The Monfragüe National Park, located in the north of the province of Cáceres, is a real geological treasure that nature gives us. Wide pastures, steep mountains, the contrast between the different plant species and the continuous influence of the rivers Tiétar and Tajo that run through this park, without forgetting of course the rich fauna that inhabits it, make it an exceptional place. Man, from ancient civilizations, through the Romans, the struggles between Arabs and Christians, to the present day, has also marked this land, notably influencing its current appearance.
In this Route of the Viewpoints of Monfragüe we will find ourselves visiting emblematic places from which we will be able to enjoy magnificent panoramic views, discover the history that surrounds them, learn how the natural and geological wonders that surprise those who contemplate them have been formed over the years and of course immerse ourselves from a distance in the flight of the birds that populate the cliffs of the mountains that surround us. The hand of man has also made itself felt, contributing in part to the current morphology of the park with the Tiétar and Tajo reservoirs, which control the course of these rivers, or the cutting down of large areas to adapt them to livestock and agriculture, forming extensive pastures. All this makes a visit to the park an interesting experience not to be missed.
There are several points from where we can start this route, in this case we do it from the first of the viewpoints that we have to find as we arrive at the National Park of Monfragüe following, from Plasencia, the road EX 208, which links this town with Torrejón el Rubio and Trujillo. The Sierra of La Serrana, situated to the north of the park, is the border of the park and a necessary passage to enter it if we are coming from Plasencia. The repopulated cliffs that can be seen from this place are ideal for the birds of prey that inhabit it, birds that are sure to be watching us as they fly over us. This mountainous landscape, covered by the pines that were once planted here, lets us enter the Monfragüe National Park calmly, as if we were getting ready for the real natural show that awaits us further on.
Once visited this viewpoint, we started our tour inside Monfragüe following the road that brought us to it. We will leave behind, for the time being, other stops on the route besides the coquettish town of Villareal de San Carlos, founded by Carlos III in the 18th century to defend and control these lands. Our road crosses the mighty river to make us cross its banks leading us to the impressive Salto del Gitano. Black storks, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, golden eagles or peregrine falcons have chosen the steep walls of Peña Falcón as their home, taking advantage of the security they offer. The impressive landscape formed by the unstoppable Tagus River, which has torn through the mountain to continue its peaceful course, is joined by the rich biodiversity that we can contemplate from this viewpoint, a real natural heritage that will envelop us with its beauty, inviting us to enjoy it with the tranquillity it deserves.
The promise of more places like the one we just visited makes us continue our route. We follow the road that leads to Torrejón el Rubio and Trujillo and shortly after leaving the Jump of the Gypsy we find the detour that goes up to our next stop. At the beginning of this detour we have a large car park, as it is forbidden to pass caravans and heavy vehicles. The narrow asphalted track goes up the mountain leading us to a small esplanade for only two or three cars. From here a steep ramp first and then stairs allow us to reach the highest point of our route where not only an unparalleled view of the park awaits us, but also part of the history that took place here. From the old castle of Islamic origin only the homage tower and another small circular tower remain. Next to it is the chapel which houses a 12th century carving and a modern viewpoint which rivals the panoramic view offered by the keep.
We descend from such a unique defensive enclave to once again travel along the road that runs through the park, this time returning towards Plasencia. After crossing the river again, we have the possibility of enjoying the first viewpoint, the one at the mouth of the Tietar River, or continuing to the nearby balcony overlooking the Cardinal's Bridge. Usually hidden under the waters of the reservoir, this old bridge, built around 1450 by order of the then Bishop of Plasencia, Juan de Carvajal, came to facilitate the transit between both banks of the river that at that time was made on barges that joined them. The important transhumant, economic and social activity that these lands saw in those years, whose historical and cultural values we try to preserve and keep alive, are one more incentive that adds to the spectacular landscape with which this balcony surprises us overlooking the Monfragüe mountain range and the twinning of the two rivers that run through the park.
We resumed the march passing by Villareal de San Carlos, which is well worth a visit. There you will find the Monfragüe Natural Park interpretation center. The road leads us towards Plasencia until we find the detour that will take us to the next stops on the route. We advance now going up the course of the river Tiétar, towards Saltos de Torrejón and finally Navalmoral de la Mata. Shortly afterwards we reach the first stop on this side of the route of the Monfragüe viewpoints. The winding course of the Tiétar River, shortly before it dies in the Tagus, draws the undulating shapes of the surrounding mountains, allowing us to contemplate from this place the tireless work that has resulted in the characteristic landscape that defines the park we are visiting, in which if we look closely we can surely contemplate not only the flora that inhabits it, but also some of the animals that live there.
