Wildlife, natural parks and culture in Spain

Castilla y Leon

Walking and wildlife holidays in Castilla y Leon

  • Capital: Valladolid
  • Area: 94,223 km²
  • Provinces 9: León, Palencia, Burgos, Zamora, Valladolid, Soria, Salamanca, Ávila, Segovia
The region’s exceptional diversity of mountains, plains and rivers produce a range of microclimates and ecosystems rich in flora and fauna including Wolf and Brown Bear.
The region’s exceptional diversity of mountains, plains and rivers produce a range of microclimates.

Castilla y Leon, formed by the merger of two separate regions in 1983, holds the distinction of being the largest region in Spain. Steeped in history, this region is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, with Roman structures, Gothic cathedrals, and more medieval castles than anywhere else in Europe.

Everywhere you look in Castilla y Leon, the region’s rich cultural heritage is on full display. But perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the magnificent Roman aqueduct that runs through the city of Segovia. A true marvel of engineering, this aqueduct stands as a testament to the ingenuity of ancient civilizations. Carved from vast stones over 2,000 years ago, the aqueduct still supplied the city with water until recent years, and remains one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture in the world.

But Castilla y Leon is more than just a region of architectural marvels. From the rolling plains and rugged mountains to the tranquil rivers and lush forests, this region offers a breathtakingly beautiful landscape that is as diverse as it is awe-inspiring.

Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in the rich cultural history of the region or exploring its stunning natural beauty, Castilla y Leon is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Useful books to help explore Castilla y Leon

Going back further there are the archaeological deposits of Atapuerca, near the city of Burgos, where fossils of the one of the earliest known hominids in Europe have been found. Fossils and stone tools discovered date to between 780,000 and 1 million years ago.

Tours in Castilla y Leon from Viator

Castilla y Leon has a vast array of sites to visit and enjoy. Below are some of the options listed on the Viator website. (We recieve a small commission if you book a tour which doesn’t cost you more and helps us to keep Wildside Holidays up to date with the best information.)

Las Casas del Parque y los Centros Temáticos

Across Castilla y Leon you will find what are called the “Park Houses”. Las Casas del Parque are the information centres, museums and building of interest within the Natural Parks and other protected areas.

They are always worth a visit and in many cases should be your first stop off in order to get the best out of a visit to the area you are exploring.

Find a hotel in Castilla y Leon
As well as this wealth of history Castilla y Leon holds some stunning and dramatic scenery.

The area is surrounded by mountains. In the north is the Cordillera Cantabria and to the south the Sistema Central range and at the north east lies the Sistema Iberico range. This creates a loop of mountains opening towards Portugal. This is on top of the fact that it is situated on the vast high plateau which forms the centre of the Iberian peninsular.

Natural Parks in Spain - Castilla y León
Natural Parks in Spain – Castilla y León

The most important river of the area is the Duero which begins in Soria and crosses westward to Portugal and empties into the the Atlantic ocean.

The region’s exceptional diversity of mountains, plains and rivers produce a range of microclimates and ecosystems rich in flora and fauna including large mammals such as the Wolf and Brown Bear.

1 Lago de Sanabria The stunning Lago de Sanabria Natural Park has been extended into the Parque natural Lago de Sanabria y sierras Segundera y de Porto.
2 National Park of the Picos de Europa The Montaña de Covadonga National Park ( now The Picos de Europa National Park) was established in Asturias in 1918, the first national park in Spain. The now much larger park covers three major massifs – Western, Central and Eastern which are all part of the Cordillera Cantabria range. The dramatic Cares river canyon, which is 1,500m deep, divides the western and central parts.
3 Montaña Palentina Natural park This is a space of great natural, landscape, fauna and botanical value. It has the most northern mass of junipers in Europe and is a refuge for the emblematic and endangered brown bear
4 Cañon del Rio Lobos One of the most visited areas of ​​the Natural Park is the Templar hermitage of San Bartolomé, a Romanesque construction from the first quarter of the 13th century with some Gothic influence. It was part of a monastery of which only the chapel remains.
5 Hoces del Rio Riaza This stunning area has been created by the Riaza river which has excavated the limestone of the Segovian plains to create one of the largest areas of gorges, canyons, cliffs and ravines in Spain.
6 Hoces del Rio Duraton The relatively small Hoces del río Duratón Natural Park is a jewel in the countryside in the province of Segovia. Its name refers to a 27 kilometre stretch of the Duratón River and “Las Hoces” refers to the series of gorges, some up to 100 metres high, that have been formed by the river..
7 Sierra de Gredos Regional Park The numerous Western Spanish Ibex or Gredos Ibex (Capra pyrenaica victoriae) roaming here are an isolated subspecies of Spanish ibex the latter can be found in many mountainous regions throughout Spain.
8 Las Batuecas y Francia Natural Park The whole area has a great scenic and ecological value with abundant fauna and flora along with a great cultural wealth and an important historical-artistic heritage. There are five municipalities in the area declared “Historic-Artistic Complex” due to the wealth of cave paintings, remains of Roman mines, hermitages and monasteries that are scattered throughout area.
9 Arribes del Duero Natural Park The steep gorges of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park are formed by the river Duero which is also the national boundary between Spain and Portugal.

Stunning scenery in Castilla y Leon

El Bierzo is a comarca in the province of León, Spain. Its capital is the town of Ponferrada. Other major towns are Bembibre and Villafranca del Bierzo, the historical capital. Just take a look at the incredible scenery!

Other protected areas

Ronda Today

Everything you need to know before you visit Ronda “The city of dreams” in Andalucia. https://www.rondatoday.com/

Visit Cádiz

Planning on visiting Cádiz? Tourist information. Monuments. Hotels. Activities. City guides: https://visitingcadiz.com/

The Caminito del Rey

Find tickets for the Caminito del Rey: https://www.caminodelrey.es/

Wildside Holidays – Spain

Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies.

Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum! https://iberianatureforum.com/

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Take a trip on the Wildside! Discover the wildlife and nature of Spain, its Natural and National Parks and find the top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain.