SPAIN. Alto Tajo Natural Park, Guadalajara: Nature in Spain is full of wonders and has a refreshing effect on the visitors. Its diverse and contrasting natural landscapes force the visitors to breathe in the fresh air and forget all the worldly worries. You just enjoy the moment. Plenty of varied destinations – mountains, volcanoes, wetlands, forests, rivers, valleys, cliffs, lakes, etc. make you feel rejuvenated. One such unique and different natural space is the Alto Tajo Natural Park, located in the province of Cuenca and Guadalajara, and very close to the Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park. It was declared a Natural Park in the year 2000 and has a total surface area of 174.545 hectares.
In the post-pandemic era, Alto Tajo Natural Park (Parque Natural del Alto Tajo in Spanish), located between the southeast of the Guadalajara province and the northeast of Cuenca is an ideal getaway as it is very close to Madrid, just two hours drive and a perfect destination for a weekend.
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The natural reserve is one of the most important biodiversity areas in the Castile-La Mancha area and is famous for its canyons and gorges formed by the Tagus River and its tributaries which flow through the park, and also for pine forests and imposing cliffs.
Alto Tajo Natural Park is the largest network of canyons and gorges in Castile-La Mancha. Most of the typical characteristics of the Iberian Mountain Range, like various Iberian floras in the narrow valleys, can be found in the Alto Tajo region. Some of the important features of the terrain are linked with the courses of the rivers such as the canyons, gorges, and terraces, as well as singular shapes on the slopes such as crevices, jagged peaks, and monoliths.
The park is a designated UNESCO, GEOPARK, and offers a large diversity of both landscapes and living things to the visitors. The park has a wide variety of flowers, and a rich fauna – birds, raptors like griffon vultures and Bonelli’s eagles, mammals such as wild cats and otters, micro mammals and reptiles, amphibians, and various fish species.
The park has been featured in José Luis Sampedro’s novel El río que nos lleva, and also was one of the filming locations of season 6 of Game of Thrones.
Places of interest in the park
- A hike in the morning to Poveda waterfall and Taravilla lake.
- Tributaries of Tajo River, including Cabrillas, Bullones, Gallo, Arandilla, Salado, Ablanquejo, Hoceseca and Tajuelo.
- Singular spots: the source of the Cuervo River, the pools of Taravilla and Valtablado, and the salt pans of Armallá and Saélices.
- Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA): Home for species of birds of the Iberian Peninsula.
- Special Conservation Zones (ZEC).
- Pine forests and spectacular cliff formations.
- Over 40 villages and towns within the park boundaries.
- Singular slope forms, like knives, needles, and monoliths on red limestone and sandstone.
- High moorlands occupied by extensive Spanish junipers areas.
- Places of great beauty such as Checa, Chequilla, Corduente, etc.
- The Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Hoz.
- Beautiful ravines of incredible natural beauty formed by the erosion of sandstone.
- Natural monuments: Lagoon of Taravilla, the bridge of San Pedro or the Salto de Poveda.
The park can be visited all year-round, but it is best to visit during the spring and autumn months to enjoy its colourful landscapes.