What to see in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park extends to the northeast of the province of Jaén with an area of 214,300 hectares, being the largest protected area in Spain and the second in Europe.

It has been declared a World Natural Reserve by UNESCO since 1983, a natural park since 1986 by Junta de Andalucía and a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) since 1988 by the European Union. In 2006 it was declared a Community Importance Site (SCI) also by the European Union, becoming part of the Natura 2000 Network, which includes the most important areas for the conservation of the continent's biodiversity. In addition, it is included in the European Network Europarc Federation, accredited with the Sustainable Tourism European Letter.

To all the scenic beauty and biological richness that Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park has, the cultural heritage that exists in the area is added, making its surroundings one of the most visited natural areas in all of Spain.

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park is integrated into 23 municipalities in the province of Jaén. These municipalities are Beas de Segura, Benatae, Cazorla, Chilluévar, Génave, Hinojares, Hornos de Segura, Huesa, La Iruela, Iznatoraf, Orcera, Peal de Becerro, Pozo Alcón, La Puerta de Segura, Quesada, Santiago-Pontones, Santo Tomé, Segura de la Sierra, Siles, Sorihuela del Guadalimar, Torres de Albanchez, Villacarrillo and Villanueva del Arzobispo. In turn, it covers three regions, Sierra de Cazorla region, of which 40% is natural park land, Sierra de Segura region, of which 90% is natural park land, making up 70% of its entirety, and Las Villas region.

The level of protection of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park varies from one area to another, allowing, in most of the territory, coexistence with various economic activities, but allying with nature to offer high quality products and services. Here you will find the best oil, an exquisite lamb and a careful offer of accommodation, as well as restaurants and activities related to the environment.

The action of man in the current Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park dates back to the Lower Paleolithic and, throughout history, each community has transformed the landscape according to their needs, their vision of the world and their technological capacity. Each of them has left monuments and archaeological remains that today serve as a review of the history of these mountains.

Heritage of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park

The great dimension of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park will show you different places that, with human influence, have become part of the natural park's heritage.

In order to spend a day enjoying nature and the enviable surroundings of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park with your family or friends, there are a series of recreational areas located throughout the entire natural park.

One of these recreational areas is Charco del Aceite Recreational Area, located in Sierra de Las Villas, next to Guadalquivir River, in the municipality of Villanueva del Arzobispo. Here you will find a wonderful pool to take a bath in summer and a magnificent place to enjoy a pleasant day at any time of the year. The place has stone tables, wooden seats and a kiosk-bar. The area is very lush and is framed by pine forests that descend from the steep rocky slopes that surround it. In its cool waters live the common trout, as well as the native barbels, the silver river bogas, and even the otter.

In the same municipality of Villanueva del Arzobispo you can find the Tapadero Viewpoint, which is located on the projection of a rocky wall, with more than 200 meters of vertical drop, over an abyss whose vision produces an impression. The steep slopes are populated by patches of Mediterranean forest, which anchor its roots in the sheer rock. It is common to see Iberian ibex climbing the slopes, as well as the majestic flight of large birds of prey, especially griffon vultures, but also golden eagles, short-toed eagles, booted eagles, hawks, etc.

In the north of Tranco Reservoir you will find Control Viejo Recreational Area, with magnificent views. It has benches, tables to eat and a fountain.

Also next to Tranco Reservoir you can enjoy Huerta Vieja Recreational Area, surrounded by lush vegetation, crossed by a stream and which has a fountain and wooden dining area. It is an excellent place to eat and rest.

Further into the mountains, in the northwest area of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, Cueva del Peinero Recreational Area is located, in a steep spot next to Aguascebas Grande River, in the municipality of Villacarrillo. The river, which forms beautiful falls at the height of the recreational area, runs silently, classified as a Landscape Interest Site, it is ideal to enjoy a great natural environment.

Located at the northern end of Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park is Dehesa del Oso Recreational Area, in the municipality of Siles and under the impressive summit of Cambrón, 1,550 m high and very close to the province of Albacete. Located in a dense pine forest environment, where the huge walnut trees that are located next to the area stand out. It has a fountain, tables and barbecues.

In the same municipality of Siles, within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, you can enjoy Peña del Olivar Recreational Area, next to Barranco de los Tejos Stream. It is part of a particularly lush and cool environment in summer, a time when many people take the opportunity to bathe in the cold waters of the natural pool built just across the road. It has a fountain, bar, benches and tables to eat, barbecues and a children's area.

