Category Archives: Other protected areas

Ciudad Encantada in Cuenca

  • Region: Castilla la Mancha
  • Province: Cuenca
  • Declared a Natural Site of National Interest on June 11, 1929
  • Privately run

I first stumbled across the Ciudad Encantada in Cuenca whilst on a long road trip over 20 years ago and, I remember then being totally awed by the amazing formations on this 3 km stroll through pine forest and rock. Finally, many years later in July 2022, I had the opportunity to visit again with my family. What a treat, this place is as fantastic as I remembered!

Los barcos at the Ciudad Encantada
the scale of these formations can be seen when a person is also in the picture! In this case, my kids by “Los barcos” (The boats)

90 million years ago, this area was part of the shallow, and most importantly, calm seabed of Thetis which led to the deposition of minerals and salts creating limestone and dolomite.

Cuenca: Enchanted City, Devil’s Window and Medieval Quarter
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The Laguna de Gallocanta

Without a doubt, one of the most distinctive living elements of the Laguna de Gallocanta are the birds, especially the striking flocks of common cranes that rest and feed here during the course of their migratory trips.

The vast majority of the European crane population moving on the western migratory route use Gallocanta as a feeding and resting area. Over 100,000 cranes have been counted in a single day (02/24/2011) and its normal for 40,000 to 60,000 individuals to be present during an average migratory season.

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The Tena Valley

The Tena Valley (in Aragonese Bal de Tena ) is a Pyrenean valley located in the Aragonese region of Alto Gállego (crossed by the Gállego river from north to south). It borders with the French valley of Ossau and access to France is through the Portalet d’Aneu pass . The southern limit is found in the Foz de Santa Elena which separates it from Biescas.

It is one of the largest and most populated valleys in the Pyrenees with an area of ​​about 400 km² and mountains range from 600 meters of altitude in its lowest part to over 3000 m in many of its peaks (Balaitus, Gran Facha, Argualas or the Picos del Infierno). There are also two large reservoirs: Lanuza and Búbal.

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Valle del Jerte in Extremadura

  • Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1973.
  • Towns and villages: Barrado, Cabezuela del Valle, Cabrero, Casas del Castañar, El Torno, Jerte, Navaconcejo, Piornal, Rebollar, Tornavacas, Valdastillas.
  • Best time to visit: Mid March to mid April

Located in the extreme north-east of the province, the Valle del Jerte in Extremadura is bordered to the north by the provinces of Ávila and Salamanca, to the west by Valle del Ambroz, to the south by the city of Plasencia and to the east by La Vera. The area has become quite famous for the beauty of its cherry tree orchards in spring and for the Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve.

Find a hotel close to the Valle del Jerte in Extremadura

The cherry bloom festival

During the second week of March the festival of El Cerezo en Flor is celebrated in the Jerte Valley when over a million and a half trees are in full bloom.

Valle del Jerte in Extremadura - Picota cherries
Valle del Jerte in Extremadura – Picota cherries

At this time of year a circular route through the villages by car is highly recommended. (Valdastillas, Piornal, Barrado, Cabrero, Casas del Castañar, El Torno and Rebollar. (about 50 KM)

Reserva Natural Garganta de los Infiernos

Located in the heart of the Jerte Valley, the Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve is known for its streams and waterfalls and rock pools. From the Sierra de Tormantos to the southwestern slope of the Sierra de Gredos, the course of the Jerte River shapes granite and gneiss landscapes with the highest point being the Cuerda de los Infiernos at more than 2,000 meters and the Cerro del Estecillo, an old glacier, considered to be the origin of the Jerte valley.

Reserva Natural Garganta de los Infiernos
Wildlife and nature walks in the Reserva Natural Garganta de los Infiernos

In the deciduous forests there are some large specimens of oak along with hawthorn, yew, holly, birch, strawberry and chestnut trees. In the undergrowth of oaks there are abundant species of ferns and orchids. On the sunniest slopes there are large areas of the cultivated picota cherry.

Autumn in the Valle del Jerte
The Garganta de los Infiernos

The variety of ecosystems in the Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve favors the abundance and diversity of fauna. The waters of this reserve are populated by a number of fish species such as common trout, the most characteristic of these rivers. Although amphibians such as salamanders and newts are also present.

At the river side look out for kingfisher and dipper and in the skies, griffon vulture and especially golden eagles.

Mammals represented in the area include wildcat and genet, otter and the little known desman. The most abundant mammal species in the area is Spanish Ibex.

The Garganta de los Infiernos Natural Reserve has quite a few walking routes through some of the most beautiful places in the Jerte region such as: Los Pilones, Carlos V Route, Cordel del Valle and the route through Upper Extremadura. (More info on these routes at the main information centre in Cabezuela del Valle

The Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve
The Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve – Valle del Jerte, Caceres, Extremadura

Tourist offices and museums

Oficina de turismo del Valle del Jerte

Paraje de Peñas Albas, s/n, 10610 Cabezuela del Valle, Càceres

This is the main tourist office to head for where you will be able to get information about the area in general along with maps and guides for walking routes in the area.

Museo de la Cereza

In the same town as the main tourist office for the area you can also find the cherry museum. Here, information panels and exhibitions explain the cultivation of the world famous Jerte cherries.

C/ Hondón, 58, Cabezuela del Valle

The official website for the Valle del Jerte in Extremadura is

Alternative titles for this article
  • The Valle del Jerte: A Springtime Wonderland
  • Cherry Blossoms in the Valle del Jerte
  • Explore the Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve
  • The Best Things to Do in the Valle del Jerte
  • A Guide to the Valle del Jerte

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