Category Archives: National and National Parks in the Balearics

National and National Parks in the Balearics. The Balearic Islands, consisting of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, are known for their beautiful beaches, clear waters, and sunny weather. The islands are home to several protected natural and cultural areas. One of the most significant of these is the S’Albufera Natural Park, located on the northeastern coast of Mallorca. This wetland area covers over 1,700 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare bird species such as the purple heron, the booted eagle, and the marsh harrier. Visitors to S’Albufera can enjoy hiking and birdwatching, as well as guided tours of the park’s interpretive center.

Another protected area in the Balearics is the Cabrera National Park, a small archipelago located south of Mallorca. Declared a National Park in 1991, Cabrera is home to a variety of rare and endemic species, both on land and in the surrounding marine environment. Visitors to Cabrera can explore the island’s rugged landscape, visit the historic Castle of Cabrera, or go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the park’s protected marine reserve.

In addition to these natural areas, the Balearics also have several cultural protected sites, such as the Talayotic settlements of Menorca. These ancient megalithic structures, dating back to the Bronze Age, are some of the most well-preserved in Europe and offer a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural history. Other cultural sites in the Balearics include the Gothic cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, the historic town of Dalt Vila in Ibiza, and the ethnographic museum of Formentera, which showcases the island’s traditional way of life.

The Cabrera Archipelago Maritime Terrestrial National Park

  • Parc Nacional Maritimoterrestre de l’Arxipèlag de Cabrera (Catalan).
  • Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre del Archipiélago de Cabrera (Spanish).
  • Region: Islas Baleares (Palma de Mallorca).
  • Declared a National Park: 1991.
  • Park surface area: 90,800 hectares.
  • Islands that make up the park: Estells de Fora, S’Imperial, Cabrera, Ses Bledes, Na Redona, Conillera, S’Esponja, Na Plana, Illot Pla, Na Pobra, Na Foradada.

Points of interest

The Cabrera Archipelago Maritime Terrestrial National Park includes over 90,000 hectares containing the whole of the Cabrera Archipelago and open water habitats, mainly over the Emile Baudot Escarpment which is prime habitat for many creatures, including whales, dolphins and turtles. It is located to the south of Mallorca, ten nautical miles from the port of Colonia de Sant Jordi (ses Salines).

The park is one of the largest in Spain but due to its remoteness it attracts relatively few visitors. Endangered animals such as turtles and whales come under the parks protection and rare species of fish and corals can be found in the underwater caves.

Mediterranean expeditions with the Research Institute Alnitak

For a more immersive and hands-on experience, our friends Alnitak
invite volunteers on board their 9-day open water expeditions on
board the 110-year old ship Toftevaag
. On these voyages, they
regularly drop anchor in Cabrera, and spend many hours on the
water monitoring top pelagics such as turtles, cetaceans and tunas,
offering members of the public a unique experience showing how
marine conservation is conducted.

The islands are unpopulated but there are always park staff, biologists and other scientists on site. The archipelago has great natural value and the coastal landscape of Cabrera is considered to be one of the best preserved on the Spanish coast. The islands are inhabited by important colonies of seabirds and other endemic species and due to the abundance and variety of birds, the park has also been declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds.

The steep escarpment and deep sea corals are key habitats for
many species, and creatures such as sperm whales are regularly
sighted feeding in these waters.

Within the limits of the National Park, sport fishing is prohibited including underwater fishing. It is also forbidden to disembark, except at the main dock in the port of Cabrera.

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Woody shrubs with leathery and small leaves predominate, forming the garrigue, a scrubland perfectly adapted to the rigors of the Mediterranean climate. There are several endemic species: Balearic Astragalus (Astragalus balearicus), Rubia angustifolia ssp. Cespitosa, Dracunculus muscivorum, Balearic hypericon (Hypericum balearicum) etc.

A full botanical list of flora present can be found here. (In Spanish)

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This is an important stopover point on the migratory route of more than 150 species of birds both in the spring and in the autumn. Audouin’s gull (Larus audouini) and Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae) are also present.

The deeper waters off the Emile Baudot escarpment, included in the
extended park, are key habitat for tunas, sharks, cetaceans and sea
turtles. Frequently sighted species are Risso’s dolphins and sperm
whales, marine mammals that dive to feed on deep sea squid.

Thisopen water ecosystem is an ideal “natural laboratory” to study these
top pelagic predators, and our friends at Alnitak have
been doing so for a few decades. (Their data was crucial in the
extension of the National Park).

A full list of species can be found here. (In Spanish)

The seabed also represents a very important part of the Park, with more than 200 species of fish and numerous endemic invertebrates.

What to visit on the islands?

