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Ruidera Lakes

Ciudad Real, Albacete

The Ruidera lagoons are a unique natural spot, and among Europe’s most beautiful wetlands. Along with the Plividje wetlands, they are the best representation of lakes formed from calcium carbonate. ...
03
50km
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Ruidera
18.6km
Castillo de Peñarroya
31km
Cueva de Montesinos

The Ruidera lagoons are a unique natural spot, and among Europe’s most beautiful wetlands. Along with the Plividje wetlands, they are the best representation of lakes formed from calcium carbonate. Genuinely stunning visually, formed over thousands of years along the Pilla river valley in the Campo de Montiel, between La Mancha lands and the foothills of Sierra Morena and Sierra del Segura.

The 16 lakes that make up this Natural Park extend between the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real, spanning 25 kilometres. The first springs come from the White lake and the waters reach the lower lagoons and the Peñarroya reservoir. The turquoise lagoon waters -linked by beautiful waterfalls and streams- are part of some stunning scenery that is home to great fauna diversity.

This incredible spot offers several ways to explore and have fun. Several nature activities can be carried out: hiking, mountain biking, 4x4 trips, horse-back riding, canoeing, snorkelling, caving, bungee jumping, sports sailing, etc., and of course, in summer, you have to take a dip in some of the many zones where swimming is permitted.

To start with, go to the Visitor’s Centre located in Ruidera, where you’ll find all the information you need about the lakes, and be able to visit a permanent exhibition, see a video and enjoy the botanical garden.

The car journey from the splendid Peñarroya castle goes through Ruidera then reaches the Cervantine Montesinos cave (make a booking to visit this), and is a magnificent idea. Stop at the lookout points, walkways and small paths that lead to the successive lagoons.

Inside the park, there are routes and itineraries on foot and hiking, or for mountain biking. Of course, walks along the signposted paths inside the most spectacular areas are the most advisable way to visit the Ruidera Lagoons, and to come into close contact with nature.

There are paths and routes for every taste. Small journeys such as the one that allows us to visit the Cervantine Montesinos cave, or takes us close to the Peñarroya and Rochafrida castles, or the one from Ruidera to the Humdimiento waterfall. There are also itineraries for more daring walkers, such as those that visit the White lagoon, the Pie de Enmedio path or the Cañada de las Hazadillas route. Some of these journeys can be done independently, although hiring a guide is always an enriching experience as we’ll discover more of the rich scenery, abundant wildlife and botany of the area.

Other good option, for the sporty types, is a trip on mountain bike along some of the paths and trails affording a unique view of the turquoise waters of the lakes.

Although any time is good to visit –each season has its unique charm–, spring and early summer –particularly in years with heavy rainfall­ are the times when the stunning waterfalls joining the lakes are in their maximum splendour. The summer months are ideal for making the most of the bathing areas, permitted in some zones: in winter and autumn, you can enjoy the area without the crowds.

You can also visit some nearby vineyards, enjoy bird watching –this is a paradise for many species– or doing literary tours –we are in Quixote land par excellence.

An extensive network of rural accommodation offers several options for resting, and don’t forget about the delicious La Mancha cuisine available in the region, with lamb and game meat among other things on the menu, in addition to gazpacho, ratatouille, gruel, fried breadcrumbs, cheeses and excellent wines; a home-made, family-based, slow and varied form of cooking.

Travel recommendations

Interpretation Centre and Visitors Reception:

Avda. de Castilla-La Mancha s/n o N-430 s/n, Ruidera (Ciudad Real)

Telephone number(s): 926528116

Email address: plagunas@jccm.es

Fax number: 926528116

Tourist office
Oficina de Turismo de Ossa de Montiel
Ctra. de Las Lagunas, km. 0,500
02611 Ossa de Montiel
967377670
Further information
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Castilla-la Mancha