We drove a long way to visit Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park. It was a tedious 3 hour 15 minute drive over 266 km. This Natural Park was so out of way and we were not sure how to include it in our route. But after seeing a couple of pictures of its famous Iris Cave we were “caught”. So Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park became an item in our itinerary.
After the visit we definitely felt that our long journey to Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park was worth all the effort. The park was much more than we expected. we did not expect to see so many waterfalls in one park. Stepping into the Iris Cave was also a beautiful experience that we would remember for a long time!
On our way to destination
We had our coffee break at restaurante/Cafeteria of Hotel Rivera Del Duero. To go with our cafe latte we had a slice of bread topped with Spainish cure ham and pork belly with crisping cracking skin! Pork Belly! Oh mind we missed pork belly
After the coffee break was another 1.5 hour drive to Nuévalos, which was a town where we would be staying for the night. The town was 2 km from Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park. We figured that after a long drive and then a 2-to-3 hours park exploration we would be tired out and need to stay nearby for the night. We had booked our “stay” at Nuevalos located next to the river.
Monasterio de Piedra natural Park
We reached Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park at about 2 pm. We bought the entrance tickets at €16 per person. The weather at 2 pm was just too hot! The park closed at 8pm and 7 pm was the last entry into the park. We decided to go to our hotel for a rest and to come back to the park at 5 pm when the weather was much cooler and we still had 3 hours to explore it.
At 5pm we were back at the park. We had a map of the whole place and there were 29 stops on the it that were marked for “attention”. We had 3 hours for this place.
The first stage of the route into the park brought us passed a huge hotel which was sited in the park. We had considered staying in the hotel for a night but it costed 3 times the price of a twin/double room at Nuevalos!
The path/route in the park was clear and marked. It started with a couple of ponds/lakes. Very lovely, very serene and very quiet environment especially with the greenish shades created by the tall trees all around. It was definitely a good decision to postpone our park exploration from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Soon our route took us past many waterfalls. Some were short, some were tall, some were narrow and some were broad. Several were multi levels with water cascading and bouncing down the many levels.
We certainly did not expect to see so many waterfalls in the park and were glad that we visited the park at the right season because the water volume rushing down the falls was huge and all the falls looked magnificent!
This place reminded us of Plitvice Lake Natural Park in Croatia though it was much smaller in size. The map was definitely helpful and by following the “numbering” on the map we did not get lost or go round in loops .
The route brought us up some stairs, caves and tunnels which was very manageable. Not only did we got to see the waterfalls from below we also viewed them from the top.
Near the later part of the route we reached Iris Cave. We had seen some pictures of Iris Cave and thought the cave looked fascinating. We just hoped that in reality the cave was as beautiful as we had seen in the pictures.
Wow! The cave was larger, bigger and deeper that we expected. It was beautiful walking deeper into the cave and looked outward. The cave was partially behind a waterfalsl and we could see thick “sheets and sheets” of water plummeting down the cliff.
Though water was dripping down from the ceiling of the cave we still ventured in. The route into the cave was not very deep, it was wet and dim. Along the short route we saw a blue river shimmering below. The daylight that found its way through the opening bounced off the green walls of the cave and blue water of the river giving the interior of the cave some pretty “awesome” colors!
It was already past 7.15 pm when we exited Iris Cave and we still had 12 more stops to go. So for the next 45 minutes we walked quickly and “dally” shortly at each stop till we reached the entrance. We left the park at 8 pm, its final closing time. Wow! We had taken 3 whole hours to explore the park.
stay for the night
Our “stay” was “Hotel Rio Piedra” in Nuévalos just 2 km from Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park. We booked a twin room for €59 a nite on booking.com The booking came with breakfast for two and free parking on site. The hotel was not difficult to find it was a midsize hotel near the rive Rio Piedra.
Our room was on the second level, the room was basic but clean. It also had a balcony that looked over the hotel pool. The ensuite toilet was large and clean with a bathtub too.
After we came back from visiting Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park we searched for a restaurant in the vicinity of our hotel for a meal. Unfortunately there was only one restaurant that was opened for dinner. The restaurant was part of our hotel. We ordered our dinner which was a beef steak and a chef’s recommendation dinner plate. The chef’s recommendation turned out to be bread and a concortion of minced meat, spices, herbs, olive oil and wine. Our dinner came up to €40 for two simple plates. The steak was nice but the chef’s recommendation was “forgetable” and not worth the price.
The hotel served a beautiful breakfast in the morning. We loved the huge varieties and spread of food on the table.
We liked Hotel Rio Piedra for its vicinity and “value for money” stay. It had a pool for relaxation after a hot day.
Accommodations : Near Monasterio de Piedra National Park