Alberche and Pinares’ Valley
The Alberche and Pinares Valley (Ávila) is a tourist region par excellence, very close to Madrid and full of beauty and contrasts that can be seen from any point, both due to the variable altitude (from 1500 m. In La Cañada to 760 m. in Cebreros), as well as the climate, pleasant and generous (although different and variable depending on which point in the region).
Located to the east of the province of Ávila, on the southern slopes of the Paramera and Malagón mountains and northeast of Gredos, and as its name indicates, in the valley caused by the Alberche River, this Alberche valley is narrow and granite, it runs between gorges and green areas of great beauty that help make Alberche the main tributary of the Tagus. In its northeastern area is the region called Pinares-Bajo Alberche. The landscape is full of varied contrasts: granite, grasslands and bushes along with expanses of pine and oak. Access to this area is easy both from Ávila and from Madrid. Although its economy rests fundamentally on tourism, it also has agricultural, livestock, forestry resources and the occasional small industry.
Before reviewing the artistic and historical importance of its towns, which have it, and abundant, we must point out the great tourist attraction that the climate, the waters and the generous nature offer in this region. There are many bathing areas (especially along the course of the Alberche river), with excellent beaches, picnic areas … places to practice all kinds of sports (swimming, surfing, canoeing, sailing, golf …), varied activities that the geography of the region allows to carry out (hiking, mountain biking, equestrian routes, quads), important ecological enclaves that the area enjoys (the Iruelas Valley, declared a Natural Reserve in 1997 and a Special Protection Area for birds : “ZEPA”, where the largest populations of Black Vulture in Europe are found, El Hoyo de Pinares is also declared a SPA, and of great beauty and ecological importance are El Pinar de Hoyocasero and Castañar del Tiemblo), well organized and arranged camping and rural tourism houses, tasty and healthy food and local products that can be tasted, and the people are very friendly and hospitable. (Navaluenga is awarded the C award for Tourism of Castilla y León in 1998).
During the summer, whether the towns celebrate their patron saint festivities or not, there are summer attractions and events (cultural and musical performances, summer cinemas, outdoor terraces, etc.), all so that the night is the perfect finishing touch to full days. Therefore, these places multiply their population in summer, and are chosen as second homes by many people, which is not surprising, since it is difficult to avoid so much beauty, charm and fun. Practically all the towns in this region chosen by tourism are important nuclei and centers of interest, almost all surrounded by chalets, as a second home for the people, most from Madrid, something that is not surprising due to the benign climate , to the popular charms of each and every one of the places and to the splendor that nature makes you feel in these places.
Along its course, the Alberche offers, in addition to beautiful landscapes (riverside vegetation: alders, ash trees, willows, wicker trees, poplars, walnuts, oaks, pines, the incredible centennial avenue of Navaluenga, an almost obligatory visit) and an interesting and abundant fauna (vultures, imperial eagle, weasels, otters, herons, aquatic birds, galapagos, blue tit, long-tailed, kites …), numerous opportunities to immerse yourself in its waters. The baths during the summer; in the natural pools, in the ponds that are discovered along the river, in the Burguillo reservoir …, they represent an incentive in the region, given the cleanliness of the rivers and gorges that feed the Alberche river, and that make of its waters resources that then serve the peoples downstream. The bathing areas are signposted and ready for having a snack. The water also entails the possibility of practicing all kinds of water sports: surfing, sailing, canoeing, jet skis, etc. Without forgetting fishing, because in this region and its clean streams live trout, barbel, bogas, horns, vermin, carp, carp, gobies and even crayfish.
Not only does the water provide comfort and pleasure to this region; You can also go horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, golf, paragliding … in addition, living together for years with tourism (Navaluenga won the Castilla y León Tourism Award in 1998) entails the offer of all kinds of services rural tourism (houses, restaurants, accommodation, camping, etc.) and all kinds of diversions and entertainments.
Flying zone: located along the Alberche river basin, in a wide valley where the Burguillo reservoir is located. It is made up of two south-facing takeoffs in El Barraco and Arrebatacapas (Cebreros), 25 km apart. approx., with road access to the takeoffs on forest roads.
This area has all possible orientations, in a diverse landscape in which you can fly over pine forests, villages, swamps, etc. It also has the advantage of the proximity of the Pantano del Burguillo with its pleasant beaches, where you can practice all kinds of water sports, you can camp, go trekking and sunbathe, among many other things. El Tiemblo, Cebreros, El Barraco and Navaluenga are the most important towns in the area, with all kinds of hotel infrastructure, a pleasant youthful and summery atmosphere. Throughout the season it has a great flying environment, with the presence of athletes being common.
In the birth of the forced Alberche it is to name such beautiful towns as SAN MARTIN DE LA VEGA DEL ALBERCHE, GARGANTA DEL VILLAR and CEPEDA DE LA MORA, with places as suggestive as the Cuevas del Maragato, which inspired Goya himself.
THE BARRACO. The municipal house of the Barraco dates from 1565 and in it the shield of Don Juan de Águila, captain of Felipe II, can also be admired, the Church, from the s. XVI. The name “Barraco” seems to come from a Celtic boar found in this town. An interesting fur industry has flourished in the Barraco in recent years, and the entire town is dotted with shops where you can buy high-quality leather goods. From Barraco to Tiemblo we arrive by crossing the Burguillo reservoir, a summer area full of chalets.
