In the heart of Castilla-La Mancha, between Ciudad Real and Albacete, there is an oasis made up of 15 lagoons with turquoise waters, ideal for spending a relaxing day with the family. It is a protected natural area where you will find impressive waterfalls and waterfalls, poplar groves, juniper groves and holm oak forests where many species of birds, fish and mammals live. It is one of the most important wetlands in the region where you can be in direct contact with nature and discover some unique animal specimens of their kind in the area.
What awaits you in the Lagunas de Ruidera?
In the more than 30 kilometers of paths that cross this natural park you will find many options to spend a fun time with your family, from its different lagoons and viewpoints to hiking trails, sites of cultural interest and some recreational areas. Along the way you can also discover the various travertine barriers, the geological formation that distinguishes this park and that shapes its different lagoons, as well as different species of animals that live there.
However, there is no doubt that the protagonists of this park are its natural lagoons formed by the Guadiana riverbed and fed by the water that comes from the springs and streams that rise at the bottom of this valley. It is a complex system of lagoons that connect with each other, creating a beautiful waterfall effect throughout the park.
You can start the tour through the “high lagoons”, the Blanca, Concejo and Tomilla lagoons, which are located in the upper Guadiana, a space of great natural beauty where you will also find the Rochafrida Castle. After visiting these three lagoons, you can continue the descent to the intermediate lagoons, from Tinaja, San Pedra, Redondilla, Lengua, Salvadora and Batana to Santos Morcillo where, if you like fishing, you can practice this sport with the little ones at home. .
Finally, head towards the lower lagoons of Colgada and Laguna del Rey, which has a viewpoint with spectacular views of the landscape before continuing on to La Morenilla, La Caladilla and La Cenagosa, where you can take a bath with the children. enjoy the beautiful waterfall of El Hundimiento or practice some water sports such as kayaking, paddle surfing and diving.
Hiking routes to discover the natural secrets that surround the Lagunas de Ruidera
Did you know that the Lagunas de Ruidera were the scene of some of the passages in the book Don Quixote de la Mancha ? According to the novel, this character, coming from the pen of the writer Miguel de Cervantes, crossed the Campo de Montiel and passed through the crystalline lagoons in his adventures in Castilla-La Mancha. Today, you can follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho through the Ruta del Quijote, a route that crosses the park following the path that Cervantes described in the book.
One of the stops that you cannot miss on this route is the Cueva de Montesinos, one of the iconic enclaves of Don Quixote’s adventures in the region, which you can also access from the Senda de la Cueva de Montesinos. It is a karstic cave of great geological and natural value, in which children will be able to see its curious stalactites and stalagmites, as well as its peculiar mineral outcrops while discovering why this setting captivated Don Quixote in the novel.
However, inside the Lagunas de Ruidera there are many other paths of different levels of complexity that you can travel on foot or by mountain bike. One of the coolest and easiest to do with young children is the Senda del Pie de Enmedio where they will have the chance to spot different types of birds. For the older kids, there is the Laguna Blanca Route and the Peñarroya Castle Route where, with a bit of luck, they can enjoy Bonelli’s eagle gliding, see an imperial heron or run into one of the wild cats that They live in this habitat.
If you do not dare to explore this immense area on your own, it is worth noting that the park also organizes hiking trails and guided 4×4 tours with prior reservation.
What else can you do in the Lagunas de Ruidera?
Beyond its natural appeal, the Lagunas de Ruidera offer you many other experiences to live with the little ones. It has an Information Center where children can learn a little more about the environment through the models, information panels and activities that are organized every day. At the back of the building you will find a small botanical garden with the most distinctive species of shrubs and trees in the park so that you do not miss any detail.
Throughout the entire park you will also find different spaces to eat with the children in the open air and enjoy some family entertainment. And in addition, it has an ideal space for “camping”! Although free camping is not allowed, around the Lagunas de Ruidera there are different areas where you can park your caravan, motorhome or tent to make the most of the day. And, if you want to spend the night, there is also a campsite where you can enjoy a night in the middle of nature with the little ones at home.
For lovers of cultural tourism, another good plan is to go to some of the surrounding towns after visiting the park. One of the places you cannot miss is Ruidera , where you can visit the emblematic Casa del Rey, go to the Church of Santa María de la Blanca or discover one of the oldest bridges in the region, the Puente de la Esclusa. And, if you still have the strength for more, you can head towards Argamasilla de Alba , the town whose name Miguel de Cervantes did not want to remember. The Peñarroyo Castle is located there, but you can also visit the Gran-Prior canal and the Church of San Juan Bautista.