Amusing details about our beautiful Tortosa!
- Last Updated: Monday, 11 March 2019 23:11
- Written by Gerard
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View from the Zuda Castle towards the west: Tortosa - Ferreries
Tortosa is a somehow sleepy county capital in transition, located in the lower Ebro valley, cut by the river itself to the east and west. It is located 25 km from the Mediterranean Sea, 90 km south of Tarragona, the provincial capital and 180 km south of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, as well as 130 km north of Castellón or 200 km north of Valencia.
Tortosa looks back on a more than 2,000-year history. As a former port city (until the Ebro had built up the delta) it was very interesting for the conquerors who moved through the country. It was first occupied by the Romans, then came the Musulmans and held the land for about 700 years under their influence. But the French also annexed the city for a few years. All had their share of building, enlarging and gave the city many cultural assets. Unfortunately, however, at the end it was almost completely destroyed by the Spaniards themselves. Their dictator, General Franco, had the strategically important city on the Ebro bombed in the last two years of the Civil War (1936-1939) until almost nothing remained of it. The reconstruction was expensive and very time consuming. And so Tortosa lags many years behind the other coastal cities.
Today, Tortosa is a nice little town with many attractions in a no less interesting valley, away from the tourist-flooded coastal strip. It is still very quiet, already recognizable on the road, where you sometimes have to be a little more patient, because some participants seemingly want to oversleep the green light phase.
Culinary, Tortosa is also worth a visit. There are many restaurants, tapas bars and modern cafeterias with good standard, nice service and yet at very reasonable prices. The cheaper menus cost between 10 and 13 € per person, including drinks, dessert and coffee. A cup of good coffee is available between 1.20 and 1.60 €, which would probably cost in the northern countries 3 to 5 €.
Also for shopping Tortosa is interesting. It's home to Mercadona, Al Campo, Carrefour, Lidl, Aldi, Decathlon, and a few more chains, not to mention the smaller family shops in the city center.
Even the motorists can be happy, as Tortosa has the cheapest gas stations far and wide. As a rule, you tap here for about 10 cts less than elsewhere.
The former Hipersimply, now Al Campo: Gas Station
Tortosa is also ideal as a starting point for excursions. The geographical environment is one of the most beautiful in Spain. While the Ebro valley widens southern from Tortosa, it narrows towards the north more and more, the river is now the real eye-catcher. It is enclosed on both sides by mountains that reach heights of about 700 to 800 m, however with the highest peak at Tortosa, the Mont Caro and its 1,447 m.
- This is fully driveable in serpentines, even the last third to the top. From there you have a view that you can not imagine. On days with good visibility you overlook the mountains east of Tortosa far out to the sea, as well as the entire Ebro Delta with its 40 km of beaches. For visitors, this is almost a "must see". At 2/3 height is a small village, with 2 restaurants. Here, a menu is offered every day at noon, often with wild meat purchased from hunters.
Restaurant Pou de la Neu up on the Mt. Caro
- A walking path for cyclists and pedestrians, the famous "Via Verde", leads up to the Terra Alta (highlands). If you want to be more comfortable, pay for a ticket by bus, travel with your bike as luggage, 40 km to Horta San Joan, have lunch there and then enjoy the descent through the mountains back to Tortosa. You almost only need to let it run. But it can also be adventurous if you do not have enough lighting in the very dark tunnels.
- If you drive to Amposta, in the Ebro Delta, you have a second hiking trail towards the sea, all plain and less difficult to walk or cycle
- On nice sunny days but also worth a trip to the sea. It is about 23 km to the Arenal beach in L'Ampolla, 40 km to the resort of Riumar on Cape Tortosa and 30 km to the beach of Sant Carles de la Rápita. The walk on the beach can be crowned in the evening even with a nice fish plate in a local restaurant.
Restaurant "Varadero" in St. Carles de la Rápita
Though Tortosa is located on the lowest (southern) tip of Catalonia, with higher temperatures in the summer, it is subject to the business practices of the Catalans, who, together with the Basques, come closest to our traditions. One can still rely on promises, while further south, life is more according to the "Mañana laws". Unfortunately, the southernmost tip has also been somewhat neglected by the Catalan governments, so that one can still find the best prices for property without having to forego a certain standard.
Try it. We are sure you will not be disappointed. Hasta pronto! Bye for now!