In the Burguillo reservoir, in addition to taking a good bath, sunbathing and eating in the abundant picnic areas and restaurants, you can practice water sports -surfing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing …- and enjoy the landscape, which according to from which point it is contemplated it comes to remember the Norwegian fjords. Going around the Burguillo reservoir through the retaining wall, we arrive at the Iruelas Valley, previously mentioned, an unparalleled ecological place, well equipped for rural tourism (colony of rural houses, camping and nature interpretation center).
TIEMBLO is one of the towns that multiplies its population in summer, and also a place chosen by history. The parish church has the appearance of a fortress, which does not stop drawing attention, and dates from the 16th century. The famous Guisando Bulls are zoomorphic figures carved in granite and of Celtic origin. The typical boars. Much ink has been spilled on these figures; Synthesizing, we will say that some represent bulls and other pigs or wild boars, and that their function could be of magical-religious origin (such as protective totems for livestock), or they could be funerary monuments, road markers or border markers. In this place Isabel la Católica was recognized as the heir of Castile by her brother Enrique IV (1468), who in this way renounced the paternity of his supposed daughter Juana, called the Beltraneja, since the evil tongues attributed to Don Beltrán de la Cueva the biological paternity of Juana. In front of the bulls, the Guisando Convent, founded by Enrique IV. Remains of the Gothic chapel and the cloister of the convent are preserved.
In the vicinity of Tiemblo, there are El Charco del Cura and Castañar del Tiemblo, and to take a bath: Las Cruceras.
CEBREROS is famous for its wines (albillo grape, sun and good temperatures). The parish church is attributed to Herrera, but what is most striking in Cebreros is the Museum of Adolfo Suárez and the Transition, recently inaugurated to the delight of visitors. The stone pillory is curious, one of the few that remain in Spain. Its famous carnivals are to be highlighted in Cebreros. On the outskirts a beautiful hermitage in perfect harmony with the landscape: the hermitage of Valsordo (16th century) and, very close, the medieval bridges.
BURGOHONDO lives up to its name (Burgo del fondo). It enjoys a particular microclimate that makes possible an enormous profusion of fruits and vegetables. The Abbey of Our Lady of the Assumption is surprising, of Romanesque origin, its Church is of the purest Romanesque style of the 12th century, and one of the oldest in Ávila.
NAVALUENGA, whose population triples in the summer months, is an eminently tourist town. This town is a pioneer in the province in rural tourism facilities and active tourism companies. It currently enjoys a magnificent golf course, natural pools, good hiking trails and excellent gastronomy.
Beautiful places are NAVARREVISCA, SERRANILLOS that continues to celebrate with great animation its Vítor festivals in summer and winter. HOYOCASERO is one of the highest towns in Ávila and has a beautiful ecological enclave: EL PINAR DE HOYOCASERO, of special botanical importance and endemic flora. NAVALSAUZ, where Francisca Sánchez was born, partner and muse of Rubén Dario, NAVALACRUZ, of pure mountain architecture, SAN JUAN DE LA NAVA, NAVARREDONDILLA, NAVATALGORDO, SAN JUAN DEL MOLINILLO, NAVALMORAL DE LA SIERRA, VILLANUEVA DE ÁVILA … or NAVAQUESERA … places to travel without haste and to recreate, between its streets, with its landscape, with its meadows, with its views, with its mountains. At the height of San Juan del Molinillo and Navandrinal rises the Sierra del Zapatero, of singular beauty.
In NAVALOSA its stone “huts” and piornos impress.
In this same region, more identified as the land of Pinares, beautiful places such as EL HOYO DE PINARES, another important summer town, with an extensive pine forest, also declared a SPA, a beautiful Church and the remains of a Roman road. In NAVALPERAL DE PINARES there is an Ethnological Museum of great interest. SAN BARTOLOMÉ DE PINARES, preserves the tradition of celebrating the festivities of “Las Luminarias” on the night of San Antón (January). The very name of LA CAÑADA clearly alludes to what was its origin, a real canyon.
LAS NAVAS DEL MARQUÉS, an interesting and prosperous town, deserves a special review. It was the first Marquis de las Navas, Pedro Dávila y Zuñiga, who ordered the construction of the Castle-Palace of Magalia around the middle of the 16th century. The history of the castle is hazardous, currently it is used for the organization of courses, congresses, seminars, conferences …, this castle tells with its own legend. The first Marquis de las Navas also ordered the construction of the Convent of Sto. Domingo y de San Pablo (16th century), in the Herrerian style and with an equally eventful history. Also of interest is the Parish Church of San Juan Bautista (14th-15th centuries), which houses a 17th-century musical organ in the choir, and the Hermitage of Santísmo Cristo de Gracia (15th-16th centuries). From the XX century it is the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. About 2 km. Las Navas extends majestically, the Ducal City, a comfortable luxury urbanization whose chalets are located between forests of huge pines and well-kept paths. The Dukes of Medinaceli – promoters of the Ducal City – endowed the place with a variety of plants, a lake with a jetty, fountains, a hunting lodge, a viewpoint, etc., and its extraordinary Watch Tower, built by artists from the Eiffel school. From Las Navas you can access a secluded and beautiful town, flanked by snow during winter, PEGUERINOS, a picturesque place with beautiful views.
In NAVALOSA we find beautiful samples of popular crafts: the typical straw hats and looms that last through time.
During the autumn months there is a peculiar tourism: Mycological Tourism, given the great variety of mushrooms that the Alberche-Pinares region provides.In NAVALOSA we find beautiful samples of popular Crafts: the typical straw hats and looms that last through weather.
During the autumn months there is a peculiar tourism: Mycological Tourism, given the great variety of mushrooms that the Alberche-Pinares region provides.