Things to Do in Enciso

The Footprints of the Dinosaurs

Enciso is the epicenter of an interesting paleontological area known as “The Path of the Dinosaurs” because the area is filled with traces of the ancient occupants of these grand creatures.

Planning Your Trip to Enciso

Separating itself from the usual destinations in Spain, Enciso is a little-known area of interest. Here, you can walk through the Old Town, visit the archeological site in its outskirts, and have fun in the dinosaur amusement park. In the “Things to Do” section of this article, we’ll tell you all about the things you can see in this town, whether you choose to spend half or a full day here. But there is more to do here than just see dinosaur exhibits and archeological sites. If you like hiking, you can take advantage of the Sierra de Cebollera and do some active tourism. Anyone looking for some fun among historical monuments can make their way to Arnedo. This area has many places where you can eat well and at a good price. However, there are only a few hotels to stay in, so we recommend visiting our pages for eating and staying in Enciso to make reservations in advance.

Want to Get to Know this Place?

The first written reference to Enciso dates back to the 10th century, in the vote of Count Fernán Gómez. Some time later, in the 13th century, the castle in the area and the Préjano belonged to the Orden de Calatrava, which left them in the hands of Don Vela Ladrón dde Guevara. Later, the village fell under the jurisdiction of the dukes of Medinaceli for a long time, and it was assigned to the province of Soria in 1833.

Qué ver en Enciso
Enciso a principios del siglo XX

In the 16th century, Enciso developed a prospering textile industry that is counted among the leading producers in Spain. It was also one of the first places in the country where wool-working looms were installed. This activity, however, fell into crisis in the mid-20th century, and from then on, it has survived as an interesting example of artisanal heritage. A Good example can be found in shepherds’ blankets.

Enciso is located in a beautiful, wooded landscape on the banks of the Cidacos River, which you can cross by the Puente de la Concepción, which is from the 16th century. In addition to is written history, Enciso is especially famous for being the epicenter of a huge paleontological area, which is known as “The Path of the Dinosaurs.” This is because there are more than 3,000 ichnites (fossils) from dinosaurs belonging to the Late Cretaceous Period, some 100-150 million years ago. It seems that these traces exist because the area happened to be particularly muddy in the time of the dinosaurs, which means that the footprints left by the dinosaurs stayed there until they were covered by clay sediment. Nowadays, the locals all know that these footprints were left by dinosaurs, but that was not always the case. Ancient inhabitants came up with less scientific explanations for the phenomena. The most popular theory was that the footprints were left there by hens in the time of the Moors or by the hooves of Santiago’s horse.

These ichnites can be seen in various areas around Enciso. In the Yacimiento de la Virgen del Campo, you can also see the remains of broken artifacts (probably caused by an earthquake) and evidence of an encounter between two dinosaurs, which experts assume to be hunting. One of the most interesting areas is undoubtedly the Yacimiento de Valdecillo, where, in addition to evidence of the first theropod (carnivorous biped) discovered in the area, you can admire a model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You can also see the longest trail of dinosaur footprints in La Rioja at the Yacimiento del Barranco de la Canal. Other interesting sites in the surrounding areas include the Senoba, Navalsaz, and the Cuesta de Andorra, where you can also trace the movement of these huge creatures through the valley of the Cidacos.

Inside Enciso, you can visit the Centro Paleontológico, which teaches us about the origin of the ichnites and the different dinosaur species that lived in the area. Another option is to go to the paleontology park called El Barranco Perdido, a big center for family visits and field trips, where you can perform activities relating to the world of dinosaurs.

When it comes to artistic and historical heritage, Enciso is known as a pleasantly beautiful urban center that is dominated by the ruins of the Medieval Castle, which is one of the oldest castles in La Rioja. It is an oval shape, and it is believed to be an Islamic structure, erected in the 10th century, although historians have not come to an agreement on this point. Only a few parts of the castle, like the prismatic and rounded towers, are currently being preserved.

The Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María de la Estrella, located in the center of the town, dates back to the 15th century. It has one nave of four sections and a headboard, and an ashlar was built later. Its interior is covered with beautiful vaults of starry crosses, and it houses a magnificent main altarpiece. Another building of interest is the Iglesia de San Pedro, which was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s tower, however, is a Romanesque structure from the 12th century. It consists of one nave and quadrangular threshold. On the outskirts of the village, you’ll find the Ermita de la Concepción (16th century), situated at the highest point, which can be reached by the Puente de la Concepción. It is an interesting Renaissance structure with masonry and ashlars. More anecdotal is the Reloj del Ayuntamiento, which, at 12:00, 14:00. And 18:00, rings its bells and opens its small, black doors to reveal a roaring dinosaur.

Essentials

Yacimiento de Valdecillo

Practical Information

Coordinates

42° 8′ 56″ N, 2° 16′ 9″ W

Distances

71 km from Logroño

158 km from Pamplona

288 km from Madrid

Parking 

You should have no problems parking

Altitude

800 m

Population

172 (as of 2013)

Virgen de la Estrella (August 15th)

San Pedro (June 29th)

Jueves Lardero (February 20th)

Wool textiles (Marín – Lacoste S.L.)

Nearby Destinations

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