01692 580623/4

Spain Extremadura & La Mancha

An 8-day, small group birdwatching tour to central Spain, getting you off the beaten track

Limosa’s November birdwatching tour to Spain commences with a five-night stay amid the rugged sierras and rolling steppe grasslands of Extremadura, followed by two nights exploring the tucked away lagunas of La Mancha. It’s a holiday that will take you from the vulture-filled skies over Peña Falcon, via flocks of bustards, sandgrouse and thousands of wintering Cranes out on the plain, to the little known rural wetlands of “Don Quixote country” - home to White-headed Duck, Western Swamphen and even the elusive Moustached Warbler. Escape the onset of winter in the UK and join us for a Spain birding tour with a difference!

Tour Dates



Fernando Enrique

Max Group Size: 6
Duration: 8 Days

Ask About Tour

Cost: £1895

inc return flights from London Heathrow to Madrid, with Iberia and/or British Airways

Deposit: £300

Single Supp: £215
Land Only: £1770

Book This Tour

Ask About Tour

If you have any questions about our tours or require further information, we are always happy to hear from you.
Feel free to contact us by email, fax or telephone to discuss any aspect of our tours. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Click here to read our Privacy Policy


1 White headed Duck drake Andalucia Spain Stephen Daly andalucianguides.com 5672

The lagunas of La Mancha are an important stronghold for the endangered White-headed Duck - the males with their improbable sky-blue bills swollen like a prizefighter's nose! © Stephen Daly/Daly Wildlife

Hoopoes bouncing through the dehesas on zebra-striped wings; tawny autumnal grasslands dotted with groups of stately Great Bustards; squadrons of Black and Griffon Vultures floating silently in the sky above the immense rock pinnacle of Peña Falcon; and the thrill of seeing thousands of spectacular Common Cranes, trumpeting loud their arrival here from northern Europe to winter beneath the oak trees and in harvested fields of maize and rice... Starting amid the rolling steppes and rugged sierras of Extremadura and concluding with visits to the tucked away wetlands and lagunas of rural La Mancha, our November birdwatching tour to the 'wild heart of Spain' promises all this and more!
From Madrid, we head west to delightful Viña Las Torres, a small and beautifully renovated private estate set amidst wonderful birding country not far from Trujillo. With good home cooking (and wine included with our evening meals), this comfortable Hotel Rural will be our base for the first five nights of the holiday. More than 90 species of bird have been recorded within five minutes walk of the hotel - so it can be hard to tear ourselves away from here. But we will, for our late autumn days in Extremadura are usually sunny and always memorable, filled with more birds than you could wish for!

Visits to magnificent Monfragüe National Park form the centrepiece of our stay in Extremadura - one of Limosa's all-time favourite places. Birds of prey are more numerous here than anywhere else in Western Europe. In late November, we will be looking for the scarce Black-winged Kite, immense Black and Griffon Vultures, and up to three species of eagle: Bonelli's, Golden and the endemic Spanish Imperial.

Autumn is also an excellent time to see the solitary Iberian Grey Shrike and the exotic but sociable Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie, two further Iberian specialities that make their home in the beautiful dehesa woodlands that ring this national park.
Out on the rolling plains, flocks of Calandra Larks and droves of bustards - both Great and Little - will already have come together for the winter. As we scan the fields for them, we may be lucky to unearth secretive Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, and parties of Stone-curlew, too.

During our stay, we’ll pay a short visit to the historic hilltop town of Trujillo, enjoying far-reaching views from the medieval battlements and a refreshing beer at a cafe in the cobbled Plaza Mayor, watched over by the formidable statue of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru.
Leaving Extremadura, we loop north and east beyond Toledo, where the lagunas (lakes) of La Mancha lie scattered like confetti across the rolling rural heartland of Spain. Nestling in a landscape made famous by Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote, these tucked away wetlands are important to the threatened White-headed Duck plus a fine array of waterbirds in winter that can include hundreds of Greater Flamingos, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Western Swamphen and - with a little good fortune - Moustached Warbler, too. We spend two nights in this sleepy 'backwater', at a comfortable hotel in Alcazar de San Juan.
Limosa has been operating a wide-ranging annual programme of birdwatching tours to Spain since 1990. Guide Fernando Enrique joined the Limosa team back in 2014 and is our English-speaking Spanish specialist. He has excellent experience of central Spain, having lived, birded and led tours in both Extremadura and La Mancha - including our November 2016, 2017 and 2018 tours there - plus very shortly our 2019 trip, too!

Join us as we return for another exciting and refreshingly different birding tour to Spain, discovering the land of the Conquistadores and Cervantes' fictional hero, Don Quixote!

Griffon Vulture 3 Monfrague Stephen Daly 5113

At the heart of magnificent Monfrague National Park, the immense crag of Pena Falcon is home to the enormous Griffon Vulture © Stephen Daly/Daly Wildlife

Day 1
Our November birdwatching tour to Spain begins with a morning flight from London Heathrow to Madrid, where Fernando will be waiting to welcome us. We head west towards the rolling steppe grasslands, beautiful oak woodlands and rugged sierras of Extremadura - the 'wild heart of Spain'.

