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Val del Zafán Greenway - Teruel section

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Val del Zafán Greenway - Teruel section

Part of the extinct La Val de Zafán railway, on the Puebla de Hijar to Tortosa line. An itinerary following crystal-clear watercourses as far as the mighty Ebro River, passing through the regions of Matarraña, Terra Alta and Baix Ebre featuring spectacular landscapes full of viaducts and tunnels. Protected areas, history, culture and scenery along an exceptional route dotted with restored stations that now have new uses. Experience Teruel!

This Camino Natural - Greenway has been implemented within the framework of the Caminos Naturales Program of the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. More info>>

The Puebla de Híjar-Alcañiz section of this Greenway has been developed by the Town Hall of La Puebla de Híjar and Samper de Calanda, by the Association for the Integral Development of Bajo Martín and Andorra-Sierra de Arcos. 

 
Download leaflet (Spanish)>>

 


 Technical data
Through the rural regions of Bajo Martín, Bajo Aragón and Matarraña 
 
LOCATION
 
Section 1. "Teruel North".
 
Section 2. "From Alcañiz to Valdealgorfa"
 
Section 3. "Matarraña"
 
The Matarraña pass goes through Valjunquera, Valdeltormo, Torre del Compte, Valderrobres, Cretas and Arnes-Lledó

Length: 77,6 Km

Section 1: 18 km. Section 2: 30 km. Section 3: 29,6 km
 
Users: *
Section 1 and 3: suitable ; Section 2: not suitable
 
Type of firm:
Section 1: asphalt treatment ; Section 2: compacted earth with stony sections; Section 3: asphalt treatment
 
          Vía Verde del Val del Zafán
Natural Setting:
Mediterranean farmland featuring olive trees, almond trees and vines, as well as pine forests and shrubland. Valleys of the Martín, Matarraña/Matarranya and Algás/Algars. From the greenway you can enjoy views of the mountainous massif called Puertos de Beceite/Ports de Beseit. The Bajo Martín region features numerous Special Protection Areas (SPAs): Saladas de Azaila, Barranco de Valdemesón, Parque Cultural del Río Martín, Las Planetas-Claverías, Martín River gorges. 
 
Cultural heritage:
Churches, castles, viaducts, archaeological sites, bridges and manor houses, portals, prisons and town halls in the different municipalities
 
La Puebla de Híjar: church of the Nativity of the Virgin, Chariff Square and hermitage of the Sorrows
Samper de Calanda: church of El Salvador, Chapels-arch of San José and Santo Domingo, hermitage of Calvary, Sanctuary of Santa Quiteria and Carlist Fort
Valjunquera: cultural house-Lonja, chapels of the Virgen de la Piedad and Santa Barbara, parish church of San Miguel
Valdeltormo: parish church, cremated tower, Tossal de Montañes
La Fresneda: Historic Artistic Site. Castle, hermitage of Santa Bárbara and church of Santa María la Mayor
Torre de Compte: bell tower of Saint Peter the Apostle
ValderrobresHistoric Artistic Site
Cretas: church of the Assumption of Our Lady
Lledó: parish church of Santiago Apóstol, Font de la Vila, hermitage of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Ribera del Algars
 
Infrastructure:
Greenway. 2 viaducts, 5 tunnels
Notice: Some tunnels lack lighting. It is recommended to use a front or flashlight
 
Recovered stations: Torre del Compte and Cretas
 
How to get there:
By train
Renfe, Media Distancia services to Zaragoza, Madrid and Barcelona
 
Bus
HIFE company from Zaragoza to Barcelona or Castellón
 
Connections:
Barcelona: 206 km from Arnés-Lledó
Tarragona: 111 km from Arnés-Lledó
Lleida: 154 km from La Puebla de Híjar - 115 km from Arnés-Lledó
Zaragoza: 72 km from La Puebla de Híjar - 124 km from Valjunquera - 159 km from Arnés-Lledó
Teruel: 154 km from La Puebla de Híjar - 164 km from Valjunquera - 199 km from Arnés-Lledó
Castellón: 190 km from Arnés-Lledó
 
This Greenway connects with the Val de Zafán Greenway (Terra Alta), with the Camino Natural of Matarraña-Algars and with the BTT route Lo Llaurador

 

 

 

 

 

More information in Guía de las Vías Verdes. Volume Sur, Centro y Levante (2021). In Spanish. Publisher Anaya Touring.

