Wilderness Tour in Southern Spain
This 12-day Spain Wilderness Tour offers some of the best natural and unspoilt spaces in Europe. Andalucía is at the top of the list in Spain regarding nature.
The province of Jaen is the greenest province in Spain. With a third of its territory designated as protected natural space, you can find some of the best nature in Andalucía, and by virtue of that, some of the best nature in Europe itself. In this sense, Jaen is a wonderful nature sanctuary for wildlife. It has an exceptional wealth of flora and fauna that have led to four Natural Parks, three Natural Areas and two Nature Reserves being established.
This Spain Wilderness Tour takes you through three Natural Parks: 1) Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas 2) Sierra Magina and 3) Sierras de Andujar.
Enjoy an amazing 12-day Southern Spain Wilderness Tour in one of the most bio-diversified regions in Europe.
Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas are the largest Natural Park in Spain and second in Europe. It is located in the East of the province. Moving the clock forward to the ’80s, it was identified by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. The EU then recognised it as an Area of Special Protection for Birds. In 1986, the Spanish government declared it a Natural Park.
The geology of these sierras is formed by limestone, with dramatic landscapes of sheer cliffs, gorges, waterfalls and streams of crystal-clear water. The most typical woodland is Pine forests, and the park boasts yet one more superlative as home to the largest expanse of forest in the whole Iberian Peninsula. In the park, there is a total of 2,170 separate species of plant of which 35 are endemism.
The park is also known for being the birthplace of the River Guadalquivir.
Kind of paradoxically, way back in the 18th century, the Sierras was declared a maritime province, serving as it did both military and civil construction. The timbers were used in the construction of naval vessels, and the old tobacco factory in Seville is a present-day example that pays testimony to those times.
Sierra Magina is a rugged Natural Park that covers 19,900ha of rocky, steep limestone terrain, with precipitous cliffs and high summits that are often snow-capped in winter. A separate mountain range 40 km to Cazorla, and home to the greatest density of Golden eagles in Europe. It is also home to an extraordinary variety and number of wild plants; hardy plants growing on the upper slopes are unique to the park, its abundant wildflowers and aromatic plants add a richness of colour and scent to the Sierra. Due to wide variations in climate and terrain within the park, there is a wealth of wildlife, including many orchids and wild mushrooms, as well as native plant species, some of which are exclusive to the Sierra.
On this southern Spain nature tour, some species of birds which are easy to see are Bonelli’s eagle, Goshawk, Peregrine, Eagle-owl, Blue-rock thrush, Red-billed chough, Crag Martin, Alpine swift, Ring ouzel, Golden oriole, Black wheatear, Cirl bunting, and if we are very lucky, maybe a Wallcreeper fleeing from the cold of Northern Europe.
On top, there is further wildlife: Wild boar, Spanish ibex, Ocellated lizard, Montpellier snake, and a Snub-nose viper. Furthermore, invertebrates like the grasshopper Eumigas monticola, which is native to Andalucía, and butterflies like the threatened Purple shot copper Lycaena alciphron, Two-tailed pasha Charaxes jasius, and the rare Mazarine blue Cyaniris semiargus.
The Sierras de Andújar forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain range. This beautiful natural space in the northwest of the province and lies between the Rivers Yeguas and Jandula. The gently rolling Natural Park is densely wooded and boasts one of Andalucía’s best-preserved expanses of Mediterranean forest and scrubland. The dominant vegetation is the Mediterranean, with Cork and Holm Oak woodland, and the geology is granite, quartz and slate.
It hosts a large number of hoofed mammals like red and fallow deer along with wild boar and mouflon. Small carnivorous like otters, genet and wildcat, and is home to many endangered species: birds such as the magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Vulture, the shy Black stork, as well as the most endangered cat in the world: the Iberian Lynx. This Natural Park currently holds the best and most important population in terms of conservation of the species, with about 250 lynx, which is around 70% of the world population.
Want to extend your birding to another tour? Why not try the Lammergeier Birding Tour, Cazorla, Spain.
Alternative Tour Name: Andalucía Birdwatching and Wildlife Tour