Spanish National Parks and Nature
 
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La Cova del Rull
a magnificent cave filled with stalagtites and stalagmites
 
 
 
Spanish National Parks and Nature
 
Parks plus Places of Interest
Spain has 15 National Parks, of which 10 are on the mainland, 1 in the Balearic Islands and 4 in the Canary Islands. We have featured them all here together with some of the many Natural Parks. Andalucia Alpujarras A unique area situated between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Costa Tropical coastline, shaped by the Moors before their removal in the 16th century, encompassing around 50 villages.

 
National parks in Spain
 


Spain has an abundance of national parks that can be used for hiking, cycling, observing animals, camping or bird watching. The growth in national parks in Spain is in large part due to the reforms of the socialist government of Spain introducing new conservation minded legislation in the 1980ĺs. Today approximately 40,000 square kilometres of land in Spain is under conservation protection and much of this land is composed of national parks all around Spain. The good news is that most of these national parks are open to the public to enjoy, although there are varying degrees of access depending on conservation issues pertaining to the specific national park in Spain.

The best national parks in Spain

National parks in Spain vary in size, terrain and climate, so depending on what your goals are you can decide which national park in Spain is best for you to visit. Spain has a total of 13 national parks. One of these national parks is located on the Balearic Islands and a further four national parks in Spain are actually on the Canary Islands. The remaining eight national parks are scattered across mainland Spain from the north to the south.


Accommodation at national parks in Spain

Accommodation facilities at national parks in Spain vary greatly. Some national parks in Spain have small villages inside the park complete with shopping facilities and a small hotel. Other national parks in Spain have only campsites with basic facilities, while other national parks have nothing of the sort. National parks in the North of Spain become extremely popular with tourists from other regions of Spain during the hot summer months so any accommodation in these national parks in Spain should be booked well in advance.

Hiking in national parks in Spain

All national parks in Spain have specifically designated walking trails. Hiking trails in Spain are either designed to be short trails or longer trails which can take several days. Although hiking trails are supposed to be maintained at national parks in Spain, one will often find the quality of maintenance varies with some trails being heavily overgrown with weeds.
 
 
The Dry Stone Walking Trail
Majorca
The Sierra de Tramuntana is a high mountain range which runs across the north-east of Mallorca, from Andraxt in the south to Pollenša in the north. Cobbled pilgrim and droving trails connect towns with monasteries and snowhuts with villages, criss-crossing the mountainous region and offering easy access to lovely walking country.

A number of tour operators can organise routes, provide maps, a good meal and a comfy place to rest your head each night (Inntravel and Alternative Majorca among them). Days are spent negotiating hilly and rocky valleys dotted with aged, twisted olive trees, groves of almond trees and the odd stone-walled house. The hillsides are dotted with yellow broom and the scent of rosemary rises underfoot. Silence reigns, apart from the occasional goat bell tinkle and snatch of birdsong. The mountains overlook Mallorca's eastern coast, so stunning views of the azure sea from steep-sided terraces are par for the course.

Walking is hard work, but farmhouses and bars along the way can replenish your energy with cool, juicy oranges, slices of coca de verdura (a crisp bread topped with seasonal vegetables) or a hearty plate of tumbet - a ratatouille made with potatoes, unique to Mallorcan peasant cuisine.

Taxi between different trails (buses run between April and October) or go for the long haul - either way, make sure your route takes in Chopin's beloved Valldemossa, the village of Deia where Robert Graves lived and is now buried, and the Monastery of Lluc, over 700 years old and the site of numerous appearances by the Virgin Mary.

Basing yourself in Soller (which built its fortunes on the citrus groves all around) is a good idea. The best time to walk is between October and May when the heat is not too intense. The almond blossom comes in January while the citrus blossoms arrive in February and March, bathing the hillsides with delicious smells.
 
 
Navarre- Birdwatching
Navarre is located at an ecological crossroads that brings together Atlantic, Alpine and Mediterranean elements. This leads to a rich and surprisingly varied biological diversity that includes different habitats and numerous bird species.

