its route we can find up to 14 Protected Natural Areas. That's Asturias. And that is why the Senda del Oso has become one of the busiest Greenways in Spain. That's why we couldn't leave it out of this top list of the best Greenways in Spain.