Lagunas de Ruidera

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Lagunas de Ruidera

Beautiful wetland composed of 15 deep blue lagoons and a reservoir. They are connected by streams and waterfalls. Located between the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real (Spain).

The Natural Park of the Lagunas de Ruidera is the most beautiful wetland of the Iberian Peninsula. They are located in a line of about 25 km, halfway along which lies the village of Ruidera. Of the 15 lagoons, 4.5 belong to Ciudad Real and 9.5 to Albacete. The Guadiana River is born here. The water in the lagoons comes from springs on the slopes, streams and groundwater. The difference in altitude between them results in water flowing from one lagoon to another via streams and waterfalls.

The first set of lagoons are called the high lagoons because they are upstream (although they are the most southerly). They are the Blanca, Concejo, Tomilla and Tinaja lagoons. The water comes from the river Pinilla and from an aquifer in the subsoil, which is fed by rain. Hence the waterfalls do not always carry water, it depends on the year and the season. Between Tinaja and Tomilla is the ‘Plaza de Toros’, the most beautiful karst formation in the Park. The water falls into a deep blue-green lagoon.

Downstream are the 8 middle lagoons: San Pedro, Redondilla, Lengua, Salvadora, Santos Morcillo, Batana, Colgada and del Rey. They are fed mainly by a stream and the preceding lagoons. They are the best for bathing and other water activities, due to their clean, clear waters, greater depth and limited vegetation on the edges. They are surrounded by hotels, campsites and restaurants. Laguna del Rey (the most popular) is the closest to Ruidera village. If you go up to the Laguna del Rey viewpoint, you will have breathtaking views. El Hundimiento waterfall (8 m high) is the most spectacular one. It is 100 m from Ruidera, between the lower and middle lagoons. The middle lagoons have tuffaceous barriers at the edges which form the cascades. The Laguna Colgada is the largest and most beautiful lagoon for many. The San Pedro lagoon is ideal for kayak rides (see below the Things To Do section).

The lower lagoons (130 m lower than the higher ones) have more mud and silt. They include the Morenilla, Coladilla and Cenagal lagoons. They are fed by the waterfalls and lagoons upstream.

At the end of this string of lagoons is the Peñarroya reservoir. It collects water from all the lagoons.

One of the main attractions of the Lagunas de Ruidera is bathing in its crystal-clear waters during the summer. Only some of the lagoons have bathing areas. These are signposted, accessible and are equipped with all kind of services. There are bathing areas in Laguna del Rey, Colgada, Santos Morcillo, Salvadora, Redondilla and San Pedro.

swimming holes

This area is a complex river network with a multitude of streams and waterfalls. The most common plant is the reed.

Swimming lakes - the best lakes to go swimming

Some areas of the middle lagoons are like paradise beaches.

Lagunas-de-Ruidera- parkings

The road runs along the lagoons, passing by viewpoints on the way. These are ideal for contemplating the beauty of this unique site.

Lagunas-de-Ruidera- kayak

The middle lagoons are deeper and ideal for water sports such as kayaking.

tufa barriers and cascades

Tufa barriers separate one lagoon from the other, creating waterfalls. These carry little water in summer and autumn. But, in spring they carry much more.

thing to do

The middle lagoons have spectacular tufa barriers dotted with areas with sandy beaches. The upper and lower lagoons are more marshy, ideal as a habitat for birds and amphibians.

wild swimming

The middle lagoons, which are more suitable for swimming, have some hotels and restaurants at their shores.

how to get Lagunas-de-Ruidera

As it is such an extensive area, there are areas where you will be surrounded by trees and small forests. Others have almost no vegetation and show the silhouette of the lagoons perfectly.

Wild-swimming-and-Swimming-Holes-About-

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Swimming Holes
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Keep it Clean!

The Rules

Clean the swimming holes!

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HOW TO GET TO - Lagunas de Ruidera

Getting There

Transport Options

To visit Las Lagunas de Ruidera you need a car. With your car, you can easily drive around the lagoons and stop at the different viewpoints with parking areas. Once there, you can also go hiking or cycling.

Getting There

How to get to Lagunas de Ruidera

It is very easy to get to the Lagunas de Ruidera, as they are very well signposted and located in a flat area, without big mountains or curves.

They are about 109 km from Ciudad Real and 95 km from Albacete. From Albacete by car it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes on the N-430. From Madrid it is 211 km (about 2 h and 20 min) on the A-4, taking the turn-off at Manzanares on the N-340 towards Albacete.

The lakes are located 100 m from the village of Ruidera (which gives the lagoons its name) and 14.5 km from Ossa de Montiel. In both villages, there are several signposts to the lagoons.

