The Els Ports Massif rises up in the south of Catalonia, right where Aragon and the Valencian Country converge. The very craggy limestone relief – with cliffs, caves, faults and gorges that fill it with beauty – plays host not only to Mediterranean environments, but also to forests that are more characteristic of Euro-Siberian climates. There, it is possible to visit the most southern beech forests of the Iberian Peninsula – a wood containing trees that are hundreds of years old, designated a Nature Reserve – and several monumental trees. The area also stands out for its fauna: vultures, golden eagles, wildcats, otters and, above all, the Spanish ibex – one of the most representative symbols of the massif – bear witness to the environmental diversity of this vast territory, designated a Natural Park on the Catalan side in 2001.
This designation acknowledged the value of one of the most significant natural areas in Catalonia and the third largest in terms of its extension after the Alt Pirineu Natural Park and the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park.
The Park has three main entrances, one in each county. To the north, of particular note is the village of Horta de Sant Joan, where the Ecomuseu information centre can be found. Also in this area are the Terra Alta visitor information centre located in Prat de Comte, and the Molí de l’Oli information office situated in Arnes. To the east, the park is reached via Roquetes, where the administrative headquarters of the Natural Park are located, as is the Baix Ebre visitor information centre, with the “Geoports” permanent exhibition. To the south, the park is reached via La Sénia, where it is possible to visit the “Life in Els Ports” exhibition at the Montsià visitor information centre. Before setting of to explore the massif, it is therefore worth stopping off at one of these places.
Further to the south of the massif, the landscape is equally captivating. The Sénia river, whose source can be found in the highest part of the mountain range, forms small gorges – such as the Els Arenals pools – that, in the heat of summer, entice visitors to take a refreshing dip. However, the quintessential point of the whole massif is the El Caro peak (1,441m). Situated at the top of the massif (it is in fact the highest point), it is surrounded by pine trees shaped by the wind, which grow on the rocky, relatively arid terrain. This vantage point offers a panoramic view over the entire Ebro valley. In front, the Cardó Massif rises up and, touching the horizon towards the sea, the Ebro Delta ‘antlers’ can be made out; following the course of the river, it is possible to distinguish the riverside towns of Deltebre, Sant Jaume d’Enveja, Amposta, Vinallop, Campredó and Tortosa.