If you’re craving a healthy break from all that beer and tapas consumption, Barcelona has many alternative activities on offer. And that doesn’t just mean going on a tourist trail of museums and architecture. You really don’t have to go far for a little bit of nature and escapism away from the crowds. Whether you’re after a bit of sport, or simply want to enjoy some nature at a gentler pace, Carretera de les Aigües is the perfect place.
Translated literally as ‘Road of waters’ from Catalan, Carretera de les Aigües is a 9-kilometer stretch of dirt tracks on the outskirts of the city, winding around the Collserola mountain, from where you can enjoy spectacular views across the city. And it’s not just views of the city you can expect to enjoy. You’ll also see wonderful flora and fauna. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the company of rabbits, squirrels, foxes or even wild boar.
This is a great place to take a picnic and head to with friends. But if it’s fitness you’re after, read on…
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Running, cycling and walking
For the most part the road is very flat, making it ideal for fitness seekers of all levels, whether you’re running, cycling or walking. There is the option of steeper inclines for those who want to pump the lungs and legs a little harder, with access to more demanding routes leading up to Parc Tibidabo or the Collserola Tower.
With no traffic and crossings to contend with, this is really a perfect place for runners. Just make sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing as this is essentially a dirt track. There’s no need to go loaded down with water either, as the track is dotted with fountains at frequent intervals.
To get the most out of it and enjoy the space without too many people the best is to go during the week.
Getting there isn’t complicated. The starting point is Plà dels Maduixers, which can be easily reached by car via Ronda de Dalt and Avenida Tibidabo.
By public transport
Take the train to Avenida Tibidabo (L7 from Plaza Catalunya) and from Plaza John F.Kennedy either take the bus or the Tranvia Blau, which leaves you at the foot of Mount Tibidabo, just a few minutes’ walk to Plà dels Maduixer.
Another option is to take a train from Plaza Catalunya to Peu de Funicular, from where there is a Funicular which takes you right up to the pathway of the Carretera de les Aigües.
Running tours of the Carretera de les Aigües are also available, as are various other routes. Albeit it comes at a price, of course. Tours are available via 360º Running Barcelona. The cost ranges from 35 euros for tours of 1 person doing a 6km route (approx. 1 hour), but tends to work out cheaper with groups of 2 or more people.
Running tours are also available for exploring other parts of the city. This is a great way to discover more of Barcelona, while getting a healthy dose of exercise!