Walking and wildlife holidays in Catalonia (Catalunya or Cataluña)
- Capital: Barcelona.
- Area: 32,114 km²
- Provinces 4: Lleida, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona
Catalunya, also known as Catalonia or Cataluña, sits on the northern edge of Spain and shares borders with Andorra and France at the eastern or Occidental Pyrenees.
The region’s diverse plant life ranges from alpine to Mediterranean, with high meadows giving way to Beech, Holly, Juniper, Cork oaks, and Strawberry trees. In addition to a range of animals such as Wild boar, Fox, Badger, Genet, Beech martin, and Dormouse, Catalunya is also home to the Hermann’s Tortoise, a unique species under protection.
A few books to help you explore Catalonia
An inactive volcanic landscape found in the north east at La Garrotxa, combines woodland, farmland and nature park with diverse plant life that has both Mediterranean and Atlantic influences due to more precipitation on higher ground.
Find a hotel at a natural park in Catalonia – Catalunya – Cataluña
To the west of Lleida the steppe terrain, an extension from Aragon, attracts different forms of wildlife such as Little Bustard.
Catalonia enjoys a long coastline known to many beach tourists as the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada.
Tours in Catalonia from Viator
Catalonia 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.)
Natural parks in Catalonia
One nature area, the Ebro delta, which flows out south of Barcelona, is the second most important Mediterranean coastal wetland, with the Camargue in France being the first. (Doñana National Park is on the Atlantic coast in Andalusia.)
Protected areas in Catalonia – Catalunya – Cataluña
1 Aiguestortes National Park The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is the only protected area with National Park status in Catalonia. It is located in the central part of the Pyrenees and divided into four regions (Alta Ribagorza, Pallars Sobirá, Pallars Jussá and Valle de Arán) in the province of Lérida.
2 Del Alt Pirineu Natural Park The Alt Pirineu Natural Park is the largest natural park in Catalonia and is located in the Catalan Pyrenees between the Val d’Aran in the west and Andorra to the east. It is interesting to note that all the nearby towns and villages are outside of the parks limits.
3 Cadí Moixeró Natural Park In addition to the outstanding natural beauty of the area, the medieval walls and porticoed square of Bagà, the gothic church and the towers and walls of Bellver de Cerdanya and the rural architecture of the majority of the towns and villages in the area are particularily interesting to visit.
4 La Garrotxa Natural park The Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park covers a holocene volcanic field (also known as the Olot volcanic field). The volcanos (about forty within the park) are no longer active and the last eruption (Croscat) occurred around 11,000 years ago.
5 Cabo de Creus Natural Park The Natural Park of Cabo de Creus is a peninsula and a headland located at the most northeastern point of the Iberian Peninsula and was the first maritime-terrestrial park created in Catalonia.
6 Aiguamolls de L’Empordà Natural Park There are three nature reserves called Les Llaunes, Els Estany and Illa de Caramany with dune systems, marshes, freshwater ponds, rice fields, reed beds hosting great biodiversity especially in bird life where over 300 species have been recorded and almost 100 species nesting in the area.
7 Macizo de Montseny Natural Park The Macizo del Montseny Natural Park (Just 50 kilometres from Barcelona) is the oldest in Catalonia and is also one of the most important because in a relatively small area there are typical plant communities of the three major European biomes : the Mediterranean (holm oak, cork oak and Aleppo pine), the Eurosiberian (Scots pine, beech and white fir) and boreoalpine (alpine meadow).
8 Sant Llorenc del Munt Natural Park Rugged and rocky, the unique landscape of the area is due to the constant erosion that the rocks are subjected to, resulting in cliffs and monoliths of red conglomerates of outstanding beauty.
9 Macizo de Montserrat Natural Park A multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). This area is well known for the site of the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat and the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary.
10 Serra de Montsant Natural Park This mountain region is also a famous red wine-producing zone and some of the best vineyards are located near the Cartoixa d’Escaladei, a Carthusian Order monastery.
11 Els Ports Natural Park Now included in the The Tierras del Ebro Biosphere Reserve which was declared by UNESCO in 2013 and is an important protected natural environment containing many ecosystems. It covers the Mediterranean coast up to the mountains and includes also the Delta de l’Ebre and Els Ports natural parks.
12 Delta de Ebro Natural Park holds a great importance internationally as more than 300 species of birds (of the 700 that exist in Europe) have been observed at the Delta. This includes resident, pre and post-nuptial migration as well as wintering flocks. It is the second largest wetland in the western Mediterranean. (The first being the Camargue in France.)
Iberia Nature Forum
Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!
Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.