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Riotinto mines, a journey to another planet

Minas de Riotinto un viaje a otro mundo (27)

A red river, alien landscapes, a 200 metre walk underground and a 19th century steam train that will take you to Mars!

Over 5000 years of mining have made the village of Minas de Riotinto into a scene of red, yellow, purple, green, grey and ochre landscapes covered with impressive open-air mines.

Since the mines were closed as they were no longer profitable, this place not only has attracted thousands of tourists who flock here to see the unique landscapes, but also cinema directors making films such as The heart of the Earth or NASA, which was interested in the place thanks to its stunning similarities to the planet Mars.

As you can see, the landscape is spectacular. Gigantic craters of many colours, the sparse vegetation and scrapyard for old locomotivesmake this resort a mysterious setting which is difficult to describe.

Its size is amazing. To give you an idea, the mined area covers 25% of the total area of Doñana and the volume of water needed to fill the excavations would need 5 times the capacity of water reservoirs throughout the province of Seville. Extraordinary.

What does a visit the Parque Minero Riotinto consist of?

In the Parque Minero Riotinto, both you and your family or friends can take a train ride with a difference, go into a mine, visit a real Victorian house of the English district of Riotinto mines and the famous mining museum.

In the 15 rooms of the museum, you will be able to the see first-hand unusual objects and the whole history of the minesfrom their opening in 1873 until now, as well as examples of the many secrets held in the mines.

There is even a fantastic recreation of how people worked in the mines!

Strolling through the Peña de Hierro mines

One of the most exciting moments in the visit to the Parque Minero Riotinto is the journey inside the Peña de Hierro mines. Decorated with helmets and lanterns, you can walk inside a real-life mining gallery for 200 metres up to the enormous Peña de Hierro pit.

12 kilometres by train through amazing scenery

Following the path of the Tinto River, you can ride in a 19th century train, with a steam locomotive and wooden carriages that will take you around the mining landscape for a 12 kilometre circuit through tunnels, bridges, spectacular scrapyards for old locomotives and viewpoints over the course of the Tinto river.

A red river! Where have you seen anything like it? Landscapes like those which the Tinto River leaves along its course cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Its reddish and sometimes orange colour comes from the large amount of heavy metals it carries, such as copper and iron.

Despite the acidity and such adverse conditions for life, it has been discovered that algae and fungi live there, as well as a series of microorganisms that can live without oxygen. This fact has caught the attention of NASA, which went to Riotinto to analyse how this was possible so that they could study certain similarities to the planet Mars.

An English neighbourhood in the mountains

But the mining area is not limited to the mines but also to those who once lived there. We are referring to the popular English neighbourhood where the managers of the mine lived and also gave rise to football, golf and boy scouts in Spain.

A district of small Victorian houses, many of them still inhabited today, such as the famous house nº 21, which you can visit and explore both outside and inside: lounges, kitchens, corridors, rooms


minas de peña de hierro parque minero de riotinto el planeta marte
Riotinto mines, a journey to another planet
Plaza Ernest Lluch, s/n. 21660. Minas de Riotinto (Huelva)