Spain,

Iberian Lynx Quest

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Tailor-Made Tour
6 Days
From 1433
Big Cat Safari
Birding
Photographic

Tour Introduction

6 Days from 1433 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

Embark on a relaxed break to a little visited corner of Spain and an exclusive private estate, home to the highest densities of the Iberian lynx, the world’s rarest cat.  This special itinerary focuses on the 2,260-hectare Peñalajo estate. Once the meeting place for European aristocracy, the property hosts a wildlife-rich mosaic of Mediterranean scrub and forest habitat and has become known for excellent Manchego cheese and olive oil. Peñalajo now works closely alongside the conservation organisation WWF to increase Iberian lynx numbers in what is internationally recognised as a prime breeding location for the rare feline.

Through habitat restoration and conservation of the native rabbit population, Iberian lynx and Spanish imperial eagle (both key predators of the rabbit) are now thriving on the estate. Several specially designed hides have been constructed around the land, affording excellent opportunities to view and photograph lynx at drinking pools.

The diverse Mediterranean and steppe bird species found there are also good subjects for photographers. Birds include the endemic Iberian azure-winged magpie, little bustard, pin-tailed and black-bellied sandgrouse, hoopoe, little owl, hawfinch and migratory (May-August) rollers, great spotted cuckoo, bee eaters and many warblers.

Full Itinerary

Price from 1433 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Madrid - Santa Cruz de Mudela

Arrival into Madrid Airport and transfer to Atocha train station to take the AVE high-speed rail link (1.5 hours) to Ciudad Real. On arrival, met and transfer by road to your rural accommodation.

Staying at Hotel Casa Palacio . Includes Dinner.

Day 2
Peñalajo estate

Early morning transfer to nearby Peñalajo estate, a 2,260-hectare Mediterranean landscape of open holm and cork oak woodland interspersed with rocky outcrops, scrub and grassland.

Spend mornings and evenings here in private hides strategically positioned next to drinking pools regularly used by Iberian lynx families.

This is an excellent way to observe these elusive and endangered cats up close without causing disturbance. You will need patience and some luck but have a very good chance of memorable and intimate lynx sightings. The pools are also visited by a variety of attractive birds such as hawfinch and azure-winged magpie. During the warm middle of the day, enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant and then look for other wildlife in the afternoon.

Staying at Hotel Casa Palacio . Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Peñalajo estate

Another day for morning and late afternoon lynx watching from the purpose-built hides. Whilst driving through and scanning the scrubby landscape, look out for other wildlife which includes the native European rabbit, various reptiles and butterflies, and birdlife such as the rare Spanish imperial eagle, little bustard, little owl, roller, sandgrouse, hoopoe, red-legged partridge, and subalpine and Sardinian warblers.

The estate has collaborated with WWF to protect their Mediterranean habitat and its important Iberian lynx population, yet is also a farm that produces excellent olive oil and Manchego cheese.

Staying at Hotel Casa Palacio. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Peñalajo estate

Another day for lynx watching and exploration of Peñalajo for its wildlife. The beautifully marked Iberian lynx is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and is currently listed as the world’s rarest and most endangered wild cat, although thankfully its population is increasing.

Due to the conservation efforts of the estate, the populations of rabbit and red-legged partridge - the two key prey species for both the lynx and Spanish imperial eagle - are now doing very well there.

Staying at Hotel Casa Palacio. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Peñalajo estate

Another day of lynx and other wildlife watching from the hides and throughout the Peñalajo estate. Each day's itinerary can be customised around your interests. There are other hides for viewing birds such as the Spanish imperial eagle too.

Staying at Hotel Casa Palacio. Includes All Meals.

Day
Madrid

Depart the hotel after breakfast and transfer to the train station in Ciudad Real where you take the high-speed train back to Madrid. Connect with your onward flight or train. Or perhaps extend your stay with some dolphin and orca watching in the Straits of Gibraltar.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Spain Southern Spain

Hotel Casa Palacio

Overview

A typically Spanish and family run hotel in the quaint village of Santa Cruz de Mudela. The hotel features a traditional internal courtyard and homely bedrooms which combine both modern amenities and traditionally Spanish décor and furniture. All rooms feature en suite bathrooms, a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi and there is a charming restaurant serving regional home cooked food. Outside is a small swimming pool and terrace to soak up the surroundings from. Please note that English is not widely spoken at the hotel.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
14
Facilities

All rooms feature private bathrooms, minibars, hairdryer, digital flat screen TV, plus a resturant, poolside bar, swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.

Local Wildlife

The nearby Peñalajo Estate supports one of the highest densities of Iberian lynx in the country. The estate is also a refuge for the Spanish imperial eagle and other birds include the endemic Iberian azure-winged magpie, little bustard, pin-tailed and black-bellied sandgrouse, hoopoe, little owl, hawfinch and migratory (May – August) rollers, great spotted cuckoo, bee eaters and many warblers.

Optional Activities

Wildlife watching and photography, food and history tours.

Route Map

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Hotel Casa Palacio: 38.641078, -3.467507

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly to Madrid with British Airways, Iberia, Easy Jet, Ryanair on direct flights or take the train from London.

Best Visited:

January to January

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Ian Loyd

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965