Cordoba’s historic city center is a testament to the times of Roman settlements, Muslim domination of Europe and the later victorious re-conquest by the Christians. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. And the old town definitely exudes a character and charm not easily found. But this is not why I chose to spend a few days here. There are many hiking and cycling routes around Cordoba – these were my interest 🙂
Here are some details in case you wish to explore them too:
Via Verde del Aceite (120 km)
Via Verdes or ‘Greenways’ have been created across Spain from defunct railway lines of old. These lines have been reclaimed and new, usable pathways have been created for ecotourism and also as recreation facilities for the locals. These via verdes can be found across Spain. They tend to be pretty short of 40 – 50 kms. The longest one is the Via Verde del Aceite of 120 kms with an additional small 8 km off-shoot.
This via verde connects Jaen (Haa-een) to Puente Genil (Khe-neel). Both these towns are about 2 hours from Cordoba.
It is also possible to start / end this route in any of the smaller towns near this route.
I started cycling this via verde from Puente Genil and ended at Zuheros after 60 km. This section is called the via verde de la Subbetica. It is a 65 km stretch which officially ends in Luque. But I decided to stop a little ahead at Zuheros and hike for a day instead. 🙂
I took a bus back from Zuheros to Cordoba. And these busses are available in almost every town. And they don’t charge more for carrying your cycle.
You can also spend a lot more days on this route as the towns are interesting and pleasant places to stay.
There are not so many camping facilities enroute especially if you are thinking of hiking. Camping in the wild or private olive farms can be explored. Most of the small towns that come on the way have good, reasonably priced accommodation. They would also have restaurants and other required facilities. So you can expect to get good stay options every 30 kilometres or even less.
Some of the old railway stations have been converted to restaurants. These are right on the route and are very useful to have lunch or drinks without taking a detour from the route. Water & toilet facilities have to be accessed at these restaurants, there is no other access to these.
Via Verde de la Campina
This is another Via Verde that starts from Cordoba itself. And ends in Ecija. 50 kms long. So one quick ride or a long hike. There is another section from Ecija to Marchena which seems to be planned but I think it is not yet completed.
You can get more details online. I haven’t explored it but from what I read the Cordoba to Ecija section seems as good as the via verde de la Subbetica I cycled.
Arroyo De Los Pedroches
This is a one-day hiking and mountain biking route just outside of Cordoba. AFAIK this is NOT a marked trail. But you can get a GPS route online or basically just follow the Pedroches (arroyo) river bed using satellite map. It’s quite close to Cordoba which is a fairly large sprawl so chances of getting lost should be low.
I got the instructions for this route from my hostel receptionist who was a local youth and had gone on this biking trip himself. These details are not available with the tourist offices.
You have to go to the bus stop Pol Pedroches (AUCORSA) and from there, nearby is a road that goes towards the Pedroches river bed or Aroyyo de los Pedroches as shown in the map. Probably you may need to ask someone, and from there you can start following the river bed upwards. At some point there is some church I was told, though I can’t find it on maps. But even without a church the route does still look to be outside the city and into a more natural terrain. Providing a good break. You can check about the flora, fauna and bird life there. Should be good.
This route seems to be touching a small part of the Los Pedroches valley which seems to be a very interesting hike/cycle trip as per this website.
Chapel De Las Ermitas
Another day hike from Cordoba to a chapel with a great view apparently. This was the only suggestion the tourist offices had when I asked them about a hike near Cordoba. You have to take a bus to where this route starts, I think it is the Careterra de las Ermitas bus stop, and from there walk the route to the chapel. It’s about 7 kms up and 7 kms back, so a light hike for a day with enough time to enjoy the view. I don’t know if food is available up at the chapel (especially veg food). Better to carry a food pack I would say.
I didn’t feel interested because I was under the impression that this walk would be by a car road… but then when I am now checking it a bit better to write about it here, it seems to be a decent walking trail. I don’t know if you can cycle here – but you can ask the tourist office in Cordoba they can help you with details for this route.
So a nice bunch of hiking and cycling trails near Cordoba. And these are just a few of the many more that abound the area. I didn’t realise Spain was so rich in these hiking trails. The Camino Santiago has become famous but it seems to be just one of the many nice, loooong distance trails found in this country.