 

 Description
 
Section Teruel North 
 
 Km 0
 
The Val de Zafán Greenway begins in La Puebla de Híjar Station. We start our journey along a section of asphalt road for about 600 metres. We then take an agricultural road, also used by vehicles, for two kilometres that connects with the greenway’s original route.
 
Two railway structures stand out in this section, giving the itinerary an air of adventure. The bridge known as “Puente de la Torica,” which is called after an old steam engine that used to travel along this line, rises up imposingly 3.5 km from the start of the route. It is a viaduct built at the end of the 19th century to bridge the profound trench through which the railway runs. A few metres further on, the greenway enters the tunnel known as “Túnel del Montecico,” which was built to go through the hill that takes us as far as Samper de Calanda.
 
 Km 18 
 
After coming out of the tunnel, we pass under the viaduct on the Madrid-Barcelona railway line and then over the viaduct crossing the Martín River, which is called “Puente Negro” or “Puente de San Carlos.” The GR-262 road, which accompanies the Martín River on its way to the sea, passes under the viaduct. Right after the viaduct, we come to Huerta de Samper Station, which is currently in a state of abandonment.
 
We continue on our way and go over several bridges and the viaduct on an agricultural road, as far as the crossroads between the current Madrid-Barcelona railway line and the abandoned Andorra-Escatrón steam railway. Two more bridges and we arrive at Puigmoreno Station (km 18.7).
 
Then, from Puigmoreno to Valdealgorfa via Alcañiz, there is another 30.5 km section that, although it is passable, has not yet been prepared as a greenway and is used by motor vehicles. Hopefully, this Alcañiz section, which is currently at the planning stage, will soon become part of the greenway.
 
Since the kilometre signs posted throughout the Val de Zafán Greenway originate in the city of Tortosa (although people normally start the itinerary at La Puebla de Híjar Station), this description begins at km 83 and ends at the border with Catalonia, around km 49.
 
 
Sections Bajo Aragón and Matarraña
 
 Km 83
 
This greenway starts in the old Valdealgorfa Station, located in the surroundings of this small locality. Its Aragonese Neo-Mudejar style stands out and we will see more of this style in some other Aragonese stations. The village, with its traditional houses on high ground, is a source of food supplies. The first metres of the greenway bring us to the Equinoccio tunnel, which is more than 2 km long and reflects a special magic. Only twice a year, on March 26 and September 17, you can see a slender, mysterious and ephemerous beam as the light of daybreak penetrates this straight tunnel. A truly unique experience.
 
On leaving the gallery, the landscape changes, which we appreciate now that we are starting a gentle climb –it is a rugged and wooded Mediterranean landscape dominated by a pine forest accompanied by kermes oaks, holm oaks, junipers, rosemary and mastic trees; the small valleys, on the other hand, feature terraces dotted with olive and almond trees. In such rugged terrain, the railway had to level the route through continuous watercourses and hills with tall embankments and deep trenches. This section features another curiosity: at around km 80, travellers will cross the Prime Meridian, which means that they will have one half of the planet on either side of them, while standing on this imaginary line.
 
 Km 77
 
The ascent comes to an end at the abandoned Valjunquera Station. Made of masonry, with an abundance of ornamental brick tops, it reflects the same Neo-Mudejar style –these first two stations stand out from the others, which have a plainer appearance.
 
After passing the dividing line between the Guadalope and Mantarraña basins, the greenway starts going down towards the latter river, surrounded by the same rugged, solitary scenery. A long descent featuring the uninhabited village of Mas del Labrador, on the left, the abandoned, simple Valdeltormo Station, the turn-off to the Iberian settlements of Torre Cremada and Tossal Montañés, and a long curved tunnel. From the station, a small road leads to the village of Valdeltormo 2 km away.
 
