Hostel Almanzor is located on the north side of the Sierra de Gredos in Avila, central Spain, at an altitude of 1560m asl. and 180 km from Madrid. This is agreat option for seeing some of the Iberian montane species like Rock Bunting, Bluethroat, Common Crossbill, Ortolan Bunting and European Pied Flycatcher (of the distinctive central Iberian subspecies iberiae).
It is surrounded by more than 10,000m2, of pine forest, with private parking, gardens and terraces with spectacular views of the snowy peaks. The hostel has 26 rooms, 16 of which enjoy views of the Sierra de Gredos. Two of them even have a “spy glass” for photographing the birds visiting the hide beneath them.
The hostel offers the opportunity to use three hides. One has been up and running well for three years and is completely free for guests staying at the hostel. Regular visitors include Rock Sparrow, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Crossbill, Eurasian Nuthatch, several species of tits, and Black and Red Kites. It is accessed through the main corridor to the rooms, so you can enter and leave it at any time without disturbing the birds. Another two hides, which are newly built, and dedicated to insects, amphibians and vultures.
Regarding the food, there is a restaurant where they serve dinner, breakfast and tapas (for lunch). The menu includes delicious dishes using local ingredients and several vegetarian dishes.
Loli and Luis Alfonso are two excellent hosts who will delight any birder customer who chooses to roost in this fabulous hostel!
CRITERIOS HOSTAL ALMANZOR FULFILLS
- The establishment must be situated in a natural area or nearby
- The establishment has information available about birds of the area
- Guiding services must be available on site or at least the contacts of the local guides in the area
- A library area has to be available for clients with at least ten books and one specialised birding magazine
- Flexible timetables (i.e. early breakfast before sunrise, late check-in available after sunset and also for example late dinner served for those birders who are out late birding in spring and summer)
- The owners are members of conservation societies
- There are birding routes close to the establishment
- Food is served and this is good or very good quality/price value
- Bird feeders in the garden
- Bird baths in the garden or nearby
- Use of energy efficient mechanisms and renewable energy (bioconstruction criteria, biomass…)
- Sale of birding souvenirs (books, field guides, posters, t-shirts…) or there is a nearby specialised establishment that does
- Photography hides available (their own or another company’s)
- Themed decoration
- Promote the conservation of birds and their environment
- The establishment has lovely views and guests can birdwatch from the same
- Library with more than 20 specialised books and more than 2 specialised magazines
- Safe parking