National Parks in Almeria.
Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Location: Costa de Almeria, Andalucia.
Area: 45,663 hectares.
Geological Features: Volcanic Mountain Range, made up of 3 volcanoes and is the largest volcanic rock formation in Spain.
Information points: The Visitors centre at Los Amoladeras has a great exhibition for the Cabo de Gata and information about walks and activities. It is open daily from June to September, 10am - 2pm and 6pm - 8pm. From October to May, Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 2pm and 4pm - 6pm (6pm-8pm April - May)
The Cabo de Gata is a jewel of the Almeria coastline, here can be found gorgeous hidden coves with white sandy beaches, surrounded by up to 100m high craggy cliffs. From these beaches you can experience a very special shoreline, dotted with small rocky islands and for the divers among you extensive coral reefs teeming with marine life. There many things to do here - snorkelling, diving, sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing and fishing in abundance.
On land you can go horse trekking, mountain biking and 4x4 guided trips through the fantastic, semi desert, salt pans, salt marshes and dry river beds. There are many rare and endangered plants and fauna inhabiting this arid landscape. The Salinas of the Cabo de Gata also serves as on of the most important wetland bird breeding areas in Spain.
This is a must see for all visitors to Costa de Almeria
Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park
Sierra de María-Los Vélez National (Park Parque Natural de Sierra de María-Los Vélez) is a natural park of Spain. It is situated in Almería province in the municipalities of Chirivel, Maria, Vélez-Blanco, Vélez-Rubio.
It was designated a natural park in 1987 and covers 226.7 km². The park encompasses pine forests and supports a varied flora, including some species unique to the Sierra. Its highest peak is the María, a limestone outcrop of 2,045 meters.
There are 100 bird species, including 17 species of birds of prey, and the park was declared a Special Protection Area in 2002. There is a butterfly subspecies of parnassius apollo, which can only be found in this area.
Desierto de Tabernas Natural Area:
The Tabernas Desert is situated between the Sierra de los Filabres to the north and the Sierra de Alhamilla to the south-southeast, isolating it from the humid winds of the Mediterranean Sea, in an area with little rainfall known as. The desert receives about 14 cm of rain a year. Together, the high temperatures felt all year long (average temperature of 20°C) and one of the longest levels of sun exposure possible (3000 hours) produce the dry climate that gives rise to this true desert. Temperatures in winter rarely drop below freezing at night while during the summer temperatures during the day constantly surpass 40°C (104°F) in the shade.
Punta Entinas-Sabinar Natural Area:
Southwest of the coastal resort Roquetas del Mar is a 15km-long strip of protected coastline, the Punta Entinas-Sabinar Natural Area and Reserve. Like Albufera de Adra Natural Reserve along the coast, this is a wildlife haven encircled by a sea of plastic from the intensive agriculture that surrounds it. Even in the height of summer the beach is often deserted and its isolation makes it an ideal spot for birdwatching.
The 1,960ha natural area is made up of sand dunes, beach and the raised beach of Los Alcores, immediately north of Punta Entinas. The dunes are interspersed with a series of freshwater and saline lakes. Some of the latter lakes are abandoned salt pans, the Cerrillos-Salinas Viejas.
Declared a special protected zone for birds, more than 150 species have been recorded in this wetland part of the area, including waders, flamingos and the rare Audouin's gull.
To the west within the larger protected zone are 785ha in Punta Entinas that have been designated a natural reserve, which has a higher level of environmental protection.
To get to Punta Sabinar you can either go to Roquetas and then take the road to Almerimar, passing the saltpans Cerrillos-Salinas Viejas before you get to Punta Sabinar. Or take the Almerimar turn-off from the A7 and then turn towards Las Norias. The AL9008 heads south from here to Punta Sabinar. There are two signposted trails within the area.
To get to Punta Entinas, take the exit from the A7 for Almerimar. Head to the east of the village and then walk along the beach.
There is no driveable track or road linking Punta Entinas and Punta Sabinar along the coast. The only way to reach both is to either drive inland or walk along the beach.
Sierra de Alamilla Natural Area
Karst en Yesos de Sorbas Natural Area
Alborán Natural Area
Albufera de Adra Natural Reserve:
Ten kilometres east of the industrial port of Adra is this small wetland reserve of 217ha on the Mediterranean coast, a wildlife oasis in an area of intensive agriculture. It is comprised of intertidal marshes and a series of permanent coastal lagoons (albuferas) of varying depths and degrees of salinity, which have been created by a former river delta of the Río Adra. Albufera Honda (Deep Lake) and Albufera Nueva (New Lake) are the two largest lakes and there is a third one, which is much smaller, just outside the reserve's boundary.
Despite the ugly plastic greenhouses surrounding the reserve, it is well worth a visit for its exceptional birdlife; the lakes are an important breeding site, most notably for the white-headed duck, and thousands of birds over winter here or use the wetlands as a stopping-off place during migration. The wetlands are also a site of great botanical importance.
The lakes are located between the N340 and the beach. Take the road that leads off the N340 at Km 66. This branches in two; take the fork to the lakes, not the beach (playa). The numerous plastic greenhouses can make access to the lakes difficult. There are three bird observatories, of which one is open to the public.
Arrecife Barrera de Posidonia Natural Monument
Isla de Terreros e Isla Negra Natural Monument
Isla de San Andrés Natural Monument
Piedra Lobera Natural Monument
Sabina Albar Natural Monument