The turn-off to the Iberian settlements is signposted on the left (km 70.4), followed by the eighth tunnel (km 69), which is illuminated. The descent, which has a lot of bends in its final section, ends at the impressive viaduct over the Matarraña River (km 67), which features an extensive fertile plain. The concrete structure, supported by four 20-metre sections and four arches, features a magnificent view of La Fresneda, a locality on high ground crowned by the remains of a castle. It is worth stopping to visit this village and contemplate the Chapel of Santa Bárbara and the Church of Santa María la Mayor.
 
 Km 66,7
 
Having reached the bottom, we now come to Torre del Compte Station, which has been restored as an evocative four-star hotel with a restaurant. The greenway will start ascending again through mountainous terrain. Above our heads, the solitary belfry of San Pedro Apóstol gives way to a view of the locality of Torre del Compte. A little further up (km 64.3), there is the flyover of the TE-V-310 road, which is the best way of reaching this village. 
 
At km 60, terraces of almond and olive trees and vines cover the heart of the Regall. The deep ravine and its enclosing walls gradually give way to a plateau featuring fields of vines, fruit and olive trees, and wheat.
 
 Km 57,7
 
The greenway, bursting in spring with colours and floral aromas, reaches Valderrobres Station. We cross the dividing line between the Matarraña and Algars basins and then start a gentle descent featuring open horizons, with views of the mountainous massif called Puertos de Beceite and the hamlet of Cretas, crowned by its church. Starting from Cretas Station (km 55.3), which has been restored as a youth hostel, the greenway does down through rolling terrain, surrounded by crops and pine trees struggling to occupy marginal spaces. The descent ends at an impressive concrete-and-stone viaduct over the crystal-clear Algars River (km 49.7), which is very similar to the one crossing the Matarraña with its five 20-metre sections and four central arches. Finally, on the other bank, there rises up the ruinous station of Arnes-Lledó. We are now in Catalonia. From here on, you can continue for another 23 km along the Terra Alta>> section and another 26 km through the Baix Ebre>> region, as far as Tortosa. You can even connect with the Ebro Natural Path, as far as the mighty river’s delta

 

 Maps
 Profile

SECTION 1

SECTION 2, 3 and section Region of Valencia

 

 Railway History
The Val de Zafán railway is a project that was never completely finished. The first attempt to build a railway linking the port of San Carlos de la Rápita with Puebla de Híjar, in Teruel, dates from 1863. In relation to the genesis of this railway, we have to take into account a highly curious consideration. According to an old military hypothesis, in the context of a potential conflict, Spain would be in danger of invasion from beyond the Pyrenes. After overcoming these mountains, the next natural barrier would be the watercourse of the Ebro River. It would therefore be interesting to have a railway line on the river’s southern banks, in on order to supply this hypothetical battle front. The military therefore gave its blessing to this railway project. 
 
Even so, the railway’s birth was long and painful, with the official start of its construction being continuously announced without anything actually happening. In 1891, Compañía del Ferrocarril del Val de Zafán began levelling work on the route. However, it was not until 1895 when the 32-km-long section between Puebla de Híjar and Alcañiz was opened. For decades, the trains turned around in this Teruel station. 
 
The line’s extension as far as Tortosa did not come about until 1942, being operated from the beginning by Renfe. Sadly, the Spanish Civil War was what favoured the construction of this section, with the railway line playing an important logistical role in the Battle of the Ebro. On the other hand, a large part of the workers that completed the last phase of the railway’s construction were prisoners from the Republican side. 
 
This railway, known locally as the "Sarmentero" (“vine shoot” in English, since it ran through an area of vineyards), had a languid existence during its short lifetime -barely 31 years. In all of this time, the last section (between Tortosa and Sant Carles de la Rápita) was never completed, even though all the levelling work had been carried out. On September 19, 1973, a collapse in the tunnel between the stations of Pinell de Brai and Prat del Comte was the perfect excuse for the final closure of this railway line, despite successive attempts at reopening it.
 
