National Park Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas National Park encompasses 2143 km2 and 26 cities on the east side of the province of Jaen in Spain. It is the largest protected area in Spain and the second largest region in Europe with natural vegetables.
Sierras de Cazorla National Park, Segura y Las illas is the birthplace of the Guadalquivir, the longest and most important river in all of Andalusia, which starts between the mountains of Sierra de Cazorla and Sierra del Pozo. The river offers beautiful views to visitors from Seville and Córdoba, among others.
The National Park offers a variety of landscapes. From peaks higher than 2000 meters (the Cerro de la Empanada is 2107 meters high) to deep gorges, such as the Pinar Negro’s depth of 150 meters; from sinkholes, such as the Campos de Hernán Perea, to the semi-desert landscape of the Picos del Guadiana.
The nature reserve was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1983 and a natural park by the Andalusian government in 1986. In 2006 it was included in the Nature Net 2000, a network that brings together essential European areas for the conservation of European biodiversity.
To discover the nature park, you can book it with a guide or a tour company. But it is also possible to visit the park on your own. Make sure you go well prepared.
When to go to the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
You can visit the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas National Park during any season, although the best period is undoubtedly in the spring and fall. During this period, incredibly vibrant colours and beautiful scents cover the park, and the temperatures are a lot milder than in the summer and winter months. If you prefer to go in winter, you may even encounter snow-covered landscapes, especially in the hills. In the summer months, on the other hand, temperatures can get high!
Also keep in mind that during the summer months, especially in July and August, it can get swamped. Many tourists want to visit National Park during this period. You can, of course, choose to go this period, a fun way to get to know people! If you prefer quiet, visit the park during the autumn and spring months.
How to get to the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
You can reach the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park by bus or by car. If you prefer to leave the car at home, there are bus companies such as Carcesa and ALSA that provide daily routes between Jaen and the main cities around the park. ALSA runs daily from Jaen (9 €), Ubeda (4 €) and Baeza (4.80 €) to the town of Cazorla. You can enter the park from the surrounding towns and villages.
If you prefer to go by car, you can take the A319 from Cazorla if you are coming from the west; If you are coming from Granada, take the A317 passing through Puebla de Don Fadrique towards Santiago de la Escapada. You will find several petrol stations in the park, such as the Estación de Servicio Arroyo Perona, located on the A319, 5, and the Estación de Servicio Mirador de Cazorla, on the 21st km of A319, in the Carretera de la Sierra, 21. navigation is the most convenient to set it at the visitor centre of the park where you can park the car safely.
Visitor centre of the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
The main visitor centre of the park is the Centro de Interpretación Torre del Vinagre, located on Torre del Vinagre. Here you get a free tour of the complex ecosystems of the nature park that are exhibited in the four adapted halls. The most important is the Sala de Interpretación (interpretation hall), where you can discover the natural park, geography and geology, flora and fauna and ecology.
THINGS TO DISCOVER IN THE NATIONAL PARK
- Museo de Caza is a museum dedicated to hunting, one of the most popular activities in the Natural Park. Located next to the Torre de Vinagre visitor centre, it displays stuffed examples of the park’s animals as well as ancient antlers.
- Jardín Botánico is a botanical garden next to the Torre de Vinagre visitor centre that shows the park’s plant life. In total, 300 species are represented here. The park’s second and smaller botanical garden is located in Siles north of the park.
- Parque Cinegético Collado del Almendral is a wildlife park where you can spot mouflons, Spanish ibex, wild boar and deer from the viewpoints on the circular footpath that leads down from the parking lot via a path. The park is located on the A319, about 7 km north of Coto Ríos.
- Embalse de Tranco is a long reservoir in the centre of the park, where you can do a variety of (non-motorized) water sports and where you can swim or have a picnic. There is a small village, Tranco, on the banks with several bars, restaurants and accommodation, some of which have excellent views of the reservoir.
- Castles in the area include the remains of the Castillo de San Miguel de Bujaraiza, which you can see on the island in the middle of the Tranco reservoir and the castles in Cazorla and Tíscar. Segura de la Sierra is the most dramatically situated village, with its whitewashed houses surrounding a hill, with a slowly restored castle on top.
- Hornos, along with Segura de la Sierra, is one of the most spectacularly situated villages in the park. It is located on a rock with a ruined castle and has a beautiful view of the Tranco reservoir.