The Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park is located between the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real and is the largest wetland in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. This park has a length of almost 25 km and a rosary of 15 lagoons. The lagoons form a set of waterfalls and streams that go from the Laguna Blanca to the low lagoons. It has a typical plateau vegetation, composed of holm oaks, kermes and thorns.
Ruidera was declared a Natural Park in the year 1979 and in the very uniqueness of its landscapes lies its greatest attraction. The Lagunas de Ruidera are a karst ensemble modeled by the action of the waters of Alto Guadiana for centuries and have an extension of 30 kilometers. A gigantic lagoon system whose most characteristic feature, the tobaceous barriers, allow communication between all of them through waterfalls and beautiful waterfalls.
This paradise of turquoise waters is an ideal environment for active tourism and ecotourism activities: nature, adventure, diving, sailing sports, trekking, kayak, canoeing, paddle surf y snorkeling. There are also bathing areas during the summer and good places for sport fishing.. Then, We will make a brief description of the most outstanding lagoons to see in the Ruidera Lagoons.
Castle and reservoir of Peñarroya
Opened in the year 1959, the Peñarroya reservoir is the artificial dam for the waters of the Guadiana, that supply the nearby towns of Argamasilla de Alba and Tomelloso. This body of water, which is included within the protection zone of the Natural Park, forms an ecosystem with its own characteristics that differentiate it from the lagoon complex. Of great importance as a wildlife refuge, especially birdlife, It also stands out for its values in terms of sport fishing. Next to the dam and dominating the old strait, we can visit its medieval fortress, where the Chapel of Our Mrs.. of Peñarroya.
We leave the waters of the reservoir and the first two lagoons behind to discover a powerful waterfall. The Sinking waterfall, very close to the town of Ruidera, It is the highest jump in the entire Natural Park. The origin of the waterfall is found in the tremendous floods that occurred in the mid-16th century. The force of the current must have been such that it caused a subsidence of the ground. And so it has survived to this day. Access is on foot from the Ruidera cemetery.
The Laguna del Rey
The Laguna del Rey is connected to the Laguna Colgada by the Las Paranzas river, and represents the deepest of all gaps. Its left bank is ideal for walks or cycling. It is also highly recommended to go up to the Laguna del Rey Viewpoint. Although it is one of the most urbanized lagoons, due to his closeness to Ruidera, its height gives us a very good panoramic perspective.
Montesinos cave and Rochafrida castle
The Cueva de Montesinos is a cavity of karst origin of about 80 m. deep, originated by the dissolution process that rainwater has originated in the rocky area of the area, Inside, remains of different civilizations have been found. But nevertheless, the main value of this cave is the literary, since Miguel de Cervantes placed chapters XXII-XXIII inside it, of the second part of his great work “D. Quixote of La Mancha”, in which he narrates the greatest enchantment of Spanish literature.
Meanwhile, the castle of Muslim origin, built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, that passed into Christian hands after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, castle of type and military destination, with walled enclosure, of which today only remains of a tower and part of the wall remain.
But like the Cueva de Montesinos the greatest importance of the castle is perhaps the literary, since around the castle are the oldest medieval romances that are known, the romances of “Rosafrida” and of “Fontefrida”: Rosaflorida is the owner of the castle, in love with the noble Montesinos, and Fontefrida is the fountain at the entrance of the castle.
Las Lagunas de Ruidera is also known for treasuring a restaurant specializing in grilled meats nearby., restaurant Scorching Los Batanes. A perfect place to recharge your batteries after visiting so many lagoons in the Ruidera Natural Park. further, This restaurant has attached a campsite conditioned for the accommodation of tourists.