I heard of this road first from my language exchange partner, Juan Carlos. When he heard that I like to run he suggested to me to check out this road. I went home and did a little research about it and last week finally I made it there. I think that it was the nicest run of my life.
The route is a bit out of the city but is easily accessible by train. I walked up to the car park from there. In the car park you can find all the information you need about the route, about the mountain, about the natural park…in Catalan. There’s also a huge sign that warns everybody that this is a sport area.
It still wasn’t very clear what it was about and where to start from but then I saw two runners coming down a slope. I started to follow them back and when I walked around the corner… my mouth literally dropped. In front of me ran the Carretera on the side of the mountain with amazing views over Barcelona.
The Carretera is an obvious, wide dirt road that runs on the ocean side of the Collserola Natural Park for 20km. It is unbelievable but it’s completely flat and only used for recreation, to stroll around on, to do your running training away from the noise and the smog of the city, to cycle or to walk your dog.
At the beginning you have to walk over the funicular.
I walked the first two kilometres and took photos every 5 meters. The view over the city is incredible.
You can clearly see the Ramblas cutting through the city from here.
The Carretera is part of the city’s Green ring so it is part of the Ronda Verde (Green Road) for cyclists and for other recreational routes.
There are signs every 500m so you can track your distance easily.
Fountains are placed on the side of the road regularly and always have shade around them.
On every curve in the road that juts out of the side of the mountain there’s a viewpoint like this with a bench and shade so you can enjoy the vista.
I found this little ladybird on the way.
Suddenly all the landmarks of Catalonia you see from the city are much closer to you, like the top of Tibidabo mountain with the Cor Sagrat Church, the Tower of Collserola or the Fabra Observatory.
After the 2km mark I put my camera away and started running. The sun was shining but there was still plenty of shade, a cooling breeze was blowing the heat away and I couldn’t take my eyes off the view of Barcelona. I had music in my ears to push me forward, there were some bits where there was nobody around and I was flying over the road. I haven’t had this feeling of complete freedom for a long time.
The Carretera is free to use and you can go up there anytime of the day but sometimes the car park can get very crowded so it’s advisable to use public transport. There are no streetlights so if you want to go up by night you should take a torch.