The rugged region of Els Ports sits astride the boundary of 3 Spanish regions – Valencia in the south, Catalunya in the north and Aragon in the west and is part of the bigger Maestrat – or Maestrazgo – mountain range. It is close to the Ebro delta whose estuary provides a habitat for countless birds and the rivers in Els Ports provide sport for those interested in canyoning – especially in the summer when it may be too hot to visit the summits.That said, the mountains can change abruptly from pinnacles, cliffs, canyons and stark karst features to dense pine and holly oak forest within a few hundred metres and with wheeling vultures overhead.
The area is so big that you will not be able to take it all in from one centre, so consider the following places to stay.
Beceite in the north west, tucked into the beginnings of a very dramatic river gorge has 2 hostals or casa rurals which will provide full board. There are enough walks directly from this location to keep one busy for a week.
Horta de San Juan in the north has several small hostals and at least one large hotel. Being on the fringe of the area it is easier to track around the perimeter for more diverse walks. Rocas de Benet should not be missed from either of these locations.
La Senia in the south is a scruffy town with a range of furniture making industry which suffered during “la crisis” of 2012. However from the walker’s point of view it provides access to some of the best walking in the region and being on the perimeter it allows access to a wide range of routes within about 1 hour of travelling. The large “business man’s” hotel on the edge appears unfortunately to be closed but Hostal Manolo in the town might be a reasonable alternative.
Benifallet on the NW edge of the area has a good hotel – Hotel Pepo – which has excellent food and provides access also to the nearby Cardo area. Finally Tortosa is a good location from which to explore the whole of the eastern side, except that it is poorly provided with attractive hotels.
Mont Caro is the highest point at 1447m and has some spectacular walking, accessed from the road to the telecoms station on the summit.
Finally, the Els Ports Parc Natural is adjacent to the Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre with its abundant birdlife, including flamingos, and totally different landscape – and some fine seafood restaurants.