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Doñana is a complex mosaic of landscapes forming a flat, clean horizon, a paradise for birds in the most important wetlands in Europe.
HAlfway between the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Cádiz, Doñana is now a labyrinth of land and water that shapes the marshes, spectacular lakes and channels, reserves and pine forests, streams and banks, dunes, beaches and cliffs. Bonanza, Gallega, Ribetehilos and El Lucio del Cangrejo are clear examples of the lagoons that dominate this area, providing shelter for thousands of birds.
Among the varied landscapes that also form part of Doñana are the moving dune systems that run between Matalascañas and the mouth of the Guadalquivir, over 25 kilometres of unspoilt beach and white sand; the fossil dunes of the Asperillo, over 30 metres tall; or on the beach, the cliffs with the same name, made of orange and ochre sandstone due to the rich iron oxide waters that flow through the chorritos.
General informationExtension: 54251 hectares Date of declaration: 28/10/1969 Environmental units:The Atlantic coast of Andalusia Routes:Huelva by the TransAndalus, Condado de Huelva Wine Trail, Wine and Marco de Jerez Brandy RouteQuality marks:
Fauna and flora
Whereas the lagoons are dominated by plants adapted to this habitat, such as reeds and rush, the further away you get, you will find other species more related to banks and river channels. First of all are the cork trees, alongside strawberry plants and palm trees, among others, followed by the blood-red willow, an endemic of the Tertiary period, which make up amazing forests next to the royal fern, ash, white poplar, sarsaparillas and honeysuckle,… The union of very different ecosystems is the main reason that Doñana is a true paradise for birds, as it has over 120 species of so-called aviaries: a real explosion of sound, colour and life.
The fertile ground gives way to magnificent forests of stone pine, such as Coto del Rey, El Abalario or the Pinar de La Algaida, which share their habitat with the black mountains - myrtle, mastic, Moorish rock rose, rosemary, thyme, lavender, white and yellow rock rose, as the more humid land changes to higher and dryer land. This is where two of the most valued species live, the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle, as well as other mammals, reptiles and birds.
Stabilizing the coastal dunes are plants that can handle a dryer and windier atmosphere, with the sand and salt, also known as unkempted forest , which include juniper, savins and marram grass.
What to do
The extreme environmental importance of this territory adds to the quality of the experience. The broad network of trails is an excellent way to discover the qualities of this protected are, either hiking or on bike. These allow you to access excellent riverbank forests along the Acebrón path, bird watch following the route of La Rocina, which has observatories for this purpose, or follow pleasant cycling routes, such as the one that crosses the Matalascañas and another that starts in the forest village of Cabazudos. Meanwhile, birdwatching possibilities, with or without guide, are outstanding.
Others options that have been specially designed under the control of the administration of the protected area are outings in 4x4s with bi-lingual guides, where you can discover the countryside and its traditional uses, such as beekeeping, forestry, fishing, hunting and chickadee, which also reveals the dwellings of coal merchants and other forest towns that are dotted around the area, such as Bodegones, El Abalorio o Los Cabezudos-.
You can also sail in the Fernando Royal Ship, which sails down the Guadalquivir from Sanlúcar. Other very unique events include the “mare show", or saca de yeguas, which has been held every year in Almonte for over five centuries; the palatial mansion of Acebrón, with shows the day to day runnings of this natural space, with special dedication to the El Rocío pilgrimage, the most important in Spain; and the coastal watchtowers, such as Carboneros, Zalabar and Pico del Loro, all built in the 16th century as a defence against pirates and corsairs.Sports:Horse riding, Kitesurfing, Orienteering, Kayaking, Sailing, Hot air ballooning, Free Flying, Windsurfing, Mountain biking, Surfing
- Arroyo de la Rocina
- Bosques de las Marismillas
- Laguna del Acebuche
- Marismas de Hinojos
- Palacio y Charco del Acebrón
- Pinar del Coto del Rey
- Dehesa de Abajo
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Fábrica de Hielo (ice factory) offers a general view of this nature area and provides information about its different features: everything from the flora and fauna to be found in the landscape, to the richness of the marine ecosystem associated to the mouth of the Guadalquivir river.
Particularly interesting for visitors is the chance to use their sense of touch to recognise some of the natural resources present in this environment. The history and culture of Doñana and the Bajo Guadalquivir river are also shown through elements such as archaeological reproductions.
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The José Antonio Valverde visitor centre owes its name to one of the pioneers of conservation in this nature area, although it is also known as Cerrado Garrido, the name of the area.
This centre enables visitors to learn more about everything to do with marshes, and to pick up information about the activities organised by companies who operate in the area, as well as about the facilities available for use by the public throughout the area.
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Very near the village of El Rocío and located in the lower course of the river of the same name, the La Rocina Visitor Centre is also the starting point for an interesting path which follows part of the watercourse.
A visit to the centre offers a chance to learn more about the huts or traditional dwellings of the "rocieros", or pilgrims to the shrine of the virgin of El Rocio, as well as the history this world famous event.
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Palacio El Acebrón Visitors Centre is an old palace built in the second half of the twentieth century.
Later, the palace was renovated for the dissemination and knowledge of the ethnographic heritage of Doñana National Park.
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Services and Infrastructures
Facilities for Disabled
Accessible for handicapped