 
 
 Interesting Data
           
    1. Festivals & holidays    
 
    2. Accommodation       
    3. Eco-tourism      
    4. Managing Authority      
    5. Town Councils       
    6. Emergencies      
    7. Bus and taxi      
           
 
 
Festivals & holidays
Arriba volver  
     
 
La Puebla de Híjar
January 17th
Festivity of San Antón
 
January 20th 
San Fabián and San Sebastián
 
January 29th
San Valero
 
During the month of March
Music Cane fair "Arundo Donax"
 
May 15th
San Isidro Labrador
 
July 25th
Santiago Apostle
 
August 14th-18th 
Nuestra Sra de la Asunción y San Roque
 
Samper de Calanda
Next Saturday from May 22nd
Santa Quiteria
 
August 3rd-7th 
Santo Domingo de Guzmán 
 
August 28th
San Augustín
 
September 29th
San Miguel 
 
Híjar
January 17th
Festivity of San Antón
 
January 29th
San Valero
 
February 3rd
San Blas 
 
Palm Sunday weekend
Drum fair "Tamborixar"
 
May 15th
San Isidro Labrador
 
August 19th-23rd
Nuestra Sra del Carmen y la Virgen de Arcos
 
Alcañiz
Abril 23rd
San Jorge
 
Easter
 
August 6th
Feast of the Transfiguration
 
September 8th-13rd
Patron saint festivities in honor of the Virgen de los Pueyos and the Guardian Angel
 
Valdealgorfa
January 17th
Festivity of San Antón
 
May
Pilgrimage hermitage of Santa Bárbara
 
September 6th-11th
Patron saint festivities, Nuestra Señora de la Natividad and San Fortunato
 
Valjunquera
January 17th
Festivity of San Antón
 
February 5th
Santa Águeda
 
May 8th
San Miguel
 
Nearest weekend to May 15th
San Isidro and San Miguel
 
Mid-May
Tapa fair
 
First week of August
Cultural week
 
June 24th
San Juan
 
September 28th-30th
Main festivities
 
Month of August
Patronal festivities
 
August 31st
San Ramón
 
October 12th
Bonfires of Pilar
 
Valderrobres
January 17th
San Antón
 
February 5th
Santa Águeda
 
Easter
 
First weekend of May
Livestock and Commercial Fair
 
During the month of July
San Cristóbal
 
Sunday before the festival
Pilgrimage at the Ermita de los Santos
 
August 14th-18th
Main festivities 
 
First weekend of September
Comercial festivity
 
Cretas
January 17th
San Antón
 
Feberuay 5th
Santa Águeda
 
Weekend prior to Easter 
Wine fair and Medieval market
 
June 24th
San Juan
 
Augst 13th-16th
Summer festivities
 
August 7th-12nd
Main festivities
 
October 8th
Santa Pelagia
 
Lledó
January 17th
San Antón
 
Feberuary 5th
Santa Águeda
 
First weekend of July 
Pilgrimage at the Ermita de Santa Rosa de Viterbo  
 
August 30th to September 4th
Main festivities
 
               
 
Accommodation
Arriba volver  
     
 
La Puebla de Híjar
Pensión rural La Botica
Tel. 654 362 661 / 654 362 660
 
Samper de Calanda
Hostal El Porche
Tel. 978 822 512
 
La casa de Joliva
Tel. 658 622 893
 
Casa Ángeles
Tel. 658 622 893
 
Casa del cura viejo
Tel. 978 822 521 / 638 907 428
 
Híjar
Hostal Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Tel. 654 162 740
 
