National Parks in Spain: 15 essentials for nature lovers

In Spain we have a great natural heritage. Both for their size, the 15 National Parks account for almost 1% of the national territory, and for their beauty. We have a very varied fauna that includes some animals whose exclusive home is the peninsula and are unique in the world. We have an enormous diversity in our flora and also a huge number of landscapes of impressive beauty.

As it is impossible to choose between the 15 parks, it is best to talk about all of them. In Spain we have national parks of medium and high mountains as well as wetlands, maritime-terrestrial parks (Islands) and volcanic parks in the Canary Islands.

Medium and high mountain National Parks

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

Located in the province of Huesca, Monte Perdido is one of the oldest national parks in our country (1918). Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. There are more than 15,000 hectares of wonderful landscapes, mountain rivers, forests and charming villages. A natural high mountain paradise, crowned by the magnificent Monte Perdido massif, with its 3,355 meters. A place to walk and admire the untamed beauty of the snow-capped mountains.

Picos de Europa National Park

Located between Asturias, León and Cantabria, this high Atlantic mountain park is the largest limestone formation in Atlantic Europe. It is much more than a set of wonderful landscapes. To visit the Picos de Europa is to take a walk through history through its small towns, its valleys and its churches. Only its forests are worth the visit. In them they live chamois -on the top of the cliffs- wolves, roe deer and the odd bear. Without forgetting the great variety of birds, highlighting vultures, eagles and Uruguayans.

Aigüestortes National Park and San Mauricio Lake

In Lleida, we find one of the most beautiful national parks on the peninsula. It has more than 200 mountain lakes, surrounded by high stone peaks, which will delight anyone who knows how to appreciate a beautiful landscape. Presiding over the park, imposing and haughty, the peak of “Els Encantats”, with its 2,700 meters. But perhaps the most beautiful are its lush forests of black pine and fir. And of course, its lakes, rivers and its high mountain meanders, the aigüestortes.

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

parque nacional sierra de guadarrama

Between Madrid and Segovia we find the most recent of our national parks (2013). It is one of the Mediterranean high mountain parks and is the perfect place to forget about everything. There are routes for all tastes and for all ages. Thick forests to get lost full of animals that, if you walk stealthily, it is easy to see. For the most daring, 2,500 meter peaks or stone walls. For everyone: beautiful towns and good food, just 40 minutes from Madrid.

Sierra Nevada National Park

30 minutes from Granada we have the wonderful Sierra Nevada. This mid-high mountain park has its ceiling at 3,479 meters from Mulhacen. It has an exciting fauna and flora that change as you get higher. It is a beautiful place in summer and a spectacular landscape in winter. Its beauty is at the height of the neighboring city of Granada, you cannot miss it.

Cabañeros National Park

Ciudad Real and Toledo share the honor of hosting this beautiful Cabañeros National Park. This mid-mountain park has a very special landscape. Huge fields of cultivation surrounded by rocky mountain ranges and lush forests make up a unique environment where the action of man over the years has known how to respect nature and the environment, becoming part of it.

Monfragüe National Park

In Extremadura, following the course of the Tagus we enter Monfragüe. Populated by gentle mountains and large meadows, this park is a paradise for the senses. It is also home to a huge variety of birds as well as large populations of the black vulture and golden eagle. It is a quiet and beautiful place, where you can disconnect from the routine and simply admire the beauty.

Marine-Terrestrial and Wetlands National Parks

parque nacional doñana

Doñana national park

In Huelva it is in the Doñana National Park. Home to some beautiful animals in serious danger of extinction (Iberian Lynx or the Iberian Imperial Eagle), it serves as a refuge on their journey to millions of birds that cross Europe seeking the warmth of North Africa. If it weren’t for Doñana, with its marimas, its dunes, the Mediterranean pine and cork oak forests, many of these species would have already become extinct.

Tablas de Daimiel National Park

This wetland in the province of Ciudad Real is unique in all of Europe. It is a very special ecosystem where the overflow of the Guadiana and Cigüela rivers, with very little slope, forms river tables that house an incredible variety of animals, especially birds, and plants. When in 1993 they decided to grant this place the title of National Park, they were saving many migratory birds that have their seasonal home in the Tablas de Daimiel.

Atlantic Islands National Park

The wonderful and unique Atlantic Islands emerge off the coast of Vigo. On land: vertigo cliffs between dream beaches. In the sea, funds with history. Wrecks that, after years of underwater, are home to a huge variety of marine species. It is made up of the Cíes, Ons, Cortegada Islands and the Sálvora Archipelago. All wonderful and impressive. The only complicated thing, choose.

Cabrera Archipelago National Park

The Balearic Islands have the Cabrera Archipelago. A series of rocky islets, surrounded by crystal clear and beautiful water and decorated with the flora of the Mediterranean, it is a small and hidden paradise that has not been tainted by the hand of man and that can only be accessed by boat. Its seabed, the color of the water, the sun and the surroundings make Cabrera a real delight.

Volcanic National Parks, Canary Islands

parque nacional del teide

Starting with the Teide National Park, the highest peak in Spain (3,718 meters), in Tenerife, the Canary Islands have a unique and immense natural heritage. One of the most surprising landscapes is the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, on the Island of La Palma. This curious volcanic formation with more than 2 million years old, will leave you speechless. Nor can we forget the Timanfaya National Park , in Lanzarote, which has more than 25 volcanoes. Not even the Garajonay National Park in La Gomera, its landscape is so unique and peculiar that it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.