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GALLERY: Discover Spain's breathtaking national parks

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GALLERY: Discover Spain's breathtaking national parks
Aigüestortes national park in Catalonia. Photo: Diliff/Wikimedia
11:24 CEST+02:00
From mountain ranges and volcanic landscapes to wetlands and ancient forests, Spain boasts a total of 15 national parks just waiting to be explored.

With national parks scattered from north to south and from the Canary Islands to the Balearics, you won’t have to travel too far to get into the wilds of nature.

Teide National Park, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, is frequently the most visited national park in Europe, with millions attracted by its other-worldly volcanic landscapes.

While the Picos de Europa offer the tantalizing promise of a glimpse of the Cantabrian brown bear and Monfragüe is a bird watchers' paradise.

Or head to the sand dunes of Doñana or the forests of Cabañeros.

You just have to choose which one to discover first.


Spain's national parks. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment. 

Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
 

Photo: tomasz_parys/Depositphotos

The only national park located in Catalonia in this wild region of the Pyrenees includes over 200 lakes. Its name roughly translates as "The winding streams and St Maurice lake" (pictured), the symbol of the park and one of its most famous sights.

Cabañeros National Park
 
Photo: Rafael Medina/Flickr
 
Located in the Montes de Toledo in central Spain, this national park is the best and largest surviving example of Iberian Mediterranean forest and is famous for its huge variety of flora
 
Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park
 
Photo: Wikimedia
 
This national park is located on several uninhabited islands in the Balearic Islands off the south coast of Mallorca. The islands have some of the best preserved coastlines in the Mediterranean and are protected because of their bird species.
 
Caldera de Taburiente National Park
 
Photo: Michael Apel/Flickr
 
Located on the Canary Island of La Palma, this national park is made up of the imposing Caldera de Taburiente, a huge mountain arch in the shape of a crater. The Roque de los Muchachos observatory, the second best in the northern hemisphere, is located close to the mountain's summit.
 
 
Doñana National Park
 
Photo: Olmo1981/Flickr
 
This national park, located in the provinces of Huelva and Seville in Andalusia consists of marshland, sand dunes and streams, which were made a nature reserve in 1969.
 
Garajonay National Park
 
Photo: Diego Delso/Wikimedia
 
Located on the Canary Island of La Gomera, this national park is also a Unesco World Heritage Site and includes the best example of Canarian laurisilva, a subtropical forest that once covered all of southern Europe. The park is also famous for its huge rocks, former volcanoes carved into weird and wonderful shapes by erosion.
 
Guadarrama National Park
 
Photo: Miguel303xm/Wikimedia
 
Covering the Guadarrama mountain range, located north of Madrid, this national park is popular with visitors because of its proximity to the Spanish capital. It has a rich flora and fauna including bird species such as the Spanish eagle and black vulture.
 
Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park
 
Photo: Jan Görtzen/Flickr
 
The only national park located in Spain's northwestern region of Galicia, this park includes the archipelagos of Cíes (pictured), Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada.
 
Monfragüe National Park
 
Photo: carbonell13/Flickr
 
Located in Extremadura, western Spain, the park is also a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, an area that promotes biodiversity and sustainability.
 
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
 
Photo: Jsanchezes/Wikimedia
 
Located in the Pyrenees in the province of Huesca and Aragon, this national park features beech, pine and oak forests as well as a wide variety of other flora and fauna.
 
Picos de Europa National Park
 
Photo: Peter Clark/Flickr
 
The Picos de Europa mountain range spans the regions of Asturias, Cantabria, and Castile and León. One of Spain's first national parks, it is also one of the most famous, popular with thrill-seekers who flock there for its many sporting opportunities.
 
Sierra Nevada National Park 
 
Photo: Daniel Gonzalez/Flickr
 
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in Andalusia, southern Spain that includes continental Spain's highest point - Mulhacén, at 3,478 metres. It is extremely popular with tourists, especially in winter, when they flock to its ski resort, the most southerly in Europe.
 
Tablas de Daimiel National Park
 
 Photo: Pablo García Armentano/Wikimedia
 
This national park is an area of wetland on the plain of La Mancha in the province of Ciudad Real. It is the smallest of Spain's national parks and is currently being expanded to improve the condition of the wetland.
 
Teide National Park
 
Photo: Alex Lecea/Flickr
 
Spain's most visited national park, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, revolves around Mount Teide, Spain's highest peak, at 3,718 metres. The volcano and surrounding landscapes provide other-worldly views for its three million annual visitors.
 
Timanfaya National Park
 
Photo: Gernot Keller/Wikimedia
 
This national park, on the Canary Island of Lanzarote, is made up completely of Volcanic soil. Volcanic activity continues in the park, which includes geysers, near the active volcano, Timanfaya.
 
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