South East Regional Park

  • Region: Madrid
  • Declared a Regional Park: 1994
  • Park surface area: 31,552 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Velilla de San Antonio, Ciempozuelos, Titulcia, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, San Martín de la Vega, Morata de Tajuña, Arganda del Rey, San Fernando de Henares, Pinto, Mejorada del Campo, Getafe, Valdemoro, Aranjuez, Chinchón, Torrejón de Ardoz, Coslada and Madrid

Points of interest

The South East Regional Park (Parque regional del Sureste) is an area of Madrid that extends from north to south along the Jarama river and presents a great variety of habitats some of which are considered the best and well preserved wetlands in the Comunity of Madrid such as the Mar de Ontígola close to the town of Aranjuez, Laguna de San Juan near Chinchón and the gravel pits between the rivers Jarama, Manzanares and Henares (Soto de las Juntas and El Campillo).

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Almond blossom in the Sierra de Grazalema

Pale pink almond blossom is a delightful sight and a harbinger of spring when it opens in late January through February. As it flowers before the leaves appear there is a delicate candy-floss appearance to the trees. You can see almond blossom in the Sierra de Grazalema grouped in orchards, or as singles marking the edges of pastures and arable fields.

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Peñalara Natural Park

  • Region: Madrid
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1990
  • Park surface area: 768 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Rascafria

Points of interest

Some history behind the Peñalara Natural Park

During the 1920s there was a plan to create the Guadarrama National Park due to its important ecological value. The plan never started though due to changes in government and the Spanish Civil War. The area was, however, declared a Natural Site of National Interest in 1930, with the aim of preserving the landscape from external attacks. Even with that protection, in 1969 the ski resort of Valcotos was built which occupied much of Peñalara mountain and the construction of ski lifts, small buildings, slopes and various clearings caused serious damage to the flora, fauna and the terrain.

During the 1980s, a project was created to protect the eastern slope of the Peñalara peak including the lagoons and in 1990, the Community of Madrid declared the area as a natural park of the Cumbre, Circo and Lagunas de Peñalara. From 1998 to early 2000 the ski resort of Valcotos that occupied much of the southern part of the protected area was dismantled, the ski lifts were removed and the old tracks were planted with Scots pine.

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Guadarrama National Park

  • Region: Madrid and Castilla y León
  • Province: Madrid and Segovia
  • Declared a National Park: 2013
  • Park surface area: 33, 960 hectares
  • Towns and Villages: (Madrid) Alameda del Valle, Becerril de la Sierra, Canencia, Cercedilla, El Boalo, Guadarrama, Los Molinos, Lozoya, Manzanares el Real, Miraflores de la Sierra, Navacerrada, Navarredonda y San Mamés, Pinilla del Valle, Rascafría, Soto del Real. (Segovia) Aldealengua de Pedraza, Basardilla, Collado Hermoso, El Espinar, Gallegos, La Losa, Navafría, Navas de Riofrío , Ortigosa del Monte, Otero de Herreros, Palazuelos de Eresma, Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, Santiuste de Pedraza, Santo Domingo de Pirón, Segovia, Sotosalbos, Torre Val de San Pedro, Torrecaballeros, Trescasas.

Points of interest

Not without it’s controversy over the years (due to it conflicting with housing and other human development plans), the Guadarrama National Park project was finally declared in 2013.

Its aims are to protect the eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of “high Mediterranean mountain”. There are almost 1,300 different animal species in the area of which 13 are in danger of extinction. The species of animals in the mountains represent 45% of the total fauna of Spain and 18% of European fauna. There are mammals such as deer (red, roe and fallow), wild boar, Spanish Ibex, badgers, several mustelidaes, wild cats, foxes, hares, etc. Iberian wolf also seems to have returned to the area after a 70-year absence..

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