The Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park is a jewel in the heart of Castilla-La Mancha, specifically between the provinces of Ciudad Real and Albacete. Some places where the water of its fifteen lagoons is the protagonist and also the germ of one of the most charismatic rivers in southern Spain: the Guadiana.
The landscape value of the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park
The Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park stretches along the 30 kilometers that make up the Alto Guadiana valley, a river that, in fact, is born in the highest part. Of course they are places of enormously photogenic beauty, since the presence of water is always attractive. But the most impressive thing is to observe its cycles, so that, depending on the time of year, the appearance of the park is different.
There are times when the turquoise blue waters of the lagoons overflow their buckets, flooding spaces or generating waterfalls on rugged terrain. And thanks to all that water, countless animal species and also trees and plants live there, the variety of which causes that there are numerous environments in a relatively small distance.
The wealth of the Lagunas de Ruidera
The dimensions of the protected area are not so small, since in total the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park extends over more than 3,700 hectares. An area in which, in addition to the lagoons, there are holm oaks and singular junipers, also riparian groves on the water’s edge and even marsh vegetation in flooded areas. A landscape at times unimaginable in the classic postcards of La Mancha.
And if La Mancha is named, Don Quixote immediately comes to mind. Well, the Cervantes hero and his faithful squire Sancho Panza rode through the Lagunas de Ruidera throughout the story. And in the words of Cervantes, this was such a magical place that it must have been the work of Merlin the Enchanter himself.
The visit to the natural park
As it is a protected area of enormous value, the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park has certain restrictions, but its tourist use has been taken into account, therefore different activities can be carried out inside, generating the least possible impact on this ecosystem.
To find out about this, and about what awaits us inside the park, it is best to go to its visitor center in the municipality of Ruidera.
Routes through the lagoons
The activity that almost all visitors seek is to contemplate these special landscapes. And for this you can access the vicinity of the lagoons in two ways. On the one hand, you can take any of the 4 hiking or bike routes that dot the natural park. This is the best way to be surprised by the beauty of the place and, hopefully, see its most famous inhabitants such as Bonelli’s eagles or Imperial herons.
Although, there is another more comfortable way, and it consists of doing the guided itineraries in 4 × 4 through the interior of the park. Both in vehicles and on foot, the presence of a guide is the most interesting, since it will allow us to appreciate all the secrets of this place.
More activities in the Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park
One of the most fantastic things to do in this special landscape is to take a bath. Of course, we cannot dive anywhere, but there are areas enabled for bathing. Something that is very appreciated in the hottest months.
And without leaving the water, there are also areas and times when it is possible to practice sport fishing. An activity that for fans of this practice is fascinating in such unique corners as the Lagunas de Ruidera.