- Area: 87,268 km²
- Provinces: Sevilla, Huelva, Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga, Jaen, Granada, Almeria
Andalucia is the second largest autonomous community in Spain. Its topography is marked by the depression of the Guadalquivir River Valley, which runs between two mountainous areas: the Sierra Morena mountains to the north and the Betica ranges to the south. The Guadalquivir river has created a fertile valley, its source is in the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park in the east and its estuary in the south-west marshlands of Doñana National Park.
Fifty percent of the Andalucian territory is mountainous, one-third is found at an altitude above 600 metres, including an extensive high plateau and 46 peaks are higher than 1,000 metres. Eighteen percent of its territory is protected.
The Sierra Nevada mountain range holds the highest point in Andalusia, the main peaks Mulhacén and Veleta, both measure over 3,400 metres high.
Andalusia is also the meeting place between the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea at the strait of Gibraltar. The proximity between two continents at the strait, encourages migrating birds to collect together while waiting for good weather conditions to assist their journey outward and a resting place on the return. Enormous flocks of birds gather, allowing bird watchers to see species that can be difficult to observe in their normal terrain.
Where is Andalucia?
Andalusia is located in the south of the Iberian peninsula, in southwestern Europe. South of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha. West of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea. East of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. North of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar.
This Spanish province is the only European region with both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines.
The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The main mountain ranges of Andalusia are the Sierra Morena and the Baetic System, consisting of the Subbaetic and Penibaetic Mountains. These are separated by the Intrabaetic Basin. In the north, the Sierra Morena separates Andalusia from the plains of Extremadura and Castilla La Mancha on Spain’s Meseta Central.
To the south the geographic subregion of Upper Andalusia lies mostly within the Baetic System, while Lower Andalusia is in the Baetic Depression of the valley of the Guadalquivir.
Natural and National Parks in Andalucia
Hear are the national and national parks in Andalucia. Just click the links to find out more.
- Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche
- Sierra Norte de Sevilla
- Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro
- Sierra de Andujar
- Sierra Cazorla
- Sierra de Castril
- Sierra Magina
- Sierra de Maria los Velez
- Cabo de Gata-Níjar
- Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama
- Sierra de Baza
- Sierra Nevada
- Sierra Subbética
- Montes de Malaga
- Sierra de las Nieves
- Sierra de Grazalema
- Los Alcornocales
- El Estrecho
- La Breña y Marismas de Barbate
- Bahia de Cadiz
- Doñana National Park
- Doñana Buffer Zone: As well as the National Park of Doñana there is also a buffer zone (or pre-park area) around it, which is a designated Natural Park of Doñana (known in Spanish as Entorno de Doñana).
The Natural Park is less strictly protected with more open access but being a natural continuation of the National Park it is also of great importance for migratory and breeding birds, wildlife in general and tourism for the area
Other protected areas
Botanical gardens in Natural parks of Andalucia
Created in 2001, The Andalusian Network of Botanical Gardens has worked pretty hard over the years to benefit the conservation of biodiversity, education , recovery and reintroduction of wild species. The network is made up of 12 Gardens located within Natural and National park areas of Andalucia.
If you are visiting an area where a botanical garden is located then it really is worth a visit. Many of the plants that you will see whilst walking in the countryside of Spain are represented in well laid out and labelled areas.
I have found that the people staffing these botanic gardens are some of the most friendliest and knoalegdable people working within the nutural park system in Spain.
El Aljilbe in Alacala de los Gazules (Los Alcormocales Natural Park)
El Castillejo in El Bosque (Sierra de Grazalema)
Detunda-Cueva de Nerja – Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama
Dunas del Odiel – Paraje Natural de las Lagunas de Palos y las Madres
El Albardinal Cabo de Gata-Níjar
El Robledo – Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Hoya de Pedraza – Sierra Nevada
La Cortijuela – Sierra Nevada
Micológico La Trufa – Sierras Subbéticas
San Fernando – Bahia de Cádiz
Torre de Vinagre – Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas
Umbria de la Virgen – María loz Velez
Natural and National Parks in Andalucia. Is it a Natural or National Park?
In Spain, a natural park (Spanish: parque natural) is a natural space protected for its biology, geology, or landscape. As is to be expected, natural parks focus their main attention on the conservation and maintenance of flora, fauna, and terrain. Natural parks may be maritime or terrestrial and can be in the mountains, along the coasts, in the desert.
Human habitation and Agriculture has affected in one way or another the habitats in a natural park area.
A National park (Spanish: parque nacional) Has the same if not more protection status. More of a wilderness area less impacted by human habitation and exploitation.
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.