Tortosa and Ebro Delta. I didn’t even heard of these places a few weeks ago, but I was immediately sold on the idea of a relaxing getaway from Barcelona.

Most people know how suffocating can be to live in a big city. The crowded restaurants, the noisy streets and the tall buildings create an enclosing atmosphere we sometimes need to escape from. Barcelona is no exception.

After my amazing weekend in Comporta beach, Portugal and being to Sitges beach last year, it was time for another relaxing getaway. 

There are literally dozens of day trips from Barcelona to choose from. But this time my destination was nearly 150km south of Barcelona, in the province of Tarragona.

Hello Tortosa!

Tortosa – City Of Three Cultures

I did very little research about this place and honestly didn’t know what there was exactly to see in the town. I just knew I was staying at the local parador – in Spain, paradores are picturesque hotels usually located in a historic building. In this case, the parador was in Suda Castle, standing on top of the highest hill in the town. In my book, that’s enough of a motivation to go!

 

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - Parador de Tortosa
Arriving to the parador.
Tortosa And Ebro Delta - the city of tortosa
Daenerys Targaryen could show up at any moment.

Getting there, I could confirm the parador actually looked as cool as it sounded. Suda Castle dates back to the 10th century (!) and its whole decoration is a very interesting mix of motifs. The Roman columns in front façade, the contrast between the Catalan Gothic windows and the Arab motifs in the walls work all together, performing a quaint yet delightful symphony of colors and patterns. Plus, to know this was the result of centuries of history is some kind of awesomeness!

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - city view
Cathedral of Tortosa. Cursed to be forever unfinished.

Tortosa is often called the city of the three cultures, standing out the remains of Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences. Apart from this impressive historical record, there isn’t much to do in Tortosa. Actually it’s a damn quiet town! Tortosa is enclosed on the margins of the river Ebro and protected by the mountains of Cardó Massif, on the north side. I could literally spend hours in my balcony just staring at the beautiful scenery around me, but there was a boat ride awaiting me!

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - tortosa city
the city of Tortosa And Ebro Delta nearby

Tortosa And Ebro Delta 

The Ebro Delta – Delta Del’Ebre

The river Ebro is the biggest in the Iberian Peninsula. When it arrives to the Mediterranean sea it forms a delta occupying a considerable portion – 320km2 – of the province of Tarragona.

I got myself into a boat that sailed through the final km of the Ebro right until the exact place where it meets the Mediterranean. Glad I did because it allowed me to see how huge this natural park is at first hand. Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre is comprised of a range of different landscapes – mainly estuaries, beaches and wetlands – and it hosts a wide variety of wildlife, including more than 300 of the 500 (!) different species of birds in Europe. 

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - Delta del'Ebre

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - delta from the river Ebro
Birds. Lots of birds.

 

Birds are not really my thing, but I was particularly excited to see pink flamingos for the first time in the wild. Unfortunately it was already late when I arrived to the delta, hence I could only see their one-legged shapes from a distance. A few minutes later they flew away in pack, a beautiful moment in which my phone decided to… reboot itself, damn!

The Ebro Delta is also known for huge rice fields. Some say it’s so good even the Japanese buy rice from here to make sushi. For me this sounds more like a smart marketing maneuver than anything else, but hey, my knowledge of rice is about the same as of hormonal cycles of gorillas. A big fat zero.

 

Still, the high of the whole trip was getting to enjoy an awesome sunset right on the beach. I haven’t seen such a pure and colorful sunset in quite a while and it was worth the whole trip. If it wouldn’t be for the birds, a beautiful silence would also set in, but it was majestic anyway. And this was taken on Platja del Trabucador.

Tortosa And Ebro Delta - delta from the Ebro river
We all know the #1 of photography: it a sunset actually manages to look good in a photo, it’s because it was a DAMN GOOD sunset.

More Getaways from Barcelona

This trip to Tortosa and to the Ebro Delta entailed exactly what I needed: relax. Overall and despite their massive cultural heritage, I was not blown away by the town of Tortosa. While I wasn’t expecting it to be a wonder, I feel staying there for one night was enough.

I would have spent more time exploring the Ebro Delta rather than in Tortosa, but those moments doing nothing in the parador felt so good, so absolutely no regrets! 

This trip made me realize I still have a lot to explore in Catalonia. Costa Brava, Girona and Montserrat are on my priority list, but there is so many interesting off the beaten track places I should really pay more attention to such as the medieval Vic and the city of Tarragona.

Lots of exploring in Catalonia to be done! 

HAVE YOU BEEN TO CATALONIA? WHICH OFF THE BEATEN TRACK PLACES ARE CLOSER TO WHERE YOU LIVE?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 comments

  1. This place looks great, there is so much more to explore in Spain that I have seen. That cathedral looks interesting too. I love that the city was founded on three cultures, our modern cities could learn from that.

  2. What a great find! I’ve been to the Iberian Peninsula but not to any of these places. They look great and the architecture is splendid, just like the rest of the country. 😉 Glad you enjoyed.

  3. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Ebro Delta, but very little about Tortosa – maybe like you, they weren’t blown away by it. I’d love to stay in parador though!

    There are SO many fantastic places to visit in Catalonia. Girona is one of my favorites, and a day out in the Penedes wine region is pretty nice too. 🙂

    1. That’s about it: Tortosa is a really nice place to stay, but better things to explore during the day around it. The Parc is HUGE and you can easily spend a full day exploring all the different landscapes.

      Girona is my next trip!

  4. I’ve never been further south than Barcelona (which you can’t really count as being south anyways) but this looks like a gorgeous trip!

    1. It sure does. Thinking how would it be today if it had been finished made my imagination flow! Well, it was relaxing more than anything, exactly what I wanted 🙂

  5. I’ve never been to Catalonia, but when I visited Valencia, I took a day trip to Xativa – a Moorish fortress near by. The fortress was beautiful and it was great to get out of the city – from the top of the ramparts, you could see for miles and there was hardly another town in sight. Lovely.