Andalusia, the most southerly province in Spain, is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. It is a province rich in wildlife diversity, history and culture from the Phoenicians to the Spanish Civil War. It is the home of flamenco and bull fighting traditions and was the most favoured area in Spain for such characters as Hemmingway and Orson Wells. Due to an extremely pleasant climate, its natural beauty, as well as exquisite cuisine, Andalusia is one of the most attractive areas on the Mediterranean.
However, all of these great assets pale in comparison to some of the richest and most diverse natural areas in the Paleartic. As a meeting point of Europe and Africa, Andalusia offers a very impressive variety of unusual fauna and flora. Here the normally mild Mediterranean clashes, in the famous Strait of Gibraltar, with the wild and unpredictable Atlantic Ocean forming large salty lagoons and wide rivers. Extensive forests, open cultivated plains, olive trees, oaks, pinsapo (Spanish) firs, high cliffs, secluded beaches and the most important sand dunes and marshes in Europe can be found in this region. The highest mountain ranges in all of Iberia are also found here, climbing to more than 12,000 feet above sea level.
Westwards, further along the coast from the Strait of Gibraltar, lies the famous Doñana National Park, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Here in these wetlands such endangered species as the endemic Spanish Imperial Eagle and the emblematic Spanish Lynx maintain a foothold and are complimented by a wonderful variety of wading and water birds. The large breeding colonies of various heron species such as Squacco Heron and Purple Heron make this ‘a must visit area’ in spring, but with so many species congregating here in large numbers during all seasons, then a visit is recommended at any time of year!