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Natural Parks

Natural Parks

Standing at an impressive 3,482m above sea level, situated in the Sierra Nevada National Park, Mt. Mulhacen is the highest mountain in mainland Spain. The mountain is named after the 15th-century ruler of Granada Abu l-Hasan Ali, or Muley Hacén as he was known in Spanish. According to legend he was buried on the mountain's peak.

Standing at an impressive 3,482m above sea level, situated in the Sierra Nevada National Park, Mt. Mulhacen is the highest mountain in mainland Spain. The mountain is named after the 15th-century ruler of Granada Abu l-Hasan Ali, or Muley Hacén as he was known in Spanish. According to legend he was buried on the mountain's peak.

With its' Moorish influences still prominent across the city, highly reasonable cost of living, an abundance of great tapas bars and seemingly no end to fun and excitement, Granada really is the ultimate destination for travelers and tourists looking to have a great experience that won't cost them the earth.

Part of the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park, this 170ha protected area of saltmarsh is interesting for its rich birdlife. Sancti Petri was a fishing village but is now largely abandoned, overtaken in importance in its new incarnation, the modern tourist complex of Nuevo Sancti Petri. This area around the saltmarsh is somewhat built up, with golf courses and hotels to the south.

The Lagunas de Campillos are five seasonal saltwater lakes with a protected area covering 1,126ha. Only one lake, the Laguna Salada, hardly ever dries out. Some lakes used to be permanent but have suffered from the agricultural activites in the surrounding areas that has put pressure on the water levels of the lakes. But they still provide an important resource for birds based in the area, like those at the nearby Laguna de Fuente de Piedra and the Laguna de la Ratosa.

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 only lakes in Andalucia occupying a depression in the land formed by erosion, the Lagunas de Archidona are two lakes situated 900m apart which make up a protected area of 193ha. The biggest lake, Laguna Grande, is freshwater and significantly deep at 10m, with no significant seasonal fluctuations in its water level. The Laguna Chica is saltwater and shallow, with a fluctuating water level.

Between Antequera and Estepa is this small protected lake and surrounding area. The reserve covers 168ha. A good time to visit is in winter, when there are many waterfowl.