The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia

The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia is a section of the Betic Cordillera and runs parallel to the Mediterranean sea for around 100km.

The temperature range is dramatic with the summits under snow for many months, followed by a hot Mediterranean style summer. This creates special microclimates across the exposed rocky summits, glacial lakes, sheer sided gorges, mixed oak woods, pine woods and fast rivers with wooded banks.

Declared a National Park in 1998 and encompassing an area of 86,208 hectares it is a popular destination throughout the year. It holds an exceptional variety of animal and plant life due to the combination of altitude and its proximity to the Mediterranean sea.


Find a hotel in the area

Booking.com

These mountains were formed during the Tertiary Period (65 to 1.8 million years ago), at the same point as the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the European Alps. This mountain building event is called the Alpine Orogeny. The uplift happened as the African plate moved northwards colliding with the Eurasian plate. The Sierra Nevada mountains consist of mainly metamorphic rocks such as Gneiss and Mica schist. Many of the rocks are juxtaposed and mixed up due to intense faulting and folding during the compression of the two tectonic plates.

Continue reading The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia

Whats new at Wildside Holidays?

Whats new at Wildside Holidays? Three new excellent companies added to Wildside Holidays. Based in Spain and offering cycling, walking, hiking and more!

Work is ongoing at our other websites as well (see below) and after all the confusion and stress of the coronavirus hopefully things will return to a kind of normal sometime soon.

Right now it s upwards of 40 degrees in the Sierra de Grazalema and by 11am its too hot for all that walking and cycling! However its a good excuse to sit inside in the shade with a cold beer and write some articles for our websites. 🙂

Hotel La Mariposa – The Espuña Adventure. Multi activity destination in the stunning Sierra Espuña (Murcia region of southern Spain) in the village of Gebas.

La Mariposa - Espuña adventure - Sierra de Espuña
La Mariposa – Espuña adventure – Sierra de Espuña

Creative Catalonia – Cycling and Walking Holidays is the specialist for creating your very own ‘tailor-made’ bike holiday or walking holiday in the beautiful Barcelona and Girona regions of Catalonia, Spain.

Creative Catalonia - Cycling and Walking Holidays
Creative Catalonia – Cycling and Walking Holidays

Spanish Highs, Sierra Nevada Mountain Guides provide a wide range of activity holidays including walking, hiking, trekking, scrambling, mountaineering, snowshoeing & skiing in the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada.

Spanish Highs Mountain Guides, Sierra Nevada, Spain
Spanish Highs Mountain Guides, Sierra Nevada, Spain

Slowly but surely the articles for the Natural and national parks of Spain are being uploaded…. This will enable you to find a hotel or guide in some pretty outstanding places in Spain. You can see what the layout will look like here. http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/natural-and-national-parks-in-andalucia/


The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

Impressive summer insects on the wing

There are many impressive flying insects on the wing during the summer months. Some due to their colours or intricate design and others are just large.

In this last category fall the Carpenter bee, the Hornet, the thread wasted and the Mammoth wasps.

Many people flap their arm in fear at these airborne creatures whereas standing still and observing them may be better practice, they are generally docile and quite attractive if viewed calmly. (Unless you are poking the hornets nest of course!)

The first Hornet activity this year out in the garden was in early spring. Several were actively hunting for bees which I would presume to be the newly hatched queens as all but the breeding hornets are vegetarian. They flew around the almond trees with heavily scented blossom and plucked honey bees out of the air.

They took the fresh prey to a nearby branch (gory bit – dissected and dropped the head) and devoured their meal. Hornets create a new hive each year from scratch, starting with a single queen.

Just click the Insect image title to read more about each insect over at the Grazalema Guide website.


