The road to Martorell going up the Llobregat.

The road to Martorell going up the Llobregat

The way to reach the devil’s bridge along an important river

The road to Martorell going up the Llobregat.


The city of Barcelona is geographically bounded by four natural barriers. The sea to the east, mountains to the west and on the two remaining sides we find two rivers that delimit the north and south areas. These are the rivers Besòs and Llobregat.

In an article I talked about the Besòs river and its cycle path, but this time I decided to explore the other river. The path that follows the Llobregat leads to the city of Martorell, famous for an ancient legend that speaks of a devil, a bridge and a cunning woman.

The Llobregat River

It is one of the most famous and important rivers in Catalonia. It is about 130 km long and originates near  Castellar de n’Hug (Berguedà) to flow into the Mediterranean Sea through the LLobregat Delta. This smoke, like the Besòs, has suffered from very strong pollution due to its industrial and above all textile past. Which used its waters for the production of electricity and unfortunately also as a landfill.

Today great strides have been made for the recovery of flora, fauna and water quality even if in some areas the level of purity is still not optimal.

Let’s go!

Getting out of the Barcelona chaos requires a bit of dexterity between traffic and traffic lights, despite the fact that there is no shortage of cycle paths. Even if the route is longer, I decide to go up Montjuic to enjoy a good panoramic view and more silence despite the price to pay for the climb.

Reach the Llobregat

I arrive at the Lluis Companys Olympic stadium, icon of the glorious Olympics and of a rich past for Barcelona. I leave the structure on my right to take the road which after a few meters begins to descend to take me to the Franca area. From here, still following the cycle path, a not too natural panorama begins. A relatively new area of the city which borders the industrial and port area. Speed lanes, bridges, junctions mixed with sheds and factories catapult me into one of those 70s-80s American films where the main protagonist was the road, the tires of heavy vehicles and industrial landscapes.

The road to Martorell going up the Llobregat.

I continue on Carrer A, which follows the same direction as the elevated 10S line. This detail allows me to ride in the shade without having traffic problems. I continue straight until I reach the Nelson Mandela bridge easily recognizable by its original shape.

I stop to admire the architectural structure where the Llobregat river flows underneath, pushed by a strong wind. In the landscape described we must add the constant landing of the planes that about every two minutes break the silence with their jets.

Going up the Llobregat

Having reached and crossed the bridge, I enter the river bed. The well-signposted route is located near the Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park. It is one of the most fertile and ancient agricultural areas of Catalonia, which exploits the flat area and the water coming from the river itself. Full of agricultural shops that supply products directly to the consumer.

There are also two nature reserves nearby. Many migratory birds use these areas as a resting and transition area for their crossings. In some places, outposts have been set up for the observation of the species.

The panorama illuminated by the afternoon sun is broken only by railway pylons and industrial areas. In the distance, the silhouette of Montserrat delimits the horizon of the journey.

Sant Boi and Palleja

The cycle path lets me glimpse the typical bell tower of the church of Sant Boi de Llobregat. The city which during the Muslim stay took the name of Alcalà. Today it is a municipality whose main economic sector is the tertiary and industrial sector given the historical presence of factories and industrial polygons. Between bridges and curves that the river forces me to make, I enter even further into the Catalan countryside until I reach the municipality of Palleja. The village is famous for its history of milling and textile industry as well as the iconic square-based castle which overlooks the panorama of the Vallès Occidental.

The road to Martorell going up the Llobregat.

The Martorell bridge

The route continues intertwining with the riverbed and the roads which gradually become thicker. This means that I have almost reached my destination. Martorell is a city famous for its strategic position and for the dense network of communication routes. Train routes, highways and junctions intertwine above my head. After a few kilometers I see the sign indicating the city and its historic Devil’s Bridge.

With a slight incline I climb several meters from the edge of the river to open before me the ancient pointed arch structure. A marble plaque indicates its name derived from ancient history. Given its steep slope, I don’t dare to cross it. I take this opportunity to rest a bit in the shade before heading to the train station.

Soon another “native” cyclist stops to have a friendly chat. I finish my ration of water, the clock silently warns me that I should go to the station. I say goodbye and I get back on the saddle to go to the R4 train. In less than an hour I’m back in town with the sun still drawing the sunset.

More info about the Llobregat bike path.

Marco Pachiega

No AI was used for drafting the text and editing the photos.

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