Via Verde de la Subbética

The Vias Verdes are routes for bikers and walkers, built on the tracks of disused railway lines. They are scattered across Spain.
This route actually joins onto another, the Via Verde del Aceite, to give a total length of some 111 kms. The website for the Via Verde routes is at  It is in Spanish, or "Googled English".

This route is a little to the west of Jaen and is 56 kms long.

Being on the old railway track, there is not too much of a climb, although it was noticeable.

I did the ride from west to east, that is from left to right on the map, but oddly enough, right to left on the profile. I actually began just a km or so to the east of Nava del Selpillar.
Start of the track
Although some of the route has been surfaced, a lot of it is just a gravel road. For this reason I went on the mountain bike rather than the trike, which is my favourite for longer distances.
Crossing the main road into Lucena
The railway was built to service the olive oil industry, so it passes through the commercial areas of the towns.The first trains ran in 1893 and continued to operate until 1985, when the road transport network took over.

It was nice to be able to ride high above the busy road leading into Lucena.
Lucena station
Most of the stations have now been turned into restaurants or snack bars. This is the station at Lucena, with just my bike waiting at the platform.
Bridge over the valley
Soon after Lucena we crossed a bridge high over the valley below.
Bridge to the olive country
The bridge crossed into the beginning of the olive country - olives as far as the eye can see.
Cabra station
At Cabra station, there is a magnificent old steam engine looking like it is ready to pull the train away.
Layout of Cabra station
Cabra was obviously an important station, with sidings and various sheds.
Heading out into olive country
After leaving Cabra, there is nothing but olives in sight.
Biker in the cutting
The track passed though quite a deep cutting. Reminded me of the Corinth Canal!
Olives and the cortijo
Probably all the land in sight belongs to the one "cortijo".

Laguna Salobral
I stopped for lunch overlooking the Laguna Salobral. It would have been rude not to stop there for the view!
At this point I had done 48 kms, so decided to head back from there. At least on the way back I had a following wind, and the last 20 kms were downhill. which made life a little easier. Next time I will probably start here at the lake and try to get to Jaen, a bit over 50 kms away. The round trip on this ride was 96 kms, with a total climb of just about 300 meters.
Back to Spain page.....  Forward to the next leg - Via Verde de la Aceite
These big Cortijos make me imagine life as being similar to the large cotton plantations in the old American south. Probably they were largely self-sufficient, growing their own food, making their own equipment and often even their own clothes.
Tunel del Plantio
This is the only tunnel on the ride. A bit over 100 meters long.
Approach to Zuheros
Soon after the tunnel, we came to the village of Zuheros, perched on the cliffs overlooking the track.
There was a small station that used to serve the village, and a very steep path leading up to it.
Luque station
Luque is another station that is now a restaurant. There is an olive oil museum there - maybe a visit next time?
Long straight
After Luque, there was a long straight. It was slightly downhill so passed quite quickly.