The vies verdes allow us to enjoy nature and tourism in a comfortable and attractive way. Currently, they are already adapted to access for everyone.
Most of these routes originate in the 19th century, when a railway network was created with the aim of communicating the different towns of the Girona province and the Costa Brava.
Nowadays, these old railway infrastructures have become renowned bike-touring and hiking routes, and some of them even guarantee accessibility to all users, facilitating their use to people in a wheelchair or blind or visually impaired people.
These accessible-to-all routes are found in the province of Girona and each one of them offers all visitors magnificent landscapes and places.
First section for the visually impaired with associated app
These autonomous communication ways, apart from being reserved solely for non-motorized journeys, have been developed in an integrated framework, respecting the environment and complying with adequate conditions of width, gradient and surface quality in order to guarantee correct coexistence, safety and accessibility to all users, regardless of their physical ability.
Another proof of this condition is the adaptation of several stretches of greenways for people with a visual impairment.
In these sections tactile paving has been installed to follow the path with the cane, and vertical signage with information in Braille system. In addition, an accessible application has been developed with exhaustive information about the route, the history of the greenways and the natural and cultural heritage of the surroundings. The mobile application is called “Accessible GI Routes” and can be downloaded for free in four languages.
For now, there are only two short stretches adapted, from Girona to the Technology Park, and a longer one on the Iron and Coal Route. The goal, however, is to continue working to facilitate the enjoyment of the routes and their landscape and environmental resources to the largest number of people and enable them to be as autonomous as possible.
Via Verda de la Garrotxa
In Girona there are two greenway sections that follow the route of the old narrow-gauge railway: the first one, located in the Garrotxa area, crosses the volcanic area of the region, which is the best example of volcanic landscape on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the most prominent in Europe.
This path allows you to enter the Natural Park of the Volcanic Area of La Garrotxa, a space full of species and lush vegetation. Some of its itineraries allow you to enjoy the most emblematic volcanic cones in the area and the renowned Fageda d’en Jordà wood. The highest point of this route is located at Coll d’en Bas, at 558 meters above sea level and enables you to discover many other places of great landscape, ecological and cultural importance.
Additionally, there is the route of the Sant Feliu de Guíxols narrow-gauge railway. Starting from the city of Girona, its itinerary is characterized by the gentle gradients and bends.
This route, almost 40 km long, enables you to see different places and enjoy first hand beautiful Mediterranean places in the Baix Empordà and up to the magnificent beaches on the Costa Brava.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, like many other coastal towns and cities, offers a wide range of recreational, cultural, gastronomic and sports activities. Through this route you can discover a wide range of enchanting beaches that are one of the most important scenic treasures of Catalonia: the Costa Brava.
Apart from these two routes, which are named Carrilet after the small trains that used to run on narrow gauge tracks, there is also another greenway in the Gironès area. This time, the itinerary known as Ruta del Ferro i del Carbó, takes us back to an industrial past. In this case, reference is made to the important tradition of the iron forge, in the Baix Ripollès, and to the extraction of coal from the mines of Ogassa.
With a total length of 15km and following the route that the train used to do, we can get from Ripoll to Ogassa, passing through Sant Joan de les Abadesses.
Sarrià de Ter and the Ruta del Tren Petit
Apart from these three accessible routes, there are two more that are also suitable for any user: The Girona Route to Sarrià de Ter, which is 4.5km long, and the Ruta del Tren Petit at 6km.
The former represents the beginning of the future route that will link Girona with Banyoles, reaching the boundary of the Pla de l’Estany district and thus bringing back the old route of the Tren Pinxo.
With regard to the Ruta del Tren Petit, the route connects Palamós with Palafrugell through the old route of the small train while allowing visitors to explore the magnificent landscapes of the Empordanet.
Fotos: Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona