Laced by waterways that melt into the Balearic Sea, the Delta de l’Ebre, a 20km-long bulge of silt-formed land near Catalonia’s southern border, comes as an unexpected highlight of the region. Flamingos and ibis strut in reed-fringed lagoons, dune-backed beaches are lashed by the wind, and marshes reflect sunsets like mirrors. This is the final flourish of Spain's most voluminous river, which meanders over 900km southeast from Fontibre in Cantabria. Exploring this remote rural landscape, with its whitewashed farmhouses marooned between electric-green rice paddies, lingers in the memory.
Seventy-eight sq kms of this wild, exposed place is the Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre, northern Spain’s most important waterbird habitat, with 330 bird species. Migration season (October and November) sees bird populations peak, but birds are also numerous in winter and spring. The park’s flat expanse of waterside trails is ideal for cyclists and ramblers, and watersports abound.