The best national parks in Spain

The best national parks in Spain
The best national parks in Spain
2 September 2021, Redaction

Spain is one of Europe's most varied countries, and as well as beautiful beaches and stunning coastline, Spain is home to other stunning natural landscapes. Spain is privileged to have natural gems such its National Parks, and the end of summer and beginning of autumn is one of the best times to plan a rural getaway and visit one of the best national parks in Spain. Check out our recommendations of some of Spain's most visited national parks and immerse yourself in nature this autumn. 

Sierra Nevada National Park, Andalusia

Sierra Nevada
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The Sierra Nevada National Park is located in Andalusia's Granada and Almería provinces, and covers 85,883 hectares, making it the biggest national park in Spain. This Spanish national park offers spectacular mountain scenery and a wide range of options when it comes to hiking and other outdoor activities. According to the Spanish tourist board, Sierra Nevada is the "perfect place for witnessing humans and wildlife co-existing in the high mountains".

The best time to enjoy the Sierra Nevada National Park at its finest is right now and into the autumn, where you'll be able to enjoy vast areas of unspoilt countryside. And if you decide to delay your visit a few months until the winter, you'll be treated to spectacular snow-capped mountains.

Teide, the Canary Islands

Teide
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Teide is often dubbed as Spain's most visited national park and is centred around Tenerife's active Volcano of Mount Teide. This Spanish national park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is well worth a visit to enjoy the stunning views, volcanic landscapes and craters. 

Teide is the largest and oldest national park located in the Canary Islands, and Mount Teide is Spain's tallest peak at an altitude of 3,718 metres. You'll be truly in awe at everything there is to see in this unique landscape which is best enjoyed by taking one of the 41 well-signposted walking routes that will guide you on your adventure through the heart of Tenerife.

Atlantic Islands National Park, Galicia

Cies
Flickr

The Atlantic Islands National Park includes the Galician islands of Ons, Cíes, Sálvora and Cortegada. It stands out for its high biodiversity due to the great variety of ecosystems present on its islands, such as beaches and dunes, cliffs, reefs and much more.

This is the only national park in the region of Galicia and is a real treat for visitors, as it covers both land and sea. The starting point for exploring the National Park is in Vigo, Bayona or Cangas, if you want to start with the Cíes Islands, and in Bueu or Portonovo if you want to start with the Ons archipelago. Don't miss out on a trip to magical beaches such as Rodas which frequently makes the list of the best beaches in the world.

Accommodation within the park is very limited and expensive, and for this reason, we recommend a holiday rental close by in Vigo. And of course, while you are in Galicia, you must try out the local gastronomy where fish and seafood take centre stage. Try out the typical octopus dishes to prepare yourself for lots of walking.

Cabañeros National Park, Toledo

Cabañeros
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Cabañeros National Park is one of the least known and least visited National Parks in Spain on our list, but its precisely this fact that helps it maintain its charm. Its name derives from the huts traditionally used by shepherds as a refuge from their work in the fields and its recent history as a National Park owes much to the strong neighbourhood opposition that prevented the area from becoming a firing range for the Spanish army.

There are several visitor centres throughout the park, the largest being the one in Horcajo de Los Montes, and it is advisable to start your visit at one of these centres. There you will find a lot of information about "la raña", the curious southern part of the park which is home to thousands of deer. And make sure you don't leave the area without eating a delicious game dish in one of the surrounding villages.

Doñana National Park, Andalusia

Doñana
Pixabay

Located in the Andalusian provinces of Seville and Huelva in Southern Spain, Doñana National Park is known to be one of the most important ecosystems in Spain. This Spanish natural reserve covers an area of 543 kilometres squared and is known for its wetlands, birds, pine forests and coastal dunes. 

While Doñana is well worth a visit, it is also one of the most complicated National Parks to visit in Spain. Here's how to visit Doñana National Park: you can visit by yourself but you will need a 4-wheel drive, and for this reason, the majority of people choose to go on an organised visit to the park booked through a tour operator, where you will be able to hire a guide to take your through the park to enjoy all its wonders. 

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