Also next to Barranco de los Tejos Stream and 2.5 km from Siles is Fuente de la Almoteja Recreational Area. It has tables and a fountain, and makes up an ideal place to enjoy the riverside vegetation, with abundant willows.

In the municipality of Cazorla, in a beautiful setting, you will find Linarejos Recreational Area, crossed by Linarejos Stream, with its crystal clear waters and surrounded by lush vegetation. An ideal place to rest after a route visiting the surroundings.

You will also find the last recreational area in the municipality of Cazorla, Puente de las Herrerías Recreational Area, surrounded by an environment with lush vegetation. In it you can rest, refresh and enjoy Guadalquivir River, which already contains a considerable flow in its path. It is the starting point for some of the most interesting hiking routes in Sierra de Cazorla, such as the one that leads to the source of Guadalquivir River.

Less than 20 km from these last two recreational areas, in the same municipal area, you can appreciate the Estrecho de los Perales (Perales Strait), a spectacular gorge that stands out for the aesthetics of its curious rock formations. In the background passes the Valdetrillos Stream. In this place you will be able to observe how the mouflon and the mountain males climb vertical walls, as well as witness the flight of the golden eagle, the griffon vulture or the booted eagle.

In addition to recreational areas, Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park has some twenty museums and interpretation centers spread throughout the territory, each belonging to the different municipalities that are integrated into the natural park. Following an alphabetical classification of the municipalities, each one has the following centers:

  • Arroyo del Ojanco - Roman Culture Interpretation Centre.
  • Beas de Segura - Villa de Beas, the 16th century and the Mystic Interpretation Centre.
  • Cazorla - Wood culture Interpretation Centre; Threatened Species Theme Centre; Leafy Nature Theme Centre; Almedina de Cazorla Historical Oil Mill Museum; and Popular Arts and Customs of Alto Guadalquivir-Castillo de la Yedra Museum.
  • Hornos de Segura - Tranco Active Tourism and Leisure Centre; and Cosmolarium, Hornos Castle (Astronomy Interpretation Centre and Planetarium).
  • Iznatoraf - Las Villas Tour.
  • La Iruela - Castle of La Iruela Interpretation Centre; and Guadalquivir Valley Tourist Information Point.
  • Quesada - Rafael Zabaleta Museum.
  • Santiago-Pontones - Vinegar Tower Visitor Centre; and Alma Serrana Ethnographic Collection.
  • Santo Tomé - Borosa River Visitor Centre.
  • Segura de la Sierra - Border Territory Theme Centre.
  • Siles - Trades of the Forest-El Sequero Interpretation Centre.
  • Villacarrillo - Fresnedilla Astronomical Outreach Centre; and Our Lady of the Pillar Cooperative.

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Landscape of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park

The mountain ranges that make up Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park are integrated into the Penibaetic System, one of the most important mountain groups in the Iberian Peninsula, joining with Sierra Morena in its eastern part.

This natural park, with a rugged orography and more than half of its surface between 1000 and 1500 meters of altitude, reaches its highest point at 2107 meters above sea level at Cerro las Empanadas (Empanadas Hill). In its relief some limestone or calcareous systems are distinguished that limit deep canyons with a southwest to northeast orientation. There is also an external mountainous alignment that goes from Villarrodrigo, bordering the province of Albacete, to Tranco Reservoir, delimiting the valleys of Guadalimar River and Hornos River.

Among these valleys, places such as Yelmo summit stand out, located to the north of the natural park. It is the most popular and emblematic summit due to the amazing views that can be enjoyed from its top, at 1,809 meters of altitude. From it you can see the immense forests of the entire Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, the distant peaks of the provinces of Albacete and Granada, as well as the plains of La Mancha. Closer and from a bird's eye view, you can see the forests and olive groves that surround it in the lower areas, where the beautiful towns of Hornos de Segura and Segura de la Sierra stand out, and the waters of Tranco Reservoir. It is an international benchmark for lovers of free flight, since it has a take-off that meets magnificent conditions for the practice of this sport.

Another remarkable place in the same area is Nava del Espino (Hawthorn Flatland), a surprising open area, covered with high mountain pastures and some areas covered with pine trees, at an altitude of 1,430 meters and in the municipality of Cazorla. In this place you can enjoy the landscape and, if you are at the right time, it will be easy to see some fallow deer feeding in its meadows. From here there are routes to the highest peaks of Sierra de Cazorla, such as Poyos de la Mesa (Stone Bench of the Table), a huge mountain surrounded by cliffs that fall on the pine forests that surround it. From here you get beautiful panoramic views over the Guadalquivir River.

