- Region: Andalucia
- Province: Córdoba
- Declared a Natural Park: 1988
- Park surface area: 32,056 hectares
- Towns and villages: Cabra, Carcabuey, Doña Mencía, Iznájar, Luque, Priego, Rute and Zuheros
Points of interest
Set in the middle of Andalucia, the Sierra Subbética is a limestone semi-mountainous area with rolling hills and a high point of 1.570 metres named la Tiñosa. The main economy for the area comes from olive oil, therefore much of the area has intensive olive grove plantations.
The villages and towns in the Sierra Subbética are a delight to explore.
If you have an interest in fossils then this area should be on your bucket list for Andalucia as it is also a UNESCO global geopark and also part of the “Fossil route”
Find a hotel in the Sierra Subbética
Holm oak (Quercus ilex) woods have a shrubby companion mixture of lentisc, wild olive, retama and peonies. Hawthorn, spurge laurel, gorse and purple phlomis occupy the open areas exposed to the sun. Gall oaks (Quercus faginea) are to be found on the northern slopes in more humid parts along with laurustinus, kermes oak, buckthorn, smilax and strawberry trees.
The highest regions which are exposed to the elements contain the hedgehog zone or low, compact spiny plants including Alyssum spinosum and hedgehog broom (Erinacea anthyllis).
River banks hold poplar, willow, hawthorn, tamarisk, southern nettle tree and brambles.
Raptors to be seen around the park are golden, short toed, booted, bonelli’s and imperial eagles, goshawk, sparrowhawk, kestrel, lesser kestrel, eagle owl, priffon vulture and Peregrine falcon.
On high rocky outcrops look for alpine accentor, blue rock thrush and rock thrush, whereas near water you may find dipper, kingfisher, various warblers and daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii).
Mammals include wild boar, spanish ibex, stone marten, fox, rabbit, hedgehog and wild cat.
The Sierra Subbetica has the most southerly population of the Miller’s water shrew (Neomys anomalus.) These red-toothed shrews add fish, amphibians, and crustaceans to their diet of worms and insects. They are adapted to their aquatic life by having long, stiff hairs on the rear feet that add surface area, increase traction, and trap air bubbles that enable them to scamper over the water surface and help them to swim.
Sierras Subbéticas Global Geopark
The Route of the Ammonites of Las Sierras Subbéticas Geopark.
The limestone, which has been shaped by water for thousands of years, presents a fascinating karstic landscape with a great diversity of geological elements: poljes, karrens, sinkholes, chasms and more than 800 caves.
The rocks of the Sierras Subbéticas mountain ranges date back over 200 million years. Key chapters of the complex history of the Tethys Sea were recorded within the sediments, most notably ammonites, an ancient animal with a spiral shell that, due to the abundance and variety of their fossils, are an indisputable symbol of the Sierras Subbéticas Geopark
The Santa Rita Visitor Centre is part of the Route of the Ammonites in the Sierras Subbéticas Geopark (see below).
Also in the Sierra Subbética
- Cuevas de las Murciélagos – The Bat Cave, near Zuheros was first recorded in 1868, but not explored until 1938.It contains impressive stalagmites and stalactites with underground lakes and caverns. Importantly it also holds unique rock paintings. Neolithic burial remains discovered in the cave show evidence of human occupation of the caves dating from over 35,000 years ago. Some of the finds from the cave are housed in the archaeological museum in Zuheros.
- Almedinilla village also has a museum, set in an old watermill. The village has the remains of a Roman villa complex. Many historical remains have been discovered in the area from the Bronze age, Iberian, Phoenician and Roman eras.
- The village of Cabra became one of the first Christian strongholds in the Roman province of Betica.
Dedicated to the Cueva de los Murciélagos Natural Monument, the Cueva de los Murciélagos Ecomuseum is well worth a visit
Address – Zuheros – Carretera CO-6210, km. 4, 14870 .
In Cabra, the Santa Rita Visitor Centre displays the geological phenomena responsible for the unique physiognomy of the Sierras Subbéticas mountain range. It consists of a journey into the depths of the earth, showing the various formations caused by water modelling the limestone rock.
There are numerous interactive features displaying the natural and cultural heritage of the Sierras Subbéticas mountain range. An important part of the facilities are dedicated to geological resources and the Geopark. Visitors are greeted by a giant sculpture of an ammonite, a symbol of the importance given to geological heritage in this region.
“Address: Cabra – on the A-339 at km. 11
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