When my husband and I decided to follow the major rivers in Spain in order to find birds migrating through the region, we didn’t expect to see some gorgeous bridges and get to stretch our legs on the gorgeous river walks. We went to Spain because that is when the migration starts, and by May, the birds pass on to Northern Spain and into other parts of Europe. Here’s a description of the cities in southern Spain with river walks and a brief introduction to what else you might see.
Least Advertised River Walk : Toledo, Spain
None of our tour guides mentioned the river walk in Toledo, where the city gates are fun to photograph, the shops are filled with gorgeous steel swords, and up to the Alcazar and cathedral complete with chains for prisoners of the Inquisition. We found the river walk when we were birding near a garden and pondering if we could get nearer to the river when a biology student interrupted and gave us directions. The river walk has some not so sanitary spots in the old lookout towers but mostly are quite a pleasant way to go entirely around two-thirds of the city and see many of the city gates. Also definitely see the Casa y Museo El Greco to see some of his works. We stayed at the Pintor El Greco, which had parking. Hold on to your heart when you drive off the cliff into town.
Best Wildlife River Walk : Cordoba, Spain
Cordoba, Spain is one of the best places to see riverine wildlife and bird populations because midriver the remnant of old mills provide a place for them to rest and feed. The river walk wildlife was plentiful and held a few surprises. At night, the river is lit up by lights that reflect. We stayed across the river from the main town at the Hesperia Cordoba Hotel and found crossing the river easy. We traveled both sides of the river, at least to the next bridge and over and back, and found it easier to navigate than the twisting historical district where the restaurants are located. The Mesquite Cathedral is the best tourist site to see but the Alcazar and the Roman Ruins are equally fascinating.
Easiest Access to Town River Walk and Most Unique Bridges: Seville, Spain
The changing enticement of the architecture of beautiful bridges along the Guadalquivir river in Seville, Spain immediately entices visitors to take a stroll. Many trees are planted along the walk and the city has allowed graffiti artists to decorate many of the river walk access paths. We found locals barbecuing, paddling, fishing, along the river and an easy access to the Alcazar and to Maria Luisa Park. We stayed at the NH Plaza des Armas which is right on the river walk and right next to a shopping mall. The river walk wildlife was sparse.
Tiniest River, Granada, Spain
Granada’s river isn’t as central to the tourist color as in Toledo and Cordoba, it has a small stream that is follows the lower edge of the Alhambra and makes a short additional walk to the extensive experience seen in the former palace grounds. Also, in the main city center, the river’s main body is visible in the central parks. The hotel we stayed at was okay but not really recommended since it was a nightmare in terms of parking and was booked solely because it was the place we could get a room during Easter (Semana Sunday Weekend).
One of the most adventurous parts of our trip was taking some side roads and finding ourselves deep in the local communities and witnessing farms, fishing, families, beautiful bridges and a few really wrong turns as well as river wildlife.
You can see more pictures of these cities and river walks in my slide show “City River and Bridge Photographs from Four Spain Cities”