Gallocanta Circular Route

Zaragoza - Teruel
Route:From Daroca (Zaragoza) to Daroca (Zaragoza)
Journeys:2 days
49.40KM
Cabecera mapa Senderista Anillo-de-Gallocanta
Click image to enlarge

  

Walking: Gallocanta Circular Route on foot.

  • Route: circular, Daroca - Daroca.
  • Provinces: Zaragoza, Teruel.
  • Kilometres: Approx. 49 km.
  • Days recommended: 2 days (1 night)
  • Difficulty: low.

 

Information you can download on this page

Remember that you can obtain more information about each route at the tourist information offices on the Way of El Cid, including brochures and the Letter of safe conduct.

 

The Plot

This short yet challenging circular route starts in Daroca. El Cid is known to have camped in this city for several days in 1090, and it was here that he signed a treaty with the Catalonian Count Berenguer Ramón II, shortly after defeating him at El Maestrazgo. The Poem of the Cid also refers to Daroca, claiming that the city paid tribute to El Cid, whose men had subjugated the entire area, although there is little historical evidence to this effect.

According to the Poem, in order to impose his will, El Cid set up various camps from which he launched his raids. Perhaps the most famous of these is said to have been in El Poyo del Cid (Teruel) and the other in Allucant. It is not known exactly where this place is, although a number of scholars posit that it is in fact Gallocanta, a village which was known as Allucant back in the 13th century. This possibility has led to the creation of a delightful circular route of great historical and ecological value, the perfect choice for a weekend excursion.

 

The journey: what you expect

Nature is the principal attraction of this route which, starting from Daroca, makes its way through the picturesque Santa Cruz Mountain Range along well-surfaced country roads as far as the village of Gallocanta. The MTB cycle route follows the hiking trail as far as Castejón de Tornos before continuing along an MTB cycling detour and rejoining the trail just before Val de San Martín.

Gallocanta Lagoon is actually a magnificent lagoon complex whose shores are dotted with small villages. It is one of Western Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons and boasts a wealth of flora and fauna. Each winter this ecosystem is visited by thousands of cranes and other migratory birds who stop here on their long flight from northern Europe to Africa. Together with the large numbers of other water birds, steppe birds and birds of prey (more than two hundred species) that live here, they form a truly spectacular sight, turning Gallocanta into one of Europe’s ornithological paradises.

This history of this area is also intriguing: the first documented settlement dates back some 4,000 years. This is a fertile land and the salinity of the lagoon is greater than that of the sea. As a result, since ancient times it has been a site of salterns and iron mining. The mines required large amounts of wood, which led to the deforestation of the territory and the emergence of arable and pasture lands. This rich and fertile land is sheltered by mountain ranges with two major natural passes leading to the Valley of Jiloca and Molina de Aragón.

Since ancient times, the settlements have been fiercely defended, which explains the large number of castles to be seen in this area, including Santed, Gallocanta (in ruins), Berrueco, Tornos, etc. Most date back to the Middle Ages, although they stand on the site of earlier fortifications. The area is also home to a number of interesting Celtiberian archaeological sites, such as El Castellar, not far from Berrueco: visitors are welcome, and although it is located 1 km off the route, it is well worth making the detour. 

The final stage brings us back to Daroca. This monumental town was founded by the Yemeni Moors in the 8th century. Once inside its imposing walls, visitors will feel as if they have traveled back in time. Daroca boasts a rich and varied artistic heritage that reflects its long history. The best way of discovering its secrets is to wander around the streets, losing yourself among the alleys, courtyards and picturesque spots. The town’s Moorish past is also in evidence in its gastronomy, and especially its sweets and pastries, with delicacies such as the trenzas mudéjares (almond and walnut pastries) or almojábanas (delicious aniseed ring-shaped pastries).

 

Signposting

The route is signposted for hikers with red and white lines (Gran Recorrido -GR- long distance track), and white and yellow lines (Pequeño Recorrido -PR- short distance track). More info about signposting please click here.

 

Tips and recommendations
  • Travel safely and unhurriedly: take the tracks and route guide with you.
  • Book your accommodation in advance.
  • Check our cartographic viewer: the Alerts on Route shows you the most important incidents you can find on the way: tall vegetation, interrupted steps, road works, fallen or missing signs and any other obstacle from which you need to be warned about.
  • Get your Letter of safe conduct. The Letter of Safe Conduct is a personalized 'passport' you can have stamped at many towns and villages on the Way of El Cid. You can use it to get discounts of at least 10% in more than 200 places of accommodation and benefit from special offers. It is free and you can apply for it at any of the more than 70 tourist information offices on the route or at the Way of El Cid Consortium.
  • Your literary guide. You might think it's unnecessary weight, but for many it is essential: don't forget to take with you a copy of the Poem of The Cid; you will be able to recreate some of its passages on site.
  • And, of course, respect the signs you come across: damaging, knocking down or changing a sign means that those behind you might get lost.

 

How to get there… and get back

For more information about how to get to Daroca, click on the information about the municipality.

Rev. ALC: 10.07.18

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