We were pleasantly surprised when we went for a walk in the Can Camins pine forest located between El Prat del Llobregat beach and Barcelona Airport. More than once we had seen a green spot when taking off by plane from the Catalan capital, a very well-defined forest mass between the asphalted tracks and the glimmers of the Mediterranean Sea , and until today we were totally unaware of the high natural value it hid.
Can Camins is a protected natural area in the Llobregat Delta
Can Camins forest is a true natural jewel, one of the few original areas left in what is the natural delta of the Llobregat River and has arrived almost intact to this day in a somewhat rocky or rather chirpy form. This space was originally intended to house one more urbanization of those that follow the coast of the Baix Llobregat and continue, with rare exceptions, along the entire Mediterranean coast to the south.
Discover the natural oasis of Can Camins forest.
What to see in the Can Camins pine forest
La Pineda de Can Camins occupies some 30 hectares next to the airport on land belonging to Aena, the entity that manages airports in Spain. They were expropriated in their day, on the occasion of the construction of the third runway of the airport (called 07R-25L) which came into operation back in 2004. The plots were already marked, some gardens were delimited and everything was ready to build villas and apartments. But the extension of the airfield truncated the initial plans.
The beach, the forest and behind the airport
One of the peculiarities of Can Camins is that it is a forest of pines that grow on the dunes of the beach creating a vegetation cover thick enough to filter the sun’s rays and protect the soil from hard exposure. Walking around inside, you will be surprised to notice a clear difference in temperature and a more humid environment. It’s not the Black Forest of Stranger Things but when you get inside the forest the light and sensations change in a unique way.
At the height of summer the difference in temperature between the outside and inside the shade of the pine forest can be very pleasant. This natural greenhouse favours the growth of a great variety of fungi, plants and other vegetables that adapt very well to the circumstances of the environment.
Visit the pine forest of Can Camins
Orchids, for example, proliferate at this site and up to 20 species have been counted at Can Camins. We did not see their flowers on our visit; it was not the right time of year, but in spring and summer it must be spectacular to discover their unique colours and shapes.
Between the beach and the runway of Barcelona Airport a good number of birds have made their home and some rabbits and rodents prowl around in the undergrowth. During our visit we also saw obvious traces of wild boar, which with their powerful snout plough the land in a totally disorderly and chaotic way. The forest is full of life!
Route through the interior of Can Camins forest
Guided tour of Can Camins
It is not possible to access your air through the forest of Can Camins because it is an area of special protection, but you can go on a guided tour, with the addition of the relevant explanations of the guide that accompanies you. This is a free visit that takes place on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. All you have to do is sign up in advance or go to the tourist office opposite on the day you wish.
The restriction is understood to be for a good cause and involves having to do the tour with a guide, who is an expert and willing to share good information.
Tourist Office in Can Camins
We were very lucky the day we visited Can Camins with the children as there were very few people. A group was formed by a father with his two children, the travel troupe and the guide; nine people in total. So we attended the explanations with total comfort and we could ask questions without waiting for an appointment or anything. A real luxury.
The visit lasts about an hour and allows you to see the differences in vegetation in relation to the proximity of the sea and the presence of more or less sand on the ground. At all times you must walk in delimited areas to avoid stepping on and compacting the ground unintentionally and it is forbidden to take anything from there, as well as to soil it with papers or anything else alien to the environment. These are 100% reasonable indications, without possible discussion. Approximately 2 km are walked through restricted areas with the start and end at the same point.
The guided tour in the Pineda de Can Camins is worthwhile for a family weekend plan and is very close to the city of Barcelona. If we have to mention something a bit negative it would be the deafening noise that intermittently is produced by the planes that put the engines at full speed to take off at a short distance from there.
It’s a brutal noise. First you hear an aircraft preparing to take to the runway, but the moment the engines are effectively turned up to full power the noise is very loud, it seems to become corporeal, physical, and invades everything. It seems impossible to adapt to this environment as some animals in the area have done.
How to get to the Pineda de Can Camins
The key reference point to get to Can Camins, as we have already said, is Barcelona Airport. More specifically, when you get to El Prat you have to be aware of the detours that lead to El Prat beach, along the B-203 road.
After leaving behind the viewpoint of the landing planes and passing under a bridge we will almost be there. The Can Camins Porta del Delta Tourist Office building will be the final sign. Another good reference, already arriving, is the new tower of the Mirador de l’Estany de l’Illa. There are some good parking lots to leave the car right next to the Tourist Office.
Tower of the Mirador de l’Estany de l’Illa
We cannot finish without mentioning other nearby attractions in this area of the Baix Llobregat. Next to Can Camins we have already mentioned the beach and the viewpoint; there is also a more than interesting Municipal Sailing Centre in El Prat de Llobregat.
Not too far away is the Foundation for the Conservation and Recovery of Marine Animals – CRAM. In the website of the Natural Areas of the Llobregat Delta you will find good information to plan new family expeditions in the area and also in the website of Barcelona és molt més.
On the “other side” of the airport is a spectacular natural area also highly recommended for family trips. This is the area known as El Remolar – Philippines.
Photo gallery of the Can Camins pine forest
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