Bird-watching enthusiasts will soon have their own section in this portal where they will be able to find a wide range of information on bird observatories, trails and ideal observation points, many of them located in the most emblematic protected areas in Navarre. An Information Network on Ornithological Tourism in Navarre, as well as a selection of accommodation and activity companies, will offer you specialised services so that you can plan your trips and itineraries all year round.

In Navarre, you will find over 330 bird species, 250 of which are regularly present in the region. In the high mountains you will see the Bearded Vulture, Tengmalm's Owl or the Citril Finch. In rocky crags you will find the Golden Eagle, the Griffon Vulture or the Peregrine Falcon. In the Atlantic forests there are species such as the Red Kite, the White-backed Woodpecker and the Wryneck. Mediterranean woods and environments are inhabited by the Short-toed Eagle, the Bee-eater, the Golden Oriole and the Spotless Starling. In wetland areas and rivers the Night Heron, the Purple Heron or Cetti's Warbler can be seen. The steppes in the south of the region are home to the Little Bustard, the Lesser Kestrel or the Spectacled Warbler.

The advantage of this great ornithological variety is that there are bird watching seasons and locations of interest all year round. In winter, you can observe the roosts of Red Kites and Marsh Harriers and the migratory movements of waterfowl. The arrival of spring heralds the migration of waterfowl and African birds and the mating of steppe birds. Summer is the perfect time to visit vulture colonies and observe the migration of birds of prey through mountain passes in the Pyrenees. Autumn is particularly interesting for the large migrations of geese, cranes and pigeons.

Send an e-mail to birding@navarra.es for more information on Navarre as a bird watching destination.
 
 

Alpujarras

 

website

Located between the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra de la Contraviesa, the series of valleys and hills that is Alpujarras region are so inspiring that the ancient Moors thought it was paradise on earth, and today it has been designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Not only does it benefit from long hours of sun, low humidity and stunning natural features, but the area has been untouched by the more visible tourists of the nearby coast.
Walkers will appreciate views of the dramatic peaks of the nearby Sierra Nevada, Spain's highest mountain range, as well as the Alpujarras' lush fertile valleys, dotted with almond and olive groves, orange and lemon trees, cherry orchards and terraced pastures. At sunset on a clear day, the Rif Mountains of Morocco are visible 125 miles away, across the Mediterranean. While the climate is typical of Andalusia - warm and sunny - the altitude keeps mid-summer temperatures comfortable, ideal for a stroll.
Share the path with the locals - herds of mountain goats, wild boars, eagles, goshawks and partridge - and discover the wealth of plant life; the region has the largest number of unique botanical species in Europe.
If it is human inhabitants you would like to meet, then visit the peppering of whitewashed mountain villages in the region, where there are attractive restaurants and bars, fruit markets and craft shops. Built in Berber style, the flat roofs and prominent chimney pots bear witness to the legacy of the Moors, who remained hidden in these hills for over a century after their retreat from their kingdom in Grenada.
In winter, excellent skiing can be enjoyed on the Sierra Nevada slopes, home for the 1996 World Alpine Ski Championships, whilst to the south lie the Mediterranean coastal resorts of the Costa del Sol.
The Montgˇ Natural Park
 
Situated in the North-East of the municipal area, it is 758 metres high and has an area of 2150 hectares. It is the second closest peak to the sea in the Mediterranean
It was declared a Natural Park on 16th March 1987. It takes in the towns of Jßvea-XÓbia and DÚnia. The side towards Jßvea has cliffs with several grottos which afforded shelter to early dwellers in the area.

Its numerous archaeological remains and its enormous biological wealth have been decisive in its designation as a protected area.


There is a path which leads to the Cova del Montgˇ (Montgˇ Cave), from where the Sant Bertomeu valley and the nearby hills can be seen.

The Montgˇ connects with the Les Planes plain, which descends toward Cabo San Antonio. On a clear day, from the top, the Balearic islands are visible on the horizon.
 
The way to the Montgˇ
To reach the top of the Montgˇ, take the road from Jßvea to DÚnia.

