What are greenways / "Vías Verdes"?
They are former railway lines, now
disused, recovered as non-motorized itineraries to be used
primarily by walkers and cyclists. In Spain there are over 3,300
km of greenways spread over every autonomous region.
Greenways are designed to take advantage of easy to travel disused railway routes. Most of the routes offer universal accessibility; they are accessible to young children, seniors, and people with disabilities alike.
Greenways are magical itineraries, dotted with old stations, impressive tunnels, and spectacular viaducts where once trains used to run, in many cases mining trains, or even railway lines that were never completed and on which no train ever ran.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food has developed three such itineraries in Navarre: Tarazonica, Plazaola and FC Vasco Navarro within the framework of the Nature Trails Programme.
- Respect the environment, the local people, the crops, and the livestock and wildlife.
- Respect the signage and the rules for using the greenways.
- Enjoy nature quietly and unhurriedly.
- Travel carefully where the route is shared with vehicles.
- Take special care in tunnels and on viaducts.
- Don’t forget to carry a flashlight or have lights on your bike on greenways where there are tunnels.
- Binoculars, water and comfortable footwear will always be good basic equipment to take on your excursions.
- If you are cycling, it is advisable to wear a helmet.
- Check the rules regarding taking cycles on trains (at www.renfe.com) and on buses.
- Go to www.visitnavarra.es and www.viasverdes.com for more information about your route and warnings of possible incidents that may affect it.
Greenways / Vías Verdes in Navarre
Today the Autonomous Community of Navarre
has five greenways with a total length of over 120 km. By using
these greenways tourists can discover the history, culture, and
natural resources of Navarre and the story behind these narrow gauge
railways. There are greenways in the Pyrenees, in Navarra Media, and
in La Ribera (the north, centre, and south of the region); in the
heart of the mountains, among vegetable farms and vineyards, or by
cool rivers. Perhaps the best way to discover the Kingdom of Navarre
at your own pace would be to visit all five greenways.
Also, projects in progress such Eurovelo 1 or the future prolongations of a number of these greenways, such as Plazaola, Bidasoa or Irati, presage a promising future to these small railways of old. And if you are still hungry for more, you can follow these magical routes on through the Basque Country and Aragon.
Bidasoa GreenwayOn the banks of the Bidasoa and next to the Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park
Plazaola Nature Trail GreenwayFrom Navarre to Gipuzkoa through the most unspoiled areas of Leitzaran
Irati GreenwayA surprising route through the Foz de Lumbier Nature Reserve
Vasco-Navarro Railway Nature Trail GreenwayFollowing the trail of the “Trenico” from the monumental city of Estella-Lizarra
Tarazonica Nature Trail GreenwayFrom the Ebro river to the Moncayo mountain through La Ribera de Navarra
For more information about Spain’s Greenwayswww.viasverdes.com
EuroVelo 1 is a cycling route linking North Cape (Norway) to
Sagres (Portugal) with a large section of the Spanish part running
Thanks to the Ederbidea cross-border project between Navarre, Gipuzkoa and the Atlantic Pyrenees, it has been possible to link up the Bidasoa and Plazaola Rail Trails in order to progress in the development of the EuroVelo 1 route in Navarre. 52 kms of this route run along local roads with little traffic, while a few sections cross mountain passes with steep slopes (between 6 to 22%), given that Navarre is a mountainous region and it is no easy task to connect the Pyrenean valleys.
The Atlantic On Bike project was another scheme in which Navarre
took part. This cross-border scheme involved 18 partners from six
countries: Norway, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal, while also
counting on the support of the European Cyclists' Federation. This
initiative was directed at promoting and developing the EuroVelo 1
route as a tourist destination.
The EuroVelo 3 is another of the great routes in the European network that crosses through Navarre. This 5,000 km route runs through 6 countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France and Spain. Bicimugi is the cross-border project between the Atlantic Pyrenees and Navarre, to develop this 57 km route. It is also known as the pilgrims' route as it runs parallel to the French Way of St James, entering through the Pyrenees, passing through Orbaizeta and going as far as Aoiz/Agoitz. This route will carry on to Pamplona along the Natural Path of the Irati river and will link up with EuroVelo 1 to then become the EuroVelo 1-3 route as far as Viana.
More information: www.eurovelospain.com