Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Monfrague National Park is the most recent of all Spanish parks and is quite popular among birdwatchers. You can easily spot eagles and vultures flying by, especially at the top of the castle or near the Salto del Gitano area.
There are 3 trails in this park, and we had planned to take the Red trail (itinerario rojo) which is the longest and most complete (about 4/5 hours). It gives you a good overview of the park, going all the way up to the castle and the main sights.
It starts at the Vilareal de San Carlos village (the only village located inside the Park) but we actually parked near the Cardinal bridge (Puente del Cardinal) and started the hike from the Fuente del Frances picnic area.
The first hour and a half the trail goes through the forest, up the mountain and towards the castle. It's a relatively easy trail, with some steep parts once in a while. We got to see some wild deer passing by as well ...
The views from the castillo are amazing (be sure to get inside the tower and up the stairs to the top) and it's the best stop for spotting the big birds.
The red trail then goes down the mountain on the other side and follows the road until reaching the Salto del Gitano. Here we took the trail that follows the river bend (Senda del rio Tajo) until finally reaching the bridge again.
That night we stayed at this lovely place called El mirlo blanco, located near the village of Candeleda, halfway between Monfrague and the Sierra de Gredos. It was so peaceful and relaxing there, and I'm hoping next time the weather will be nice enough to try that pool.