Category Archives: Wildlife Holidays

Looking for Wildlife & Walking Holidays in Spain?

Looking for Wildlife, walking and cultural Holidays in Spain? Wildside Holidays publishes information pages about the Natural and National parks in Spain. Information about wildlife in Spain and where to find it. Just look in the right hand column for the Spanish regions or the top menu for the wildlife pages. On a mobile just scroll down or use the menu button.

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 guided trip or transport in Spain. The small commission we receive helps a lot. Thankyou!

Looking for Wildlife & Walking Holidays in Spain? Wildside Holidays is the answer!


Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

Internationally known to nature lovers, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park is beautiful at any time of the year. As well as the stunning scenery, the mountain range is adorned by popular Andalusian White Villages which boast a combination of picturesque views, multiple footpaths, tourist information centers, museums, shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, and privately-owned rural accommodation for those seeking more seclusion. There is also the option of Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

What is the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park best known for?

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Grazalema poppy – Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

In a natural park of over 51,000 hectares, how do you know where to go?

Would you prefer to have someone else do the research for you?

Nature Plus – Grazalema” is a friendly nature guiding service that offers tailored 1/2 day or full day routes to individuals or small groups.

This gives you the opportunity to be specific about what you would like to see. Popular requests include; orchids, butterflies, wildflowers, birds, dragonflies, amphibians & reptiles. Also figuring importantly on wish lists are; general nature, mixed habitats & impressive views.

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Spanish ibex – Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

A major benefit is that you are not being urged to constantly catch up with a large, noisy group. You can relax, take photos and you’ll get to see so much more and at a gentle pace. You’ll also be able to ask questions as we go, as your guide is close by.

Sue Eatock is originally from the UK and has lived in Grazalema since 2005, where she has specialized in the fauna and flora of the area. This is a hobby that has turned into a business, so her passion for the local nature shines through.

Why have a guide at all?

With a guide, you will experience so much more, without having to put in hours of research, carry maps, or worry about the most suitable route.

As an example, let’s imagine for a moment that you would love to see the endemic Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum). Where should you look for it, which month, and what time of day is best? This is when a local guide is a huge asset, taking you to exactly the right place.

If you are exploring the area over a few days, one day out with a guide will show you what to look for, where, and help you to identify what you are seeing.

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

Find out more about Sue and what Nature plus – Grazalema can do to help you get the best out of a visit to the Sierra de Grazalema here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/nature-plus-grazalema/


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/

Sierra Norte de Sevilla

Photo – Cerro del Hierro (Author: Arturo Menor)

  • Region: Andalucia
  • Province: Sevilla
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1989
  • Park surface area: 177,484 hectares
  • Declared a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2011
  • Towns and villages: Alanís, Almadén de la Plata, Cazalla de la Sierra, Constantina, Guadalcanal, El Real de la Jara, El Pedroso, La Puebla de los Infantes, Las Navas de la Concepción, San Nicolás del Puerto

Points of interest

A semi-mountainous area, set between two other natural parks, which together form an extended protected range. To the east is Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche in Huelva province. To the west is Sierra de Hornachuelos in Cordoba province.

The Sierra Norte de Sevilla shares with its neighbouring parks endangered creatures such as the Iberian Lynx, Black stork and Imperial eagle.

Evergreen oak trees dominate the terrain, interspersed with meadows or dehesas.

This sparsely populated area has two large man made lakes and rolling hills with winding country lanes.

The Huesna river, which holds both common and rainbow trout, has a waterfall that has been declared a National Heritage site. It is near the source of the river (nacimiento del Río Huesna) close to the village of San Nicolás del Puerto.


Find a hotel in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla

Booking.com

A second National Heritage site is El Cerro del Hierro, a mine in the Roman era and further exploited until the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a combination of open mining, water filled pits and natural Karst landscape with rich mineral content.

Flora

A small enclave of Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) is the only one of its type in the province. Gall oaks (Q. faginea) are growing in the shady, humid areas. The Mediterranean climate favours Cork (Quercus suber) and Holm oak trees (Q. ilex). There are also Stone pines and groves of Sweet chestnut trees. The thickets are of Rockrose (Cistus sp), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Wild cherry (Prunus avium), Fig (Ficus carica) Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) and Turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus).