Apart from these sites, there are many others in Sierra de Segura region, such as Calar del Cobo (Cobo Calcareous), with the Pico Puntal de la Misa (Prop of the Mass Peak) (1796 meters), the Cañón del Segura (Segura Canyon) and the Anchuricas Reservoir.

Further south rises Sierra de Cazorla, with its highest peak, the Gilillo, at 1848 meters, on the western slope of the great Alto Guadalquivir Valley, delimited to the east by Sierra del Pozo, with the Pico Cabañas (Cabins Peak) (2027 meters ) and the Puntal del Buitre (Vulture Prop) (2007 meters).

Welcoming the waters of the Gilillo melt, within Sierra de Cazorla, is Chorro Stream, where you can appreciate places such as the Cortados del Chorro (Chorro Precipice). It is a huge cliff ideal for observing birds such as the griffon vulture or the Egyptian vulture. Deep crevices are formed in the impressive limestone rock cut, used by numerous birds to nest. The king swift, the common kestrel and even the peregrine falcon incessantly fly over the gully of the Chorro Stream, which plunges into a 70-meter waterfall.

In this southern part of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, places such as the Barranco del Garbanzal (Garbanzal Gully) and the Picones de Fique (Fique Charcoals) also stand out, near Tíscar town. It is a spectacular place, where you can walk the two slopes of the Barranco del Garbanzal, under the whimsical shapes of the Picones de Fique, and cross a forest track to, after traveling about 2 km, reach a much wider and open ravine, which, like the stream that runs through it, bears the name of Barranco Extremera (Extremera Gully). About 1200 meters further on you will reach the crystal clear water channel, surrounded by the forest track. If you continue upstream through the valley you will reach a spring, the source of the stream.

In addition, Guazalamanco River runs through the southern part of the natural park, in the municipality of Pozo Alcón. It is a river with a mountain channel with permanent and turbulent waters, where every corner invites you to recreate your senses and capture it and then remember its unforgettable route. Its beautiful waterfall stands out near Pozo Alcón town.

You will also be able to see the main alignment of Sierra de Segura, which culminates with the Pico de Las Banderillas (Banderillas Peak) (1993 meters), the highest peak in Sierra de Segura.

In the eastern part of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park rises a unique plateau known as Campos de Hernán Perea, the largest plateau in Spain with more than 5000 hectares and an average altitude of 1600 meters above the sea level, limited by calcareous devoid of vegetation, such as Calar de las Palomas (Pigeon Calcareous) (1964 meters), Calar de las Chaparras (Dwarf Oak Calcareous) (1897 meters) and Pinar Negro (Black Pine Forest) (1815 meters).

The Campos de Hernán Perea are located near Don Domingo village, in the municipality of Santiago-Pontones. It represents one of the grandest and most original landscapes of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, clearly different from all the others, a breathtaking, almost treeless plains.

On its border with the province of Granada, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park extends through Sierra de la Cabrilla, with Cerro las Empanadas (2107 meters), Cabrilla Alta (High Sawhorse) (2078 meters), Cabrilla Baja (High Sawhorse) (2048 meters), Tornajuelos (2033 meters) and Covachas (2023 meters) that provide the highest altitudes in the natural park and that belong to Sierra de Castril alignment, and finally the Cuerda de Los Agrios (Los Agrios Rope), with the Aguilón del Loco (Large Eagle of the Crazy) or Cerro Villata (Villata Hill) (1956 meters), Picón del Guante (Glove Charcoal) (1932 meters) and Rayal (1831 meters). These mountain ranges serve as a watershed between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, having two of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula: Guadalquivir River and Segura River.

The source of Guadalquivir River is located in the municipality of Quesada, in an area known as Cañada de Las Fuentes (The Fountains Cattle Road) where several streams converge and of high ecological value. It is a cool and pleasant place, where ash trees, maples and hawthorn trees accompany the river, and around it you will find curious geological formations with dense pine forests of black pine. About a hundred meters higher is the Cañada de Las Fuentes forest house where there is a recreational area where fallow deer and deer frequently go in small groups.

Within the natural park the Guadalquivir River receives the contribution of other tributaries such as the Linarejos Stream, which does so in the form of a waterfall in Cerrada del Utrero (Utrero Hill), where the first reservoir of its channel is located, and others such as the Borosa River, which it also feeds a reservoir in the Laguna de Valdeazores (Valdeazores Lagoon).

