Las Hoces del Rio Duraton, Segovia, Buitrago & Sepulveda

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Las Hoces, a vulture circling in the distance
Las Hoces, a vulture circling in the distance
The Rio Lozoya, taken from the top of the canyon
The "Rio Duratón", taken from the top of the gorge
The Ermita de San Frutos on the last promontory
The Ermita de San Frutos on the last promontory
The river and distant scenery
The river and distant scenery


"Las Hoces" are basically a series of 100m high gorges, formed by the River Duratón as it worms it's way around the harder rock and eating in to the softer limestone in the area.

The resulting scenery when seen from above is quite spectacular, made even more so by the fact that hundreds of vultures have made their nests in the craggy cliffs and constantly circle overhead, majestically maneuvering their 1.5 metre long wings almost within arm's reach.

You can make your way to the furthest outcrop on which the "Ermita de San Frutos" stands. This is where San Frutos lived a hermit-like existence and is buried in a small graveyard to one side. There's a carpark about 2km walking distance from this promontory.

Nearby Villages:


Buitrago is 74km from Madrid (due North on the N-1). It's a small, sober Castillian village around which the River Lozoya flows.

It has 3 major interesting aspects :- the 15th Century gothic church, the castle and surrounding walls, originally from the 11th century although later rebuilt and the Picasso Museum (yes, THE Picasso!). The castle, walls and church all form the old, historic part of the village. The mudejar style church was completed in the 14th century but was restored after a fire last century. It serves all 3 major religions.

The Picasso Museum is located inside the city hall. It's basically a private collection of dedicated paintings, sketches, books and other objects formed by Eugenio Arias (originally from Buitrago) who met Picasso while exiled on the Cote d'Azur and became his life-long friend. There are no spectacular works here, but the personal aspect gives the museum an interesting slant.


Madrileños basically go to Sepulveda to eat, so you'll find it packed on Sunday lunch-times. It's a small mediaeval-type village formed around the main square and approximately 110km from Madrid.

Stroll around a bit, visit the bars and "mesons" for aperitifs and tapas before sitting down for a joint of roast lamb in Casa Paulino just off the square which can be thoroughly recommended. Sepulveda has convenient carparks just one or two hundred metres outside the village - it's definitely worth a visit for lunch.