Are you looking for wildlife, walking and cultural holidays in Spain or interested in finding wildlife watching places in Spain? Wildside Holidays publishes information pages about theNatural and National parks in Spain. At Wildside Holidays, wildlife in Spain and wildlife guides are easy to find. Just look in the right hand column for protected areas in the Spanish regions, the top menu for the wildlife pages. (On a mobile just scroll down or use the menu button.) In the left column you’ll find some of the best local guides with links to further information for booking your guided wildife holiday in Spain.
Sustainable rural and wildlife tourism in Spain is a major key to wildlife and habitat protection. There are many studies showing how wildlife tourism can impact local economies, habitats and the wildlife it contains in a very positive way.
If you are on a desktop or laptop, then in the left column you will find links to some of the top INDEPENDENT activity holiday companies in Spain. (On a mobile just scroll down.)
If you are travelling without a walking or wildlife guiding company in Spain then we highly reccommend booking.com for your hotel and accommodation needs.
You can also reserve trains and buses using the booking box of OMIO located on all pages.
Trips and tours in Spain from Viator
Spain holds a vast array of amazing places to visit and explore and very often a guide will help you get the best out of a visit to a certain area. Have a look at the organised guided trips on offer from the Viator website.
A huge thank you to everyone that uses the links on these pages to reserve a hotel, Viator or Get Your Guide guided trip, Tiqets entry or transport by train / bus in Spain. The small commission we receive helps a lot. Thankyou!
Non-Venomous and although the name suggest a viper, the viperine snake is not poisionous and like most snakes, avoids human contact when it can.
Scientific: Natrix maura.
Castilian: Culebra viperina.
Catalan: Serp d’aigua.
Distribution: Found in southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa. Portugal, Spain, France and northernwest Italy. Also found in African countries of Morocco, northern Algeria, northwestern Libya, and northern to central Tunisia.
When in Spain many people may wonder about scorpions, spiders and venomous snakes and will not be aware that they are much more likely to endanger themselves and their pets by getting too close to an innocent looking line of caterpillars that can be found crossing a pavement, road or footpath during the first months of the year. So, what are the dangers of Pine Processionary Caterpillars?
The Atlantic Islands National Park of Galicia, known as Illas Atlánticas, is taking decisive action to address the threat posed by Acacia melanoxylon, an invasive species known to exacerbate forest fires. This initiative is part of a broader state forest management program aimed at safeguarding Spain’s most environmentally valuable areas. By eradicating acacias and implementing improved forest management practices, the National Park seeks to reduce the risk of fires and preserve its unique ecosystems.
The proliferation of Acacia melanoxylon poses a significant concern for Illas Atlánticas due to its rapid spread, which can lead to environmental catastrophes on islands like Cíes, Ons, and Cortegada. Not only does the invasion of acacias threaten native flora and fauna, but it also alters the structure of forest masses, jeopardizing the biodiversity of these pristine islands.
Declared a Natural Park: 1989. Park surface area: 20,132 hectares
1995 designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the Natural Park inside the biosphere reserve area of 93,930 hectares.
Biosphere Reserve towns and villages: Alozaina, Casarabonela, El Burgo, Guaro, Istán, Monda, Ojén, Parauta, Ronda, Serrato, Tolox y Yunquera
2021 declared a National Park and increased to over 23,000 hectares
In the summer of 2021 The Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park was upgraded to NATIONAL park status. It covers a huge area of approximately 300 square kilometres with its limits ranging from Marbella inland to include the villages of El Burgo, Istan, Monda, Parauta, Ronda, Tolox and across to the Sierra Bermeja close to Estepona.
Points of interest
The Sierra de las Nieves is a limestone massif clothed with evergreen oak trees and also home to the rare Abies Pinsapo or Spanish fir tree. The name “Nieves” refers to the winter snow which was once an important commodity in the area. Snow wells can still be seen on the exposed high areas. The snow would be collected by workers, deposited in the hand built, deep hollows. The snow was compacted, creating ice to be removed later in blocks and delivered the coast on mule or donkey trains to be sold.
The summit of Torrecilla is at 1919m altitude and although close to the Mediterranean coast receives higher precipitation due to an Atlantic influence. Not far from the highest point is also the “deepest” in the form of the G.E.S.M cavern “Los Hoyos del Pilar”. At 1101m deep it is the third deepest such abyss in the World. (Grupo de Exploraciones Subterráneas de Málaga = GESM)
Combinations of factors such as climate and limestone relief create habitat zones where specialized plants have adapted. The exposed reaches with little soil contain hedgehog broom (Erinacea anthyllis) together with Andalucian gorse (Ulex baeticus), a hedgehog-shaped crucifer; Hormathophylla spinosa, Spiny hare’s-ears (Bupleurum spinosum), the yellow-flowering Echinospartum boissieri, Woolly lavender (Lavandula lanata), Prostrate cherry (Prunus prostrata) and evergreen milk-vetch (Astragalus granatensis subsp andresmolinae).
Mats of common and Phoenician junipers (Juniperus communis / J. phoenicea) grow a little lower, dropping down into specimens of Yew (Taxus baccata) and huge Spanish firs (Abies pinsapo).
Other trees in the park are oak species Lusitanian oak (Quercus faginea subsp. Alpestris), Holm oak (Q. rotundifolia) and Cork oak (Q. suber) with Wild olive, Sweet chestnut, Carob, Aleppo pine, Maritime pine and planted Stone pine. Riparian vegetation contains Ash, Poplar and Willow.
Plants that are endemic to this small area of western Andalucia are Saxifraga bourgeana, Omphalodes commutata, Linaria platycalyx and Ononis reuteri. They occur in Sierra de las Nieves and neighbouring Sierra de Grazalema.
A few images of the Sierra de las Nieves national park
Birds of prey include Bonelli’s, Booted, Short-toed, and Golden eagle, Scops, Eagle and Tawny owl, Peregrine falcon, Goshawk, Buzzard and Hobby. Amongst the smaller birds are Rock thrush, Blue rock thrush, Ring ouzel, Wryneck, Hawfinch, Ortolan bunting, Wheatear, Black wheatear, Black-eared wheatear and Southern grey shrike. Crossbill, Crested tit, Tree-creepers, Gold crest and Woodpeckers are numerous in the woodlands.
Guided tours and activities close to the Sierra de la Nieves national park
The centre offers visitors the chance to learn more about the landscapes, nature, history and people so they can enjoy these nature areas to the full.
Tourist Information in Ronda (Paseo de Blas Infante close to the bullring)
The Ronda Tourist Office provides tourist information for visitors to the city of Ronda, the nearby Serrania and the Genal Valley, the province of Malaga and the rest of Andalusia. Its qualified staff will help you discover a territory full of unusual attractions, brimming with history and tradition, with numerous leisure alternatives, events, a comprehensive range of restaurants, accommodation, cultural visits, museums, wine cellars, etc.