Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park


Sierra de Grazalema: General map of the natural park

The Sierra de Grazalema is a mountainous area and nature park in the southwest of Spain ( province of Cádiz, Andalusia ). It belongs to the Betic Cordillera and is located in the northeast of the province of Cádiz, a small part extends into the northwest of the province of Malaga. The area was founded in 1984 to the Nature Park - it is the first natural park in Andalusia.

The Sierra de Grazalema is a typical limestone mountains with numerous karst features; it reaches a height of 1,654 m and is due to its location, the first hurdle for inland from the Atlantic clouds that rise here and abregnen: The central location in the area, eponymous place Grazalema is the wettest place in Spain; the area marked by an extraordinary Andalusia green and rich vegetation. The area also survived one of Europe's largest breeding colonies of griffon vulture.


The Sierra de Grazalema is part of the mountains of Ronda, in the southern borders of the Natural Park Alcornocales to the area. Core and at the same time the highest mountain is the central Sierra del Pinar, it reaches a height of 1,654 m in the summit of Torreón. It can be seen from a distance, for example, of Ronda; earlier they should have even served to sailors in the approach to Cádiz as a guide. On the northern slope of the Sierra del Pinar is the largest contiguous forest with Pinsapo -fir (Abies pinsapo Boiss 1838) is growing. The Sierra del Pinar is drained by the Río Bocaleones which forms the Garganta Verde, an up to 400 m deep gorge which is one of the scenic highlights of the mountain. In the rock walls of this canyon is the largest breeding colony of griffon vulture.

Other mountains are the south of the Sierra del Pinar del Endrinal and lying Sierras del Caíllo; here is the Salto del Cabrero, one of the most scenic landmark of the region. Both mountains, as well as the location in the southeast Sierra del Líbar are karst landscapes; in the Sierra del Líbar is the Cueva del Gato - Hundidero, the largest cave complex in Andalusia. To this end, the Pileta heard with prehistoric rock paintings.

The most important rivers in the area are the Río Guadalete flowing at Grazalema over and feeds the reservoir of Zahara, and the Río Majaceite, one of the southernmost trout streams in Europe.

Animal and plant life

In the lower layers is the natural vegetation of holm and cork oak forests, which are also still receive a large area. Botanically particularly noteworthy are the relic forests of endemic here Hedgehog or Pinsapo - fir, one of the largest (300 ha) and best-preserved ever grows on the northern slope of the Sierra del Pinar. These forests are relics of the Tertiary widespread coniferous forests, who managed to remain in southern Spain at altitudes 900-1800 m on some north-facing slopes with rainfall above 2000 mm up to today; next to the Sierra de Grazalema they also occur in the nearby natural park of Sierra de las Nieves.

In total there are in the Sierra de Grazalema 1279 different species of ferns and flowering plants, which are more than a quarter of all species in Spain.

Figurehead of the wildlife of the area is the large breeding colony of griffon vulture, one of the largest in Europe; next to it can find the nests of dirt vulture. But besides that, here are some rare species elsewhere, and in the Río Majaceite live about the otters, kingfishers and bee-eaters; in the Sierra del Pinar occur ibex.

History and Economics

The human settlement of the area is occupied since earliest times, such as Palaeolithic rock paintings in the Cueva de la Pileta. On the Romans go to the first places, such as the establishment of the main town of Grazalema, back; an old Roman road between permanent obtain Benaocaz and Ubrique ). From the struggles at times of the Reconquista ( reconquest by the Catholic Monarchs ) attest remains of fortifications, such as in Zahara de la Sierra.

The economy is characterized firstly by grazing, on the other hand of artisanal and small industrial manufacture of leather and leather goods, chairs and blankets. In the 18th century Grazalema was a prosperous town with 9,000 inhabitants, due to its water- powered looms; lost this role but with the industrial revolution - the city was too far away from the markets. With the expulsion of the natural park in 1984, tourism increased in importance. This led to a to a revival of old traditions, such as a new factory for the production of feta cheese was built in Grazalema, a French- Andalusian joint ventures; on the other hand numerous hiking trails have been marked, which today attract many hikers in this area. The center of leather production is the town of Ubrique in the south of the area.


Llanos del Ravel

Cueva de las Dos Puertas

Llanos de Líbar

Abies pinsapo


Gyps fulvus

Villaluenga del Rosario