The journey will take around three hours, but we'll stop along the way to enjoy a light tapas lunch... and maybe to have a first try for the elusive Black-winged Kite. Although it is late autumn, the prospect of seeing birds such as White Stork and Hoopoe here will come as a welcome surprise.

Early evening arrival at our comfortable rural retreat, a small, privately-owned and beautifully renovated country house hotel set amidst wonderful birding country just a few miles south of the medieval hilltop town of Trujillo. Cattle Egrets, Spanish Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and Common Waxbills forage in the fields, and exotic Iberian Magpies (or Azure-winged Magpie in 'old money', if you prefer) regularly gather to roost in the hotel garden. Night Viña Las Torres

Days 2 – 5
To begin our appreciation of this lovely region we only have to take a short walk outside - more than 90 species of bird have been recorded within five minutes walk of the hotel. We might hear the eerie cries of Stone-curlew drifting over the steppe, the dry rattle of a Cirl Bunting from the hillside or see watchful birds of prey soaring effortlessly overhead.

North from Trujillo, our route to Monfragüe National Park passes through mile after mile of unspoilt dehesas - a park-like habitat of cork and evergreen oaks, foraged by pigs and alive with the ceaseless chatter of Iberian Magpies. Tetchy Sardinian Warblers scold us from the brush and smart Iberian Grey Shrikes perch like sentries beside the road, while the squat form of a Little Owl glares down at us from one of the massive ‘erratics’ that are so characteristic of this part of Extremadura - the ‘hard lands’.

This is probably the richest spot in Europe for birds of prey. As the immense shapes of Griffon Vultures launch themselves from sun-warmed crags to patrol the sweeping skies, we’ll be on the look out for Red Kite, Peregrine and three big eagles: Bonelli’s, Golden and the rare, endemic Spanish Imperial are all resident in the park. With luck, we might even come across a huge Eurasian Eagle Owl, out sunning itself on a favoured ledge.

Always magical, Monfragüe’s Cistus-covered hillsides and deep plunging valleys are equally rich in small birds. Crested and Thekla Larks, Dartford Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting and Red-billed Chough are all likely - and we could find Crag Martin, Firecrest and Short-toed Treecreeper, too.

To the south of Monfragüe our attention will turn to the sweeping plains, a vital stronghold of the spectacular Great Bustard, which gather into flocks (or ‘droves’) at this season. We should also see the declining Little Bustard as we search for Black-winged Kite; sailing on the breeze like a giant paper plane, winter is perhaps the best time of year to see this oft-elusive bird of prey. We’ll listen out for the distinctive Pochard-like calls of nomadic Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and the telltale ‘chuckling’ of Black-bellied Sandgrouse passing over the steppe. And as we scour the fields for them, flocks of Calandra and Sky Larks, Spanish Sparrows, Corn Buntings, finches and pipits may be put to flight by the sudden appearance of a low-flying Hen Harrier or a dashing Merlin - both being winter visitors here.

Come November, thousands of stately Common Cranes will have arrived from northern Europe to feast on fallen acorns as well as the glut of spilled food left behind in the region’s harvested fields of maize and rice. They make a stirring sight - and sound - and are one of the highlights of any late autumn visit to Extremadura!

Finally, no visit to this wonderful region would be complete without enjoying a short stroll through historic Trujillo town, with its winding cobbled streets, delightful medieval architecture and mellow pan-tiled roofs. We’ll pay a short sightseeing visit here, to admire the glorious views across the plains from atop the medieval battlements and afterwards dropping back down to the beautiful Plaza Mayor, with its imposing statue of the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro mounted on horseback. Even in autumn, a few White Storks are likely to be attending their rooftop nests in town. Nights at Viña Las Torres

Days 6 - 7
After breakfast this morning, we bid farewell to our hosts at lovely Viña Las Torres and travel eastwards from Extremadura, beyond Toledo (the provincial capital of Castilla-La Mancha),
to the sleepy rural backwater of La Mancha. It's a longish drive, but we'll pause along the way to enjoy a couple of choice wetland sites, where sightings of Western Swamphen, Spoonbill, Great Egret, Bluethroat and Penduline Tit were among highlights from our last three tours.

Like so much of Spain's vast central plain or meseta, the open and undulating landscape of La Mancha is relatively sparsely populated. Scattered here and there amongst the patchwork of cereal fields and vines are numerous shallow lakes or lagunas - some reed-fringed freshwater habitats bursting with activity; others saline, sterile and seemingly devoid of life. Yet each holds it's own fascinating population of birds.
Of major importance is La Mancha's thriving population of rare White-headed Ducks - the males with their extraordinary sky-blue bills swollen like a prizefighter's nose! In November, we should also find hundreds of Red-crested Pochard and Greater Flamingos here too, along with Black-necked Grebe, Western Swamphen and good chances of the rare Ferruginous Duck.

