Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas
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Once an inland maritime province, source of the two of southern Spain's most important rivers, medieval bastion of the mitre of Toledo and the Santiaguist knights, Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas is home to one of the most spectacular nature areas in all of Europe.

In the north-eastern corner of Jaén province, like a huge and impregnable colossus, lies an endless succession of rugged mountains and broken limestone massifs through which abundant waters ceaselessly flow. The immensity of the territory gives rise to a huge diversity of landscapes that reveal its karst origins. Two towering peaks break the horizon, both over a thousand metres high, that alternate with giant slabs, karst towers such as Campos de Hernán Perea, ridges, spectacular folds, chasms such as Pinar Negro, with a depth of over 150 metres, and dragon-like crests that rise above a semi-desert landscape full of ravines and gullies that stretch from the Plateau of Granada - Picos del Guadiana peaks.

The River Guadalquivir passes through a wide, deep valley, while its tributaries carve out surprisingly steep ravines, such as Elías along El Borosa, and spectacular waterfalls - Linarejos-. Water has also created fabulous caves, such La Cueva del Agua in Tíscar, as well as fensters (erosional holes), such as the source of the Segura river or Laguna de Aguas Negras (Water Black Lake).

Fauna and flora

The orographic complexity combined with the abundance, or sometimes absence, of water have endowed these mountains with some of Europe's richest and most diverse natural habitats. They are home to over 2,300 species of plants, 360 of which are only found in very small areas, along with 34 endemic species. It encompasses Mediterranean shrublands in the Sierra de las Villas mountains, lowland thickets that have adapted to the dry, stony land, and holly groves in the Sierra del Agua mountains in Siles, a splendid woodland that is characteristic of a colder, more humid climate. Its most unique habitat is the laurel woodland, a typical feature of humid Mediterranean environments which, after the last glaciation, were reduced to deep, sloping ground, such as La Cerrada de Elías. There is also a notable presence of alfa grasslands, typifying the desert landscape that stands in stark contrast to the Guadiana Menor River. Holm oaks and Aleppo pines give way to black pines, yew trees, boxwood, gall-oak, maple…, until the highlands reveal swathes of the Austrian pine, the true emblem of the Nature Reserve that share habitat with broom and junipers. Worth noting is the presence of many rare, endemic species, such as the Cazorla violet and the Cazorla narcissus. However, large mammals are the star attraction at this nature reserve, home to a wide variety of vertebrates. There are some 36 species of mammals, 130 species of breeding birds, 21 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians and 11 species of fish, including the endemic Cabrera's vole, squirrels, a subspecies also present in the Sierra de Alcaraz, the Spanish Moon Moth and Spanish algyroides (a species of lizard), which are only found in these mountains. As regards birds, special mention should be given to the bearded vulture and the steppe fauna in the semi-desert area of Huesa and Hinojares.
Nature Areas
Nature park
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Points of interest

Coordinates not available

Services and infrastructure

  • Botanical Garden
  • Tourist Office
Target audiences
young people, Friends, I travel alone, Seniors, Lgbti, For families, Couples
Segments
Leisure and fun, Culture, Nature, Sports, Gastronomy
Type of activity
Mountain biking, Horse riding, Caving, Orienteering, Off-road vehicles, Hiking, Canyoning, Hunting, Sailing, Kayaking, Climbing, White Water Rafting, Bungee jumping, Hot air ballooning, Free Flying, Multi-adventure activities, Mountaineering, Skydiving
Quality brands
ISO 14001:2004, -, European Charter for Sustainable Tourism
Environmental units
Alta Montaña Bética mountain
Statement date
16 / 03 / 1986
Area (m2)
209920