As the hottest month of the year, July isn’t exactly the best month for walking in Extremadura. That doesn’t mean you can’t walk, though. You just have to adapt to the weather conditions and find a suitable (morning) route for you.
In this article, I share my thoughts on a brilliant walking route: Cabañas del Castillo-Ortijuela.
This article is NOT sponsored. That means:
•I have NOT been paid for writing it.
•I have NOT received any other form of compensation (free products or services) in exchange.
Route Cabañas del Castillo-Ortijuela (PR-CC-144)
The starting point is Cabañas del Castillo, a village located in the south-east of Cáceres province, within the Villuercas Ibores Jara UNESCO Global Geopark. The route mainly follows the Sierra del Alcornocal towards the Garganta de Santa Lucía water stream (which runs between Sierra del Alcornocal and Sierra de la Ortijuela) finishing at Sierra de la Ortijuela at the crossing with several other walking routes.
This is a 5.4-km linear route classified by the Geopark’s website as easy (difficulty: 1/5, effort required: 3/5). The only difficulty is the fact that it’s a linear route, which means that you actually walk 11.8km in total. The estimated time is 1h 40min (one way). It took us about 3h 30min in total, as we don’t walk particularly fast and stopped several times.
(Download the route in PDF format here).
Peña Buitrera (‘vultures’ rock’). There’s no better way to start a route than a good morning birdwatching session, so make sure you pack your binoculars. I’m no bird expert whatsoever, but I do enjoy seeing animals in the wild, so we spent some time trying to spot griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) on the rock – there were about twenty of them – and watching them fly off. Apparently, you may also see Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), blue rock thrushes (Monticola solitarius) and black storks.
The variety of landscapes. From a shady cork tree area to wide open dehesa views, from green hills and craggy peaks to olive groves… This relatively short route is surprisingly varied in terms of landscapes.
Las Pasaderas. You walk under direct sun for most of the route, so the few shady bits available are a nice relief. The Santa Lucía water stream runs between the two sierras. The path takes you over Las Pasaderas, a small stone bridge partly hidden by vegetation. We took a break under the bridge to rest and cool off a bit in the stream before continuing the last stretch of the path.
Start early. We started the route at about 9.30am, after driving for an hour and a half from my hometown of Don Benito. If you happen to stay the night closer to Cabañas, I’d recommend starting at 8am. It gets really hot by 11am, so starting at 8am means you’ll be almost finished by then.
Pack some lunch. Bringing water with you is a no-brainer when doing a walking route, but make sure you bring your lunch, too, because there’s nowhere to eat in Cabañas. We naively thought we’d be done earlier than we did and didn’t take any food, so we spent the whole driving journey back home starving.
Start with the walking route. As the route starts in the village of Cabañas, you may be tempted to walk up the castle first for the views and then do the walking route. I wouldn’t recommend it because the walk up isn’t particularly gentle on your knees. You want to start the walking route nice and fresh. You can always walk up the castle later, perhaps after a short break in the main square enjoying your packed lunch. Read more about Cabañas castle.
|Cabañas del Castillo|
Distance: 42.1km from Guadalupe; 56.5km from Trujillo; 107km from Cáceres; 115km from Plasencia.
Free parking in the main square.
|Geopark Visitor Centre (Centro de recepción de visitantes del geoparque)|
|Address: Paseo de Extremadura, 6, Cañamero 10136.
Opening times: (autumn-winter) Tue-Sat 10am-2pm and 4pm-6pm, Sun 10am-2pm; (spring-summer) Tue-Sat 10am-2pm and 5pm-7pm, Sun 10am-2pm.