About Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo (Cascada de las Merindades)
The Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo (I’ve also seen it called Cascada de Merindades) was an example of how a waterfalling motive to visit a particular area could yield hidden surprises.
In this instance, we were treated to an attractive waterfall tumbling through and below the town of Orbaneja del Castillo, which sat near the border of the region of Castilla y Leon and Cantabria.
Further adding to the atmosphere and enchantment were the cliffs and rock walls surrounding the town.
At least one of the formations atop the rock walls overlooking the town and gorge below contained an impressive natural arch.
Moreover, the rural town itself was quite charming with its historical-looking stone buildings.
Indeed, the unusual and mind-boggling combination of all these things made our visit to the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo very memorable.
Experiencing the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo
The waterfall was essentially a roadside attraction, and the difficulty rating you see above pretty much reflected this.
After parking the car in one of the pullouts just past the bridge fronting the waterfall (see directions below), we then walked along the road back towards the falls.
Immediately, we got the most contextual and impressive views of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo from there.
That said, we were also able to scramble closer to the base of the main cascading portion for a closer and more intimate look.
The buildings perched amongst cliffs provided that unique backdrop where waterfall and civilization mixed.
Yet, this mixture was not done in a destructive way like what tends to happen around urban waterfalls.
Moreover, we also scrambled further downstream from the bridge and saw other travertine cascades and pools that reminded us of a mini-Plitvice experience.
Extending Our Visit at Orbaneja del Castillo
For all intents and purposes, the waterfalling portion of a visit here was essentially this falls through town and the cascades further below.
That said, we extended our visit at the Orbaneja del Castillo since we were also interested in checking out the town and its other attractions.
First, we ascended a walking path along steps through parts of town alongside the main waterfall.
This path passed by an accommodation and then some kind of valve or waterflow control contraption (implicating that the waterfall could be turned off).
Eventually, the walkway deposited us in the center of the town of Orbaneja del Castillo.
Just upstream from the center of town, we saw a water cave that seemed worth visiting, but it wasn’t open during our visit.
In any case, we next pursued a better view of the natural arch along with the cliff formations above town.
So we continued walking steeply up the town’s main road until we were able to look back over the town’s tiled rooftops backed by the enchanting rock formations including that natural arch.
This is shown in the photo below.
It appeared that there was another trail that branched off the main road that continued climbing higher up the neighboring cliffs.
However, we didn’t pursue those trails so we can’t say what’s up there nor what it’s like.
Overall, our visit here took nearly 90 minutes, but the waterfalling part of the visit could’ve easily taken less than 20 minutes.
When we showed up in the morning at around 10:15am, it was pretty quiet.
But when we returned, there were already some local tour groups along with several more families and individual visitors as well.
So while we originally thought Orbaneja del Castillo might be a hidden secret in Spain, it wasn’t necessarily a “secret” to the Spanish nor to well-researched tourists in the know.
Perhaps the ideal visit here would be to linger as long as we did for during our June 2015 visit.
In addition to that, it would’ve been worthwhile to visit the Cueva del Agua (Water Cave) and maybe have a lunch here.
The understated and non-commercial feel of this rural town certainly made it attractive to do so.
The Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo resides in the town of Orbaneja del Castillo in the province of Burgos, Spain. It is administered by the local municipality of Orbaneja del Castillo. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to visit this website.
While there may be many ways to reach Orbaneja del Castillo, we’ll just describe the way we came from the city of Burgos.
From Burgos, we drove north on the N-623 for about 60km.
Then, we followed the sign and turned left onto the narrow CA-275 (formerly Bu-613) road, which continued for about 6km as we crossed the bridge fronting the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo.
We pulled over at a pullout at a hairpin turn just beyond this bridge though we did notice that there were more parking spaces further along the road.
Overall, this drive took us about 70 minutes.
For some geographical context, Burgos was 185km (under 2 hours drive) east of León, 159km (over 1.5 hours drive) southwest of Bilbao, and 249km (2.5 hours drive) north of Madrid.
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