For its part, the source of the Segura River takes place in a spectacular pool located on the slopes of a rocky and steep mountain in Fuente Segura (Secure Fountain), in the municipality of Santiago-Pontones. The crystalline waters with turquoise tones flow from an underground river, through a siphon, which connects it with the outside. This underground river leads to an open and bright spot in which walnut trees and poplars are the usual trees.

The Segura River runs for the first kilometers through a narrow and deep valley where it receives tributaries of abundant flow, such as Madera River, Zumeta River and Tus River.

At the junction of Zumeta River with Segura River, a beautiful place known as Juntas de Miller (Miller Junction) is formed, which is located east of Sierra de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, in the term of Segura de la Sierra and bordering the province of Albacete.

Other outstanding rivers in the natural park are Guadalimar River, which flows into Guadalquivir River in Mengíbar Reservoir, and the Guadalentín River that feeds La Bolera Reservoir, within the natural park.

Guadalentín River in its course has carved a valley of great beauty, where the Head of Guadalentín River is located, in Sierra de la Cabrilla, east of the municipality of Cazorla and bordering the province of Granada. The banks of the river are covered by lush vegetation and in its course there are backwaters of crystalline waters where the otter and the Iberian crab live. Sometimes the slopes narrow and form closed that accelerate the passage of water. You can get to these places from the Fuente Acero Refuge.

All the rivers mentioned are only the main axes of a dense network formed by smaller rivers of permanent flow, as well as streams of seasonal waters. The abundance of rainfall, together with the predominance of carbonated materials that filter the water into the subsoil, make Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park a huge reserve of water resources, both underground, in the form of aquifers, and superficial, in reservoirs. More than sixty aquifers are known, of which more than forty are fully included in the natural park. Waters that emerge from about 3000 springs, most of them located between 1000 and 1300 meters of altitude.

On the other hand, the seven reservoirs of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park are one of its great landscape resources, because they are all embedded between mountains of considerable height, covered by thick pine forests and their appearance is that of narrow lakes that reflect the green of the surrounding forests.

For example, the Tranco Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in Spain and constitutes a first-rate landscape resource in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, so its entire environment is specially protected as a Bujaraiza Reserve Area. The left bank is crossed by the A-319 road, and has various viewpoints, recreational areas, marked trails, accommodation and restaurant services, as well as facilities for practicing water sports.

On the other hand, La Bolera Reservoir is located in Guadalentín River, in the municipality of Pozo Alcón, it stores its crystalline waters along 6 km in length. On its left bank it has an area for bathers in summer and in its waters you can practice canoeing. It concentrates in its surroundings a large number of fishing birds as it is home to a large number of fish such as common trout, rainbow trout, carp, barbel, young, goby and tusk, which also attract otters.

Next to this reservoir is located one of the most spectacular and beautiful canyons of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, the Cerrada de la Bolera (Bolera Hill). It is very frequented by canyoners, as it is one of the favorite canyons for fans of this adventure sport in Spain.

In addition, at the tail of La Bolera Reservoir is the Cerrada de la Herradura (Horseshoe Hill), and very close to the Cañada del Mesto (Mesto Cattle Road). This cattle road makes up a pleasant walk of about 8 km round trip that will surprise you by the natural viewpoints that you will find on the route, where you can obtain spectacular panoramic views.

Meanwhile, Aguas Negras Reservoir and Laguna de Valdeazores make up two places of enormous beauty and natural wealth, one of the maximum protection areas of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park. From Borosa River Interpretation Centre, next to the fish farm, a spectacular route ascends to the reservoirs, passing through the Cerrada de Elías (Elías Hill) and the Salto de los Órganos (Organ Waterfall).

Anchuricas Reservoir is located in the course of Segura River, in the municipality of Santiago-Pontones. It is a small reservoir, nestled between dense pine forests and high mountains. It is a unique place to practice canoeing and nearby there is a signposted circular route, known as Anchuricas Reservoir Route PR-A 128, which surrounds the entire reservoir through several villages that offer beautiful views.

On the right side of Anchuricas Reservoir you can find the Cuevas de los Anguijones (Anguijones Caves), like two fantastic giant dwellings.

Also in the municipality of Santiago-Pontones you will find Old Woman Reservoir or Bride Reservoir, east of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park. It borders the province of Albacete and collects the waters of Zumeta River. During your visit, you will be able to recreate on the slopes covered with vegetation and the stone walls that are reflected in its blue-green waters. It looks more like a natural high mountain lake than a human construction.

