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Granada province

Granada province

The Cárcavas de Marchal Natural Monument is a spectacularly eroded clay massif covering 5.2ha. For many years people have been carving out caves in the Cárcavas de Marchal for habitation. Located some 55km east of Granada city, Marchal is south of Purullena, off the A92 motorway.

These magnificent waterfalls, Los Infiernos, are located just outside Loja on the Genil river and cover an area of 2.5ha. Apart from its diverse plant, bird and animal species, this stretch of river is also noteworthy for its geological features, where the river has dramatically eroded the limestone landscape to create a series of rapids and the waterfalls themselves.

The only cave open to visitors in Granada province, the 1.2km-long limestone Cueva de las Ventanas is situated 45km north of Granada and just east of Piñar village, on the road to Bogarre. The Cueva de las Ventanas (Cave of the Windows) is named after the three large opening of the cave that serve as both an entry and exit.

South of Granda, on the western edge of the Sierra Nevada National Park, is the Falla de Nigüelas. Here, it's possible to see how a fault line (falla) caused a massive landslide during the Quarternary period. The Falla itself covers 7.6ha.

On the southern edge of the Sierra Castril Natural Park is this spectacular and exceptional rocky outcrop, the Peña de Castril, which looms large over the whitewashed houses of Castril village. Covering a mere 3.52ha, the rocky crag has the remains of a Medieval castle, which has had its towers and walls recently restored, and unsurpassed views over the countryside around Castril.

In the foothills of the Sierra Almijara on Granada's Costa Tropical is the seaside resort of Almuñécar, with a dramatic coastline of plunging cliff faces, secluded coves with beaches tucked away between steep cliffs and a smattering of jagged Peñónes (rocky outcrops) just off Almuñécar beach.

Designated a natural park in 1989, the 12,128ha Sierra de Huétor is only a few kilometres northeast of the provincial capital of Granada, so it is a popular weekend destination for city dwellers. The mountainous area has dramatic geological features characteristic of limestone areas, with narrow ravines, steep cliffs, springs and caves, such as the Cueva del Agua. The most famous spring is the Fuente Grande in Alfácar, cleverly used by the Moors as a source of water for the Albaicín in Granada city and transported via an irrigation channel called Aynadamar.

Designated a natural park in 1989, this rugged and spectacular limestone mountainous region in the north of Granada province, adjacent to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park and part of the Sierras Bética, is exceptional for its geological features, with a dramatically eroded landscape of gorges, vertical cliffs, waterfalls and, below ground, numerous caves.

In the northeast of Granada province adjacent to neighbouring Almeria is the sparsely populated 53,649ha Sierra de Baza Natural Park, part of the Cordillera Penibética. Its steep slopes are mainly pine-clad, up to the more barren, rocky ground over 2,000m. Its central part is made up of remote, jagged limestone peaks, which can be snow covered for some of the winter and are inhabited by majestic birds of prey, like the golden eagle and another nine species of raptors.