Best natural parks & forests


Top natural parks & forests in Andalucia

1. National Park of Sierra Nevada

The largest national park in Spain set in the highest mountains in Spain, located in Granada and Almeria.

Famous for: being the southernmost ski resort in Europe, hiking paradise, boasting breath-taking view of Morocco and great view of nearby Granada on a sunny day.

Hiking in Sierra Nevada – there are lots of fantastic routes in SN. In the lower parts of Sierra Nevada you will find river valleys full of trees and colourful flowers. There is a good chance you will stumble upon a small stream or a waterfall or even a rope bridge! Higher parts of Sierra Nevada have little vegetation. The higher you are, the more gravelly the routes become. Don’t be put off among gravel and jagged rocks – turn back and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views that reward you the bleak landscape in front of you.

Skiing in Sierra Nevadathe sunniest ski resort in Europe boasts season that can last from late November until early May. In the village of Pradollano, the winter-sport base of Sierra Nevada, you will find plenty of hotels, apartments, restaurants and skiing shops. Sierra Nevada boasts more than 100 km of ski tracks, 22 ski lifts including two quick gondola lifts and plenty of high speed chairlifts.

Mountain biking in Sierra Nevada – the region is a true paradise for mountain bikers. Taking a gondola lift up and then riding down the Valeta mountain or cutting through the valleys and pine forests on different specially prepared MTB tracks – it’s all possible in Sierra Nevada in the summer season.


2. Natural Park of Sierra de Cazorla

Located in the Jaen province, northernmost of the natural parks in Andalucia.

Famous for: being the birthplace of Guadalquivir, hotspot for nature loversdeep beautiful green forest dotted with little lakes, rivers and beautiful waterfalls, colourful autumn scenery; Rio Borosa – popular hiking route in the forest; home to famous Iruela castle; voted one of the top 10 national parks in Europe in the The Guardian’s readers’ travel tips in April, 2015.

Hiking in Sierra de Cazorla – Sierra de Cazorla is a massive natural park with lots of walking tracks where you can admire spectacular lush green landscape. The topography makes it difficult to easily access many parts of the park. It’s recommended to set a base camp in Cazorla, which is the main gateway to the region, and visit the local tourist information office for maps and useful tips.


3. Los Alcornocales Natural Park

Set among small mountains and hills between Tarifa and Grazalema

Famous for: being “cork oak kingdom” (cork is used in the production of wine bottle stoppers or coasters), home to many pueblos blancos, famous sea-fog coming down to the forest from the east direction called barbas del Levante, wind farms, large quantity of birds of prey including eagles, hawks and griffon vultures.IMG_4354_630x400

Hiking in Los Alcornocales – this peaceful forest area is superb for walking, especially for those looking for less strenuous walks. The mountains and hills are not particularly high, usually between 300-900 metres, what makes them accessible. There are lots of signposted routes, for example, near Jimena de la Frontera, Gaucin, Casares or near Tarifa-Pelayo region.

White Villages in Los Alcornocales – if you are interested in the famous Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos or simply enjoy spectacular settings and rural tourism, visit those idyllic and remote destinations hidden in Los Arconcales: Castellar de la Frontera, Casares or Gaucin.


4. Donana National Park

Natural reserve in the delta of Guadalquivir River, located in the Huleva region.

Famous for: unique landscape formed by marshes, lagoons and sand dunes; UNESCO biosphere reserve, bird paradise – home to many rare species, some of the best virgin beaches of Costa de la Luz.

Birdwatching in Donana National Park – if you are a bird enthusiast, that’s a place you cannot miss. There lots of possibilities for bird watching. There are lots of spots on the edges of the park where you can observe birds for free. However, if you want to see the interior of the Donana park, you need to book a 4-hour guided tour. It’s been reported that there might be sometimes problems with a tour in English. It’s worth to plan the tour after rainy days, in spring or autumn, when the birds are attracted to the water overflowing the marshy land.

Beaches in Donana National Park – the stretch of about 20 kms Atlantic shore between the towns of Mazagon and Matalscanas offers some great beaches. Rompeculos, Parador and famous Custea Maneli are probably the three best beaches in this area. Because of the proximity to the river mouth, the water is not of the best quality there. However, in terms of tranquillity, these are some of the best beaches on Costa de la Luz.


5. Parque Nacional Sierra de las Nieves

“Snowy mountains,” part of the Serrania de Ronda.

Famous for: characteristic white limestone, unique and diverse fauna and flora (Spanish Fir which is Andalusian National Tree, Gall oak, mountain cat or ibex-wild mountain goat), various caverns and caves, great panoramic mountain views, profound gorges – famous Gesm abyss (1,100 m deep), Torrecila mountain (1.919 m).

White villages and hiking in Sierra de las Nieves – famous Ronda (also home to the visitors’ centre for Sierra de las Nieves) is an absolute must-see when you are in the region. Idyllic village of Tolox, a perfect base for hiking also famous for the spa waters (the Fuente Amarga Spa) is also recommended. A small white town of Istan, in the Rio Verde valley, is another pleasant village to visit. The area around Istan abounds in various walking routes. The paths along Rio Verde can be really enjoyable and refreshing during the summer months!


6. Natural Park of Sierra de Grazalema

First UNESCO biosphere reserve in Spain, located on the area between Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera.