Carpenter bees

Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) Abeja azul de la maderaCarpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) Abeja azul de la madera
Do not be alarmed by their size of up to 23mm, they are not aggressive and will simply go about their business of collecting nectar from flowers

imagine a bumble bee, double its size, paint it jet black in your mind’s eye and give it iridescent blue / violet wings. They are large, noisy, weigh down flowers with their bulk but can deftly avoid humans with their lumbered flight. If they enter the house it is usually to search for a suitable nest hole. They are solitary creatures and gained their common name due to their ability to make nest holes in dead would. Although they can do this they take the easier option of ready made holes in wood, metal, brick etc whenever possible.


The Mammoth wasp

Mammoth Wasp – (Megascolia (Regiscolia / maculata flavifrons) – Avispa parasita de cuatro puntas
They hold no danger to humans despite their size and black / yellow warning colours. They feed eagerly on flower nectar and this is the best time to view them.

A long black insect with two yellow stripes on the abdomen and a yellow face if female. This has a complicated lifecycle as the Mammoth wasp parasitizes a beetle larva. At the moment there are 6 or more flying around each large rotten tree stump in the garden. They all seem to be males and are probably waiting for the females to emerge. Later in the summer, when they have settled down they are much easier to observe feeding off flowers, with alliums being a favourite.


Thread-waisted wasp

Thread-waisted Wasp (Sceliphron spirifex)Thread-waisted Wasp (Sceliphron spirifex)
Sceliphron spirifex are solitary wasps and are not aggressive, they do not sting unless mishandled. The sexes look very similar with the female being larger and with a visible sting.

Wasp like with yellow / black colours these creatures are also people friendly. They search out shaded, protected places to create their mud nests and the back of a picture frame seems an ideal choice. They carefully roll up a tiny ball of mud outside, fly with it into the house, deposit it, shape it and return with more tirelessly throughout the day. They produce a hollow tube and next to this they make another and another fanning the wet mud with their wings to assist the drying process.


Bees and wasps may receive bad press and cause unnecessary concern to many, especially as some of the species of Iberia can be rather large.

Hornets

Hornets behave in a social manner, creating a nesting colony which thrives and dies in just one year life cycle.
Hornets behave in a social manner, creating a nesting colony which thrives and dies in just one year life cycle.

Hornets were once common throughout Europe but are suffering decline due to the misconception that such a large wasp type creature would have a very dangerous sting. The fact is, they are no worse than a normal wasp sting, will again avoid human closeness and they have a fascinating life cycle.


We must not forget that this group are important pollinators of our crops. Also some wasps feed on caterpillars that may otherwise be a garden pest and flies do a necessary job of clearing up decaying matter.

Altogether they aid the biodiversity that is delicately balanced to a level beyond our perception.


The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

Latest articles from Hike Pyrenees

Fantastic latest articles and photos from Hike Pyrenees on their blog.

“Last weekend I headed out to Pico Bacias, a wild rocky 2760 metre peak. I hadn’t done this hike for ages and I’d forgotten how great it is. The views over Vignemale and across to the three thousand metre peaks of the Ordesa National Park are just exceptional.

Joining me were Gustavo and Florencia and we had a brilliant day with blue skies and sunshine throughout. There was still a fair amount of snow higher up which was fun to cross and there’s some great easy scrambling to be found on the summit ridges.

Of course Ruby came along and this was her highest peak yet! She scampered over the rocks and snow with no problem, and I’m sure did at least three times the distance we did running around everywhere.

The hike starts from the Balneario (or Baños) de Panticosa, a beautiful spot in its own right. From there you follow the GR11 east, towards Refugio Bujaruelo and the Ordesa NP.”

Read the whole article and see the stunning images over at Hike Pyrenees here

Looking for walking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees? Hike pyrenees offer guided and self guided walking holidays in the stunning mountain scenery of Northern Spain.

Based in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees surrounded by some of the best walking in Spain. Hike Pyrenees specialise in small group guided walking holidays and self guided walking holidays


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/

Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro

The natural park of Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro. Above image – Dehesa de encinas con viboreras – Photo by Zumaya Ambiente Creativo.

