Natural Parks: Ebro Delta

The Ebro Delta is a unique natural area, a wetland with a landscape of great biological interest and a wide variety of fauna, making it a fascinating place to visit.

The entirely flat landscape makes it perfect for rice growing and the scenery changes as the expansive rice fields change with the season. In winter they are muddy, in spring they are flooded with water, in summer they are green and in autumn the rice is harvested and the fields are awash with birds.

Along the coastal area lie some of the most appealing landscapes of the Mediterranean: large lagoons surrounded by reed swamps and rushes, wide expanses of saline soils and salt marshes, and long, deserted beaches surrounded by dunes.

An interesting Park brochure and map in English can be downloaded here.

A map of the Delta showing the look out points can be downloaded here.

The park is subdivided into nine zones of interest:

  1. Llacuna de les Olles: Smallest lagoon of the delta, interesting area between beach and lagoon
  2. La Punta del Fangar: This is an area with a sand surface of 410ha which can be visited by car, bike or by foot.
  3. Llacuna del Canal Vell: With an area of 235ha this is one of the larger lagoons of the delta.
  4. Desembocadura: Includes the protected natural areas of the Garxal (280 ha), Illa of Sant Antoni (170 ha) and Illa of Buddha .
  5. Riu i Platja de Migjorn: The Migjorn river is an old opening of the Ebro that surrounds l'Illa de Buddha (the island of Buddha) and is accessible by car from San Jauma.
  6. Llacuna de la Tancada: Visiting this area by car or bicycle is highly recommended. Flamingos and different species of ducks frequent the lagoon.
  7. Punta de la Banya: A vast amount of birds winter here so access is restricted with exception of 15th of July to 15th of September.
  8. Llacuna de l’Encanyissada: At 1192ha this is the largest lagoon in the Delta. It is possible to make a tour of the whole lagoon and depending which route it taken, varies between 12 and 18 km.
  9. Ullals de Baltasar: This is the only fresh water area of the Delta.

Fish are abundant thanks to the water of the Delta with its different levels of salinity, but with so much human presence now, the sightings of large mammals are only sporadic.

The most characteristic of the Delta´s fauna is the amazing birdlife. A birdwatchers paradise, it is also a place of international importance for breeding colonies, anatidae, limicolae and sea birds and wintering migratory birds. This is most obvious in autumn. In October and November, once the rice is harvested, the fields remain flooded and are home to thousands and thousands of water birds who are passing through or beginning their wintering.

For more information on the birdlife, please see the birdwatching section.

Places of Interest

The Ecomuseum, attached to the information centre, introduces newcomers to the fascinating world of the Delta, particularly its natural and human ecosystem.

A trip to the museum starts with a permanent exhibition introducing the Delta and continues with the live reproduction of the natural (lagoon, river, fluvial island, riparian forest and ullal) and humanised environments (rice fields, market garden, orchard, fishery, shanty, llaüt (type of boat), etc.)

It also has a wonderful aquarium with a collection of fish, amphibians and reptiles native to the area.

La Casa de Fusta: this construction, emblematic of the Delta, is situated next to the L'Encanyissada lagoon and currently houses a Park information centre  and a complete collection of the most representative species of  bird fauna of the Delta. (Partida de la Cuixota, Poblenou del Delta, 43870 AMPOSTA, tel: 977- 26 10 22). Opening hours: from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 3:00 to 6:00 pm; Sundays and public holidays 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.

The Environmental Education Centre, next to the Ecomuseum (C/Catalunya, s/n, tel: 977- 48 96 79), promotes and coordinates educational activities for schoolchildren (nature stays and workshops), youngsters (work camps) or the locals (courses, relations with organisations, etc.). There is also a professional guide service available for groups.

The documentation centre, housed in the  Environmental Education Centre, systematically compiles news, articles and all sorts of information on the Ebro Delta. Open to the public, its opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The Biological Station and Wildlife Recovery Centre, at Canal Vell lagoon, is a research, recovery and reintroduction centre for protected species. Tel. 977 267 082

Olles Lake (la Lagune des Olles) is the smallest lagoon in the Ebre Delta National Park, covering 54 hectares. However, it has a rich variety of environments including an important nesting area for waterbirds. In fact, the main attraction is the amount of different birds you can see here. It is linked to Fangar Bay by means of rice fields and sand dunes, and the total protected area around it is almost 373 hectares. Many different routes lead here, allowing a privileged view of fauna and vegetation.