Famous for: rugged mountains, limestone caverns and massive gorges; highest rainfall in Spain, vulture colonies, Garganta Verde – 400 metre vertical wall, Cueva de la Pileta in Benaojan (beautiful cave with ancient-man cave paintings), white villages of Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Ubrique or El Bosque.

Sports in Sierra de Grazelema – the natural park around Grazelma attracts lots of sports enthusiasts. Paragliding, rock climbing, caving as well as canoeing and kayaking on the reservoir beneath Zahara de la Sierra seem to be most popular activities.



IMGGOPRGOPRIMGbeach, El Portil, andalucia, spain, costa de la luzIMGIMG

Huelva is a city located in the west of Andalusia, along the Gulf of Cadiz coast. The centre of Huleva offers little in terms of cultural and architectural pleasures. Most of the monuments in Huelva were destroyed in a powerful earthquake that shook the city in 1755. Palaces, churches, towers turned to rubble. A couple of nice churches, a Moorish castle Castillo de Niebla or a Monument to Christopher Columbus are the major highlights of the city today. It is worth to visit some good restaurants in the centre of Huelva to taste what Huelva is famous for: prawns and white wine Condado de Huelva. The Huelva region is also famous for tourist attractions related to the ‘discoverer of America.’

Wide, long, almost virgin beaches with dunes and pines, perfect to escape the crowds, that’s what majority of tourists appreciate about the Huelva region the most. Probably the best beach east of Huelva, and a top-ranked attraction of the region, is Cuesta Maneli. It takes some time to get there but the breath-taking views of the coastline and the feeling of being completely cut off from the world is a reward you would certainly appreciate.

West of Huelva there are three unspoilt by tourism charming towns. Uniquely beautiful El Rompido near Cartaya sitting on the Rio Piedras river estuary, neighbouring  El Portil boasting long stretches of virgin beaches and beautiful Isla Cristina – just stone’s throw from the Portuguese border. All three are perfect destinations for family holidays. In addition to this El Rompido is a real golfing hotspot boasting sensational golf course.

These tranquil coastline resorts abound in green pine forests with various walking paths that cut through dunes, marshes and river deltas. The Atlantic breeze mixes here with pine forest aroma allowing you to enjoy most fresh and pure air. The fine beaches in this area are empty most of the year, never crowded in the summer and easily accessible from the road running just along the coast.

Another advantage of visiting Huelva is it’s proximity to Portugal. One hour drive allows you to reach the beautiful Portuguese Albufeira or Faro.

Huelva is recommended for long summer beach escape, especially for those who want to combine their holidays with a trip to Portugal, or for those who want to follow the Columbus trail.


Located Near Huelva, the magical La Rabida monastery will take you back to the times when Cristoper Columbus was preparing for his first voyage. The old small rooms of the monastery museum are filled with various objects and works of art that bear some relation to the Columbus trip. Among the beautiful botanical gardens surrounding the monastery, you will find a statue of Columbus as well. Nearby the monsatery, lies the Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels), the wharf from which Columbus ships in 1492 set sail towards the unknown to eventually discover the New World. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of America’s discovery, the three full-size replicas of Colombus ships have been built and moored on an artificial lake. The Niña,  The Pinta and The Santa María now serve as a major tourist attraction.

 Huelva – nearest destinations: Seville, Cadiz, Aracena

Best birdwatching in Andalucia


If you are passionate about ornithology, make sure you visit Spanish Andalusia. The stretch of coast from Gibraltar to Huelva abounds in interesting places where migratory birds can be observed and photographed.

The best time to come is late autumn, when birds fly to Africa, and early spring when birds breed and embark on a journey to Northern Europe. Observe the weather forecast as well! For example, birds heading to Africa prefer Atlantic Poniente wind over the easterly Levante wind as the latter can easily push them towards the wide Atlantic.



1. Tarifa
a real migration hotspot, the strait of Gibraltar is a very busy migration corridor between Europe and Spain, recommended time to visit autumn when birds gather to rest before their final flight to warmer Africa. Between 350 and 400 different species can be observed each year near Tarifa, e.g. griffon vulture, black vulture, white-tailed eagle, short-toed eagle, black-winged kite, peregrine falcon, black stork, white stork, melodious warbler, kingfishers and many more.

2. Donana National Park near Huelva – one of the finest birdwatching sites in mainland Europe, this wetland reserve at the delta of the Guadalquivir River boasts around 360 species of birds. Bird watching is possible at a couple of centres around the park edges, but if you want to explore the park thoroughly, you need to take a guided tour. Guided tour takes about 3,5 hour and costs around 20 Euros.

birds in Andalucia

3. Odiel Marshes near Huelva – well preserved wetlands reserve, second largest wetland in Huelva province, only half an hour drive from the famous Donana National Park.


4. Gibraltar – the Rock, with its unique flora, is a temporary home for many species migrating between the two continents

5. Sierra de Grazalema – great region for bird lovers, those fabulous limestone mountainous provide attractive and varied habitats for birds, they are home to nearly 300 hundred species including Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagles, Western Olivaceous, Orphean Warbler and many other.

6. Serrania de Ronda – unique mountainous region which similarly to Sierra Grazalema is a real paradise for those enjoying birdwatching, around 250 species of birds can be found there.