Other reservoirs within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park are Guadalmena Reservoir and Siles Reservoir.

Walking with them is always relaxing, as is practicing rowing on the larger ones.

On the other hand, the rugged orography of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, means that there are a large number of waterfalls, among which the Cascada de La Osera (La Osera Waterfall) stands out, which, at 132 meters, is the highest in Andalusia.

Likewise, you will also find the Cascada la Escaruela (Escaruela Waterfall), an impressive waterfall located next to the Tajo de Los Halcones (The Falcons Sheer Drop), a few kilometers from Cazorla and La Iruela. It is visible in periods of abundant rains and thaws.

Finally, due to the limestone nature of the rocks, capricious profiles and natural architectures typical of the karst landscape are configured, since these do not react uniformly to the action of water, but rather their different parts offer uneven resistance. In this sense, it is worth mentioning La Toba, a huge natural step, with its labyrinthine water caves, next to the right bank of the Segura River.

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Flora of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park

In Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park is the largest continuous wooded area of pine forests in all of Spain, with representation of four of the six Iberian species. Among them, the black pine or salgareño pine stands out, which occupies the middle and high areas. The oldest trees in Spain belong to these areas, some over a thousand years old, located in Puertollano, in the municipality of Quesada. These were partially repopulated in the second half of the 18th century, when the wood from these forests was used on a massive scale for the construction of ships and public buildings.

The Aleppo pine forests extend up to 900 meters of altitude within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, accompanied by strawberry trees and mastic trees. Meanwhile, rising in altitude, holm oak forests, gall oaks and important areas of rodeno pine develop. In the most humid areas you can find ancient yews and specimens of holly, both very rare in Andalusia. Noteworthy is the Millenary Yew Trail, where the oldest yew in Europe is 2000 years old, along with others that are over 1000 years old. Ash trees, willows, poplars, as well as reeds and jaguars appear on the banks of the rivers where aquatic birds and small mammals shelter.

In addition, Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park concentrates one of the richest flora in the entire Mediterranean basin. Of the more than 1,300 cataloged species, 35 are endemic to this territory, such as the Cazorla violet, the Cazorla narcissus, the Cazorla erodium, the Cazorla geranium or the Rivasmartinezia cazorlana, a unique plant species in the world. And 110 that are exclusive to Andalusia.

The steep relief of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park makes possible the life of a huge variety of species, adapted to different altitudes, slope orientation, humidity levels, soil types, etc. A shady ravine, a summit or a sunny slope offer, in a very short distance, totally different plant environments.

In a world that is rapidly losing biodiversity, a sanctuary of European flora such as Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park acquires extraordinary relevance. It is one of the most biodiverse places in the Mediterranean ecological environment.

Analyzing the area of Sierra de Segura region within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, in the lower parts olive groves stretch up the slopes, with numerous patches of forest and scrub interspersed. And it is that the olive grove is the base of the economy of the natural park, as well as its extensive area of influence. The reality is that the olive grove composes a cleared forest that, although artificial and lacking the structure and diversity of natural forests, constitutes a complex agrosystem where many species of plants and animals are present.

In this sense, the millenary olive tree of Fuentebuena deserves a special mention, within the natural park and in the municipality of Arroyo del Ojanco, which was registered in the Guinness Book of Records for reaching a harvest of 850 kg. The olive tree is more than 10 meters high and has a trunk with a perimeter greater than 4 meters. Also noteworthy, collected in the Catalog of Trees and Singular Groves of Jaén, are the olive trees of the Cortijo de Los Vilares, which are three olive trees with an average height of more than 13 meters, in the municipality of La Iruela.

Also, within Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas Natural Park, Torre del Vinagre Botanical Garden is located, where you can see the most representative plants.

Finally, in case you are passionate about mycology, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park includes a very extensive list of edible mushrooms, some as frequent as the matacandil or barbuda and the grey knight or dirty tricholoma. The relevance of mycology in the natural park is shown at the mycological information point of the El Sequero Interpretation Centre, in Siles. In this town, in addition, some mycological days are held every autumn in which fans from all over Spain participate.

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Fauna of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park

Considered an enclave of great concentration of fauna, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park is home to more than forty species of mammals, almost two hundred species of birds, about twenty species of reptiles and approximately ten species of amphibians and fish.

Among the large mammals of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, the large hut of deer, Iberian ibex and wild boar stands out, as well as important populations of mouflon and fallow deer, the latter two were introduced for hunting purposes. Among the small mammals, the Segureña squirrel, the badger, the genet, the wild cat, the fox, the otter, the hedgehog and the faced dormouse stand out.

