7 reasons to visit Castile with Pura Aventura
Castile's Ebro Valley is a place where nature predominates, quelling the uproar of modern life. A great river meanders its way through fertile plains and cleaves open steep canyons from which vultures rise on the thermals and waterfalls tumble off of the tabletop plateaus. And then there's you, in your walking boots, picking your way through it all.
Amid all this natural beauty, us humans have had to work hard to make our presence felt. 1,000 years ago, the Kingdom of Castile rose above the plains and pushed back the borders of Islamic Spain. Monastic communities came to work the land and establish its agricultural infrastructure and the Camindo de Santiago pilgrims brought new ideas and architecture. Add to that heritage some lovely places to stay, great company and delicious food and you have a walking holiday we are proud to call our own.
With our holidays to Spain likely to recommence from September, we thought we'd share seven reasons why we're particularly fond of this little peaceful pocket of rural Spain. If you'd like full details of our Castile Inn to Inn walking holiday, you need only ask.
#1. A view worth earning
"Some way below your feet, the Ebro River sweeps below the sheer limestone walls of thickly-forested tabletop plateaus in a picture-perfect horseshoe. From its source in the Cantabrian Mountains to the moment it spills out into the Mediterranean, we doubt the Ebro will carve its way through a more striking landscape. Sure there’s a car park you can rock up to. But we all know views are far better when they’re earned, when we’ve walked to them and seen them slowly develop and take form."
Read more: #1. A view worth earning
#2. Burgos, capital of war
"Burgos was built on war. Not that you'd know it looking at the delicate spires of the cathedral and the lovely green ribbon of the Arlanzón River, bordered by a shaded promenade. But Burgos started life as a fortress on the Moorish frontier in 884. It was the birthplace of famous mercenary El Cid and the capital of the Kingdom of Castile for many centuries; indeed, the discovery of the Americas was announced to the King here."
Read more: #2. Burgos, capital of war
#3. Ebro Valley views
"Below you, the valley of Valderredible presents a bucolic image of open pastures and small villages marked by tall church towers. Through that landscape is where you’ll spend the next few days walking in utter peace and quiet, where the hands of modernity have not yet reached. There are very few tourists in these parts, but there’s always a friendly nod from a villager as you pass through."
Read more: #3. Ebro Valley views
#4. Bed, breakfast & birds
"This converted watermill, on the edge of a medieval stone town, is the sort of place you instantly feel at home in. Sitting in the garden before dinner, with a drink in your hand and the sound of the river rushing by, might be one of the more unexpected highlights of your trip. Like all good hosts, Javier and Valvanera are keen to share their life and love for the place they choose to live in. In this case, this means birds. It's not for nothing that they describe their property as a 'B&B&B' - bed, breakfast and birds."
Read more: #4. Bed, breakfast & birds
#5. Film star looks
"Through the village, a waterfall runs down to natural karstic pools, whose surfaces shimmer a striking turquoise on sunny days. Below the houses, a vast canyon unfolds, cleaved open by the determind Ebro River. On the opposite side, eroded rocks rise into the form of two seated camels meeting with a kiss, a near-perfect outline of the African continent created in the void. All told, Orbaneja could probably look as much at home in a Western movie as in one set in the Middle Ages. Or indeed in Siberia, apparently..."
Read more: #5. Film star looks
#6. Middle Age monuments
"The Rioseco monastery housed a booming (in the peaceful monastic sense) spiritual and farming collective of over 100 people, monks and civilians. Together they developed the Ebro Valley’s agricultural infrastructure, with plantations of fruit trees, vineyards, wheat and flax, as well as numerous watermills and many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Walking through the ruins, with a little bit of imagination it is easy to conjure up monks dressed in white moving through these aisles, like ghosts of the past."
Read more: #6. Middle Age monuments
#7. Easy extension ideas
"Being located, more or less, at the centre of northern Spain, you are ideally located to keep on exploring in all directions. That might mean ending your Inn to Inn walk on the Basque coast or combining Castile with the mountains and high pastures of the Picos de Europa. Or the vineyards of La Rioja. Another consideration might be to sweep your way southwest to the Ribera del Duero and some of the best quality wines in Spain."
Read more: #7. Easy extension ideas