Greenways (Spanish: Vía Verde) are old railway lines all over Spain, which have been reconditioned for cyclists and hikers. It is a highly enjoyable, environmentally friendly and sporty way to discover the countryside of Spain and to get to see more than the typical tourist attractions. The greenway of the Black Eyes (Vía Verde de los Ojos Negros) is 152 km, the longest Spanish greenway, and is the perfect outdoor activity for you if you want to be in nature – spotting fauna and flora. Stay overnight in a Spanish town to experience typical friendly village culture – the cultural heritage town centres of Segorbe and Jérica are waiting to be discovered. Furthermore the World Heritage Sites of Teruel are close by. The 200 km Sierra Menera mining railway was never a good idea and was already closed in 1960's, but the idea to change it into a greenway for cyclists and walkers was, and to make it wheelchair suitable definitely was. There are a lot of things that can be discovered - read further to get more details and ideas about the greenway of the Black Eyes.
The 152 km greenway of the Black Eyes is divided into two parts. Actually it is better to take the second part first in order to do more kilometres downhill. We took the train with our bikes from Valencia to Teruel. We started the greenway in Teruel - we missed out part of the itinerary, but we had to do the whole route in two days. If you want to do the greenway from the very start, take the train 35 km further north to Santa Eulalia. The 92 km route from Santa Eulalia to Barracas is the 'second part', in which you can enjoy typical Mediterranean pine forests, the Ramblas Landscape, the Toro and Javalambre ranges, and the valleys of Alfambra and Jiloca.
Teruel is called the world capital of Moorish architecture - the towers and the roof of its Cathedral are declared World Heritage. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get to know Teruel better, but if you do, it seems definitely worth it. Finding the access to the greenway of the Black Eyes close to Teruel took us some time, but the locals were friendly and with their help and our navigation we found the way. The impression Teruel left upon us, though we spent little time there, was very positive – the city is beautiful and interesting. The following picture shows the Cathedral of Teruel – an impressive building, as is the Plaza del Torico, another highlight in Teruel.
The 'second part' ends in Barracas (Castellón) and goes into a rural 67,7 km to Algimia de Alfara (in the Community of Valencia). It leads you through the culture heritage town centres of Segorbe and Jérica. We spent the night in Jérica and had a lovely stay in a local hotel. We started our journey a bit late in Teruel, because on Saturday there was no earlier trains, so we were in a bit of a hurry to reach Jérica, during daylight in February, but we made it.
On Sunday we continued the journey through Sagunto to Valencia, which adds around 42 km to the journey and is mainly bicycle paths. Another option is to take the train back from Sagunto to Valencia. All in all I would recommend spending more time on the route and to enjoy the destinations on the way more. We ended up in feeling in a bit of a hurry, also because we had some tire issues to handle.
We enjoyed the greenway of the Black Eyes all the same and were quite proud to have reached Valencia after two days of adventurous cycling.
Cover picture © Credits to Christian Stascheit
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