Los Mallos de Riglos Spain
The drive from Loarre to Los Mallos de Riglos here in Spain, is once again a pleasant surprise. This part of Aragon is simply beautiful and so unspoiled, and even tourists seem few and far between. So much so, we hardly know it’s peak summer and there’s not an international voice to be heard.
For those recently joining us, we’re here touring North East Spain in August 2022. Before long, we set eyes upon the star attraction – the Los Mallos de Riglos. Here, the red rock pinnacles of almost vertical proportions spring into view and are undoubtedly incredible.
Dominating the sky line for miles around, the Los Mallos de Riglos are popular in climbing circles worldwide. They were first climbed back in 1935 when the first accent took place and now attract climbers from all over.
Motorhome parking – Los Mallos de Riglos Spain
We no little of climbing habits, but we love to watch the adrenaline junkies at their sport. Quite simply, it’s tantalising to watch and quite heart-stopping at times.
First though, we have to find a parking place and the approach to the village of Los Mallos brings plenty of car parking options. Unfortunately, there’s only one motorhome parking area at the end of the road.
The signed motorhome parking leaves little room for error. Not only is it a small area next to the village, but it’s narrow and the spaces are small.
Ironically, the other car parks below the village are relatively empty and are definitely more spacious. These make a far easier option for motorhome parking, undoubtedly a wiser choice, except for the “no motorhome signs”.
Nonetheless, we sit it out and eventually, we manage to squeeze into a parking space after a VW campervan vacates. We’re going to do a walk here, but the heat is intense today and the towering mass of rock provides an oven-like intensity. Unfortunately, despite trying, we give up on the walk and opt instead for climber-watching.
Climbers and a vertical rock
Setting off on a walking path from the village starts well enough. But, once we start on an uphill path, we realise it’s too hot. Maybe we should be here earlier in the day, after all it’s gone midday, and usually we’re arriving back at this time, not starting.
However, there are far more interesting things going on her in Los Mallos. Then, the walking suddenly seems a bit less crucial.
We soon find ourselves beneath the massive rock tower, where the climbers are clinging on above. Feeling tiny against the gigantic rock and watching as the ropes dangle in front of us, makes walking look tame.
Apparently the rock face here reaches over 300m into the sky, so watching the climbers as they scale the craggy surface is amazing.
Unusually, the rock consists of large rocky pebbles, sand and gravel, giving it’s red colour and an extra appeal to climbers.
Vultures and a Swim
It’s certainly a climbers paradise and there’s no shortage of adventure enthusiasts passing with their ropes. However, there’s also another attraction here and it’s bird-watching or more precisely Vultures. Today, as the heat bears down, there’s ample birds gliding above us, elegantly circling for any prey that awaits below.
For us, the heat becomes too much, so we take advantage of the village swimming pool, where a cool down dip helps revive our sweaty bodies.
Swimming with an incredible outdoor panorama makes the 30 minutes of pool length swimming go quickly. Next comes a cold outdoor shower before retreating back to the campervan.
By the way, the village of Loarre has a few eateries and public loos for those wanting refreshments. Ultimately, it’s full of climbers exchanging tales of their time on the rock and what an accomplishment it must be.
Another pretty village
Further along the road from Los Mallos de Riglos, we find an historic church and the picturesque village of Augero. Luckily for us, just as we park up and walk over to the locked church door, along comes a local with the key.
We ask if we can take a look inside and he has no problem letting us wonder in as he takes a tourist on a tour. It’s a 13th century Romanesque structure with a beautiful feel.
Apparently there’s rumour that the same sculptor carved the stone here that also worked on the imposing and historically important Monasterio de San Juan de la Pena.
Afterwards, back in the campervan, we have a quick moment getting stuck on a bit of an off road-track. Fortunately, the 4-wheel drive gets us on our way again, but it’s a bit embarrassing all the same!
Monastery San Juan de la Pena
Passing through Murillo de Gallego, a rafting centre on the Gallego River brings a change of scenery. Now we’re heading for the Monastery at San Juan de la Pena where we’re hoping to stay the night.
There’s a hilly, winding road up to the Monastery site, and when we arrive in the early evening, the place is virtually empty.
However, we get brilliant views along the way of the Pyrenees and a few lay by’s allow for parking and taking in the views. All the while, the Vultures fly overhead, so it’s an interesting place for spotting these huge birds of prey.
At the monastery we find there’s plenty of wooded parking but no overnight sleeping allowed. So, with this we find a wild camp spot a few km further along the road, taking a stoney track away from the world.
We’re alone, remote and on top of the world on a hilly outcrop. Not only are the views beautiful but the short distance to the Monastery is really convenient for tomorrow.
Now all we have to do is sleep, but the echoing of party music seeping up from a village far below the mountain may as well be next door!
Oh the joys of wild camping!
Next time we visit the monastery complex that was once the most important in all of Aragon.