From towering mountains to deep ravines, from beaches to wetlands, and from lakes to volcanic landscapes, Spain's 14 national parks stretch across over 325,000 hectares and feature an incredible diversity of scenery and attractions.
Teide National Park in Tenerife is the highest and most visited national park in Spain. Centring on a volcano and designated as a World Heritage Site, the park has featured as a backdrop in several films.
If Tenerife is too far for you, the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park may be easier to reach, being near Madrid. It is home to 45% of Spanish wildlife species and 18% of European wildlife species. The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the Aragonese Pyrenees also provides habitat for numerous wildlife species. The spectacular and unique views that can be enjoyed in this World Heritage Site and Special Protection Area for Birds change with the seasons.
Further north, the Aigüestortes y Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is a wild mountain region in the Pyrenees. The park is littered with rivers, waterfalls and rapids and more than 200 lakes, with the majestic Sant Maurici Lake stealing the show. The dramatic rugged landscape and lush forests of the park provide habitat for a vast number of plant and animal species.
Also up north, the beautiful Picos de Europa National Park – straddling Cantabria, Asturias and Castilla y León – is a protected area with a sizeable population of brown bears and Western Capercaillies. Its 64 hectares offer a wide array of activities for nature lovers.
Meanwhile, down south near Granada lies the Sierra Nevada National Park. Spain's biggest national park, it is renowned for its many snow-tipped peaks – hence the name Sierra Nevada, meaning Snowy Mountain Range – and is a popular skiing resort. That aside, it is also a fantastic destination for trekking, horseback riding and canoeing, among others.
Last but not least, the Cabañeros National Park in the Toledo mountains has also been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds. The Mediterranean microclimates throughout the 40,000 hectares of the park provide nesting areas for large birds of prey.
The above is just a taste of what awaits across Spain's stunning national parks. Just like with the country's cities, visitors are absolutely spoilt for choice, as there is something for everyone.