Fortaleza de Lares is a seventh-century Moorish fortress located atop a namesake sierra in La Siberia area of Badajoz province. Although very little from the old fortress has survived, the remains marks the end point of a great walking route affording what I think is one of the best panoramic views in Extremadura.

In this article, I share a general overview of the route (Sendero Fortaleza de Lares), some practical info, thoughts, and personal tips to help you plan your walk.

Ruta Fortaleza de Lares

This route starts just outside the outlying village of Galizuela (belonging to the municipality of Esparragosa de Lares), within a Special Protection Area for birds. Sendero Fortaleza de Lares is officially a circular route and the information available about length and duration varies depending on the source you check:

According to Turismo Puebla de Alcocer: it’s approximately 4 kilometres long.

According to Turismo La Siberia: it’s 3.15 kilometres long and it takes an hour and 40 minutes.

According to the signpost at the start point: it’s 2.2 kilometres long.

Make of it what you will. Now, if you ask me, we walked Sendero Fortaleza de Lares as a linear route – check the map below for a rough reference – and it took us approximately 90 minutes in total.

Start: lat. 38.95954, long.-5.24015
Finish: lat. 38.95316, long. -5.22673
Time: 90min
Difficulty: low
Cumulative elevation gain: 192m

Sendero Fortaleza de Lares on a map

(Please note that I manually drew the route and it’s meant for rough reference only.)

My thoughts on walking Sendero Fortaleza de Lares

The linear route we covered is the second half of the official clockwise circular route; on the diversion near the start point, we took the path on the right rather than the one on the left.

We walked Sendero Fortaleza de Lares in late December on a rather cold, slightly windy and overcast day at around noon. It started drizzling just before reaching the top and, fearing getting caught in a downpour, we decided to walk down by retracing our steps on a now familiar path rather than completing the circular route. Had I had more time in Extremadura during that trip, I’d have left this route for a drier and brighter day.

Having said that, I’m a big fan of winter walking in Extremadura because that’s when landscapes look their greenest. This particular route has a rich vegetation – from trees to middle and small-sized bushes, green grass and plenty of moss partially covering granitic rocks. Some lower areas were full of yellow wild flowers.

The route starts on a paved path, among olive groves. The path then becomes a rather steep track, which I found a bit muddy, slippery, full of loose stones, and generally not suitable for my trainers. Make sure you wear suitable walking shoes.

Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: start
Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: path
Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: yellow flowers

Further up, walking becomes easier, but the track is, at times, quite close to the edge. Signposting is not great and there are no handrails, steps or any other safety measure along the route.

Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: walking up
Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: view when walking up

​​The remains of the fortress await you at the top of the hill, where far-reaching views hint at the strategic location of the former defensive structure.

Facing the start point of the route (to the northwest), you’ll be able to spot the village of Esparragosa de Lares and the castle in Puebla de Alcocer.

Facing the opposite direction (southeast), you’ll see the distinctive Cerro Masatrigo, an almost-conical (and climbable) hill nearly surrounded by the waters of the vast La Serena reservoir.

Ruta Foraleza de Lares, Galizuela: fortress remains
Ruta Fortaleza de Lares, Galizuela: view from top
Ruta Fortaleza de Lares: view of Cerro Masatrigo

Did you know? Embalse de la Serena (with a surface of 13,949 hectares and a capacity of 3219 cubic hectometres) is Spain’s largest and Europe’s third largest reservoir.

Tips and practical info

​When to do this route: Sendero Fortaleza de Lares is recommended for late autumn, winter, and spring. Not suitable for rainy or foggy days.

Before this walk: do the SL-BA 198 Senda de Masatrigo walking route if you can. The finish point of Sendero Fortaleza de Lares is higher and affords an even more spectacular view, so it’s a good idea to walk up to Cerro Masatrigo first. Completing the two routes in the suggested order will ensure that your already high expectations from Masatrigo will be exceeded when walking up to Fortaleza de Lares.

Where to park: there’s free on-street parking off Calle Galizuela, opposite the start point. Coordinates: lat. 38.959734, long. -5.240362.

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Irene Corchado Resmella

Irene Corchado Resmella

Hi! I’m Irene (/ee-REH-neh/). Long since settled in the UK, I explore my Spanish home region of Extremadura with an inquisitive mind, a sharp eye, and the duality that comes with being both a local and a visitor. Then I write about it here to help you discover this beautiful yet overlooked part of Spain. If you have any questions after reading this article, submit a comment below! Read more about me.

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