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Nature Parks in Spain

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Spain is a land of amazingly diverse geographical features, ranging from spectacular mountains to tropical woodlands, fragrant pine forests, lush riverine marshlands, 5000 km of coastline to dry and sandy regions. The climatic features of these areas also differ widely, offering a wealth of flora, fauna, customs, traditions and cultural aspects. With a view to preserving these natural features and ensuring that tourists and the locals are able to enjoy them for years to come, the Spanish government designated fifteen major areas to be National Parks and these come directly under the state and autonomous region's management.

Two of the best known National Parks in Spain are:

Donana National Park: located in Andalucia, covering more than 100,000 hectares, this park lies across one of the most beautiful and diverse regions in Spain. Situated near the cities of Sevilla and Cadiz, the balmy and mild Mediterranean climate attracts all kinds of visitors, from human-beings to migratory animals and birds from North Africa and Europe! The natural habitat ranging from wetlands to lush woodlands, shelters hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and millions of insects besides the thousands of different plants and trees. The rare Iberian lynx is a protected species here. There are informative visitors' centers, guides, audio-visual shows, activities for children and exhibitions held here. Recently, the park came into the news for being the speculated location of the lost city of Atlantis.

Sierra Nevada: For those whose hearts dwell in the mountains, this particularly impressive National Park, and Spain's biggest, is the ideal choice. It lies spread across Granada and offers a chance to visit the gorgeous Alhambra and Moorish settlements in the area. Sierra Nevada spells adventure sports and you can get your fill of trekking, biking, climbing, skiing, hiking etc along with the culture fix! These mountains some of which are snowed under for nearly six months in the year are home to thousands of unique flora and fauna some of which are on the verge of extinction.

The other parks are equally rich and beautiful and the nature lover would find them a paradise that offers a wonderful glimpse of this dazzling display of Nature's bounty and the opportunity to participate in its preservation and maintenance. There's a wide range of activities that you can undertake in these protected areas, ranging from mountaineering to horse-riding, hunting, fishing, deep-sea diving, scuba, hand-gliding, para-gliding, off-roading in 4x4s, trekking, climbing, skiing and much more. Some of these parks are on the mainland, while a few are in the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.

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