Here’s a report of our weekend trip to the waterfalls at the edge of Valencian region (and outside) – Cascada del Arquero in Puertomingalvo, Teruel and Cascada del río Carbo in Villahermosa del río, Castellón.
Day 1 – Puertomingalvo and Cascada del Arquero
We decided to take the Autovía Mudejar and then drive through some lands of Teruel to get to Puertomingalvo. The journey from Valencia takes about two hours, but there are some stunning views along the way and even an option to make a stop at a lookout point right after you pass Linares do Mora to contemplate the views of village from top. Some 20 minutes more and you arrive in Puertomingalvo.
The way to the waterfall is a quite a long descent to the valley, with 500m of elevation loss in 5 kilometeres. The route is marked quite well with signposts and white and yellow blazes of PR-TE 25 trail.
There is a wooden bridge right before the waterfall, which you need to cross to get there, which adds a little bit of excitment to the hike. More of those to come on the following day.
Cascada del Arquero
You can get the first glimpses of the cascade from a distance, while coming down to it, but its much more impressive up close. There is a nice opening among trees and rocks, with an area to rest, glaze, bathe and have picnic.
The name – “Arquero” actually comes from a word rainbow (arco íris in Spanish), that is formed by the waterfall and can be seen from a certain angle.
The village proudly takes a title of “one of the most beautiful villages in Spain” and rightfully so: the streets and houses are taken care of and preserved quite well, and give you an opportunity to go for a nice easy walk, there is an impressive church, a castle and several lookout points to contemplate the surrounding scenery. The bakery has to be mentioned as well, as it served as place to (over)replenish the calories spent on the hike and even the following day. Fun fact: many streetshave quite curious names (e.g. Callizo de la tía María o Rogelia) and apparently you can walk down some of them faster than you can say the name of the street.
The accomodation was the cosiest of all our trips so far. A rural house, used as a school decades ago, made into a great and quite place to spend a couple of days in nature. The location is idyllic – couple of kilometers from Villahermosa, in a quiet valley, next to river Carbo. There is a big room with bunk beds and a couple of double rooms. The hosts are most welcoming and are willing to tell you lots of stories about local flora and fungi, fairies, stars and constellations, medicinal plants or any other things you are curious about. They also try to make the house as sustainble as possible, with electricity coming from solar panels and lots of plants grown in their garden. The cook, Jordi, deserves to be mentioned separately as the meals he has cooked were probably the best ones I’ve tried in Spain so far.
Website: Masía Roncales
Day 2 – Cascada del río Carbo
The second day’s hike was a shorter one, but nevertheless just as stunning. It’s just over 3km one way if you start from Masía Roncales, or 2 more if you start from Villahermosa. The path goes along the river for entire time and is marked quite well with signposts and red and white blazes of a long distance trail GR-7.
Since the trail goes along the river, you need to cross it various times. There are wooden bridges along the way which facilitate that and make the hike much more fun.
The waterfall itself is very picturesque and gives you an opportunity to swim in small natural pool right beneath it. Even though the water was quite cool (less than 15°C I would say), it’s hard not to jump in the water on a hot summer (autumn) day. And no wonder, as phrases like “the best natural pool I have seen” are quite common in this place.
The surroundings have to be mentioned separately, since the proximity to Penyagolosa make the landscape quite mountainous and picturesque, while the trail itself oscilates slightly as you follow it along the river.
To conclude I should say that we had a great time during these two days, as the people were just as nice as the surrounding while the overall atmosphere was quite relaxed throughout the trip. Something to repeat for sure!