A few metres after reaching the Jßvea firing range, take a dirt road on the left. About fifty metres along this road, a sign indicates that the route must now be continued on foot. Leave to the right the track that leads to the DÚnia firing range. Further on, we will see a sign sending us to the right: the track is not very steep and leads about 1,800 metres along the so-called Plana Justa, which, together with the Plana de San Jeronimo, constitute Las Planas-Les Planes.In Plana Justa we can see limestone outcrops with large accumulations of red clay, which favour the development of bush vegetation, predominantly kermes oak and rosemary. In March the flowering of the many gladioli is worth seeing.The trees are Carrasco Pine, from reforestation.
Higher up, the scarcity of soil and the steep slope lead to a change in the vegetation. Rock plants, one of the botanical riches of the Montgˇ, predominate, with local plants like the Pe˝a Thistle.
Halfway up, at about 500 metres high, we find the Pe˝a Rotja (Red Crag), a limestone wall where Rock Tea grows.
At 650 metres high, coinciding with a change in direction, the zig-zag path ends in a small platform, from where we can see the valley of the river Gorgos and the Bay of Jßvea. The last 450 metres distance run along a limestone crest.
On reaching the summit, 753 metres above sea level, we can see: to the South, the Pe˝on de Ifach; to the North, the Segaria hills and the Gulf of Oliva and Cullera; to the East, the coast of Jßvea and the island of Ibiza (only on clear days).The highest point of the summit is marked by the Cross of Jßvea and an Ordnance Survey marker. From here we can also see the Cross of DÚnia, from where we can go down to the Camino de la Colonia and, from there, to the Chapel of Pare Pere (Father Peter).Please respect the route and its surroundings, protecting its ecological value. Do not pick flowers or plants or leave any rubbish.
 
20 Hiking Excursions on the Island of Majorca
 
Camp de Mar "Sa Mola"
Bus.Playa Sol Departure from Palma: Plaza de Espa˝a ad plaza Joan Carles I From Camp de mar you take the road marked PM120 in the direction of the Port d'Andratx, which provides some magnificient views of the coastline. A bit before arriving at the Port you have the choice of continuing on to the cove "Cala Llamp" and to the "Cap des Llamps" or passing over the hill of Cala Blanca and arriving at the port, from where you can continue the walk up to the Cape "Cap de sa Mola". Incluiding the return to Port of Andratx, but not including the side-trip to Cala Llamp, the excursion involves a total of eleven kilometers.
Andratx - Castle of Sant Telm
Buses: Playasol. Departures from Palma: Plaza de Espa˝a and Plaza Joan Carles I. Depatures from Andratx: Urbanization Son Mas. Having arrived at Andratx, the walk begins in the direction of S'Arracˇ, tree kilometers away. A shortreest in this delightful village gives you enough time for a visit to the paris church, where there is a statue of the Virgin "Our Lady of la Trapa". Following the road up to Sant Telm, from where the island of sa Dragonera anf the tiny isle of Pantaleu can be seen, it is a short climb to the castle whose construction was completed in the year 1581. The catle's construction was to protect the inhabitans of Andratx by Moorish pirates, which were very frequent in those years.

Puigpunyent Galilea CapdellÓ
Bus: Buses of Puigpunyent Departures from Palma: Curry Bar, Archiduque Lluis Salvador for information tel. 971 75 10 44 This excursion makes possibles the enjoyment of some magnificient scenery witout having to leave the road, which goes from Puigpunyent to Galilea and CapdellÓ, across woods and planed fields; with different views at each curve of the road which continually climbs and descends.The views of the mountains Galatzˇ is constant as one passes the hill of "Sa Mola" and the "Pla des Pins" beforereaching Galilea, from where one can see the bay of Penye Rotges and the Malgrats island, and continue on, Though the property of Son Claret, to CapdellÓ, the end of the wexcursion. The distance covered is 12 Kilometers.