Parking

There are car parks in many areas of the park. You can drive around the lagoons and you will see them. They are usually near viewpoints or in areas where some kind of trail begins. You can combine the two and do stretches by car and then go for a walk. Parking is free. Some of the viewpoints are:

Viewpoint Laguna Lengua
Viewpoint Laguna Redondilla
Viewpoint Laguna Batana

Location

Spain, Albacete and Ciudad Real

Coordinates

Villages Nearby

Ruidera (100 m), Ossa de Montiel (14.5 km), Alhambra (22 km), Tomelloso (22.9 km), Argamasilla de Alba (33.6 km), Albacete (95.9 km)

Difficulty Level

Easy

Walking Time

If you arrive by car, you can park on the banks of the lagoons. It is not even a 1-minute walk to reach most lagoons.

Drinking Water Spots

None

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USEFUL INFORMATION - Lagunas de Ruidera

Handy Things to Know

When to Go

The Lagunas de Ruidera Natural Park is impressive at any time of the year.

In summer, many of the lagoons are transformed into bustling beach spots, with families, sunbathers, and people practising water activities. Especially on weekends, it’s packed. Yet, in other lagoons that are not so suitable for bathing, there is hardly anyone. In summer, some lakes and waterfalls can be dry.

After periods of rain and in spring, the waterfalls and lagoons carry more water. The ideal time to go is during the week and during April, May, June, September, and even October. You will contribute to sustainability and enjoy the beauty of the park more. From November to February, you may not see anyone.

There are no opening hours. It is always open.

Price

None

Activities

Swimming in the lagoons, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Kayaking and paddle surfing

Non-motorised boating (see below under Restrictions on which lagoons it is allowed).
Pedal boats

Hiking
Picnicking

For more details of the activities, see below the Things to do section.

Facilities

There are trails, car parks and beach bars. In the surrounding areas, there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, rural houses and adventure agencies. These rent bicycles, kayaks and even offer diving lessons.

Kids

It is an ideal place to go with children of any age. There are all kinds of services around the lagoons, there is shade, easy walks and shallow areas in parts of some lagoons.

Dogs

Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash in bathing areas and high season. They are not allowed to swim. There is an online petition to set up an area where dogs can swim as well. If you want to sign the petition click the link above.

Skinny Dipping

No

Wheelchair Access

The walkways have been renewed and there are now several areas accessible to people with reduced mobility, such as the waterfall El Hundimiento.

Restrictions

It is forbidden to make fires and use barbecues.
Do not litter or bury rubbish. Use the litter bins and containers.
Respect nature, plants, animals and fossils.
Respect the silence of nature. Everyone has the right to enjoy the Park.
It is forbidden to empty tanks and leave waste inside the park and its accesses.
Follow the indications of the Park staff and follow the established paths.
It is forbidden to camp freely or spend the night in vehicles inside the park, using the camping.
It is forbidden to use the water in the lagoons to wash your belongings, cars, etc.
Do not throw objects that could contaminate the water.
Respect the caution signs in the bathing areas and the prohibition of access to the barriers.
Motor-driven boats are forbidden. Boating is prohibited in the Conceja, Coladilla and Cenagosa lagoons.
Fishing is forbidden in the bathing areas from 1 June to 30 September. Always perform fishing without death
Bathing is forbidden in the travertine barriers (where the waterfalls originate) and nature reserve areas marked by the park.

Remember that soap and detergents should not be used in rivers and pools. Also, most sun creams contaminate the water, try to apply them well before taking a dip.

(Scientists have found that sunscreen releases significant amounts of titanium dioxide, which damages aquatic life.
Soaps have phosphates, are also non-biodegradable and harm the environment). 

You may be fined if you do not respect these warnings.

Managed by

Ayuntamiento de Ruidera – 926-528-026 – ayuntamiento@ruidera.es- Contact them for latest news & Covid

Things to Do – Lagunas de Ruidera

Things to Do

Things to do near Lagunas de Ruidera

Don’t miss the views from the viewpoints. The main ones are the sides of the lagoons and usually have parking.

Apart from swimming, there are many water activities available. Some can be done depending on the amount of water in the lagoons. These include kayaking, paddle surfing, canoeing, pedal boats and snorkelling. You can bring your boards or hire them. There are diving courses (many of the lagoons are connected by underground caves) and sailing (motorboats are prohibited). Sailing is possible only in the Conceja, Coladilla and Cenagosa lagoons. Prices start at €15 for paddle surfing or kayaking and go up to €40 for diving lessons.

There are plenty of hiking trails and 7 marked trails. One of the most beautiful is a circular route (14 km) that starts at the El Hundimiento waterfall and runs through the Laguna del Rey, Colgada, Batana and Santo Morcillo lagoons. It has almost no gradient, so it is very easy and a good option to do with children. Here is the route on a map.