Marsh Harriers sail low across the autumnal hems of reed, and Hen Harrier is also possible. We should hear the pig-like squealing of Water Rails (though actually getting to see one is another matter entirely!) and the 'cut glass pinging' of Bearded Tits, while Cetti's Warblers shout as we pass by the waterside tangles and tamarisks. Zitting Cisticolas frequent the drier margins and, if the gods are smiling, we might even encounter the very localised Moustached Warbler here - both our 2017 and 2018 groups were lucky!

Eight 'out-of-season' Whiskered Terns put on a surprise showing for us on our last visit, and other species to watch for include Avocet, the endemic Iberian Green Woodpecker, Bluethroat and Water Pipit.

Although intensively cropped, La Mancha's arid, stony, steppe-derived farmland still supports a surprising variety of dry country birds. In November, we might find Calandra and Crested Larks, Stone-curlew, and Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse as we travel between one wetland site and the next.

Our well-chosen accommodation for these two nights is Chateau Viñasoro, a comfortable rural retreat set amid the vineyards of La Mancha. Nights Hotel Chateau Viñasoro

Day 8            
We have time this morning to enjoy more of La Mancha's varied winter birding, with further chances to look for White-headed Duck and the prospect of waders such as Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover and Little Stint.

Our birding over, reluctantly we must return to Madrid and check-in for our late afternoon flight back to London Heathrow, where our autumn birdwatching tour to Spain concludes.

Common Crane ad 0126

We may be lucky to enjoy close views of Common Cranes in their winter quarters in Extremadura, either foraging for acorns beneath the oak woodlands or feeding in the harvested fields of maize and rice © Stephen Daly/Daly Wildlife

What To Expect

An 8-day, small group birdwatching tour to central Spain in late autumn, getting you right off the beaten track.

Five nights amid the rugged sierras and rolling steppe grasslands of Extremadura, followed by two more exploring the tucked away lagunas of La Mancha. It’s a holiday that will take you from the vulture-filled skies over Peña Falcon, via bustards, sandgrouse and thousands of wintering Cranes on the plain, to the rural wetlands of “Don Quixote country” - a winter home to White-headed Duck, Western Swamphen and even the odd Whiskered Tern!

The weather in Extremadura in late autumn is typically warm and sunny, 12-20C (54-68F). It can be chilly first thing, however (and ground frost is possible at this season). Some rainfall or showers are likely in autumn, so be sure to pack some warm and weatherproof clothing, too.

The weather in Extremadura in late autumn is typically warm and sunny, 12-20C (54-68F). It can be chilly first thing, however (and ground frost is possible at this season). Some rainfall or showers are likely in autumn, so be sure to pack some warm and weatherproof clothing, too.


120-140 species


7 nights accommodation at two delightful and perfectly situated rural hotels in central Spain.

We spend the first 5 nights in Extremadura, staying at lovely Viña Las Torres, a small and beautifully renovated country house hotel (‘Hotel Rural’) situated at the heart of the Sierra de Lagares, just a few miles from Trujillo.

From there we travel to La Mancha for a 2-night stay at the Hotel Chateau Viñasoro, set amid the vineyards near the provincial town of Alcazar de San Juan. All rooms have private facilities.


All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with a light tapas lunch on Day 1 and concluding with lunch on Day 8.

Breakfasts and evening meals will be at the hotels. Lunches will be a mix of picnics and light cafe lunches. Delicious home-cooking - and with some wine included with our evening meals - at the first hotel (Viña Las Torres).*1

*1  Please note that wine with meals is not included in our tour price at the second hotel (Hotel Chateau Viñasoro).


Easy, short walks. In Extremadura, one uphill walk followed by a steep climb up a series of stone steps to reach the viewpoint overlooking the heart of Monfragüe National Park is optional (and may not be offered on every trip).

The landscape in La Mancha is more gentle and the going easy over predominantly level terrain.

Wear comfy walking shoes or lightweight boots, with sturdy corrugated soles for grip.


We fly London Heathrow-Madrid with British Airways / Iberia.

Ground Transport   By minibus

Western Swamphen Spain 1116 David Pope Limosa 5X6A8762 resized

The impressive Western Swamphen puts on a good show for participants on our November 2016 tour, being noted at three different locations © tour participant David Pope

CACHED false
SQL SELECT Testimonial.TestIntro, Testimonial.Author, Testimonial.Title FROM Testimonial Left JOIN TestimonialTour ON Testimonial.TestID = TestimonialTour.TestID Where DeletedAt is NULL AND TestimonialTour.TourID = ? Order By TestimonialTour.ID, Testimonial.createdAt
1 689
Request Tour Information Pack


Cookies on the Limosa Holidays Website

Our website uses cookies so that you can book tours with us and we can provide you with a better service. If you're happy with this, please continue to use the site as normal. Find out how the Limosa website uses cookies.

Accept Cookies