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Arnedillo is a municipality located in the autonomous La Rioja region in northern Spain. Tucked between the Hez and Peñalmonte mountain ranges, it is a stunningly beautiful area, full of history, ancient churches, thermal baths and natural landscapes. Here are our top 10 things to do and see around Arnedillo.
Most visitors come to Arnedillo because of its thermal baths. The stone baths sit next to the Cidacos River, just outside of town, and are naturally heated to 52 degrees. The water here is said to have medicinal properties and people come from all over to treat their ailments. Spas here were even used as far back as Roman times.
The word ‘ajedrezado‘ means chequered in Spanish, so the Cuevas del Ajedrezado actually means chequered caves. The caves are located four kilometres outside of Arnedillo town in the area of Santa Eulalia Somera and do indeed appear to be chequered, because of a series of square holes in them. These holes were once used to house funerary urns.
La Rioja is actually Spain’s premiere dino country, with many fossils, prints and bones found in the region over the years. You’ll also find many dinosaur interpretation centres, museums and fossil trails. Some of these dinosaur prints can be found just outside of Arnedillo.
There are three bridges crossing the River Cidacos at Arnedillo, each one cut from a single semi-circular piece of fine stonemasonry. Walk over them to see incredible views down the river, over the town and down into the valley beyond.
The remains of the Castle of the Bishops of Calahorra sit on a rocky outcrop and date back to the 13th century. The building used to belong to the Bishops of Calahorra who used it as a summer residence. Later on, the castle was also used as a prison for rebellious clergymen.
August is one of the best times to visit Arnedillo, especially because of the Fiestas de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. The festival is held on August 5, and features a whole host of activities from costume balls to wine tastings, football championships, live music and dancing.
In La Rioja Baja valley you’ll find a biosphere reserve, home to the Vulture Observation Point. From here, you can spot vultures soaring through the sky against the backdrop of the mountains or scavenging in the valley below.
Arnedillo is home to three unique chapels. The first is San Miguel, with tombs built into the side of the rock; the second is Nuestra Señora de Peñalva, built in the 10th century and Mozarabic in style; and the third is San Tirso, built in a Neo-mudéjar style in the 16th century and tucked into the side of the rock face.
The Arnedillo market is on every Thursday and sells typical products from the region. This includes everything from bottles of wine and local cheeses to cured meats.
If you want to explore the stunning natural area around Arnedillo, hike the Cidacos Green Trail next to the Cidacos River, which will take you past many of the town’s best sights and out into the surrounding countryside.