We continue the journey of this geological route through the park following the course of the road that takes us to the vicinity of the impressive Torrejón Tiétar dam, separated from its sister in the Tagus by the thin cliff of La Tajadilla that resists the thrust of both rivers to join. The construction of these dams, together with that of Alcántara downstream, not only modified the landscape, but also the fauna that inhabits it. From this strategic point of the visit to Monfragüe we will be able to enjoy the flight of the birds that populate the cliffs that separate both rivers or discover the effects, both beneficial and not, that generated the construction of the dams next to which we are, as well as their surprising functioning. We cannot fail to take advantage of the occasion to get closer to this colossal work of engineering from which we can also obtain spectacular panoramic views.
We continue our walk around Monfragüe, which will lead us to cross the impressive dam and start a winding ascent that will make us gain height quickly. In one of these laps, an extraordinary balcony awaits us from which we can see the place we have just left behind. Nestled between the dams of the Tiétar and Tagus rivers, this wide balcony awaits us from which we can contemplate the heart of the Monfragüe National Park. A different view from the ones we have seen so far that continues to hide the course of the Tajo, hidden behind the vertical cliff of the Tajadilla. Even so, the valley that floods the Tietar in its search for the end of its life, extends before our eyes surrounded as it is by the hills, mountains and pastures that make up this natural treasure. A land of deer, herons and cork oaks that are clear examples of the biodiversity that characterizes these lands.
The road continues to make us gain height as we leave behind the huge dams that dominate the two rivers. The landscape apparently changes its appearance, enveloping us with the lushness of the pines that grow in this part of the park. Nothing could be further from the truth, they quickly give way again, giving us a wider perspective, like the one offered by the next viewpoint we visit, from where the Tagus River can be seen, if only for a moment. From this place we can appreciate more clearly, especially for the eyes of the most expert, the typical relief that characterizes this park, where the different materials that compose it and the erosion to which they have been exposed have resulted in crests and small valleys, a sign of the resistance that each of them has.
We return to the road to follow its course, which takes us further and further away from the dams of Salto de Torrejón, until we find a new corner from which a magnificent panorama of the Tiétar River awaits us. From the Gredos mountain range where it is born, it comes to finish its course in Monfragüe. There are several streams that also run through the interior of the park in search of the river to which they pour their waters, from this wonderful viewpoint we can contemplate some of them, next to the wide meander that draws the river forced by the obstacles, which like materials of greater resistance to erosion is finding in its path. Close to the limits of the Monfragüe National Park, we find ourselves in front of a cozy spot that invites us to calmly enjoy everything it has to offer or to examine the landscape carefully in search of some of the inhabitants who have their home here or to become absorbed in contemplating the methodical flight of some of the birds that are sure to be seen from it.
We say goodbye to this bucolic corner and head for the last viewpoints on the route, La Fresneda, from where we can watch the birds in their daily lives thanks to the observatory located there, which allows us to go almost unnoticed by them and La Portilla, which marks the border and the entrance gate of Tiétar to the park. La Portilla del Tiétar and Salto del Gitano vantage points are the entrance and exit gates to the river in Monfragüe National Park. Besides, due to their special shapes, they are unbeatable homes for many of the birds that live in the park. This place has the advantage of bringing us closer than any other, given its narrowness, to the vultures, the owl, the eagle and the other species that populate these vertical cliffs. Their nests or themselves are almost visible without the need for binoculars or telephoto lenses, which gives this place an added value that makes it one of the most visited by bird lovers. Beyond these cliffs both the park and the route reach their end or could be the beginning if we arrive from, for example, Navalmoral de la Mata.
Map of the route
This map is a sketch made as an example of the route, in no case represents the best or the only itinerary to follow. Its development has not taken into account the current rules of circulation or the state of the places through which it passes and that could affect its layout.
Una zona muy bonita y con unas rutas de senderismo muy chulas.
¿Did you know that...
Monfragüe is crossed from side to side by the Cañada Real Trujillana, of the Plata or Vizana, hence the importance of controlling and protecting these lands and the herds that moved through them from bandits and robbers, the main reason for the creation of Villareal de San Carlos by Carlos III.
Don't miss out...
The Almez de Lugar Nuevo, is a singular tree of Extremadura that you will be able to find to little distance of Villareal de San Carlos following the common layout of the red and yellow routes. Its size and age, together with the jams and healing potions made from its fruits, make it a noble lord of the park of Monfragüe.
Distance of the route
30,7 Km. This figure may vary depending on the route we follow
Duration of the visits
2h 00min This is the approximate time it will take us to make the different stops on the route
Time of year
Spring and autumn bring great beauty to the route, as well as generally coinciding with the busiest times for the animals that live in the park
Landscape, natural, ornithological and cultural. This route shows us a large part of the Monfragüe National Park and the biodiversity and geology that characterize it
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Route information updated on 17-10-2016. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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