Today we met our first Spanish main character: Javier, a 24-year-old young entrepreneur who lives in Valderrobres, the capital of the Matarraña county.
This remote area, crossed by rivers, vineyards and olive trees as well as small traditional villages, has gained the nickname of “Spanish Tuscany” for its beautiful Mediterranean landscapes. Matarraña is less than 3 hours away from Barcelona, however it is surrounded by mountains (the amazing Puertos de Beceite natural park) and therefore is quite isolated and hard to reach.
Four years ago Javier decided to bring out the potential of this area and open his own sports and outdoors company in the village of Cretas, close to Valderrobres.
Through this activity, he gets to bring his two greatest passions together: nature and sports. Matarraña aventura, his company, offers tourists the opportunity to ride a bike through the Green Way, a former railway line turned into a cycle path, hike along the mountain footpaths, canyoning or birdwatching.
“Life in rural areas offers many opportunities, there is more freedom and less stress. Nature is close, and people are close as well” he told us.
“On the other hand, entertainment and leisure facilities are lacking, the region’s infrastructure is poor. Between March and September a lot of tourists come, but winters are harsh and do not offer any social life for the younger inhabitants. Most of my friends have moved to the bigger cities of the area and I need to travel 100 km to meet up with them.”
The beginning of Javier’s activity was hard: he started with only a couple of bicycles and had to struggle against bureaucracy for a long time. However, he got a lot of help and support from the people of Cretas, also because his activity started to bring more people to the village and contribute to the local economy.