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The Dinosaur Route.

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  • Dinosaur statue

    Dinosaur statue

  • Dinosaur tracks, Comago © Turespaña

    Dinosaur tracks, Comago © Turespaña

  • Dinosaur statue, Enciso © Turespaña

    Dinosaur statue, Enciso © Turespaña


Dreaming about prehistoric animals

In the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, La Rioja was the delta of a large river, a land of marshes and sandy areas. The footprints left by the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth back then were fossilised forever in the regions of La Rioja. The scientific name for these prints is "ichnite".

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This route may be covered in one or two days. It is about 60 kilometres long from the starting point to the end, and we have to add the signposted routes and paths that go through several ichnite sites that can be visited. We'll start in Enciso, a town that has a Paleontological Centre.

Here the visits (guided or free) to the seven ichnite sites start. The sites are spread out over the municipality and include more than 1,400 footprints of ancient dinosaours. We can complement the visit to Enciso going to the Gothic-Renaissance churches of San Pedro Apóstol (with a 12th century Romanesque tower) and Santa María de la Estrella.

The first part of the route goes through the high valley of the Cidacos River, a place that the UNESCO declared a Biosphere Reserve. About 6 kilometres away we find the town of Munilla. A path that is barely 2 kilometres long takes us to the two main ichnite sites in the municipality. Altogether there are about 900 dinosaur footprints, including a 13 metre long trail and 17 footprints of a carnivorous dinosaur, and the 27 metre trail and 31 footprints of a biped herbivore that walked leaving an S-shaped trail.

Back on to the main road, we'll head towards Arnedillo (6 kilometres away) The two ichnite sites here are more modest but there are other attractions that are worth seeing. For example, the shrines, including Santa María de Peñalba, a Mozarabic shrine (10th century); the Renaissance Parish Church of San Servando and San Germán; two Visitor Centres (one on the observation of Griffon vultures and the other on topics like the biosphere reserve, water and industrialisation); and the thermal baths spa.

From Arnedillo we carry on the journey to Arnedo, the capital of Cidacos River and shoes, which is about 13 kilometres away. Some of the interesting buildings are three Gothic-Renaissance churches (16th century): Santa Eulalia, San Cosme and San Damián; and the palaces of the Baroness (early 20th century) and the Archbishop Argaiz (17th century).

We can visit this place following the Vía Verde del Cidacos route, which crosses the valley from Arnedillo and reaches Calahorra, the capital of the Rioja Baja region. A 6-kilometre branch (Vía Verde de Préjano), which starts off near Arnedillo will also take us to the town of Préjano, an old fishing village. There are several ichnite sites and remains of the 15th century castle.

We'll then head to the valley of the Linares River. After about 23 kilometres, we get to Cornago, with its beautiful medieval castle. This town has five ichnite sites, which are also easy to visit.

The last stop is the town of Igea, about 7 kilometres away. The La Rioja Palaeontological Centre is situated in Igea. In the Era del Peladillo site we'll find the largest concentration of ichnites not only in La Rioja, but in Europe and the third in the world, with a total of 1,766. The palace of the Marquis of Casa Torre, a Florentine-style building (18th century) is one of the important buildings in the town.


What to do

Cycle touring

Cycle touring
Equestrian routes

Equestrian routes


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