- Region: La Rioja
- Province: Rioja media
- Declared a Natural Park: 1995
- Park surface area: 23,640 hectares
- Towns and Villages: Villoslada de Cameros and Lumbreras de Camos
Points of interest
The only designated natural park in the region of La Rioja, the Sierra de Cebollera Natural Park is located on the northern slope of the mountains of the Iberian System about 50 kilometres from Logroño. It is also part of the Sierras de Demanda, Urbión, Cebollera and Cameros special protection areas for birdlife (Zonas de Especial Protección para las Aves (ZEPA)
The backdrop of the Sierra de Cebollera Natural Park is its smooth, rounded mountain terrain coupled with dense forests alternating with clearings in the higher areas to make room for pastures and mountain thickets.
Autumn in particular is a perfect time to visit this area as the mosaic of leaves is a fantastic sight with a whole range of warm colors from yellow to ocher and red that reveals the rich tree diversity that is camouflaged by the lush greenery of spring and summer.
The area has also become famous as a starlight destination. The Starlight Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2009 to promote the protection of the night sky and the development of “astrotourism” and there is an ever growing list of starlight destinations in Spain to visit.
Find a hotel close to the Sierra de Cebollera Natural Park
La Rioja, in general and over a very long time, has suffered somewhat from the degradation of it’s forests and woodlands (basically holm oaks) caused mainly by logging and sheep (over) grazing.
However, there still remains a long list of plantilfe such as Brachypodium retusum, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum stoechas, Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula stoechas, Lonicera etrusca, Pistacia lentiscus, Pistacia terebinthus, Quercus coccifera, Retama sphaerocarpa, Rosmarinus officinalis, Salsola vermiculata, Santolina chamaecyparissus and Thymus mastichina.
The richest riverside forests are those of the Ebro river (Reserva Natural de los Sotos del Ebro). As the riverside forests are humid and fertile, they have been largely occupied by agriculture but wild areas still remain with Cornus sanguinea, Crataegus monogyna, Euonymus europaeus, Fraxinus angustifolia, Humulus lupulus, Populus alba, Populus nigra and Rubus ulmifolius, Sambucus ebulus, Ulmus minor, Urtica dioica and Vitis sylvestris.
There are two types of holm oak groves in La Rioja according to the type of soil. The first is limestone, in which, for example, boxwood and strawberry trees appear (Montes Obarenes and Sierra de Toloño) and the siliceous soils in which heather, acidophilic rockrose and butcher’s broom appear, for example (Valle de Ocón, Monte de Ausejo, Sierra de Yerga, Carrascal de Villarroya, and Sierra de Alcarama). Here we can find Arbutus unedo, Quercus ilex spp. rotundifolia, Viburnum tinus, Rhamnus alaternus, Cistus albidus, Cistus laurifolius, Cistus salviifolius, Rhamnus licioides, Juniperus phoenicea and Juniperus oxycedrus.
The Sierra de Cebollera Natural Park also enjoys a rich fauna in which birds of prey such as the goshawk, honey buzzard, booted and short-toed eagle, common buzzard, tawny owl and long-eared owl are present. Also keep an eye open for grey partridge.
Amongst the mammal population to look out for there are fox, wild boar, red deer, red squirrel, wild cat, otter and the Pyrenean desman.
Trips to La Rioja with Get Your Guide
Centro del Parque Natural Sierra Cebollera
Located in the village of Villoslada de Cameros, at the crossroads between the roads to Montenegro and the Hermitage of Lomos de Orios. There is an excellent exhibition entitled “Sierra de Cebollera: Atlantic refuge in a Mediterranean world” which looks at the most unique environmental values of the Park, its fauna, flora and human impact on the area.
Opening times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Closed Mondays). Friday, Saturday and holidays: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and from 5 to 7 p.m
Centro de Interpretación o de la Trashumancia
The Transhumance interpretation centre in the village of Lumbreros de Camos is located between the Shrine of Our Lady of the Light and the Venta de Piqueras bar/restaurant. The exhibition seeks to give an overview of the livestock activity of grazing rotation (Trashumancia) which has generated its own grazing culture in the Sierra de Cameros.
Other interpretation centres to visit in La Rioja
Centro de Interpretación de los Sotos del Ebro (Pza. de España, 1, in the town of Alfaro)
Permanent exhibition and projection covering the nature reserve of the Riverbanks of the Ebro, the stork colony and the history of Alfaro (Reserva Natural de los Sotos de Alfaro)
Centro de Interpretación del Alto Valle del Cidacos (Amancio González, 2 in the town of Arnedillo)
There are 5 themes covered in this interpretation center with information panels and audiovisual displays: Biosphere, Water, Cultural Heritage, Industrialization, Fiesta and local Traditions (The Biosphere Reserve of La Rioja is a large area that occupies almost a quarter of the southeastern part of the region).
Centro de Interpretación y Observación del Buitre Leonado “El Mirador del Buitre” (Close to the village of Arnedillo)
Located in an old disused quarry this interpretation centre allows visitors to get up close to vultures and eagles. There is an excellent exhibition covering fauna and flora and wifi cameras pointing at various nesting sites (with special attention to booted eagle and griffon vulture). It also offers the chance to observe the different habitats of the area through telescopes and binoculars. You must reserve your visit at the Tourist Information Office of Arnedillo. (Cost 2 euros per person)
Rancho de esquileo de Brieva
In the village of Brieva de Cameros all you need to learn about sheep rearing and associated cultural traditions.
Centro de Interpretación Castillo de la Luna
In the town of Cornago, the museum about the castle is well worth the visit.
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Iberia Nature Forum
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