More than just beaches: 7 x beautiful nature in Andalusia

Admittedly, the beaches of the Costa de Sol are fantastic. But once you lift your chinstrap off the ground, there is much more to discover. 30 percent of Andalusia, the region to which the Costa del Sol belongs, is protected nature. You will find a variety of rich landscapes – from deserts to snow-capped mountain peaks – that will especially delight nature lovers and peace seekers. How about the following pearls?

Sierra de las Nieves National Park

Near Ronda, an hour’s drive from Marbella and Estepona, lies this 23,000-hectare nature reserve. Due to the lack of human activity in the region, animals have a great time here. With any luck, you’ll run into mountain goats or mouflons, and golden eagles and hawks will circle overhead. A lot of beautiful things grow here too in terms of flora, including chestnut and carob trees, holm and cork oaks and Spanish firs that are over 500 years old. In addition, it is an Eldorado for hikers and mountain bikers. The name, the “snow mountains,” comes from the white suit that often adorns the highest peaks. Since early July, the Sierra de las Nieves is officially Spain’s sixteenth national park.

Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park

In the north of the province, quite a bit further inland, this nature reserve covers 28 villages and 186,000 hectares. There is a lot of rain in this part of Spain. Result: the most lush forests, which are also excellently preserved. That attracts a lot of critters, including endangered and protected species. Iberian lynx, the shadow of the forest, hides in Mediterranean forest. Also the black stork, which sometimes settles in the Belgian Ardennes, makes its nest in this area in the province of Huelva. Speaking of animals, on the tender and green pastures in this natural park, Iberian pigs put on the bacon that makes Spanish ham so irresistible.

Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park

Variety reigns in this protected coastal area in Almeria, in southeastern Spain. Its volcanic origins create dramatic rock formations and jagged cliffs up to 100 meters high. In coves lie pearly beaches. Small islands surrounded by coral reefs, like splashes of paint off the coast. Inland, you will find lagoons, dry steppe, salt marshes and an area so bone-dry it is almost desert. This is one of the most arid parts of Spain, where the mercury regularly tops out and there is hardly any rain. Due to the variety of landscapes, the natural park is home to a wealth of plants and animals, including endangered species.

Reservoirs of Guadalhorce

Less than an hour from Malaga and the often crowded Costa del Sol, the azure waters of three lakes shine. This is a great place to swim, kayak or enjoy nature. In the neighboring valley of the Guadalhorce – the river that also gives the reservoirs their name – limestone rocks alternate with white villages full of cozy streets. The region’s best-known attraction is the Caminito del Rey, a hiking trail plastered against the cliffs. Do you dare?

Sierra de Castril Natural Park

From the Peña de Castril, with its 955 meters the highest point of the park, you can overlook the entire area. You behold the rugged mountains, with their abrupt relief, their steep gorges and their forests of pine and holm oak. You may even see birds of prey – the griffon vulture, vulture and peregrine falcon made this area in the province of Granada their home. One thing is certain: you will feel like exploring the Sierra de Castril, to follow one of the many hiking trails and then see where you end up. Possibly at the Barranco de la Osa – literally, the Bear Ravine. This is the most famous part of the karst formation, carved by water over many millennia. The natural elements are the true architects here, as there is not much human activity.

Del Estrecho Natural Park

The Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet at the level of Tarifa. Nearby is the Del Estrecho Natural Park, a rugged coastline with miles of protected beaches, dunes and sandbars. The most famous beach, Bolonia, attracts sunbathers. Here you breathe in the purest sea air and can see hawksbill turtles, dolphins and porpoises swimming. Prefer a dash of culture? Hurry to Bealo Claudia, the remains of an ancient Roman city.

Sierra Nevada

National park in the heart of Andalusia. Like the Sierra de las Nieves, this mountain range is often covered in a layer of powdered sugar. At high altitudes, rare flower species, such as Sierra Nevada violets, grow among the rock crevices. The valleys, once carved out by retreating glaciers, are home to wild boar, foxes, badgers and genets, a type of civet cat native to Africa. The Sierra Nevada is beautiful in every season. In winter, skiers whizz down the slopes, in spring the almond trees bloom, and in summer the many rocky scrambling trails beckon. Beware: these are addictive. Behind every bend, in fact, lies a new splendor.



Iconic starts from

Requesting Information

Iconic price list request

Request Iconic folder