Having decided that city guides are not the ideal home for my adventures into smaller picturesque towns and villages of Spain, I decided to make a new place for them. Many of them will be on the list of Pueblos Más Bonitos de España, or Most beautiful villages of Spain, Xerta is not one of them, but worth writing about.
Xerta (Cherta in Spanish) is a Catalan village that lies on the banks of the river Ebro, and is locally popular for stopovers before reaching the major town, Tortosa, or as a gateway to some locally picturesque scenery. The only way to get there is by bus, by car or by bicycle (more on that later) and most of the roads in the centre are very narrow and pedestrianised but the main square is easily accessible, and is where most of the activity comes from. there are several guest houses and hotels dotted around the village as well as a hostel for those with a budget, where I stayed, and is a pleasant experience. Prices start from about 15€ per person, per night.
The most common monuments are orientated around the Plaça Major, where the church also shows a scale depicting historical flood levels of Xerta, some of them going over my head to my amazement, and given how flat this place is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole village had been affected over the years. Other notable sights are the Capella de Sant Zeno, the Capella de Sant Domenec and a couple of kilometres away the Assaut de Xerta, an old mill which has subsequently lost a lot of its beauty now a hydroelectric station was built in the area, but is still of local importance and interest.
The Natural sights may be the most important as Xerta is most popular for its sporting activities and being on the banks of the Ebro, popular for some potential water sports as well. The Via Verde del Ebro, a cycle path converted from an old train, track passes through the village and is the main reason people stop by here. Hiking routes from this village are also possible along the river, as well as being very close to the mountain range of Els Ports.
There’s not much home to write home about in the food section, except that there are some dishes heavily influenced by the surrounding regions. The most typical dishes here, are arros de plana, similar to a paella, and coca de mançana, a cake with roasted apples. The most famous pastry for the region, the pastisset of casquet is a filled, short crust pasty most commonly with pumpkin, and are covered in sugar, a perfect snack for being out and about.
That’s it from me about Xerta, I had a lovely experience there, and almost completely unknown to any foreign traveler. Its a perfect rest stop for anyone doing any cycling or hiking in the area, and though it won’t blow you away compared to other picturesque villages, you will hold this one in high regard.