It was already considered a wonder by those who knew about it, but until recently no one had paid much attention to it. Yet in recent years, the landscape formed by the large extensions of fruit trees in the region of El Segrià in Lleida are becoming a new and surprising tourist destination. In a process similar to what happened a few decades ago with the world of the vineyard, fruit trees, the landscape they grow in, the villages and culture around them, are also taking on a new value beyond the purely gastronomic.
Aitona is one of the towns that has decided to bet on this new type of tourism. The landscape of the municipality is formed by large expanses of cultivated fruit trees. In the spring, the blossom turns the fields pink. In summer, the leaves give an intense green to the landscape while the laborious work of picking the fruit is done. In autumn, with the falling leaves, the landscape turns into hues of yellow, brown and red. In winter, the persistent fog in the Ebre and Segre valleys due to the cold fronts during December, January and February can last for weeks, shrouding the lands of El Segrià with a mantle of mystery.
For this reason, the four seasons provide four opportunities to discover an area that changes radically and dramatically throughout the year. Aitona, creator of the tourist Fruiturisme brand, has set up four seasonal guided routes, one for each time of year: Aitona in bloom, in spring, with the spectacular flowering peaches flooding the landscape with pink tones; Aitona in fruit, in summer, with an experience that consists of savouring the freshly harvested fruit from the tree; Aitona in the fall, when the landscape has become quieter and less active; and Aitona in fog, in winter, when you can get lost in the mysterious and icy landscape of the western fog.
For those who prefer to be outdoors, there are gentle walking routes that follow the signposted agricultural paths and the River Segre route. It is ideal for cyclists of all ages and in all conditions, because the flat terrain and agricultural roads free of motor vehicles allows even whole families to travel together without having to worry about difficulty or safety.
The fields of fruit trees in El Segrià are always open to everyone, every day of the year.
Alcarràs on film
This year, filmmaker Carla Simon released Alcarràs, a film that won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Based on her own experiences, the film tells the story of a family of farmers who harvest their peaches for the last time before the trees are uprooted and replaced with solar panels. It is the end of a world that still refuses to leave. The landscapes of Aitona, Sosa and Alcarràs are part of Catalonia’s heritage that are worth knowing first hand before it’s too late.