Andalusia, the most southern region of Spain, is famous for its sun, the Alhambra, flamenco, beaches and festivals and it’s also a true paradise for nature lovers. That Andalusia is a region with an unprecedented amount of beautiful nature that’s probably known to everyone. But because it’s so much, it can be difficult to make a choice in what exactly you are going to visit during your trip through Andalusia. To make this choice a bit easier we have a top 5 of the best nature parks Andalusia.
Best nature parks Andalusia; a piece of paradise
Whether you want to hike, cycle or kayak through nature, the excellent network of visitor-friendly national parks and natural parks of Andalusia never gets bored and it will fascinate you no matter if you see it for the first time or the 10th time. The best nature parks Andalusia, you can read everything about it below.
Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
The largest protected natural area of Spain on 2099 km2, the Sierras de Cazorla in northeastern Andalusia, north of Jaén. Here you will find spectacular mountains and valleys, villages with nice hills and an abundance of flora and fauna. One of the most popular walks you can make here along the Borosa River that runs through a landscape that extends to a beautiful mountain lake through a gorge and two tunnels. Red and fallow deer, red squirrels, mouflons (wild sheep), different types of eagles and vultures are all animals that you could encounter here and you can even catch a glimpse of the enormous and very rare lammergeier (bearded vulture). The picturesque old town of Cazorla is the park’s most attractive gateway, but do not miss out on Segura de la Sierra, on top of the high hill with a medieval castle above it.
This impressive ‘wall’ of high peaks of the Sierra Nevada offers a beautiful, snow-covered backdrop of the legendary Alhambra palace in Granada. The highest of the 75 km long range is Mulhacén (the highest mountain in Spain at 3479m) with a summit that is not very difficult to reach thanks to the minibus services of the national park, which run from June to October. The minibus from the village of Capileira transports walkers to an altitude of 2700 meters. This is about three hours of walking from the top. The Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada which occupies the upper altitudes is home to more than 2000 ibexes. The Sierra Nevada Natural Park covers the lower altitudes. There are countless beautiful hiking trails here.
With a beautiful expanse of water, dunes, forests and the beach in the delta of the Rio Guadalquivir, this is one of the largest wetlands in Europe. It’s a refuge for half a million migratory birds including flamingos, storks, spoonbills and bee-eaters. In addition, there are also very endangered animals such as the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle. Doñana is actually divided into two parks: a national park of 542 square kilometers with the buffer of a surrounding natural park of 538 square kilometers. The village of El Rocío, with a beautiful view over the wetlands and their wildlife, is the main visitor base. The best and only way to visit the parks is with an all-terrain vehicle with operators such as Cooperativa Marismas del Rocío, Doñana Reservas and Doñana Nature. The chance of spotting the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle are very low but it’s definitely possible to spot some of the other animals.
Sierra de Grazalema
High green peaks rise from the plains of the province of Cádiz and form the small but incredibly beautiful and surprisingly rugged Sierra de Grazalema nature park. Drive over the exciting Puerto de las Palomas and pass between the beautiful white villages of Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra. In summer you can cool off in various local village coils and you can go to Horizon for canyoning, paragliding, kayaking, ferrata-climbs or the Garganta Verde gorge walk.
Cabo de Gata-Nijar
When it’s very hot in the summer, it makes sense to go to the coast. The Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Nijar stretches over a 70 km long coastline, where high volcanic headlands emerge between some of the most beautiful, but least crowded sandy beaches of Andalusia. You can enjoy cooling off and sunbathing on the beaches, but you can also make boat trips, kayaking and Suppen (stand-up paddle). You can also go snorkeling in the most pristine waters of the Mediterranean. In autumn you can make beautiful walks along the coastal paths.
The best nature parks Andalusia have plenty to offer you when it comes to beautiful nature, animals and adventure. Can’t get enough of the beautiful nature of Spain? Be sure to read our article about the top 7 natural wonders of Spain.