- Region: La Rioja
- Declared a biosphere: 2003
- Surface area: Almost 123,000 hectares
- ZEPA (Special zones for bird protection): Peñas del Iregua, Jubera y Leza, Peñas de Arnedillo, Peña Isasa, Peñalmonte, Sierra de Alcarama and Valle del Alhama.
- Towns and villages: Aguilar del Río Alhama, Ajamil de Cameros, Arnedillo, Alfaro, Arnedo, Autol, Bergasa, Bergasillas Bajera, Clavijo, Cabezón de Cameros, Cervera del Río Alhama, Cornago, Enciso, Grávalos, Hornillos de Cameros, Igea, Jalón de Cameros, Laguna de Cameros, Leza de Río Leza, Munilla, Muro en Cameros, Muro de Aguas, Navajún, Préjano, Rabanera, Robres del Castillo, San Román de Cameros, Soto en Cameros, Terroba, Torre en Cameros, Valdemadera, Villarroya, Zarzosa, Herce, Lagunilla del Jubera, Ocón, Quel, Ribafrecha, Santa Eulalia Bajera and Santa Engracia del Jubera.
Points of interest
The Valles de Leza – Jubera – Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve is located in the south eastern part of La Rioja. A mountainous area, the highest peaks reach around 1,600 meters.
The main forest species in this area is holm aak, which can be found in well conserved forests and is mixed with a diverse Mediterranean scrubland. Also present are some beech groves with the most famous being the Santiago forest. The mountainous terrain and river canyons create an ideal habitat for Bonelli’s eagle, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, eurasian eagle owl, peregrine falcon and this area also is home to species such as wild cat and otter. There are also large populations of roe deer, red deer and wild boar.
There are around 180 paleontological sites in the area and in some places, well preserved dinosaur tracks.
Find a hotel in the area of Valles de Leza – Jubera – Cidacas and Alhama
Star Parks – Astronomy and Skywatching
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.
Long distance trail GR-93 Sierras de La Rioja
A good way to get to explore this area is to walk some of the different stages of the GR-93 that cross the Camero Viejo (Leza), the Alto Cidacos and the Alhama-Linares valleys.
- Stage 5 – Ortigosa – Laguna de Cameros
- Stage 6- Laguna de Cameros – San Román
- Stage 7 – San Román de Cameros-Munilla
- Stage 8 – Munilla-Enciso
- Stage 9 – Enciso-Cornago
- Stage 10 – Cornago-Cervera del Río Alhama
- Stage 11 – Cervera del Río Alhama-Valverde
Find maps and information about this at the wikiloc website: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/gr-93-sierras-de-la-rioja-3231895
A short video with nice music showing some of the highlights around the Valles de Leza – Jubera – Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve
The origins of the use of hot springs in the area date back to the time of the Romans and can be found in the villages of:
- Arnedillo: Arnedillo Spa. Pools of hot springs for public use.
- Cervera del Río Alhama: La Albotea Spa.
- Gravalos: Balneario de Grávalos.
- Navajún: the spring of “rotten waters” (Manantial de “aguas podridas”.)
Information / Visitor Centres
There are quite a few municipal information centres in the towns and villages so information is fairly easy to come by in the Valles de Leza – Jubera – Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve. There are also a few dedicated interpretation centres in the area.
The Paleontology Centre of Enciso
In the town of Enciso and installed in an old shoe factory, this interpretation centre is dedicated to the investigation of the dinosaur remains in La Rioja. See the website here in Spanish http://centropaleontologicodeenciso.org/
The Lost Ravine (Barranco Perdido)
Barranco Perdido is a paleo-adventure park in the town of Enciso where visitors can complement their visit to the important ichnite deposits and the paleontological center of the town.
Contrebia leucade celtiberian city
About 2,5 Km from the village of Aguilar del Río Alhama, the interpretation center for Contrebia leucade, one of the most important celtiberian cities of the Iberia Peninsula dating from the end of the 3rd century BC, is well worth the visit.
The official website for the Valles de Leza – Jubera – Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve (in Spanish) is here: https://www.larioja.org/medio-ambiente/es/reserva-biosfera
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The Caminito del Rey
Find tickets for the Caminito del Rey: https://www.caminodelrey.es/
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