Cycling (La Coruña): Through the River Eume National Park
The Eume is not only one of Spain’s most famous fishing rivers it also one of its most beautiful, and this ride will take you along its banks and up through the steamy vegetation that surrounds it into what is one of the finest examples of Atlantic forest in Europe. Even though this ride is on paved road the whole way (and in the summer months you will find some traffic), it is well worth the 40 minute car journey from Cedeira to Pontedeume. The Fragas del Eume is a nature reserve that basically includes the stunning river Eume and the heavily forested gorge that guides it onto the Ría at Pontedeume.
We would suggest leaving the car in the car park of the Río Covas restaurant on the road out of Puentedeume towards Montfort and The Fragas. This means that the first 45 minutes of the ride will be a gentle incline running alongside the river. This is then followed by a tough 40 minute climb, 15 minutes on the plateau, and then a 20 minute descent, which brings you back to the car park.
0Km….turn left as you come out of the car park (with care!) and then left again after 50 metres (signed to The Fragas). This road then winds through several little hamlets with views over the river at its widest point where it runs under the motorway at Puentedeume. The road then drops down towards the still water and semi abandoned orchards and trellised vines that run along the bank, which it then hugs for the next 25 minutes (passing a handful of parking areas and picnic spots along the way). The forest and gorge dominate immediately, looming high above on both sides of the river, which soon begins to narrow into a series of small rapids and tranquil transparent pools in which you can see the trout taking their siesta.
7Km….. Having passed the restaurant and information centre and also the hanging bridge that takes hikers across the river and up to the Monasterio, you will see a turning on the right (if you reach the end of the paved road you have gone too far) that climbs steeply. The gradient over the first 1km is the toughest (so don’t be put off), and the condition of the road on this first part is also some of the worst. Initially, you get stunning peeks of the river below, but the gradient and depth of forest soon mean that all you see is green and more green on the other side of the gorge, although the sound of the river and its tributary streams accompanies you on pretty much the whole climb.
10Km….Some 40 minutes later you will pop out of the top of the forest onto open green fields. At this stage, you head straight on, taking a left after some 300m and then a right on to the main road after another 500m. This road then takes you all the way back to the car park, winding its way back down the hill to sea-level with lovely views over the mouth of the Eume and Pontedeume (nb. This is quite a fast descent on a reasonably busy road that in some parts is not in great condition).
20Km (approx)…back at your starting point.