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Granada
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 41, 212 hectares

Points of interest

The natural park of Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro is a combination of gentle hills with outcrops of batholithic boulders, forest and meadows. The highest point being 828m at La Colmena.

It is located on the north eastern border of Cordoba and is separated from the natural park of Andújar in Jaen by the deeply ravined river Yeguas. There are cultivated fields along with Cork and Holm oak forests plus dense natural Mediterranean scrub.

This Natural park is part of the Sierra Morena and shares some endangered species in common with other natural parks in this mountain range. The Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro has among its inhabitants the protected Lynx and Wolf.


Hotels in the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro

Booking.com

Flora

On a humid plateau near Cardeña there is a woodland of Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) with shrubs of rockrose and lavenders. It is the only woods of this type in Cordoba province. The most dominant oak trees are Holm (Quercus ilex) and Cork (Q. suber) with small areas of Gall oaks (Q. faginea).

The undergrowth consists of Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), rock roses (Cistus sp), Lentisc (Pistacia lentisc), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Wild olive (Olea europaea subsp oleaster) and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo).

There are also reforestation areas of Stone pine (Pinus pinea) and Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). The river banks are clothed with Willows, Ash, Oleanders, Black poplar and Alder.

Fauna

Dense thicket gives cover to much wildlife including Red, Fallow and Roe deer, Wild boar, Badger, Fox, Mongoose, Stone martin, Genet, Wild cat, Weasels, Hare and Rabbit.

Among the raptors are Imperial, Bonelli’s, Booted, Short-toed and Golden eagles, Sparrow hawk, Goshawk, kite, Buzzards, Kestrel, Lesser kestrel and Peregrine. Black and Griffon vultures, Tawny, Long-eared, Little and Eagle owls.

Along the river you will find Kingfisher, Dipper, Nightingale, Warblers, Wrens, Stripe-necked terrapins and Barbel.

There is a hide for bird watching on the reservoir named Embalse de Tejoneras. The birds you may see include Herons, Egrets and Little grebes. Many aquatic birds rest here on this lake on their migratory routes.

Also in the area

Tin, copper and lead used to be mined in the area of Venta del Charco, where there are remains from the Iberian and Roman eras. Roman coins and silver Iberian vessels have been discovered at Azuel.

Remains of Megalithic graves from the Metal Age (3rd century B.C.) have been discovered at Torrubia.

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Visitantes Venta Nueva, just outside Cardeña at Km 79 on the A92.

This visitor centre in the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro has an interesting exhition displaying the typical Mediterranean landscape of this fertile highland zone, with its extensive dehesa pastureland, its Mediterranean scrub and its pine groves.

Visitors can follow the Cardeña-El Cerezo trail, which enters the dehesa and winds past a series of unusual granite blocks known as bolos.

For other sites and places to see try to visit the tourist office in the town ofCardeña. (Number 3, Miguel Gallo street)

Nearby towns

Cardeña, Montoro (Tourist office in Cardeña here in Spanish)


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

Above Image By Heparina1985 – Valley of Ordesa, Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

  • Region: Aragón
  • Province: Huesca
  • Declared a Natural Park:1918
  • Park surface area: 15,696 hectares (extended to this in 1982)
  • UNESCO 1997 (Ordesa-Viñamala)
  • Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves.

Points of interest

The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is an area of dramatic landscape, overseen by the peak of Monte Perdido at 3,355m, found within the Pyrenean mountain range that forms the border between Spain and France.

Arid limestone mountain peaks contrast with deep ravines and lush green valleys. Glaciers have scoured the mountains and there are four fast flowing rivers that fall into the Spanish side. Their valleys are named Ordesa, Pineta, Añisclo and Escuaín.

The original park, created in 1918, only covered the Ordesa valley with one of the intentions being to preserve the Pyrenean Ibex, a type of wild mountain goat. Sadly the last of this species died in January 2000.

Continue reading Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!