Valldemossa Route of The Olive Trees
Bus Autocares Llompart: departures from Palma: Can Meca Bar, Archiduque Luis Salvador, More information 971 751044 The bus line to Valldemossa, Deia an Llucalcari makes possible variousalternative trips to places of interest, woods and mountanins, or swimming in lovely coves. After visiting the Cartuja, Of Charterhouse, in Valldemossa and its surroundings a walk can be started to varius points. To the hermitage "Ermita de la Trinidad" by means of a small path leading off from the main road to Deia, to the right and duly marked. After a brief climb you get to the hermitage, which was founded in 1705 and is an Oasis of peace. If instead of going towards DeiÓ you walk, from the Son Moragues crossing, in the direction of Banyalbufar, you will soon see the road going down to the Port of Valldemossa, a small, stony cove where you can have swin.As the climb back up is fairly steep, it is advisable to leave enough time for it. If you decide to go to DeiÓ , you can , from son Marroig firs visit the Mirador which overlooks Na Forada. And after walking though the picturesque village of DeiÓ, you can go down to the lovely cove and havea swin in its incomparably clear water.The road down in very steep and the climb up a difficult one. The hamlet of Llucalcari, past DeiÓ, possesses the charm of the peace and quiet characteritzing its woods. Any of its coves , not always easy to get to beckon you invitingly for a swim between rocks and pine trees.

Soller Watchtower "Torre Picada"
Train and bus: Tren de Soller Palma: Plaza de Espa˝a . Autocares Llompart departures from Plama: Can Meca Bar, Archiduque Luis Slavador. This excursion actually begins in Palma, where one takes the electric train which joins to the valley of the oranges.After a pleasant ride through some beautifull scenery, you arrive in Soller, where a tram takes you to the Port of Soller. The walk itself really begins at the end of the tram line, and it is a short one, since the climb to the tower " torre picada" on an easy road, takes only half an hour, From there one can enjoy a beautifull view of the Soller coastline. The roun trip involves no more that an hour and a half, which makes this excursion and advisable one of the Summer, because at the end you can have a swim at the portof Soller beach, before returning to Palma.

Alaro - Castle of Alarˇ
Bus Autocares F.E.V.E Leaving Alarˇ by the road marked PM120 leading to Orient, we soon find on our left the road leading up to the castle, with its corresponding sign. The road crosses Son Penyaflor before reaching Es Pouet at which point ther begins the abrupt climb up to ancient stone castle, presentley in ruins it formely occupied practically all of the top mountain, or puig d'Alarˇ wich is 822 meter high, and is surrounded by extremely high cliffs. The Castle was already in existence before the conquest of majorca, bute the most important historical event connected with it was the heroic resistence therein of Cabrit and Bassa (Popular legend considers them martyrs) against the troops of King Alfonso III of Aragˇn. The distance from Alarˇ to es Pouet is about 7 KM and the climb up provides some beautifull views of the plain of Majorca, as far as the city of Palma. But what is trully impressive is the view one gets from the top of the puig d'alaro of the valley of Orient and the central portion of the serra de Tramuntana, with the Puig Major. An important thing to point out here is that the Castle is privately owned and is not open to the public.

Lloseta Hermitage of "Santa Llucia"
Train : FEVE Palma: Plaza de Espa˝a From Lloseta you Cn take the road going to Mancor de la Vall, passing by Biniamar and "s'hort de can Pau" Having arrived at Mancor de la Vall, an ancient village founded in 1232 you can begin the climb of two km up to the "ermita de Sant Llucia" who is greatly venerated on the whole island and who is the patron saint of those sufferng from eye diseases. From there one can view magnificient panorama which includes the town of Inca, the mountanin Santa Magdalena, teh plain of Muro, Campanet, Moscari and the bay of Alcudia. Returning in the same way, the walk covers a distance of 16Km you can also return by way of Inca, taking the road which leads to said city directly from Mancor de la Vall.

Escorca Monastery of Lluc
Buses: Autocares Alorda From Inca there is a regular bus line to Lluc, but if you really want to enjoy the scenary it is advisable to go by bus only as far as Caimari, and from there to continue on foot to the monastery. The walk takes about theree hours, but really worth it. From the ridges below the peak of Massanella passing El Barracar and the "Salt de la bella Dona" you will arrive at the church which houses the " moreneta" ao black Virgin, After seeing the monasteryt we advice to follow the path of the Via Crucis or stations of The cross which goes around a promontory located behind the Monastery, from which there is a magnificient view of the valley of Aubarca and the farm of Escorca. You can then return to Inca by bus.

