Category Archives: Other protected areas

The Sierra de Culebra

  • Region: Castilla y Leon
  • Province: Zamora
  • Status: Regional Hunting reserve. With its definitive protection status yet to be determined. In recent years, there has been a debate over the proposal to declare this mountain range a natural park, a measure that has been opposed by the residents of the municipalities affected, as they consider it detrimental to their economic interests.
  • Area: The Sierra de la Culebra covers an approximate total area of 70,000 hectares, of which 61,305 hectares have been designated as a Site of Community Importance (LIC), and 67,340 hectares were declared a national hunting reserve in 1973, later converted into a regional hunting reserve since 1996. It is also part of the “Plan de Espacios Naturales Protegidos de Castilla y León” and is part of the Meseta Ibérica biosphere reserve.
  • Nearby towns and villages: Pedralba de la Pradería, Puebla de Sanabria, Ferreras de Abajo, Ferreras de Arriba, Ferreruela, Tábara, Manzanal de Arriba, Otero de Bodas, Villardeciervos, Figueruela de Arriba, Mahíde, Riofrío de Aliste
Introduction to the Sierra de Culebra

The Sierra de la Culebra is a Spanish mountain range located in the northwest of the province of Zamora and the autonomous community of Castilla y León. It’s main value lies in the large population of Iberian wolf with the highest concentration in Spain. Populations of red deer, roe deer and wild boar are also very significant.

The name of this mountain range is thought to have been inspired by its undulating contours, which bear a resemblance to a snake, hence its name “Sierra de Culebra” (Snake Mountain Range). However, another theory suggests that the name could have stemmed from the historical presence of snake species, including the smooth snake, the horn-nosed viper, and the whip snake.

The area continues across the border and is included in the Portuguese Natural Park of Montesinhos. Its small elevations range from 800 to 1,200 meters in height. Reforestation pine is dominant in the mountains, although native forest masses of oak, Spanish oak, and chestnut are also present. In the scrublands, heather and rockrose are the dominant plants.

The area has also become famous as a starlight destination. The Starlight Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2009 to promote the protection of the night sky and the development of “astrotourism” and there is an ever growing list of starlight destinations in Spain to visit.

The Sierra de Culebra: A land of wolves.

This mountain range is internationally renowned for being home to one of the most precious faunal treasures and a symbol of conservation efforts—the Iberian wolf. Its vast expanse allows for days of exploration through wide, untouched natural spaces, far from human presence. It stands as one of the premier destinations in Spain for wolf observation.

The best place to see wolves in Spain is in the rolling hills of the Sierra de la Culebra.
The best place to see wolves in Spain is in the rolling hills of the Sierra de la Culebra.
Continue reading The Sierra de Culebra

Fuente de Piedra lagoon

Located in the Antequera region of Malaga, Spain, the Fuente de Piedra lagoon is the largest lagoon in Andalusia, stretching 6.5 km in length and 2.5 km in width. This wetland is particularly famous for being home to a large colony of Greater Flamingos, making it a significant site for the species in the Western Mediterranean.

This is one of the places to visit close to the Caminito del Rey. https://www.caminodelrey.es/places-to-visit-close-to-the-caminito-del-rey/

Designated as a Ramsar site in 1983, a natural reserve on January 11, 1984, a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) in 1988, and a Special Conservation Area (SCA) in 2013, the Fuente de Piedra lagoon covers 1364 hectares of protected land, with 164 hectares forming a part of the natural reserve.

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The Tabernas Desert

The Tabernas Desert is located in the province of Almería, in the southeast of Andalucia. It is a semi-arid desert that covers an area of approximately 280 square kilometers (110 square miles). The landscape of the Tabernas Desert is characterized by its rugged terrain, barren hills, and dry riverbeds.

The area is known for its unique scenery, which has been used as the backdrop for many famous Western movies, including “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “A Fistful of Dollars.” Because of this, the desert is sometimes referred to as “The Hollywood of Europe.”

Despite its harsh environment, the Tabernas Desert is home to a variety of flora and fauna. This includes several species of reptiles, birds, and mammals. The area also has a rich cultural history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to prehistoric times.

Today, the Tabernas Desert is a popular tourist destination. Many visitors coming to explore its unique landscapes and enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, and off-road driving.

Activities and Guided tours in The Tabernas Desert from Get Your Guide
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Ten of the best natural parks to observe birds and wildlife in Spain

Spain has to rate as one of the best countries in in Europe for bird and wildlife watching. A destination with over 15 million hectares of protected areas and natural parks plus Spain is a strategic location on the avian migratory routes between Europe to Africa. So Ten of the best natural parks to observe birds and wildlife in Spain?

Spain hosts huge forests and rocky mountain peaks where large birds of prey soar freely. There are wetlands where waterfowl find their home. Hundreds of nature parks and nature reserves teeming with birds and other wildlife.

If you need a bucket list for Spain then here is my top 10 for bird and wildlife watching in Spain. I have visited them all and would gladly return many times to all of them!