The Lagunas de Ruidera park has plenty of itineraries for walking or cycling, which you can see in the link. Some of these routes are long and can be done on bicycles, which can be rented. 

You can also go caving or paragliding here.

There are guided tours in 4×4, on horseback and foot.

The Peñarroya reservoir, of a beautiful deep blue colour, has the 12th-century Peñarroya Castle on its shore. It is very well preserved and worth visiting. The scenery is beautiful. You will have a spectacular view of the Peñarroya reservoir surrounded by land with ochre tones when climbing up the castle walls.

At the other end of the Lagunas de Ruidera Nature Reserve are the Rochafrida Castle (less well preserved than the Peñaroya Castle) and the Montesinos Cave. The cave is a karst cavity with a depth of 80 metres. Inside there is a small river.

To observe the animals, it is advisable to take binoculars.

There is an Ethnographic Museum in Ossa de Montiel.

Where to Eat

There are numerous bars and restaurants around the lagoons and in the surrounding villages.
The gastronomy of La Mancha cuisine stands out for its lamb, game, gazpachos, stew, ratatouille, fried rabbit with garlic or tomato, chorizos, cheeses and wines.

Accommodation

There are many rural houses, hotels and campsites in the area. Free camping is forbidden in the park, but there are 3 campsites: Camping de Montiel Montesinos, Camping los Batanes and Camping los Molinos located in Ruidera. Overnight parking is prohibited inside the park, but campers and motorhomes can stay overnight at the campsite.

You can also stay in a nearby village.

Rural Houses:
Casas Rurales Pernales*.
Rural House El Descanso del Andante
Cabañas Cueva de Montesinos
Rural Houses Lagunas de Ruidera
Rural House La Torca**
Ruidera and Tomelloso Apartment
Rural House El Lio
Rural House La Cachumba
Rural Houses Quixote and Sancho

Hotels:
Hotel Rural Albamanjon*** Hotel Rural Albamanjon*** Hotel Rural Albamanjon*** Hotel Rural Albamanjon
Guadiana Guesthouse***.
Aparthotel Doña Ruidera**.

Geography

Altitude

There is an altitude difference of about 130 m between the highest (881 m - 2890 ft) and the lowest (751 m - 2463 ft) lagoons.

Size

Many of the lagoons are less than 500 m long. The largest are the Laguna del Rey (length 1400 m), the Laguna de San Pedro (2000 m) and the Laguna Colgada (2400 m) which has a depth of 40 m. From the first to the last lagoon there is an extension of about 25 km.

Under Foot

Soil

Maximum Water Depth

The depth varies according to the weather, some even dry up in times of drought (Laguna Blanca or Laguna Redondilla). During this time, there is only underground flow. Most of the lagoons have a depth of 10-20 m, but Laguna Colgada is up to 40 m deep.

Minimum Swimming Level

There are shallow beach areas. Yet, as soon as you get further inside most lagoons it gets very deep, so must know how to swim.

Shade

Around the lagoons, in the high areas, there are many holm oaks, elms, poplars and junipers, which create many shaded areas. In the middle lagoons, there are also quite a few shady places.

How Clean is Swimming Spot?

The surroundings and the shores of the lake are in general very clean. In some places in summer (when the lagoons are very busy) unfortunately, there can be rubbish lying around.

Water

Underwater

There is good visibility (1 m), but it varies a lot depending on the season and the lagoon. You can often see the fish from the surface. The largest native fish are barbel, Guadiana bogue, fang-tailed bream and fritillary. Some of the introduced species are carp, pike or black-bass.

Water Temperature

A bit cold in summer, very cold in winter

Water Colour

Intense blue

How Clean is Water?

Very clean
SWIMMING HOLES
IN HUESCA

 Swimmming-holes

Check out the best Swimming Holes & Places to Swim INLAND!

Salto de Bierge
Cascada de Sorrosal
Pozán de Vero
Cinca River
Puyarruego

WILD SWIMMING
IN ALICANTE

 Wild-swimming-in-the-ocean--beaches-and-coves

Check out the best Wild Swimming spots on the COAST!

Cala Granadella
Cala Portitxol
Playa del Carabassí

Keep it Clean!

The Rules

Clean the swimming holes!

Swimming Safety

Read these Tips
&
be Safe
when Wild Swimming

DESTINATIONS

UK
Spain
Bali
Belize
Mexico
Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica
India
Martinique

SWIMMING SPOTS

Best places to swim in nature in the world

Check out the best places to go wild swimming, by the TYPE of swimming spot

Swimming Holes
Lakes
Rivers
Waterfalls
Sea

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