Rural tourism Natural Parks and Eco Tourism in Granada Spain
In the province of Granada six protected areas offers the rural and ecological tourists the very best and closest contact with the southern Spanish nature
Sierra Nevada National Park
Sierra Nevada National Park: The Sierra Nevada National Park with an area of nearly 170,000 hectares is an impressive mountainous natural park that was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the Unesco in 1986 to protect the numerous local native flora and fauna, which make the Sierra Nevada one of the most bio diverse areas in Europe. Apart from skiing and ice climbing in winter, one can also wander round on foot, by bicycle or on horseback along the myriad of paths in the National Park. The lower areas of the Sierra Nevada park also have Natural Park protection.
Sierra de Baza Natural Park: The sierra de Baza Natural Park occupies an area of 52,000 hectares in the central sector of the Penibetic Range, with peaks reaching up to 2,200 meters high. The caved wellings on Jabalcón peak bear witness to the fact that these hills were already inhabited during prehistoric times and then later by Iberians, illustrated by the Lady of Baza. The dominant vegetation is a variety of pine species, although the hundred year old poplars which grow along the banks of the rivers carved though the area stand out.
Sierra de Huétor-Santillán Natural Park
Sierra de Huétor-Santillán Natural Park: Its closeness to the city of Granada makes it a perfect recreation area. It has an area of 12,500 hectares dominated by a half mountain landscape where ravines and peaks are mixed up with chasms, brooks and springs. Of the former the Pinares de Alfaguar, near the village of Víznar and from where the Moors took water to supply the cisterns and pools of the Alhambra, really does stand out.
Sierra de Castril Natural Park
Sierra de Castril Natural Park covers a very topographically rugged area of 12,000 hectares, full of enormous vertical walls of rock interspersed with mountain passes and numerous ravines where many brooks flow down to form the Castril river, the Park’s heart and core. Its cliffs are the ideal habitat for the tawny vulture. The Don Fernando cave, the deepest and longest in the province of Granada with its beautiful halls and galleries, is close by.
Sierras de Tejeda and Almijara Natural Park
Sierras de Tejeda and Almijara Natural Park: An impressive mountainous massif with an area of 40,600 ha which forms a geographical barrier between the provinces of Malaga and Granada. The landscape has an abrupt and sheer relief with large, pronounced slopes, alternating with its characteristic crests all in a row which mark out valleys and deep ravines then continue at a right angle to the coastline. Apart from these natural areas the towns and villages of the province are also a great tourist attraction. Many of them keep alive ancestral customs in hand crafts, places filled with history and in their food that is simple to make yet has an irresistible taste.
Montefrío, in the Poniente district is a beautiful mélange of whitewashed houses marked off by churches and crowned by an impressive rock with a Muslim castle on the top. Near the town, at Peña de los Gitanos, some of the province most important archaeological treasures are found: Dozens of megalithic dolmens surrounded by splendid grassland. In the same district lies remarkable Alhama de Granada, peering down from its impressive gorge and Loja, with its rich heritage of both Muslim and renaissance monuments.
The Alpujarra, one of the most privileged Districts in Granada, contains dozens of little whitewashed villages with steep and narrow streets, spread over the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Isolated for centuries by the mountains, Alpujarra has almost unexplored areas for visitors to explore, the chance to enjoy its peculiar festivals, to learn about its Arab past, to try the tasty upland cooking and to enjoy the hospitality of the local people.
Lanjarón is famous for its spa and the gateway to this surprising area of rugged scenery. The river Poqueira ravine is one of the area’s main tourist destinations. It contains the villages of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira where, as in the rest of the district, there is a vast array of rural accommodation. Next to la Alpujarra lies the fertile Valle de Lecrín. Orange and lemon tree plantations perfume the spring air with the delicious scent of their blossom. Old flour mills, Muslim castles and charming country estates are dotted all over this bright and peaceful district. Apart from the main centres of population, like Padul and Dúrcal, there are a multitude of little villages buried among the fruit trees, olive and almond groves, vineyards and cherry trees: Albuñuelas, Restábal, Melegís, Talará, Mondújar…
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