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Tortosa sits astride the river Ebro, but here because Tortosa is in Catalunya, the river becomes the "Ebre". All locals speak Catalan as a first language..but most speak at least some Castillian Spanish. They are generaly friendly and helpful although English is not spoken very much...but a in few restuarants and shops the staff have a word or two of English. All signs and posters are in Catalan, but they are usually easy to translate, if you know a bit of Castillian.
The castle (La Suda) is a Parador hotel, lovely views from the car park, and you can go and have a drink or eat in the hotel. This overlooks the river and the cathredral, and also the old"Jewish" quarter, with some nice old streets to wander round. The rest of the city is quite new...it suffered in the civil war, and in the middle of the river is a memorial to all the men killed in the Battle of the Ebre. The river devides the city in half, and has two bridges, although work is soon to commence on a third bridge.
The city is not yet very "touristy", , although more English number plates are appearing on the car parks nowadays. Eating out is generally cheap, and although there are a couple of Chinese restaurants, the food is generally traditional and hearty. Typically a "menu del dia" is 8 - 12 euros. Shellfish and fish appear on menus quite a bit too...the Ebre Delta is only 20 minutes drive away.
Fishing trips to catch the famous huge Catfish which frequent the river here are also very popular. The "Greenway", that heads up river into the Els Ports mountains starts here. too..a disused railway made into a track for cyclists and walkers. Everywhere along the valley there are lovely views to the mountains.
Tortosa has a station, and you can catch the train directly to Barcelona or Valencia, for less than 20 euros return, although it takes about 2 1/2 hours each way. Shopping is well catered for..a big food market hall, and an outdoor market Mondays and Saturdays. There several supermarkets on the outskirts of town.
The surrounding areas are lovely and very agricultural, with Citrus groves along the valley floor and Almonds then Olives further up the mountains.
If you have an interest in nature you must take some time to see some of the wonderful birds in the wetlands of the Ebro Delta. This is a particularly good area for the inexperienced birdwatcher with a passing interest because there are many large wading birds such as herons and egrets. There are a number of hides, towers and information points so you can do this by yourself or if you have a keener interest there is an excellent guiding service at www.audouinbirding.com.
Although this is more expensive than doing it yourself you will see many more birds and will have use of their a/c transport, binoculars and telescopes. This is a very friendly, efficient service catering for all levels of knowledge from beginner to expert. Spanish, English and Danish are spoken and the couple who run it include a forest ranger, with both of them taking an active interest in local conservation and bird ringing. They also run similar trips into the surrounding mountain areas.