Walking across the ruins of the Geopark: La Avellaneda

La Avellaneda, Castañar de Ibor, Geopark Villuercas Ibores Jara

La Avellaneda is one of the depopulated villages in Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. It is located just by the side of the Ibor river, nine kilometres away from Castañar de Ibor, where today´s hiking route starts.

Ibor River, Castañar de Ibor
Ibor River nearby La Avellaneda

This route is part of The Jeronimos´path, the ancient trail that connected the monastery of Yuste with Guadalupe in the Middle Ages.

We started walking early in the morning from Castañar de Ibor because the aim was to get to La Avellaneda and return to Castañar de Ibor before the “cañas time”, as we call the time we spend at a bar –more often during weekends- drinking cold beers and eat “Spanish tapas” before having lunch.

If your legs are not brave enough to complete the whole route, another option is to drive down to the river, park the car and walk through the trail that go along the Ibor´s riverside.

Once we got to the riverbank, the murmuring sound of the water was what most grabbed my attention, along with the pleasure of walking among huge cork trees, ancient olive trees and enormous chestnut trees.

Ideal for those who need to recharge their batteries after a hectic week.

A bit of history.

La Avellaneda is partial refurbished. There are modest new houses next to the ruins of what were constructions for farmers and workers. The church has been completely restored.

The village exodus took place in the 18th century. It is believed the citizens abandoned La Avellaneda due to a plague of termites, but the truth is its people moved to Castañar de Ibor for other reasons, such as a better location closer to Guadalupe, the hub of Catholicism in Spain at that time.

Marmitas de Gigante: the relentless Geopark water erosion

There is an appealing Villuercas-Ibores-Jara´s geosite often overlooked by tourists.

Most of the visitors who arrive from the north –from Madrid for instance- don´t notice that there is an interesting place to stop halfway between Navalmoral de la Mata and Castañar de Ibor, nearby Bohonal de Ibor.

The Marmitas de Gigante is located 3 km going past Bohonal de Ibor, along the road CC-19. You can park your car just before the big bridge you come across and then walk along a short trail to the river.

Ibor River- erosion
Spherical holes carved into the rocks at Ibor River

Apart from the amazing landscape, this part of the river Ibor deserves a visit to find out the large number of spherical holes carved into the rocks caused by water erosion. That elements were provoked by the intense action of small stones drilling into the rocks over several millenia.

Geopark Villuercas Ibores Jara, Extremadura, Spain
Geosite Marmitas de Gigante

Moreover, this is one of the geosites I highly recommend for families. In fact, I went there with my 5 years-old son, who really enjoyed throwing stones and pretending he was the most adventurous pirate that had ever set foot on this land.

old watermill, River Ibor, Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara, Extremadura, Spain
Old watermill


Amazing Gorge Charco de la Trucha in Geopark Villuercas

Have you ever touched a 450 million-year-old tree?

I did it recently and you too can experience such an unforgettable experience by visiting the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara UNESCO Global Geopark. Just along the Valley of Guadarranque – an hour drive by 4×4 from Alía – we find “Cancheras de la Trucha” and  hidden there “La lorera de la Trucha”, a forest dated from the Tertiary, after the dinosaurs extinction.

Lorera de la Trucha
Lorera de la Trucha forest, the richest area of Loros (Prunus Lusitanica) in Europe

It´s high time I visit this natural wonder within Villuercas Geopark. Even though Alía is my home village, I had never been to La Lorera de la Trucha before.

Luckily, two childhood friends Abel Moyano and David Álvarez joined me in the adventure. They know the Valley of Guadarranque River quite well. Abel, in particular, has fully scrutinized every corner to catch superb photos of birds to show them on his  blog about birdwatching that I strongly recommend.

Sierra de la Palomera
Valley of Guadarranque from Sierra de la Palomera. Photo Abel Moyano

The route started in Alía. We got up early, met at 8 am and got in Abel´s 4×4.

After a 15 minute drive we had to stop to shoot an astonishing sunrise we came across just before getting the Matallana hunting area at Sierra de la Palomera. As it had been raining the day before, a thick bank of fog partly had covered de valley leaving an amazing landscape to film. All of this, along with the large number of deers and vultures we came accross, made the trip unforgettable.

“Lorera de la Trucha”

Once at “La lorera de la Trucha”, what grabbed most my attention was both its darkness – due to the density of leaves in the cups of the Loro trees touching each another-  and the pure sound of nature.  Fortunately, we were alone there, with the pleasant running river water sound as our only company.

For the first time in the countryside I had the feeling that everything surrounding me was actually breathing; absolutely magical, inspiring.

Loro roots at Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. Extremadura
Loro roots at La Lorera de la Trucha. Photo Abel Moyano

“Charco de la Trucha”

After marveling the Loros, we walked over 300 meters downriver to get to El Charco de la Trucha. It is a fantastic waterfall located along a deep gorge. It is a bit dangerous, so you should walk very carefully across the stones to avoid falling into water. I recommend not comming here with little kids or at least not trying to reach the pool situated at the bottom of the gorge with them.

I will never tire of visiting this geosite.

Charco de la Trucha

Mapa lorera

More photos:

Food matters in Villuercas Geopark

Menu at Parador de Guadalupe, food in the Villuercas Geopark

On top of its geosites, food is another appealing aspect of the Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. The famous Spanish tapas and innovative recipes, which make our mouth water anywhere and at any time, are savored much more intensively in this heaven of peace and tranquility. In addition, this region is also renowned for providing some of the best products and ingredients to the culinary Spanish tradition. As food really matters in Villuercas Geopark, I recommend a route which combines food and learning in this post.


Our first stop is the Cooperative Santa Catalina in Alía, a local olive oil industry which produces the distinctive variety “Virgen Extra” from the ancient olive trees surrounding the village. It is advisable to arrange a visit (+34 927 36 60 68 – coopsantacatalina@gmail.com) to taste its excellent range olive oil.

Thanks to the touristic push of the Geopark, this agricultural cooperative has reshaped its business model from distributing the production exclusively among their members to launch the new brand “Villalia” and export part of the production. Moreover, It joined the Geofood project leading by the norwegian Magma Geopark.

The company´s international sales are focused mainly in China.

After testing that wonderful and healthy olive oil in Alía, it is time to check how it is used for cooking. One of the best place to do that is the Parador of Guadalupe. Villalia is among the vital ingredients used by chef Francisco Moreno. He considers that cooking with local products and raw materials from the Geopark as olive oil, honey, cheese and meat is superb”.

meal at Parador de Guadalupe, Food in Villuercas Geopark
Starter at Parador de Guadalupe

The menu we had consisted of one small bottle of gazpacho, one smoked salmon toast with blackberries, two pieces of black pudding, one glass with Spanish potato salad and another glass filled with strawberry paté for starter. The main course was Iberian carpaccio dressed with the olive oil Villalia we already tested before in Alía. Its mixture of flavours was out of this world! Simply delicious!

By the way, we enjoyed this meal of kings at the cozy inner courtyard full of oranges trees of the Parador de Guadalupe.