- Region: Valencian Community
- Province: Castellón
- Declared a Natural Park: 2002 (Also declared a Marine Reserve of fishing interest.)
- Park surface area: 7743 hectares
- Towns and villages: Alcalá de Chivert, Peñíscola, Santa Magdalena de Pulpis
Points of interest
The Sierra de Irta Natural Park (in Valencian Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta) is located in the Baix Maestrat region at the northern end of the province of Castellón. It was declared a Natural Park and Marine Natural Reserve in order to also conserve the maritime strip bordering the coast of the Sierra de Irta and is a fine example of the Valencian coastal marine environment.
This protected area constitutes one of the most beautiful landscapes on the Valencian coast and represents one of the last mountain ranges that remain undeveloped on the Mediterranean coast and along with the Campanilles peak at 572 metres, the cliff of Torre Badum and 12 km of coastline there are numerous cliffs and coves in an area that, historically, was scarcely populated.
Find a hotel close to the Sierra de Irta Natural Park
“Maquis” scrubland occupies most of the surface area with the most frequent species being Pistacia (Pistacia lentiscus), juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), white and broom heather (Erica arborea and E. scoparia), Cistus such as (Cistus monspeliensis, C. salviifolius, C. albidus), and gorse (Calicotome spinosa).
The geranium of Irta , an endemism of the mountains, is also apparently noteworthy (but I have failed to find a scientific name for this plant nor ever seen one! 🙂
Marine bird life includes yellow-footed gull (Larus cachinnans), Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) and Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii). Bonelli’s eagle, peregrine falcon, Eleonor’s falcon and the Eurasian eagle owl have breeding populations present along with ravens, Eurasian scops owl, tawny owl and the little owl.
The Mediterranean tortoise (Testudo hermanni). is present in the area following a reintroduction project that started in 2005 and over 1000 individuals have been released to date.
Other places to visit
The Sierra de Irta Natural Park is rich in heritage and it is worth highlighting the castles of Alcalá de Chivert and Santa Magdalena de Pulpis which belonged to the Order of the Temple Knights. (Also there is the remains of an Iberian settlement from the 7th century BC next to the castle of Alcalá de Chivert).
There is a network of watchtowers that were designed to protect the area from maritime incursions, the most important of which are the Ebrí tower and the Badum tower.
Centro de Interpretación del Parque Natural de la Serra d’Irta y Reserva Natural Marina d’Irta
The Interpretation Center of the Serra d’Irta Natural Park and Marina d’Irta Natural Reserve is located at kilometer 1.5 of the CV-141 (entrance road to the town of Peñíscola from the N-340).
There are two rooms filled with information about the natural, cultural and landscape values of the protected area.
There is also an audiovisual film about the Natural Park and its main places of interest.
The official website for the Parque Natural de la Serra d’Irta y Reserva Natural Marina d’Irta is here: https://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-serra-d-irta/centro-de-visitantes
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