World Wetlands Day

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day and events are organized to celebrate the day.

Horseriding in the Delta

Carlos Cid
Camí de Sols, s/n.
43870 Amposta
Tel: +34 649 509 392

From 10am to dusk, A wonderful experience is a horseback ride through the Delta, galloping across huge beaches and riding in the lapping waves. There are even full-moon night excursions to provide you with another very different vision of one of the Mediterranean’s most attractive lacustrine landscapes. See Carlos Cid on YouTube.

Cycling in the Delta

Being a totally flat area, the Delta is the perfect landscape for taking your time and cycling. There are signposted cycle and walking routes and if you don´t already have a bike, there are several places for bicycle rental including:

Bici Tombs, Major 7, 43549 Poblenou del Delta Tel (+34) 977 74 02 09.

Lo Mas de la Cuixota, Partida de la Cuixota - L'Escanyissada, 43870 Amposta Tel (+34) 977 26 10 26 / 659 19 40 34 who are open 9am to dusk and not only offer bicycle rental but also an opportunity to experience the rice fields. You will be taken into the rice fields on boats pulled by horses, or you can ride in a cart, go by bicycle or bicycar to see unique bird life and nature spots.

Casa Moya, Av. de la Ràpita 35, Tel. 977 70 18 90 43870 Amposta

Deltur, Av. Sant Jaume 1 bis Tel. 977 70 36 46 - 629 42 29 10 43870 Amposta

Deltaventur Paseo del Rio y Av. Catalunya, 41 Tel. 977 70 34 17 - 607 95 04 08 43870 Amposta

Cycling Itineraries (full details and maps)

The Lagoon Trail 28 kms
Ecomuseum to River Mouth 32kms 
Ecomuseum to Fangar's Bay 17kms
l'Aldea – Camarles – l'Ampolla 24.3kms
River Mouth-Garxal-Riumar 7kms to 10kms
Amposta to Casa de Fusta 27.4kms
Deltebre Waterfront 12.8kms

Driving in the Delta

The best time for this drive, suggested by the Palau Robert website, is autumn when the birds are migrating. Make sure to bring binoculars.

Length – 2 hours by car
Distance – 37.9km

This itinerary discovers some outstanding and delightful locations in the Ebro Delta Nature Park such as Lo Garxao, the island of Buda, the Canal Vell (Old Canal) or the magnificent beach of La Marquesa, one of the best preserved ones in the Delta. The Park Information Centre and the Ecomuseum will enable visitors to get to know the great natural wealth and ornithological variety of the Delta.

The route starts off in Deltebre. In order to get to there, take the C-42 from Tortosa until you reach the N-340. Continue on the left (in the direction of Tarragona) then straight after on the right along the T-340 which leads directly to it. You leave to your left from the Ebro Delta Ecomuseum and 200 metres further on you turn left when you get to a sign obliging you to halt. Keep to the indicators for Riumar and Riumar Platja (beach). After 9.1 km you take the road to your left to Lo Garxao and Riumar Platja. At the entrance to the housing estate you come across an intersection (km 11.2). Here you make right. Half a kilometre later you again turn right, passing behind a campsite. Right beside the river you turn left towards the river mouth and Lo Garxao. Park your car beside a restaurant (km 13.4) and visit Lo Garxao on foot along the sign-posted stretches. On the far side of the river you can see the magnificent island of Buda. In order to get to the Canal Vell you retrace your steps in the direction of Deltebre.

Straightaway you turn right (km 20.7) towards the Mirador del Canal Vell restaurant, 2 km away, where you climb a watchtower to see over the lagoon and make out the mountainous surroundings of Els Ports. You continue your itinerary by retracing your steps in the direction of Deltebre. Finally you turn right (km 27.2) in the direction of the beach of La Marquesa and El Fangar Point. This beach is one of the best preserved in the Delta and has some wonderful shifting dunes. At this point your excursion comes to an end.