If you like to combine hiking and heritage, you will probably like this itinerary, which will take you to visit the hermitages of Ascó. The route will allow you to enjoy the rural peace and the riverside landscapes, where the Ebro river is the main character. We recommend bringing comfortable shoes, drinks and food, so that you can finish the hike with a good picnic! The route is mostly flat with some climbs, about 8 km (one way only) and is suitable for all ages.
You can start the hike at thehermitage of Sant Miquel, located at the north entrance of the village, where you will find parking slots. The hermitage, with a single nave covered with a barrel vault, is distinguished by its external perch, opened by three arches. The door, with a half-point arch, is made up of thirteen vaults. The year 1741 is engraved on the keystone, although the year of construction of the hermitage is unknown and it is believed that this date refers to some renovation works. The chapel is usually closed, but you can visit it during the festival of Sant Miquel de Maig, which takes place on the Saturday closest to May 8.
To get to the chapel of the Mare de Déu del Carme, the second point of the route, you will have to cross almost the entire village following the road (about 500 meters). Once you leave Ascó, continue walking for about 350 meters along the footbridge on the left side of the road, with a great view of the Ebro river. Taking the stairs down, you will reach the small chapel, located very close to the river, as the Virgin is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. The original position of the chapel was another one, but due to the construction of the railway, the chapel was moved in 1882 to its current location. In the summer, the chapel becomes the meeting point for the parishioners of the village every evening from July 16th until the 24th (Saint Jame’s Eve), where the novena of Mare de Déu del Carme, a religious tradition deeply rooted in Ascó, takes place.
To get there, you will need to cross the road and head towards the chapel, following the signs. You will soon find a dirt road that goes up to the top of the hill, where the chapel is located. The next point of the itinerary is the hermitage of the Calvari. You will go up in the middle of a pine forest, following a Via Crucis made with numbered metal crosses (this is where a procession takes place during the Holy Week). Once you pass the cross number XIV, you will arrive at the Calvari! Right next to the chapel you will find a small wooden construction with a notebook inside, take a pen and write down your name and date of the hike! This is a superb point to admire the view over the village and the Ebro river, the castle of Ascó, the fields of almond trees and the neighboring towns of Vinebre and la Torre de l’Espanyol.
If you feel like extending the hike, you can walk to Ascó’s fourth hermitage, the Santa Paulina hermitage. Once you get off Calvari, you will have to cross the C-12B road again and walk on the left of the road towards the south (opposite direction to Ascó) for about 300 meters, until you find the first entrance on your left. Once you take the path, follow the directions and walk along the asphalt track surrounded by olive trees and pines for about 4.5 km to the chapel of Santa Paulina, in the forest area of Mas de Prades. From the hermitage you can admire the view of the mountains that surround Ascó, while enjoying a good meal in the picnic area. It is also a really good place for birdwatching and wildlife observation (hispanic goat, wild boar and many species of birds) and you will find explanatory panels. If you are traveling with children, after visiting the Calvari you can take the car and drive to the hermitage of Santa Paulina, instead of going there on foot.