Rivers and valleys in La Rioja Baja
It is recognised as a stargazing destination by the Starlight Foundation. In the eastern mountains of La Rioja the watercourses of the Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama Rivers open. Their valleys, covered by Mediterranean forest, have left canyons, rock beds and gorges where entire communities of birds of prey nest.
The important biological, scenic, and cultural value of these high valleys of Rioja resulted in UNESCO declaring it a World Biosphere Reserve. These are locations that combine forests, crags and canyons that are mixed with historical sites, fascinating dinosaur prints and interesting archaeological sites. This area is also highlighted for the quality of its water as can be observed by the springs and spas. The orography of this Biosphere Reserve is marked by the transition of high mountain peaks to lower levels, and for the erosion of its rivers in the limestone rock surrounding it. The Garganta del Leza gorge (with a drop of 500 metres), the rock beds of the Peña del Jubera peak and the Carrascal de Villarroya, along with the beech and gall oak forests, are some of its main attractions. In the riverside areas the different tree species vary and comprise a view marked by ash groves. The Peñas de Leza and Jubera are declared as a Special Bird Protection Area (ZEPA). Therefore lovers of birds of prey can especially enjoy the colonies of Griffon vultures. The Peñas de Arnedillo (Cidacos Valley) and the Fuentestrún Canyon (Alhama Valley) and the Griffon Vulture Observatory are excellent places to watch them.
Biosphere Reserve of the valleys of the Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama Rivers
- (La Rioja)
What you need to know
Apart from its important castles and villas such as Arenedillo, Enciso and Cervera of the Alhama River, the palaeontological sites, thermal springs, and the Celtiberian remains of Contrebia Leukade are outstanding.
From among the scenery of these rivers and their high basins, the rock formations and gorges are especially noteworthy. These limestone walls are a perfect habitat for birds of prey, of which the Griffon vulture stands out.