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Natuurparken in Catalonië - Cataluña, España

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Natuurparken in Catalonië

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The region of Catalonia has an exceptionally rich natural heritage and huge biodiversity. It has many protected natural areas and Nature Parks. The snow-capped peaks of the Catalan Pyrenees are also an amazing place for visitors to appreciate the incredible natural beauty of the region the whole year through and in winter also for skiing.

 

 

The main natural parks and protected natural areas in Catalonia

  • Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Emporda nature reserve
    Located on the Costa Brava, this park has been designated as both a RAMSAR site and an Important Bird Area. Over 300 different species of birds have been spotted there and, as the park is built on marsh land, it predominantly shelters aquatic birds. 
  • L'Alt Pirineu Natural Park (Alt Pirineu Natural Park)
    The park covers an area of 60,000 hectares and includes the highest peak in Catalonia: Pica d'Estats (3,143 meters) and the largest glacier lake in the Pyrenees: Lake Certascan. It also encompasses one of the deepest potholes in Catalonia: Gigalera de l'Obaga de Valeran, which has an underground lake, various galleries and several huge caverns. It is the largest natural park in Catalonia. The park is also home to a number of endangered species of animals including the grizzly bear, the otter, the boreal owl, the Aurelio rock lizard, the capercaillie and the bearded vulture. This area is also famous for having one of the most important collections of Medieval and Baroque art in the Pyrenees. 
  • Montserrat Natural Park 
    This park located approximately 90km inland from Barcelona and the Costa Dorada coastline, is an outcrop of eroded limestone. The lower areas of the park contain forests of holm oak, maple, whitebeam, hazel and pine. The mountain is also home to the Santa María Monastery which dates back to the 11th century and is also an important tourist attraction.
  • Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa (Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park)
    This protected volcanic area and natural park, containing forty volcanoes and more than twenty lava flows. It spans an area of 12, 093 hectares and the towns of Olot, Santa Pau, Sant Joan les Fonts and Castellfollit de la Roca fall within the boundaries of the park. All of the volcanoes are no longer active and the last eruption was about 11,000 years ago. There are 28 scenic walking routes in the park.
  • Els Port Natural Park
    Els port is located near the Catalonia/Valencia border south of the Ebro river, is a huge limestone massif with caves, gorges and rock pools. It is the second largest Natural Park in Spain and was founded in 1995. It is made up of Calcareous Mesozoic rock formations creating many peaks. It is also home to an abundance of wildlife including Ibex, badgers, foxes, wild boar, polecats and squirrels. There are also many species of birds such as vultures and golden eagles.
  • Ebro Delta Natural Park
    is located at the southern end of the Costa Dorada. It is the largest wetland in Catalonia and the second most important natural aquatic habitat in Spain (after the Doñana National Park in Andalucia). However, as the sea level is slowly rising and the marshes are sinking under their own weight, the delta is estimated to disappear within the next 50 years. It has an incredibly diverse ecosystem including sand dunes, salt marshes, rice fields and lagoons. It is also home to a wide variety of birds and waterfowl, including huge flocks of flamingoes. Activities offered within the park include bicycle routes, horse-riding, canoeing, boat rental, nature workshops and photographic excursions.
  • Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici (The National Park of Aiguestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici)
    The only National Park in Catalonia is located in the Spanish Pyrenees mountain range and spans an area of over 100 square kilometers. It is divided into two secotrs: Aigüestortes in the west and Sant Maurici in the east. The park boosts some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the Pyrenees. There are silver birch and beech trees, lakes, fir forests and waterfalls. Birdlife in the park includes golden eagles. The name 'Aigüestortes', which means 'winding waters', is a reference to the park's  many lakes (there are over 200), streams, rivers and waterfalls. The park has an excellent network of walking trails and there are 10 guarded mountain shelters. Snowshoeing and alpine skiing can also be done here in winter. The medieval churches of Vall de Boí, which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are also located close to Aigüestortes and are well worth a visit.
  • Cap de Creus Natural Park
    is located at the earterly end of the Pyrenees, at the point where they meet the sea. About one third of the park is sea. The area boosts some unique flora and fauna and is an excellent bird-watching location. The San Pere de Rodes Monastery is also situated within the park.
  • Sierra de Cadí-Moixer Natural Park
    This is one of the largest natural parks in Catalonia and covers a total surface area of 41,342 hectares. It encompasses limestone mountains on the southern edge of the Pyrenees, alpine meadows and some rivers and waterfalls. It is also home to a wide variety of wildlife include red deer, roe deer and chamois and birdlife including griffon vultures, golden eagles, short-toed eagles and peregrine falcons. It has been declared as a special protection area for birds (ZEPA) by the European Union. It is also an ideal location for hiking, walking, mountaineering and climbing.