madrid motorhome route

Iruelas and Castañar del Tiemblo Valley

Route camper avila

The Iruelas Valley is a nature reserve located in the province of Ávila. It has a reservoir, surrounded by life, and the Castañar del Tiemblo, an extremely beautiful place -especially when the leaves fall-. All less than 1 hour from the capital.

Difficulty of the route: ★★☆☆☆ (easy and adventurous)

We have gone from Madrid to the Iruelas Valley and it took us only 1 hour to reach the valley. The route offers nice views of the Burguillo reservoir, beautiful chestnut trees along the way and some wild animals that come out to greet you.

The road and access to the Iruelas and Castañar Valley

Most of the journey is on the N501 road, it is easy to reach and with Google maps it will be very difficult to get lost. After about 10 minutes on the road, you reach a dirt road where the entrance to the valley is signposted. On the way you will see cottages, autumn colours and some local wildlife. You will also find cafes, picnic areas and some tourist activities if you want to stop for a break.

Camping Valle de Iruelas: We stayed 1 night and we loved it.

The Valley is wonderful. We were there during the first fortnight of November and according to locals and travel experts, it is the best time to visit this beautiful place only 100 kms from Madrid.

  • The campsite has two places to spend the night: Overnight space or pitch space for motorhomes and camper vans. The first one is only for overnight stay and the second one is a private area with drinking water and electricity, which is ideal to connect all your electrical appliances and to be able to charge the auxiliary battery of your house on wheels.

In addition to these two areas, which are wonderful, the campsite has cabin rentals, very clean bathrooms, hot water and very friendly staff, who provide excellent service.

Rent one of our vans:

"Unique design and very comfortable. Suitable for all 4 seasons at incredible prices".

(Offers all year round)

What to do in the Iruelas Valley?

There are plenty of things to do in this wonderful place. The most notorious place is the Embalse del Burguillo, which you can visit with your camper van. In addition, you can park in many of the places around the reservoir, which offer wonderful views.

This reservoir is used for agricultural supply and to provide electricity by means of a dam. In addition, recreational boating activities such as sailing, kayaking and canoeing are allowed.

We found a magical place to watch the sunset

To the right of the campsite, specifically towards the neighbouring village of La Rinconada, is the shore of the reservoir. There we take a small exit towards the "beach" of the reservoir. The terrain is solid and we stay in our camper van to watch the sunset.

It is important to take care of the area, as it is a nature reserve. Do not litter and respect the local fauna.

Here we were visited by a donkey that was wandering around and joined us in our plan. Also, when the sun goes down the foxes come out along with other animals in search of food, so leaving everything clean is important to respect and care for the environment that surrounds us and where we stop with our motorhomes.

We leave you the exact location where we took the photos you see below:

5 activities to do in the Iruelas Valley

  1. Horse riding: You can take guided rides through the valley at an equestrian centre in the area.
  2. Rent a canoe or sail: In the morning or in the evening, we recommend renting a canoe or sailing boat to navigate the reservoir and discover the beautiful flora and fauna of the Iruelas nature reserve.
  3. Hiking routes: There are plenty of trekking routes, for beginners and for the more advanced trekkers. We recommend asking locals for guides or using mobile apps such as wikilocs.
  4. Bird watching: In this site you can see mainly 2 species, one of which is in danger of extinction, which is why the area has been declared a protected site. These birds are the black vulture and the imperial eagle.
  5. Have a picnic on the banks of the reservoir: We opted to spend a quiet afternoon enjoying the views. We ate a small snack, taking care to keep everything in order, and enjoyed the sunset.

What's in the Castañar del Tiemblo? a chestnut grove near Madrid

El Castañar del Tiemblo is a nature reserve located just a few minutes from the village of El Tiemblo. It is characterised by hiking trails in the middle of nature, surrounded by tall colourful chestnut trees and local fauna.

How to get to Castañar del Tiemblo

The site can be reached on foot or by car. At the entrance to the reserve there are about 4 parking areas, each with 15-20 parking spaces.

In the mornings there is a fee for both cars and number of people, however, we went around 4pm and there was no control at all, no staff in charge of the site and few cars, so it was easy for us to find a parking space and we paid nothing.

Below are some photos we took almost at the beginning of one of the routes.

Here is the location of the Castañar car park. On this site you will find some instructions on what to do and not to do in the area and the possible routes. We hope you enjoy this route as much as we did. Tell us about your experience below in the comments and/or on our Instagram: @karibucampers & @wakeuptraveller

More about the Iruelas Valley Nature Reserve: Flora, Fauna and Landscapes

Source: https://patrimonionatural.org/

Located almost in the Sierra de Gredos, almost on the border with the province of Madrid, is the Iruelas Valley. It is characterised by a series of mountain streams, the main one being the Iruelas Valley. Here we find the tributary of the Alberche river which is home to a large number of animal species.

The Valley is home to the largest colony of black vultures in Castilla y León.

Flora of the Iruelas Valley

One of the most striking aspects of Iruelas is its altitudinal variation, a characteristic of the valleys, but in this one in particular it is so abrupt that in just 10 km it goes from 740 m to almost 2000 m altitude.

  • A wide variety of pine trees can be seen in this area, of which the resin or black pine stands out.
  • You can also find groves of oak trees.
  • At lower altitudes you can see junipers, which just meet the El Burguillo reservoir.

Within the Natural Reserve of the Iruelas Valley there is also the botanical jewel mentioned above: "El Castañar de El Tiemblo".The largest manifestation of chestnut trees in central Spain.

Fauna of Iruelas

There are two key species in this Natural Area: the black vulture and the imperial eagle, which make this place a natural reserve, declared a Z.E.P.A. by the European Community in 1991.

Approximately 120 pairs of black vultures are found.

The other main protagonist is the imperial eagle, a species in danger of extinction, which usually nests in the valley every year.

Easiest animals to observe in the valley

  • In forest environments we find bird species such as the hawfinch, crossbill, golden eagle, goshawk, black-winged tit, jay, nuthatch, woodpecker, woodpecker, oriole.
  • In lower altitude shrub areas it is easy to see the great tit, blue tit, blue tit, green warbler, blackcap, blackbird, blackbird, yellowhammer, stonechat.
  • The mammals present in this environment are wild boar, foxes, squirrels, martens, deer and roe deer.
  • In the Garganta de Iruelas and its surroundings  it is easy to spot the dipper, the white wagtail, the black-green lizard, the long-legged frog and the Iberian newt.
  • On the forest tracks and roads of the Nature Reserve are often basking in the sun to increase their activity, ophidians such as the bastard snake, the horseshoe snake, the viperine snake and the ladder snake and reptiles such as the ocellated lizard and the spiny lizard.

Geomorphology of the area

More than 60 million years ago, the Iruelas Mountains did not exist and where they are today, there was a large plain. At that time the Iberian Peninsula, which lies on a lithospheric plate of the same name, was being compressed by two plates from the north and south. These plates slowly moved towards each other, generating a compression so great that it gave rise to the Pyrenees in the north and the Betic mountain ranges in the south. This process of mountain formation is known as the Alpine Orogeny.

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