Pollenša King's Cstle "Castell del Rei"
Bus Autocares F.E.V.E information 971 752224 Leaving Pollenša in the directrion of the road leading to Lluc, before which you see a Roman Bridge, you arrive a t the road which traversing "Can Xura" the spring of Algaret, Ternelles and Cel.la, connects with the path leading to the "castell del rei" across valley and woods. From the fortress, which in moorish times was one of the most important of the islands's fortifications and which stands above impressively high cliffs, you get a view of the entire northen coastline from Soller to Formentor. The excursion covers about sixteen km and involves a walk to about seven hours. Please note that cars are not allowed through the Ternelles Property, therefore, that part of excursion must be on foot.

Pollenša "The Puig the Calvary"
Bus Autocares F.E.V.E information 971 752224 On the main road from Palma to Pollenša at kilometer 52, a sign pointing to the Puig de Maria will be seen Here we start the climb up to the Sanctuary, which takes about an hour and a half, the church being located on an isolated hill which overlooks the bays of pollenša and alcudia. Lunch can be had in a Sanctuary's HOSTELERY. Upon the return of Pollenša by crossing the town following the signs posted from the Plaza Major or Main square one can arrive at the row of stone steps bordered by cypresses which lead up to Clvary chapel, overlooking the town of Pollenša. There are 365 steps in all, equal to the number of days in the year. All in all, it takes seven KM involved in this excursion.

Alcudia "Hermitage of la Victoria"
Buses F.E.V.E From Alcudia, at the very beginning of the road going to the Puerto, on the left, there branches off the road which, from Mal Pas border the sea until it reaches the beginning of the road up to the 2Ermita la Victoria". From the Hermitage there is a magnificent panoramic view to the entire bay of Pollenša and the Formentor peninsula. A refreshment can be had in the Hermitages hostelery, and upon the return down numerous small coves seem to invite one for a refreshing swim. For those prefering a shorter excursion, you can go by car to the starting point of the road up to the Hermitage, the climb up then being a matter of a fifteen minutes walking. If you take advantages of the lunching at the hostelery, you can then return to Alcudia and visit the city's walls and the Roman ruins of ancient Pollentia.

Arta Hermitage of Betlem
Bus Autocares F.E.V.E Taking the road going from Artß to the hermitage, crossing Can Morey and the pass between the Puig dels Coloms and the Collado de sa Font Crutia, one arrives in a little over two hours of walking, at the hermitage, founded in the year 1800 From there a miradorcan be reached by following a path which, start behind the hermitage and climbs up hill, at the top of which there is a view extending over the bay of Alcudia, including the peninsula of the same name and its watchtower, the Cap de Farrutx with the Morey watchtower, Can Picafort and , at the very foot of the hill, Colonia de San Pere. On the way back it is a worth stopping at the font de Biniagorta, next to which there ia a cave in the rocks with a statue of the Virgin. The distance covered until the return to Artß is 18Km. I f you still have time in Artß you can visit the "Talaiots", or prehistorics monuments, right outside the town.

Capdepera Lighthouse of Cala Ratjada
Bus F.E.V.E In the village of Calpdepera itself, before beginning the excursion, you can visit the castle of capdepera. From there, the two Km to Cala Ratjada are a pleasant short walk.After climbing to the Cala Ratjada lighthouse, you can enjoy a swim at one of the many nearby beaches. The total distance covered will be about fact that you can return to Capdepera by regular bus line.

Felanitx Monastery of San Salvador
Bus F.E.V.E Autocares CALDENTEY. Takes the main road from Felanitx in the direction of Porto Colom and after two Km you will see, clearly marked, the road leading up to the " Monastery of san Salvador". Once there, the effort involved in climbing up is fully rewarded by the marevellous view of the southern coast of majorca from the Island of Cabrera to the bay of Alcudia.Lunch can be had in the monastery hostelery. From Sant Salvador the excursion can be continued to the castel of santueri you can return directly to Felanitx or el se retrace your streps and return by way of sant Salvador. The excursion to San Salvador, not including the walk to Santueri, covers a distance of twelve Km.

