Natural Monuments

Natural Monuments

The Cañón de las Buitreras is the strikingly named Gorge of the Vultures, after the colony of griffon vultures that nest in the area. The gorge itself is impressive, with often near-vertical sides at times reaching 200m high. In the bottom of the gorge is the Guadiaro river, which has eroded the limestone rock.

The Spanish fir, pinsapo in Spanish (abies pinsapo), is a rare tree most commonly found in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. The pinsapo de las Escaleretas is the oldest pinsapo on record at over 350 years old. Its dimensions are impressive: it is 26m high, with a trunk measuring 5m in its circumference and branches that cover an area of 200m².

Within the Torcal de Antequera Natural Area is this protected geological feature, the Tornillo del Torcal. Its name - the Screw of Torcal - comes from its distinctive appearance, as its limestone layers have been eroded making them look like the threads twisting around a screw. It is used as a symbol for the Torcal Natural Area.

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.

The Tajos de Mogarejo Natural Monument consists of steep cliffs up to 30m high, which used to be a quarry. The materials from this were used in the construction of Seville cathedral. The Tajos are near the village of Montellano, on the A376 near the Cadiz provincial border.