The surprising landscapes of the Cinco Villas region




Location

Zaragoza


Culture and countryside are the main attractions in this region of Aragon, in inland Spain. Its towns and villages with their cobbled streets comprise one of the most impressive ensembles of monuments in this part of the country. The same could be said of its stunning landscapes.

Viewing points, marshland, rivers and lakes, pine groves and meadows are some of the natural attractions you will find in Cinco Villas, a region in the north of Saragossa province, very close to the Pyrenean mountains. To get an idea of the region as a whole, you can head up to the Nuestra Señora de Sancho Abarca Sanctuary, right on the border with Navarre. From here there are excellent views of part of the Ebro River plain, as well as the Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve, a UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve, and you can even see the peak of the Moncayo. There are more good views to be had in the Sierra de Santo Domingo mountains. At 1,523 metres above sea level, this is the highest point in the region. The Pyrenees and the Aragon River are a stone's throw away. The unusual outlines of the Mallos de Riglos mountains –popular with climbers and birdwatchers– are also close by. In fact this area is this site of the ARCAZ birds of prey visitor centre, in which the bearded vulture takes pride of place. There are also outstanding views from the Mallos de Riglos. We recommend the viewing points of Murillo and Los Buitres.

Farmland and low-mountain vegetation are the prevailing landscapes on a large part of the route. Two kilometres from the village of Valpalmas, this landscape abruptly changes, and clay figures in mysterious shapes appear from the depths of the canyons: this is Los Aguarales. Enjoy one of the Cinco Villas region's weirdest and most wonderful landscapes. Water erosion is responsible for this unusual setting. Don't forget your camera –this visit is well worthwhile.

In this area you'll find rivers, streams and reservoirs. Special mention should be made of the flora and fauna in Moncayuelo, very close to Ejea de los Caballeros. This lake covers 39 hectares and is one of the most important ecological locations in Aragon. Here you can see hundreds of water birds and many different species of duck. And don't forget that fishing, water sports and even bathing is permitted in other reservoirs such as San Bartolomé, where there are small beaches for this purpose.

These are some of the options on offer in the Cinco Villas region, but not the only ones. Any time is good for excursions in the mountains of Luesia, San Miguel de Liso, Val d'Onsella, Bagües, Fragal de Orés… In the Cinco Villas region there is loads to see.

You can also combine your enjoyment of the countryside with cultural visits. Strolling through the towns and villages of the region you'll see an extraordinary artistic heritage, with numerous examples of Romanesque art. Their churches, palaces, towers, castles and stately houses call to mind the importance this region had in the Middle Ages. There are many different routes that run across the region. Special mention should be made of those leading to Ejea de los Caballeros, Sádaba, Uncastillo, Sos del Rey Católico and Tauste, its main towns and villages. Remember that the tourist offices will help you plan your trip, and can give you more information on the various itineraries, many of which are ideal for hiking and mountain biking.





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