The following self-guided itineraries are possible:

  • The castle. This is the most frequented by visitors who come to Cabrera. From the top, on clear days, you can see the entire mountain range of Tramuntana from sa Dragonera to Tomir and the mountains
    from Artà on the neighboring island of Mallorca.
  • The fons marí in the port of Cabrera. This excursion can be done with or without a guide (summer only) but you need to be able to swim and use a snorkel. Find out more in the information centre in the port of Cabra
  • The museum, botanic garden and the monument to the French. Its advisable to visit the information office in Cabra first as the opening times of each area vary quite a lot depending on the time of year.
  • Archaeological trail. In sa Platgeta there is a general panel explaining the history of the area and continuing along the route each place has its own explanatory panel. The archaeological area has three main points of interest, the Byzantine necropolis, deposits of salted fish and the structures of the French soldiers’ camp (Pla de ses Figueres).

You can also take a series of guided tours. For these itineraries you should request information at the information office on the island of Cabrera. (The lighthouse of l’Enciola, Na Picamosques and the Serra des Canal de ses Figueres).

Information/Visitors Centers

Ses Salines visitor center

The Cabrera National Park interpretation center is located in Colònia de Sant Jordi. here you can get the necessary documentation for your visit to the national park and learn about the history of Cabrera.

Colònia de Sant Jordi has a marina from where daily excursions are organized to visit the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park of the Cabrera Archipelago.

  • Guided excursions around Cabrera.
  • Underwater interpretation activity (limited places).
  • Marine itinerary (limited places).
  • Itinerary in canoe (limited places).


Address: C / Gabriel Roca s / n, corner of Plaza Es Dolç, 07638 Colónia de Sant Jordi – Illes Balears (Mallorca)
Tel. 971 656 282

Remember! If you are travelling here in your own boat you will need to get the relevent permits beforehand. Find out what you need with the port authorities. and the administration office for reservations.

In terms of wildlife, there are strict rules and navigators aren’t allowed to approach protected species such as whales, dolphins and turtles. Please do not actively seek to interact with these as this can inadvertently alter the pristine natural behaviour that is key to preserving this special ecosystem.

Information in the Port of Cabrera
Tel. 630 982 363

Tel. Reservations and permits 971 177 641
Hours: from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday

Online reservations for private boats


The Balearic islands

Find out more anout natural parks, walkning and wildlife holidays in the balearic islands here:

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S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park

  • Region: Islas Baleares.
  • Island / Town: Menorca / Es Grau
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1995 and expanded in 2003.
  • Park surface area: 5000 hectares.

Points of interest

S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park is located in the northeastern part of the island of Menorca close to the town of Es Grau and the beach of the same name (Playa del Grau). Access is via the PMV-7102 road from Es Grau and the PM-715 main road from Cabo de Favàritx.

In 2003 the Park’s limits were expanded to cover a total surface area of over 5000 hectares which also offers protection to the five islets of Addaia, s’Estany, Bassa de Morella, es Prat and the Illa d’en Colom. The Park forms part of the Natura 2000 Network and the lagoon is the nucleus of the Biosphere Reserve.

This protected natural environment includes some very diverse habitats with varying degrees of human intervention such as wetlands, agricultural and livestock areas, forests, a coastline of cliffs and beaches, islets and a marine environment. The lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean sea by sand dunes and is fed by three streams.

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Flora and fauna in the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park

Except for the wetlands and the coastal strip, wild olive (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) is predominant and is accompanied by mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), privet (Phillyrea media) and tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides). There are also a few small stands of holms oak.

The beaches hold well-developed dune vegetation, and the rocky coastline features the locally known socarrells, thorny pincushion-like shrubs that are shaped by the splashing sea and the wind.

In the summer months the three streams feeding the lagoon stop flowing and seawater enters. This results in different salt contents in the soil which has an influence on the some 200 odd plant species present.

The wetlands of s’Albufera des Grau, which are less influenced by salt water, are populated by various grasses such as rushes, reeds, grasses and cattails .

There are many bird species found in the area include mallard, coot, little grebe, bittern, stilt and reed warbler. Migratory birds such as cormorants, grey heron and teal pass through. Shoveler duck and pochards also winter in the area.

Among the reptiles and amphibians that live in the Park, mention must be made of the Balearic wall lizard (Podarcis lilfordi), which is endemic to both Majorca and Minorca and found exclusively on the islets, where it has diversified, gradually evolving into different subspecies. There are also other interesting species such as the Balearic green toad, the European tree frog, the land and sea tortoises, the Italian wall lizard, the false smooth snake and the ladder snake.

Activities and day trips in the area

Information/Visitors Centers

The Rodríguez Femenías Interpretation Center

Address: Ctra. de Maó a es Grau, km 3.5

The wealth of the natural park is summarized in the Rodríguez Femenías Interpretation Center. Here you will find a permanent exhibition reflecting all the different areas of the park: wetlands, cultivated fields, forests, cliffs, beaches, rocky islands and the wildlife in the area.

From here you will be able to access the two bird observatories and also the three self-guided routes of La Gola, Santa Madrona and LLimpa. (You can also book the very popular guided tours which last for around two hours (maximum of 20 people).


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S’Albufera de Mallorca Natural Park

  • Region: Islas Baleares.
  • Island: Mallorca
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1988.
  • Park surface area: 1,646 hectares.
  • Villages: Muro and Sa Pobla.