On the other hand, the large number of birds of prey that live in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, is an indicator of the good ecological health it enjoys. You will be able to observe 23 of the 24 species of Iberian daytime birds of prey, of which 15 reproduce here. These include the griffon vulture, with more than 500 pairs, the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the Egyptian vulture, in danger of extinction, as well as the lammergeier, in the process of repopulation. You can also find the goshawk and the hawk, as well as the short-toed eagle and the booted eagle, which return every spring from Africa to nest in these forests. In addition, six of the seven Iberian nocturnal birds of prey also live in these lands and among them the eagle owl, tawny owl and scops owl stand out.

However, that is not all, since many other species of birds populate Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, such as the great spotted woodpecker, the woodpecker, the crossbill, the agateador, the striped wren, the blue tit, the myth and the charcoal burner. Along the rivers you can witness the kingfisher, the water blackbird, the oriole and the nightingale. In the rocky areas you will be able to see the rock plane, the royal swift and summer migrators that feed on insects, such as the red-billed chough, the alpine accentor or the swallowtail swallow.

Regarding amphibians, almost half of the Spanish species are present in these mountains, such is the case of the salamander, the marbled newt and the Betic midwife toad.

As for reptiles, it is worth highlighting the presence in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park of the Valverde lizard, exclusive to these lands and dark green in color. This lizard is concentrated in very few enclaves, always shady, with a lot of scrub and with nearby water points. However, other representative reptiles of the natural park are the Iberian skink, the tridactyl skink, the Iberian lizard, the long-tailed lizard, the ocellated lizard, the water snake and the leprous terrapin.

The most popular fish species in the crystal clear waters of the rivers and reservoirs of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park are the common trout, one of the jewels of its fauna and in danger of extinction, the gypsy barbel, the boga Andalusian river, the calandino, the colmilleja, in addition to introduced species such as rainbow trout and black-bass or largemouth bass.

In addition, it should be noted that Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park is home to more than fifty species of invertebrates endemic to this area. 44% of the diurnal butterflies of the Iberian Peninsula are represented here, since there are more than 400 diurnal and nocturnal species, of which at least ten are endemic. The pine forests of the natural park are home to the beautiful Elizabethan butterfly, an intense green adorned by the colorful ocelli of its wings. The hummingbird sphinx butterfly is also abundant, of great ecological importance, since it is the only one capable of pollinating the endemic Cazorla violet. Likewise, at least a third of the ant species and a quarter of those of solitary wasps, bees and bumblebees are present.

As a result of the abundance of watercourses and fountains, a great diversity in snails is possible, since Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park has more than 40% of the species present in Andalusia, with a high presence of Iberian and Andalusian endemisms.

Finally, it is important to note that the native Iberian crab, although extremely rare, is present in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park thanks to the good state of its rivers. This is home to one of the best preserved towns in Andalusia.

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Characteristics of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park

As a consequence of the rugged orography of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, this has become one of the wettest areas of Andalusia and a true rainy island in the context of the geographical areas that surround it, for its high average altitude and the general disposition of its mountain lines, in a northeast-southwest direction. The more than 100 kilometers of mountainous alignments exert a barrier effect for the advance of the Atlantic fronts, which causes an ascent of the air that favors the development of clouds.

On the other hand, the Segura Valley allows the penetration of disturbances of Mediterranean origin, which mainly affects the northeastern sector of the natural park, producing rainfall precisely at times of the year when Atlantic storms are less frequent, such as the end of spring and the beginning of autumn.

Two climatic subregions are distinguished, the first one coinciding with the central mountainous nucleus, with an average altitude of 1200 meters and in whose interior there are two pluviometric islands. The second subregion is located on the periphery, between 900 and 500 meters of altitude.

Snow is also part of the landscape identity of a large part of Sierras de Cazorla Segura and Las Villas Natural Park, and especially of the high areas of Sierra de Segura during winter. Above 1800 meters it usually snows between 20 and 30 days a year.

All this, as well as the water resources of the place, makes Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park the best inland sport fishing area in the whole of southern Spain. If you are a fan of this sport, you will find in them both clean and flowing rivers with trout, as well as large reservoirs where carp and pike abound.

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Ruralspainholidays all rights reserved, Rural Sierra y Sol Camino de la Estación, 6 / Phone. 0034 952 07 12 16 / 29710 - Periana (Málaga). CIF B-92753649 CIAN:293046-2