Guadalupe, in the heart of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara geopark, has won the national contest “Luce tu Pueblo” being named “the most beauty and good village of Spain”. The second pilgrimage site of the country got the first place in an online polling organized by the chocolat chain Ferrero Rocher, rewarding Guadalupe an imposing Christmas illumination.
The recognition comes after being announced this historic village of the Caceres province is going to become new member of the prestigious Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain from 1 January 2018 on thanks its architectural beauty, cultural heritage, valuable traditions and natural enviroment.
The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe is the crown jewel of the village. I have already wrote about it in “Guadalupe: an appealing Spanish pilgrimace place”. Tourists are not just astonish by the Monastery, but also the local gastronomy and the geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. La Villuerca (1.600 meters high) and The Ark of Water are some of the must-see geosites just a few minutes driving or some hours hiking from Guadalupe.
Birding has become the engine for the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark. The number of ornithological tourists who opt for birding in the Geopark of Extremadura, specially from center Europe, have risen for the recent years. This activity generates profits of 6 million euros per year in this region of Spain.
The first step for birdwatching around the Geopark is to know where to go and which species of birds we can see in that period of the season. That is why I called Henk and Lisbeth, a Dutch couple experts in birds, who settled in Berzocana eight years ago and run “Discover Extremadura”, one of the Geopark guides site.
I came over Lisbeth and Henk´s property in Berzocana to interview them. They live in a rustic villa overlooking the astonishing wall “Cancho de la Sábana” where usually nests griffon vultures and black vultures. Apart from their house, one small and discreet wooden cabin has been built there. It is a “hide”; a construction with just two seats inside and perfectly camouflaged with the environment to avoid being seen by birds. They have taken this photos from there:
The Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara is an outstanding site for birding due to its vast territory and the variety of ecosystems – wetlands, steppes, dehesas…- where seeing the wider range of birds in Spain, more than 350 species.
Lisbeth photographing “El cancho de la Sábana”
Henk shows some images taken from one hide
Henk and Lisbeth´s vehicle
This is a video on birding in the Geopark from Canal Extremadura TV (subtitles in English):