Laguardia Lakes Biotope

Laguardia Lakes Biotope has two natural freshwater wetlands and an artificial pool, all of which are of extraordinary biological and ecological interest and for this reason they have been declared a Protected Biotope.

This Protected Biotope is located in the centre of the Rioja Alavesa, near the walled village of Laguardia from which it can be seen. It contains four small wetlands. Three of them, Carralogroño, Carravalseca and Musco are natural lagoons, while the fourth, the Prao de la Paul, is a small reservoir created in an area subject to flooding.

The Carralogroño and Carravalseca lagoons are the last of a series of wetlands that were drained of water in order to use the land for growing crops. This would have been the fate of the Musco lagoon, which was drained, dried out and cultivated until its declaration as a Biotope, when work began on its restoration.

These wetlands are home to a number of extremely rare plants and algae and on the edges of the lagoons there are herbaceous plants and reeds that have adapted to the salt water. Dense reed beds cover wide areas of the reserve, mainly in Carralogroño, providing shelter for a large number of birds.

Although the Biotope can be visited throughout the year, the largest number of birds can be seen between September and March. The lagoons of Laguardia are a favourite stopping place for migrating aquatic birds. Up to 118 different species have been counted over a one-year period and include species such as cormorants, herons, cattle egrets, mandarin ducks, glossy ibis and purple herons. There are also nesting birds such as grebes, the red crested pochard, the water rail, moorhens, coots and mallards.

The best wetlands for visiting is the Prao de la Paul. There is a track that runs along the edge, equipped with hides for birdwatching.

The area around the Biotope is also well worth a visit as this is where the wine of the Rioja Alavesa is produced. This area also has a large number of important historical monuments, such as the archaeological sites of the Poblado de la Hoya, Dolmen de la Hechicera, the burial grounds of San Juan Ante Portam-Latinam, the medieval villages of Laguardia, Labastida Labraza, etc., Museums, etc.