The Ebre Delta is one of the largest wetland areas in western Mediterranean region. It stretches for 320 square kilometres (79,000 acres) along the eastern coast of Spain where the Ebre river reaches the Mediterranean sea and forks to form the delta area.
The delta was growing rapidly over the centuries. The Roman town of Amposta (currently the capital of the region of Montsià) in the 4th century C.E. was a port town facing the Mediterranean sea, now it’s located well inland on the right border of the Ebro, at the meeting point between the inner delta and plains. (see the map)
The Delta is a natural phenomenon and in 1993 with 7.736 hectares was placed in the list of wetlands of international importance on the Ramsar Convention. Also in 1983 the Geniralitat of Catalonia created the Natural Park of the Ebro Delta. But much of the current shape and extend of the delta area were the consequence of anthropogenic influence. Some areas have been drained for intensive agricultural use over the centuries. Chiefly for growing rice, citrus fruits and vegetables. Now the network of canals and irrigation ditches helping to maintain the economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value of the Ebro Delta.
The Natural Park of the Ebro Delta has a total surface area of 7.736 hectares and a very beautiful and unique appearance for Catalonia with it flat rice fields, lakes, lagoons, salt panes, marshes, ponds and long deserted sandy beaches with dunes. Even in dry summer the Ebro river flood the endless kilometers of rice fields and has a very exotic and remote almost asian feel. It also permanent or temporary home for 300 species of wild birds and the world’s largest colony of Audouin’s Gulls. Here you can see flocks of pink flamingoes, herons, gulls, waders, terns, ducks.
When you visit make sure to start with Casa de Fusta in town of Delebre which hosts the information center, ornithological and eco-museum, where you can see a complete collection of delta spices and get an overview of delta environment and wild life.
The best way to get around the delta in summer is by bike. Explore the protected wildlife swamp and climb many observation towers to see the birds in it’s nature environment , visit the lovely Trabucador beach with extensive shallow lagoon one side and the Mediterranean sea on the other. There also the boat tours on the river Ebro to the island Illa Buda and all kind of water sports in the lagoon.
If you are interested in sea birds and some local cuisine reach for Arenal beach in the old mouth of Ebro river and enjoy the delta’s cuisine in the restaurant Lo Goleró (www.logolero.com). Here you can taste traditional Catalan dishes, for example amb tomàquet (bread spread with ripe tomatoes and olive oil), Botifarra amb mongetes (Catalan sausage with white beans), stew with the regional speciality of Botifarra etc. and delta’s speciality - incomparable prawns, eel, wild duck and frog's legs, all prepared in various ways, and of course with rice - the culinary base of the Delta del Ebro.
After you are well rested lounge on the beach and enjoy magnificent sunset over one of the most beautiful places in Spain.
author: Aleksandr Kulikov