Points of interest

S’Albufera de Mallorca Natural Park is a Wetland Area of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, and is included in the EU Natura 2000 Network both as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the Habitats Directive. It is the largest and most important wetland area in the Balearic Islands. Made up mainly of wet grassland and marsh.

The origins of the wetland date back to ancient times, and its surface area and features have fluctuated with changing sea levels. While part of the grassland area developed during the Tertiary Era, the current wetlands were formed less than 100,000 years ago. The coastal dunes are considerably more recent, forming over the last 10,000 years or so.

Water is the basis of S’Albufera’s great biodiversity. Water and soil moisture allow vegetation to grow continuously, which varies depending on depth, proximity to the sea and the nature of the soil. The nature park gets most of its fresh water from streams. The influx of seawater in summer is not significant, but it has a significant effect on flora and fauna.

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Reed (Phragmites australis), rush edge (Cladium mariscus) and cob reed (Thypa spp.) dominate the vegetation. In the canals you can find aquatic plants such as the crested pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus) and the rough horn leaf (Ceratophyllum demersum). Rushes (Juncus sp.) And samphire (Salicornia sp.) Grow in the salt water marsh. Among the tree species represented are the white poplar (Populus alba), the elm (Ulmus spp.) And the tamarisk (Tamarix sp.) are present.

The vegetation of the dunes is adapted to the harsh conditions of the environment, including the dune funnel-shaped daffodil (Pancratium maritimum), Peu de Milà, a Mediterranean species of the sparrow-tongue family (Thymelaea velutina), and the coastal juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus macrocarpa).

With a total of over 200 species there is also an enormous variety of mushrooms and funghi. One of them, Psathyrella halofila, was only discovered in S’Albufera in 1992.

As for the fauna, the river eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the mullet are particularly noteworthy among the fish. The Iberian water frog (Pelophylax perezi) and reptiles such as the viper (Natrix maura) and the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) are found in large numbers.

The total of 22 mammal species include rats, mice and several species of bats.

Invertebrates are also very diverse with many species of dragonflies, beetles and over 450 species of moths.

Over 300 different bird species have been observed in the area and around 60 are resident or species represented in summer that reproduce in the nature park. More than 10,000 birds overwinter in S’Albufera: ducks, herons and also large flocks of starlings. The nature park is an important stopover for many migratory birds, many of which are only guests for a few days, such as teal ducks, swallows … and even, sometimes, cranes.

Activities and day trips in the area from Get Your Guide

Information/Visitors Centers

Can Bateman Interpretation Centre is open to the public from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm all the year, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The visitor centre is close to the park entrance (6 KM southeast of Alcudia) but can only be reached by foot. The centre provides permits to visit the park and general information for the area and its Wildlife. there is an exhibition housed in the Can Bateman.

Can Bateman was built in 1870 which used to belong to Mr Bateman, one of the Englishmen with a license to reclaim land from the wetlands. Restored in 1991. The building once contained the pumps and machinery and was also used as a paper mill making paper from reeds.

The Grazalema Guide

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

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Península del Llevant Natural Park

  • Region: Islas Baleares.
  • Island / Towns : Mallorca / Artá, Capdepera, Son Cervera
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2001
  • Park surface area:1671 hectares.

Points of interest

The Península del Llevant Natural Park includes almost the entire Artá ​​peninsula, in the municipalities of Artá, Capdepera and Son Servera including smaller areas of San Lorenzo del Cardezar, Manacor and Santa Margarita.

The area forms part of the European Union’s Natura 2000 Network as both an Area of Special Protection for Birds and a Site of Community Interest.

The current appearance of this land is the result of centuries of human interaction. Scrubland was repeatedly burned thus favoring the species resistent to forest fire such as Mauritanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica) and the European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis). As a result, today Mauritanian grass covers a greater part of the park in areas that were once covered with trees and other plantlife. (The abundance of the fan palm gave rise to the widespread development of palm-based craftwork in the late 19th century. There are still a few craftsfolk in the area).

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The park’s fauna include populations of Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), Algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus), genet (Geneta geneta), pine marten (Martes martes) and the Balearic green toad (Bufo balearicus).

Look out for booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii), European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). Red kite (Milvus milvus) have been successfully reintroduced to the area.

Other activities and day trips in the area from Get your Guide

Information/Visitors Centers

Centre d’Informació de s’Alqueria Vella de Baix

Information centre and Natural Park office: S’Alqueria Vella de Baix.

Take the road from Artà towards the hermitage “Ermita de Betlem” (Ma-3333) and turn right at kilometre 4,7.
Opening times: (Monday to Sunday) from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.


If you want to stay in one of the shelters (Alzina, Oguers and Arenalet), then you need to reserve in advance on the website below or you can try calling 971177652 (Monday to Friday from 10am to 14 pm). The website is in Spanish and Catalan

The Grazalema Guide

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.