Ruidera Lagoons in Ciudad RealRuidera (Ciudad Real)GPS: 38.97380065917969, -2.8874900341033936
The Natural Park of Ruidera Lagoons constitutes, along with Plividje in Croatia, the best representation of lakes formed by calcium carbonate accumulation. The waters fallen on the field of Montiel seep through the 24th aquifer that has its natural spillway in this zone, giving rise to the birth of the Guadiana Alto or Pinilla River. This water, extraordinarily rich in carbonates, throughout thousands of years of rainfall, has formed impressive barriers (natural dams) that give rise to spectacular waterfalls between a lagoon and another one.
This protected natural area is located between the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real and it is constituted by the following lagoons: White Lagoon, Conceja Lagoon, Tomilla Lagoon, Tinaja Lagoon, San Pedro Lagoon, Redondilla Lagoon, Lengua Lagoon, Salvadora Lagoon, Santos Morcillo Lagoon, Batana Lagoon , Colgada Lagoon, The King Lagoon, Cueva Morenilla Lagoon, Coladilla Lagoon and Cenagosa Lagoon.
WHAT WE’LL SEE
The visual spectacle of this oasis in the middle of Campo de Montiel will surprise you. The landscape beauty of this National Park, one of the most beautiful in Castile-la Mancha won't disappoint you. Make the most of it and try to visit Cueva de Montesinos (it is necessary to arrange a date with any of the authorized enterprises, at the Reception Centre you will be given a list), the Peñarroya Castle, the Rochafrida Castle or try to go on a guided tour on foot or canoeing.
The vegetal landscape of the park is very diverse, from autochthonous wooded formations to marsh vegetation. The hillsides and the highest areas are occupied by holm oaks, kermes oaks, Spanish junipers and common junipers. The oak grove is replaced by a dense scrub made up of kermes oaks,labiataeand brooms in the most open areas.
In the gallery forest, established on humid grounds that usually suffer from floods, trees like elm trees, white poplars and some hybrids of black poplars appear. Around the borders of the lagoons it is developed, in more or less wide bands, vegetation sensitive to humidity. Near the sheet of water, we can find the bulrush and the reeds, behind them, we find the blue sedge. In some lagoons, after the summer drying, reed beds appear.
Over 250 species of vertebrates live in the park. Mammals, due to their tendency to hide and live during night, are the most difficult ones to observe. However, the birds, especially the aquatic ones, can be easily seen. Most of them hide themselves between the marsh vegetation that surrounds the sheet of water, like the water rail, the common moorhen or the great reed warbler, whose unmistakable singing enlivens the reedbed. Among the most emblematic species, we can stand out the western marsh harrier and the tufted duck, whose reproductive and wintering populations benefit the Mancha Húmeda (the wet part of Castile). The Eurasian coot, the mallard, the red-crested pochard, the little grebe or the great crested grebe can be also seen in the lagoons.
The Natural Park of Ruidera Lagoons is located in Alto Valle del Río Guadiana (or Pinilla River) and serves as provincial to Ciudad Real and Albacete. From Madrid or Ciudad Real, you can get to Manzanares by N-IV highway, and then by N-430, passing through La Solana, Alhambra and Ruidera. From Albacete, by N-430 Highway.
MOST SUITABLE VISIT TIME. What to take
A Mediterranean climate with poor precipitations causes that practically any time of the year is suitable to visit Ruidera Lagoons. If you prefer calm, it is better to go in autumn or winter. It is a cool place in winter. Do not forget the swimsuit to cool yourself off in summer. Conformable clothing.