Wilderness Tour in Andalucía, Spain
This 12-day Southern Spain Wilderness Tour is a leisurely paced experience that offers wildlife watching in some of the best natural and unspoilt spaces in Europe. Andalucía is at the top of the list for natural wonders in Spain and this available-on-request tour takes you through three Natural Parks: Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, Sierra Mágina and Sierra de Andújar. Twelve days is a good length of time to explore this biodiverse region of southern Spain and its unspoilt wilderness.
The province of Jaén is the greenest in Spain. With a third of its territory designated as protected natural space, you can find some of the best nature in Andalucía here. By extension, you can be sure that this will expose you to some of the best nature in Europe. Jaén's southern Spain wildernesses are a wonderful sanctuary for wildlife. Its exceptional wealth of flora and fauna led to the creation of four Natural Parks, three Natural Areas and two Nature Reserves.
Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas is the largest Natural Park in Spain and the second largest in Europe. It is located in the east of the province and was identified by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in 1983. In 1986, the Spanish government declared it a Natural Park and then the EU recognised it as an Area of Special Protection for Migratory Birds in 1988.
The geology of these southern Spain wilderness sierras is formed of limestone, with dramatic landscapes of sheer cliffs, gorges, waterfalls and streams of crystal-clear water. The most typical woodland is pine forests, the largest expanse of this type of forest in the whole Iberian Peninsula. In the Park there is a total of 2,170 separate species of plant, 35 of which are endemic. The park is also known for being the birthplace of the River Guadalquivir that divides Spain from Portugal.
Sierra Mágina is a rugged Natural Park that covers 19,900ha of steep and rocky limestone terrain, with precipitous cliffs and high summits that are often snow capped in winter. This southern Spain wilderness are is home to the greatest density of Golden Eagles in Europe. It is also known for its extraordinary variety and number of wild plants, some of which are exclusive to the Sierra, abundant wildflowers and aromatic plants that add a richness of colour and scent. Due to wide variations in climate and terrain within the Park there is a wealth of wildlife, including many orchids and wild mushrooms, and birds such as 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, with luck, a Wallcreeper fleeing from the cold of northern Europe.
On top of all this, the southern Spain wilderness hosts Wild Boar, Spanish Ibex, Ocellated Lizard, Montpellier Snake, and a Snub-nose Viper and invertebrates such as the grasshopper Eumigas monticola, which is native to Andalucía.
The Sierra de Andújar Natural Park forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain range. This beautiful natural space in the northwest of the province lies between the Rivers Yeguas and Jandula. The gently rolling Park is densely wooded and boasts one of Andalucía’s best-preserved expanses of Mediterranean forest and scrubland. The dominant vegetation is Cork and Holm Oak woodland, and the geology is granite, quartz and slate.
This part of the southern Spain wilderness is home to a large number of hoofed mammals such as Red and Fallow Deer along with Wild Boar and Mouflon. Small carnivores such as Otters, Genet and Wildcat, and is home to many endangered species. There are birds such as the magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle, the Black Vulture and the shy Black Stork.
The icing on the cake is that this Natural Park currently holds the best and most important population of Iberian Lynx in the world. In terms of the conservation of the species, there are around 250 lynx here, around 70% of the world population.
Southern Spain Wilderness Tour highlights include:
- The unique plant life and spectacular scenery of Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park
- The Golden Eagles of Sierra Mágina Natural Park
- Rare Iberian Lynx in the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park
Want to explore birding on a more specialist tour? Why not try the Lammergeier Birding Tour, Cazorla, Spain.
Alternative Tour Name: Andalucía Birdwatching and Wildlife Tour