River banks are densely wooded and consist of Alder, Ash, Elm, Poplar, diverse species of Willows and Southern nettle tree.

Fauna

Red deer and Wild boar are the larger mammals, small and elusive carnivores are Genet, Fox, Badger, Mongoose, Wild cat, Pole cat and Otter. Amongst the raptors are Short-toed, Imperial and Bonelli’s eagles and Griffon and Black vultures, Red kite and Eagle owl.

Look out for the majestic Black stork. Azure-winged magpies, Bee-eaters, Golden orioles and Hawfinches are some of the colourful birds to look out for.

The large Ocellated lizard can sometimes be spotted sunbathing on a rock or fallen tree.

The Sierra Norte de Sevilla Global Geopark

The Sierra Norte de Sevilla Global Geopark is located at the north of the province of Seville in the Sierra Morena and. The geopark includes ten towns and villages within its limits: Alanís, Almadén de la Plata, Cazalla de la Sierra, Constantina, Guadalcanal, Las Navas de la Concepción, El Pedroso, La Puebla de los Infantes, El Real de la Jara and San Nicolás del Puerto

The geopark’s varied geological, archaeological and mining history has resulted in the recognition of many sites of geological interest including:

  • Karst and mine complex at El Cerro del Hierro natural monument: a spectacular paleo-karst which originated from Middle-Upper Cambrian erosion of Lower Cambrian limestone.
  • Los Covachos Cave in Almadén de la Plata is 300m long and drops by 26m with various galleries divided between two levels, containing over 1000 inscriptions.
  • La Sima abyss in Constantina.
  • Syncline, with Ordovician to Devonian sedimentary rocks and an abundance of pelagic fossil species.
  • A site containing the highest concentration of impressions of Lower Cambrian jellyfish recorded in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • The crag-land landscapes in the Geopark’s abundant igneous rock outcrops.
  • The Beja-Acebuches amphibolites interpreted as the remains of an ancient ocean floor, and a suture between tectonic plates.
  • Permian and the Triassic rocks which represent the filling of post-orogenic continental basins.
  • Cueva Santiago in Cazalla de la Sierra is a complex cave system with artifacts from Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures (before the Bronze Age, between about 4500 and 3500 BC).
  • The waterfalls and travertine deposits in the Hueznar River.
  • Guadalcanal is a former mining settlement, with medieval walls, Mudéjar churches and a castle.

Since the area was declared a global geopark, interpretation panels have been placed at visitor centers and and various information points in the area. (see information centres below)

Also in the area: (Ask about them in a visitor centre for more information)

  • There is a beautifully restored Carthusian Monastery near Cazalla de la Sierra, visitors can admire the architecture and view the Contemporary art which is on permanent display.
  • La Travesia Necropolis dating from the Bronze Age has been recognized for its archaeological value and is located in Almadén de la Plata.
  • There are numerous dolmens (megalithic tombs).

Information/Visitors Centers (The National Park has two visitor centres.)

Centro de Información El Robledo

Address: Ctra. Constantina-El Pedroso km. 1, 41450 Constantina. Sevilla

The El Robledo visitor centre is situated in the heart of the Sierra Norte Natural Park, 1,4 kilometres from Constantina. It is a quiet place with the sounds of riverine forests. During the summer months,aromatic plants typically found in monte mediterráneo woodland fill the air with their strong scents.

The El Robledo botanical garden, adjacent to the visitor centre. Is well worth a visit and holds a large collection of the plants to be found in the area.

Cortijo El Berrocal

Address: Camino Rural Almadén de la Plata-Los Melonares, km 5,5. 41240 – Almadén de la Plata (Sevilla)

The visitor centre is located in the public forest of Las Navas-Berrocal, a place of great scenic beauty where visitors can admire plant formations typical of the Sevillian highlands: holm oak and cork oak pastureland, riverine vegetation and Mediterranean forest with mastic, rockrose and strawberry trees.


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.

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

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.

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.


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/