Ses Salines Es Trenc Beach
Bus. Autocares Clar. This is a Summer excursion which starts at the colonia de Sant Jordi. There are many beaches in thsi area, but the best known, and the only one of its size in majorca that has not as yet been urbanized is the beach of Es Trenc. It constitutes a unique spot, with Kilometers of powder-fine sand, where you can still enjoy the feeling of having and entire beach to yourself.

Porreres Sanctuary of Montision
Bus Autocares F.E.V.E Having arrived to Porreres, any loca person should be able to show you the road up to Sanctuary, hich formely housed a college of humanities, one of the threee most important of rural majorca. The road, which in now paved, as formely a cart track crossing the fields of son Gardana. After a climb thorgh woods, one reaches the gothic Sanctuary with its atractive, irregular patio. In the church one can see a Majorcan sclupture of Virgin Mary, from the 15th or 15th century. From the terrace is a panormic view of Santany, Campos and Felanitx, incluiding Sant Salvador and Santueri as far as Manacor. The post is perfectfor enjoying somedays of peace and tranquility. The total excursion to monti-sion and return to Porreres , involves a distance of six Km.

Algaida Cura Sant Honorat Gracia and Randa
Bus F.E.V.E This excursion can be begun from the town of Algaida,walking towards Castellitx, where there is a beautifull hermitage, The " Ermita de la pau" well worth visiting, then on to Aubella. From there thje climbs starts to Cura. On the top of the mountain called Randa which offers a splendid panoramic view of the plain of Majorca an the Palma bay.The descent to the small village of Randa makes possible a visit to the chapels of sant Honorat and our Lady of Gracia. There being a 15th century sculpture in the latter. From the church square dominated by a magnificient cliff with nesting doves, there is a view of the plain of Lucmajor and the southern coast of Majorca as far as Cabrera. The return to Algaida is from the picturesque village of Randa. This excursion until Randa, involves a walk of 15 Km but it can be shorted by driving to Randa and then visiting the three sanctuaries, in which case the walk is shorted to seven kilometers.

Petra - Hermitage of Bonany
Buses: Autocares F.E.V.E. Information at Cala Ratjada 56 32 13 The walk up to the hermitage starts in Petra, following the paved road and involves a walk of a little over an hour, you can also get there by a trail going up from Vilafranca. The Hermitage of sizeable dimensions was constructed in 1604, and is dedicated to the worship of the Virgin on Bonany. The beautiful church has been called the "Cathedral of the Mountains". One can lunch on the promotory and enjoy the splendid view of the landscape. The return to Petra takes about fifty minutes. In Peetra you can visit the house where Fray Junipero Serra, the evangelizer of California was born, as well as the museum the former convent (which has some masterful pieces of sculpture) and the parish church, of the purest Gothic style.

Inca - Hermitage of Santa Magdalena
Train - Buses Autocares Alorda/F.E.V.E. 51 52 17 and 50 00 59 Autocares F.E.V.E. Inca can be reached either by train or by car. Following the main road to Alcudia, about two kilometrers from Inca on the right-hand side you will find the way back to the hermitage. After a climb of about four kilometers one reacheds the top of the Puig d'Inca upon which one can enjoy a beautiful over-all view, not only of the Majorcan plain but also of the bays of Alcudia and Pollenša.

Campanet - Hermitage of "Sant Miguel"
Buses: Autocares F.E.V.E. Autocares Mateu Nicolau. Departure from Palma: Calle Aragˇn 10 Kito Bar. In Campanet the parish church is worth a visit. It was begun in 1717, and its outstanding feature is the sculpture on the altar. The church conserves the rlics of the Martyr San Victoriano, the complete body of the saint dressed as a warrior. After this visit one can follow the road bordering the stream bed, (Torrent de San Miguel) until reaching a bridge. After crossing we arrive at the Hermitage, which was one of the first churches constructed in Majorca, after its conquest by King Jaimes I. In the pulpit there are three very old carved figures, representing Saint Peter, Saint Michael and Saint John the Baptist. Other altarpieces and paintings can also be seen in the Hermitage. When the visit to the Hermitage is over the walk can be continued to the caves of Campanet, which one can visit before returning to the village by the same road. The total distance covered will have been about eight kilometers.
 

 


 

 

 

 

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