Via Verde del Aceite: popular cycling scenery
128 km “Vía Verde del Aceite” (Oil Greenway), the longest greenway in Andalusia, connecting the provinces of Jaén and Cordoba.
Green light in 1893, the first trains started to run from the capital Jaén to Puente Genil on this track, today transformed into Vía Verde. The main function of this new railway was the transport of goods, but especially bulk oil shipped in tank trucks.
It was precisely this feature that gave it the popular name “Tren del Aceite” (Oil Train). It is worth mentioning that it wasn’t its only function, as it also carried coal from the Belmez basin, lead and other metals from the Linares fields.
Even so, the history of this railroad is not a glorious one as the bills were never balanced. The situation was such that in 1936 the State would intervene due to its economic unsustainability. During the Civil War, it served as an alternative line to Espeluy-Séville. The line remained very inactive until 1985, when the entire section between Jaén and Puente Genil was closed.
A life without great glory for this road section which nevertheless was home to one of the longest greenways and the richest in cultural and natural heritage that flourished in Spain.
- What is the route of the Oil Greenway (Vía Verde del Aceite)?
- Who can access this Greenway?
- What ways along the route?
- What landscape interest owns the route of the Via Verde del Aceite?
- Which sites of cultural value should I not miss?
Along its 128 km route, this Greenway runs through Jaén, Torredelcampo, Torredonjimeno, Martos, Alcaudete, Luque, Baena, Zuheros, Doña Mencía, Cabra, Lucena, Moriles, Aguilar de la Frontera and Puente Genil.
The starting and finishing points are located in Jaén and Puente Genil (Córdoba) respectively, although due to the length of the route we can start from many of the towns along the way, such as Martos, from where we can rent a bike to do part of the route.
Here is some information on the size of this Greenway: 12 railstations, some of which are converted into bars or restaurants where you can take a break; through 4 tunnels, crossing 13 metal viaducts steeped in history, such as the Guadajoz, designed by the disciples of Eiffel; up to 45 rest areas; and up to 8 strategically located water sources (important if you are going to do the whole route).
The Greenways are essentially designed for cycle touring, for walking and are suitable for people with reduced mobility. They are not paths designed for people to rally but to enjoy the scenery in a relaxed way and without being obsessed with setting the best time on Strava.
It is not a completely flat Greenway, mainly in the first part towards Martos and in the section from the Guadajoz river to Doña Mencía. However, the slopes are so gentle that anyone can ride a bike on the road.
Along its route we will find sections that alternate asphalt and compacted gravel that we can cover both on a MTB and on a Gravel bike.
Regarding the landscape, one cannot avoid the feeling of being immersed in an endless olive grove. More than anything because it is the largest olive grove in the world, 55 km long, which will make us understand even better the weight of the name attributed to the Via. Depending on the time of year, it is not uncommon to see olive growers working in the olive groves and helping to shape the best olive oil in Spain. Along the way, we will also come across vineyards that will enrich the landscape and make us think about the wine we would like to taste at the end of the route.
In addition, the vast area reaches the Laguna Honda and Salobral Natural Reserves and the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. Along the way we will encounter an abundant fauna, both avian and terrestrial, so it is important to respect their presence during our trip.
On its way through the different towns of Cordoba and Jaen we will find sites of great attraction such as the Medieval Castle of Alcaudete, the Medieval Bridge of Víboras, the archaeological route of the Torreones or the Cueva de los Muerciélagos de Zuheros (prior reservation). If you go with children, benefit the journey along the Vía Verde del Aceite and make a stop at Cabra Jurásica, in Cabra, a municipality with a heritage of high geological value.
Do you dare? Here is a small boost with our selection of bikes you can rent for the Vía Verde del Aceite.
Images: VíaBike and Vías Verdes FFE.