Just click the name of the park to find out much more information.

Read more about birdwatching holidays in Spain here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/birds-and-birdwatching-in-spain/

Cabañeros National Park, Ciudad Real (Castilla la Mancha)

The Cabañeros National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional de Cabañeros) is a NATIONAL park and is located within the two provinces of Ciudad Real andToledo
The Cabañeros National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional de Cabañeros) is a NATIONAL park and is located within the two provinces of Ciudad Real andToledo

Cabañeros is considered a Special Protection Area for Birds and is protected within the framework of the Natura 2000 Network. Famous for black vulture, griffon vulture, Iberian imperial eagle, Bonnelli’s eagle and black stork. With summer residents this park teems with birdlife.


Monfragüe National Park, Cáceres (Extremadura)

The area of Monfragüe National Park is noted for its importance as a breeding area for a selection of rare and protected birds,
The area of Monfragüe National Park is noted for its importance as a breeding area for a selection of rare and protected birds,

Monfragüe is, without a doubt, one of the best places in Spain for bird watching and especially for birds of prey. Every year this area also hosts the International Ornithological Tourism Fair, which attracts bird lovers from all over the world. Top of the list here is black stork, griffon vulture, imperial eagle, eagle owl, Egyptian vulture and short-toed eagle.


Atlantic Islands National Park (Galicia)

The Islas Atlánticas National Park are known in English as the Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park.
The Islas Atlánticas National Park are known in English as the Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park.

A Special Protection Area for birds. And, although there are many species, this national park can boast of being home to the largest colonies of shag and yellow-legged gull in the entire country. The park has strategically located hides.


Doñana National Park, Huelva and Seville (Andalucia)

The Doñana National and Natural Parks occupy the northern area of the Guadalquivir river where it meets the Atlantic Ocean
The Doñana National and Natural Parks occupy the northern area of the Guadalquivir river where it meets the Atlantic Ocean

The Doñana National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are more than 300 species listed. Some are sedentary and others migratory so the time of year greatly influences what species you will see. In spring there are organized visits and every year the International Bird Fair of Doñana is held. The ecosystems are varied between dunes and marshes and it is home to black storks, flamingos, purple herons, coots, bee-eaters and a seemingly endless number of different birds.


The Gallocanta Lagoon, Zaragoza and Teruel (Aragon)

Gallocanta laguna in Aragon, Spain
De Secretaria – http://www.xiloca.com/xilocapedia/index.php/Imagen:Atardecer_6_Gallocanta.jpg, CC BY 3.0 es, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19561884

The Gallocanta Lagoon is around 1,000 meters above sea level and is one of the most important saline lakes in Western Europe. This lake is on the migratory route for the common crane. October / November and February / March are the best times to visit this area. Guided tours of the nature reserve are also organized from the Gallocanta Lagoon Interpretation Center.


Hoces del Duratón Natural Park, Segovia (Castille y Leon)

Hoces del Rio Duratón Natural Park Parque Natural de las Hoces del Río Duratón is a natural park close to the town of Sepúlveda in the province of Segovia
Hoces del Rio Duratón Natural Park Parque Natural de las Hoces del Río Duratón is a natural park close to the town of Sepúlveda in the province of Segovia

The gorges of the Duratón river are home to one of the largest population of griffon vultures in Europe. Canoe trips here are a great way to get a bit closer to the wildlife of the area.


Ebro Delta Natural Park, Tarragona (Catalonia)

The Parque natural del Delta del Ebro holds a great importance internationally as more than 300 species of birds
The Parque natural del Delta del Ebro holds a great importance internationally as more than 300 species of birds

An absolute biological jewel and the most important wetland in Catalonia. Famous for its large and permanent colony of flamingos plus an excellent number of aquatic birds totaling more than 325 species


Marismas de Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Natural Park (Cantabria)

Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel Natural Park
Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel Natural Park

This Cantabrian natural park is considered one of the places with a huge biological diversity containing around 120 different species including grebes, cormorants, herons, loons, terns, ospreys, coots and white storks.


Lagunas de Villafáfila Nature Reserve, Zamora (Castille y Leon)

Reserva Natural de Lagunas de Villafáfila
Reserva Natural de Lagunas de Villafáfila

The best time to visit the Villafáfila Lagoons is in winter or spring. This is an area of ​​special protection for birds that make their home in the wetlands amongst the arable farmland. There are several viewpoints and hides. Grebe, white stork an cranes can be seen but the area is famous for the geese that use the area as a rest stop during their winter migration.


L’Albufera Natural Park (Valencia)

Albufera natural park - Valencia
Albufera natural park – Valencia

L’Albufera holds a great variety of aquatic birds. Its shores are protected for nesting and shelter for birds and the best months to find them are May, June, July, November, December and January. Look out for European rail, Purple galinule, common tern and black-footed tern.

So, there you have my ten of the best natural parks to observe birds and wildlife in Spain


Ronda Today

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


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.

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.

https://grazalemaguide.com/