If you're staying in Zaragoza or are travelling between Madrid and Barcelona why not visit the beautiful natural park of Monasterio de Piedra (Stone Monastery) which is in Nuevalos, just a few kilometers off the main A-2 motorway.
The natural park consists of stunning scenery made up of lush vegetation and fascinating rock formations created by the erosive action of the Rio Piedra.
A visit to the Monasterio de Piedra consists of two parts, the natural park and the monastery. Notice that whilst the natural park is open all day, the monastery and its surrounding buildings close for lunch between 1.15pm and 3pm so this will determine in which order you decide to visit the two areas. Arriving in the morning, it's a good idea to tour the monastery first.
Historically, the monastery was built by the Moors as a defensive fort. When it was conquered by Alfonso II of Aragon in 1194 the whole area was given to Cisterian monks who built the monastery and lived there for around 700 years. The walk around the natural park area takes around two hours winding around fantastic waterfalls, lakes and caves. A particular highlight is the Cola de Caballo waterfall which falls 50m to the lake below where you can walk into the hidden Iris cave.
Getting To Monasterio de Piedra
Coming from Madrid you take the exit for Alhama de Aragón at Km 204 and follow signs for Monasterio de Piedra. Alternatively, if you're coming from Barcelona you come off the motorway at Km 231 heading for Nuévalos and Monasterio de Piedra. There are also day excursions from travel agencies in Zaragoza to the Monastery. Distances to the Monastery are as follows: Zaragoza (105km); Madrid (230km); Barcelona (415km).
Opening Times & Ticket Information
The natural park area is open from 9am to 8pm between the months of April and November. During the rest of the year it is open from 9am to 6pm.
The historical buildings are open 10am to 7pm between the months of April and November BUT close for lunch between 1.15pm and 3pm. During the rest of the year they close at 6pm in the evening.