All the tourist establishments in Alcañiz
 
Valjunquera 
Hotel La Tellería
Tel. 978 854 435
 
Hotel Portal del Matarraña
Tel. 978 899 052
 
Apartaments Mirablanc
Tel. 619 852 235
 
Torre del Compte
Hotel Raco dels Torrats
Tel. 978 854 949
 
Hotel La Parada del Compte
Tel. 978 079 025
 
La Casa de Baix
Tel. 636 821 886
 
Casa rural Casa El Niño
Tel. 619 772 966
 
All the tourist establishments in Valderrobres
 
 
Cretas
Hotel Villa de Cretas
Tel. 978 850 542
 
Albergue Estació Rural d´Interior del Matarranya
Tel. 978 079 015
 
Apartamentos Hort de L´Aubert
Tel. 678 475 998
 
Casa rural Ca La Serreta
Tel. 620 972 236
 
Casa rural Can Cabré
Tel. 636 730 017
 
Casa rural Casa Domench
Tel. 686 985 996
 
Casa rural Casa Mineta
Tel. 635 163 081
 
Casa rural Casa Ramón de La Basa
Tel. 978 890 209
 
Casa rural Masía Katmandú
Tel. 659 937 792
 
Casa rural Ruralracons
Tel. 667 603 756
 
Vivienda turística Camí de la Font
Tel. 646 178 661
 
Lledó
Casa de Las Letras
Tel. 685 317 997
 
Casa del  Avi Brenchat
Tel. 978 891 939
 
Casa Yaya Felisa
Tel. 618 190 276
 
Nuestra Posada
Tel. 666 024 428
 
               
 

Eco-tourism

Arriba volver  
     
 
Puebla de Híjar
Karálom 
Active tourism company, guided tours and bicycle rental
Tel. 681 281 687
 
In the Matarraña region
Matarraña Aventura
Bicycle rental and lift
Tel. 978 580 272
 
Valderrobres
Camping El Roble: bicycle rental
Tel. 608 318 481
 
Valde Vivo
Bicycle rental and lift
Tel. 642 338 829 
valdevivo.com
 
Cretas
Old railway station recovered Cretas
Mountain bike centre
Tel. 978 079 015
 
Taxi Tour Matarranya 
Taxi and bicycles lift
Tel. 666 621 428
 
               
 

 Managing Authority

Arriba volver  
     
 
Matarranya region 
Avenida Cortes de Aragón, 17-19
Valderrobres
Tel. 978 890 886
 
Bajo Martín region
Carretera Alcañiz, 72 -44530
Híjar
Tel. 978 820 126
 
               
 

Town Councils

Arriba volver  
 
     
Puebla de Híjar
Tel. 978 826 202
 
Samper de Calanda
Tel. 978 822 401
 
Híjar
Tel. 978 820 000
 
Valdealgorfa 
Tel. 978 857 000
 
Valljunquera
Tel. 978 854 100
 
 
Valdeltormo
Tel. 978 858 001
 
Torre del Compte
Tel. 978 854 137
 
Valderrobres
Tel. 978 850 001
 
Cretas
Tel. 978 850 300
 
Lledó
Tel. 978 891 932
 
 
               
 

Emergencies

Arriba volver  
     
  Telf. 062 y 112  
               
 

Bus and taxi

Arriba volver  
     
 
Bus company HIFE
Tel. 977 44 03 00
 
La Puebla de Híjar
Taxi David Rivero
Tel. 615 071 888 / 978 826 644
 
Taxi Luis Beltrán
Tel. 645 824 682 / 978 820 014
 
Híjar
Taxi José Mª Turón
Tel. 635 785 343 / 978 820 014
 
Albalate
Taxi Carlos y Tere
Tel. 722 788 303 / 978 813 108
 
Valderrobres
Taxi Jesús Villoro
Tel. 652 441 672
 
Taxi Segurana 
Tel. 626 909 544
 
Beceite
Taxi Ramon Serret
Tel. 978 890 276
 
La Portellada
Taxi de La Portellada
Tel. 643 030 259
 
Monroyo
Taxi Marisol
Tel. 696 552 533
 
Calaceite
Taxi Calaceite 
Tel. 623 376 113
 
Taxi Juan Belmonte
Tel. 978 851 156
 
               

 

 Multimedia

Video "Víve la Vía": La Vía Verde del Val de Zafán serie 

(9min version in Spanish)

 

 

Photo gallery


 Links
Provincial Council of Teruel
 
Official website Turismo Diputación de Teruel
 
Matarraña region 
 
Caminos Naturales Program of the Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación

 
Fundación de Ferrocarriles Espańoles
Greenways Management and Environment | prensavv@ffe.es