Located between the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga, Los Alcornocales Natural Park is one of the most important cork oak forests in the world, a unique landscape in Europe described as the last Mediterranean jungle. A complex of mountain ranges where the protagonist is the cork oak, one of the most representative of the Mediterranean forests. But also its importance lies in the fact that it is able to transport the traveler to authentic subtropical landscapes that we can hardly find today in the European continent. And it is that this landscape of spectacular beauty formed by deep and narrow valleys that the rivers have been excavating throughout the years, is the perfect place to enjoy the maximum of rural tourism.
Throughout the more than 170,000 hectares it occupies, with territory of 17 different municipalities, Alcalá de los Gazules, Algar, Algeciras, Arcos de la Frontera, Benalup-Casas Viejas, Benaocaz, Castellar de la Frontera, El Bosque, Jerez de la Frontera, Jimena de la Frontera, Los Barrios, Medina Sidonia, Prado del Rey, San Jose del Valle, Tarifa, Ubrique and Cortes de la Frontera.
Los Alcornocales Natural Park in Cádiz is designed for visitors who are conscious of defending a natural environment and its cultural heritage. Its different paths lead visitors to magical places, such as the spectacular rock formation of the Montera del Torero in Los Barrios, the old site of Castellar or Old Castellar in Castellar de la Frontera, the Jimena de la Frontera Castle or the Tajo of the Figures in Benalup.
In Los Alcornocales Natural Park we can find two main peaks among the areas of greatest scenic interest.
The Peak of El Aljibe, the highest within the park with 1092 meters, the ascent begins in the Sauceda Recreational Area and at the top is what is known as the Pilita of the Queen.
The Peak of El Picacho, located in the Sierra del Aljibe belonging to its south face in Alcalá de Los Gazules and its north face to Jerez de la Frontera, is the second highest in the park with a small flat land in its upper part and 888 meters.
We can see how the cork oaks are intermingled between wild olive trees, gall oaks and oaks according to the humidity conditions and the type of soil. Without forgetting the bushes that have been colonizing the slopes and the poorer surfaces in which the forest does not tend to thrive, mastic trees, rockroses, laurels, heather, torviscos and hawthorns offer a landscape of singular beauty that you can enjoy.
Lovers of natural fauna will undoubtedly appreciate the fact that they can observe the large number of birds of prey that live in the area, having accounted for up to eighteen different species, as well as roe deer, deer and mountain goats that have been introduced into the natural park for the hunting activity.
Due to its strategic geographical location, Los Alcornocales Natural Park in Cádiz is witnessing the double migration that millions of birds return each year between Europe and Africa.
Los Alcornocales Natural Park has different municipalities that count on a rich gastronomy based on the exquisite products of the land as they are the mushrooms of types like: penny bun, Robellón, Chantarella, Morilla, wild mushroom, fungi, snails, that combine perfectly with the rich meats of deer, partridge and wild boar, where aromatic plants, which develop spontaneously in the area, know how to put their touch to each dish.
The extraction of cork is still its most widespread natural use, but livestock, based on pig breeding in montanera, goats and retintas cows, is today an activity on the rise.
Previous processing of permits in any office of Los Alcornocales Natural Park, its offer of activities includes workshops, hiking, canoeing, mountain bike excursion, horseback excursion or donkey excursion, rock climbing, alpine climbing, rapell, zip line, multi-adventure routes and guided ornithological routes. All municipalities have information points or recreational areas equipped with grills, tables, rubbish containers, fountains and parking. It also has camping areas, forest shelters and a campsite in Alcalá de los Gazules.
Therefore, the surroundings of Los Alcornocales Natural Park are the perfect place to stay in a rural house and spend a few days in contact with nature, forgetting the daily worries. In addition, due to the high demand for inland tourism that exists in the area, the Sierra de Cádiz offers a wide range of rural accommodation of all kinds. You can enjoy a stay with all the amenities you have at home but surrounded by a landscape of breathtaking beauty.