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 Protected areas


Here is a short description of the regional Flora and Fauna. Andalusia is the Spanish region with the largest number of protected areas. Besides the two National Parks Doñana and Sierra Nevada, 24 Natural Parks. All other protected areas (Reserves and Sites) are listed below.  

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Flora and Fauna

National Parks / Natural Parks

Natural Reserves / Natural Sites



The andalusian Flora is amazingly varied due to the landscape geographic conditions. The lower mountain regions, with  pastureland and the large olive groves, a mixture of trees, grasses and herbs, form a good basis for wild animals and birds. The main activity is cattle breeding. In the mountain regions (Sierras) predominates a typically Mediterranean vegetation, especially trees and bushes of middle and high growth such as halm oaks, cork oaks, mastic tree, juniper, pink rockrose and also aromatic plants such as rosemary, thyme and all kinds of heather plants. In the higher mountain regions and along the coastline there are different types of pine, while the Spanish fir can be found only in a few natural parks (Sierra de Grazalema, Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra Bermeja). In the river valleys, pastures and close to the lagoons grow ash trees, willows and poplars; in the humid areas grow reed and cane plants.
Trees of bitter orange and lemon adorn the streets and gardens in the cities. Further, there can be found cypress, fig and jacaranda trees, and numerous types of ornamental flowers and plants.


The variety of animal life in the Doñana National Park and in the other protected areas is legendary. Many animal species in danger of extinction like the monk seal, the white-eyed gull, the imperial eagle, the pardelle lynx or the civet (a carnivor and predator), can still be found in Andalusia. In the forests and mountains are wild boars, deers, mountain goats, mufflons and many predatory birds. For numerous types of migratory birds the humid areas serve as nest and rest area. We can observe the Pink flamingo for example in the lagoon of "Fuente de Piedra" (Málaga), in Doñana National Park and in the marshlands of the Odiel river (Huelva).
Different lizards and salamander, mostly harmless snakes and also scorpions inhabit the dry hot regions, and the ever present wall creeper can be found almost everythere. Even in the cities one can observe swallows, different types of swifts, kestrels and also storks.
Bulls and the Iberian pig are bred on the large pastures. The Andalusian horse (see also: Jerez de la Frontera), a crossbreed between Spanish and Arab races, is famous all over the world. 


National Parks

As early as 1969 the large humid area of Doñana was declared a National Park. Since 1999 Andalusia has had this as well as the National Park of Sierra Nevada.

National Park Province


Doñana Huelva Seville


Sierra Nevada Granada  Almería



The Doñana National Park is situated mainly in the province of Huelva, a small section belongs to the province of Seville. Three landscape forms are predominating: the sandy dry heath land with its fixed dunes ("coto"), the moving dunes near the coastline ("dunas móviles") which are moving annually approximately five metres, and the wet marshland ("marisma"). The humid area is an important rest and nest place particularly for migratory birds (see fauna). 
"Las Marismas"
Half of the area consists of wet, salty zones, which accommodate different types of landscape and vegetation:
Vetas  Vetones high areas, which do not flood
Caños narrow water channels
Ojos marsh lakes
Lucios depressions


The high alpine region Sierra Nevada National Park, belongs to 80% to the Granada province, its rest to Almería. With the snow-covered mountains Mulhacén (3,482 m) and Veleta (3,392 m) the two highest peaks of the Iberian peninsula are situated in the middle of this park. The glaciers on the summits formed the landscape by erosion, it is accordingly arid and serve mainly the mountain goats as a climbing zone. In the tree-covered middle and higher mountain regions flora and fauna are very varied. One quarter of all plants located in Spain can be found in the National Park. Over 60 plant types reside exclusively here (e.g. the Sierra Nevada violet). There are numerous predatory birds like the golden eagle, the goose vulture and the falcon, besides the tomtit, great tit and coal tit, the green woodpecker, the jaybird and various types of finches and larks. Foxes, weasels, badgers and civets roam through the wooded regions.
The access to the high mountains is only possible with special vehicles, or by foot, starting from the upper villages of the Alpujarras (Capileira, Trevélez).


Natural Parks

Andalusia posesses beside the two National Parks  24 so called Natural Parks ("Parques Naturales"), which are also under special protection.

Natural Park Province Hectares
Cabo de Gata-Níjar Almería 49.512
Sierra María-Los Vélez Almería 22.562
Bahía de Cádiz Cádiz 10.522
De la Breña y Marismas del Barbate Cádiz 5.077
Del Estrecho Cádiz 18.931
Los Alcornocales Cádiz  Málaga 167.767
Sierra de Grazalema Cádiz Málaga 53.411
Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Córdoba 38.449
Sierra de Hornachuelos Córdoba 60.032
Sierra Subbética Córdoba 32.056
Sierra de Baza Granada 53.649
Sierra de Castril Granada 12.969
Sierra de Huétor Granada 12.128
Sierra Nevada Granada Almería 178.849
Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche Huelva 186.827
Entorno de Doñana Huelva Seville Cádiz 53.835
Despeñaperros Jaén 7.649
Sierra Mágina Jaén 19.961
Sierra de Andújar Jaén 74.774
Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Jaén 209.920
Montes de Málaga Málaga 4.996
Sierra de las Nieves Málaga 20.163
Sierras de Tejeda, Alhama y Almijara Málaga Granada 40.663
Sierra Norte de Sevilla Seville 177.484


Detailed Description of the Natural Parks


Natural Reserves

The 29 Natural Reserves ("Reservas Naturales") are mostly smaller humid or wet areas, which serve above all the birds as resting and nest refuge. For example in the lagoon "Fuente de Piedra" (Málaga) we can find an important colony of the Pink flamingo.

Natural Sites

The so called Natural Sites ("Parajes Naturales") are 32 smaller areas, characterised by special geological attractions, such as the bizarre rock formations "Torcal de Antequera" (Málaga) or the desert area near Tabernas (Almería).

List of Natural Reserves

List of Natural Sites


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