Anything But Paella

Walking the Via Verde (Agost)

All around Spain you will find a network of footpaths constructed along disused railway lines. These are known as Via Verdes or green routes. A short drive inland from Alicante is the town of Agost, well known for its craftsmen producing wonderful ceramics. From the start of this via verde, officially called the Maigmó Greenway, a few kilometres outside of town, you can walk for 22km ending up high in the hills traversing a series of tunnels. Our walk began at the car park around 4.5km from the start of the route, and at the 15km mark we headed along the country roads back into the town. You can track our journey on Strava below. Details of the whole route can be found (in English!) here.

The newly constructed car park is easy to find using the map at the foot of this page. Head along the footpath in the direction of Agost. If you go the other way, you’ll just walk 4.5km down to the beginning of the route and have to come back again! Following the disused railway is easy and flat. Yes, there is a gentle incline but nothing of note. It has been beautifully constructed almost like a tree lined boulevard for hikers in places. Bridges and cuttings ensure that you’ll never have to work too hard during your walk. At times you’ll get a glimpse of the viaduct at the 14km mark. Don’t think about the distance; just enjoy the countryside! Either side of the path there are fabulous view, first of Agost, and then of the fields full of fruit trees. I’m guessing we missed the best of the blossom by a week or so. Next year we’ll try to be back at the end of February.

At about 13km you have to go through a short tunnel. It is so short that light permeates at both ends and you are never completely in the dark, so don’t let that put you off. Just as you emerge back into the daylight, you’ll have the opportunity to take the track to the right and get an amazing view of the viaduct you are about to cross. The sign at the side warns against abseiling! If you see some birds that look like crows, but have red beaks, they are in fact choughs. A few minutes beyond the bridge we took the opportunity to sit by a small reservoir and eat our lunch. From there you get a magnificent view of Agost and, on a clear day, all the way to the city of Alicante and the Mediterranean beyond.

Our plan is to park up at the 15km marker and walk further up the via verde at some stage. A torch may well be necessary as some of the tunnels look a little longer. If you have already walked this section, please let us know in the comments! On this occasion though, we walked back along the country road to Agost. It was really pleasant with only the odd car passing by. You’ll walk past the brick works before entering the town. In Agost we passed the museum, which closes at 3pm. Guess what time we got there!! Oh well, another day. It looks like it contains a fascinating collection and we’d love to know more about the local pottery tradition. Outside is a huge sculpture of a woman carrying a pot on her head. The town is lovely and all the street signs are clearly locally produced ceramic works of art. If you follow its narrow streets up to the ruins of the old castle you’ll get some more fine views. Don’t expect a castle though. There are a handful of crenellations remaining. That’s all!!

If a bit of Urbex (urban exploration) is your thing, a great opportunity comes your way on the way out of town back towards the car park. There are no details about what the building once was but I would guess it was to do with bricks or ceramics. Inside the large compound, graffiti artists have produced some incredible works. It didn’t feel particularly dangerous but obviously you proceed at your own risk. Again, if you know anything about this, please leave a comment.

Most via verdes are along disused railway lines. This one is slightly different though. Plans were drawn up in 1882 but work didn’t get underway for another 40 years or so. The land for the tracks was prepared but the railway line was never laid. The Spanish Civil War and subsequent financial hardships prevented the completion of the line which was due to take minerals from Alcoy all the way to the port at Alicante.

We hope you have enjoyed this post. Please let us know if you do the walk and share your thoughts in the comments.

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