Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

CADIZ and MALAGA – A prestigious Mediterranean mountain and an excellent base for ecotourism.

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Andalucía
Ophrys speculum Grazalema
Gyps fulvus Andalucía
Capra hispanica Grazalema

Limestone mountain

White villages

Spanish Fir (Pinsapos)

Payoyas Goats

Griffon vultures

The Sierra de Grazalema is the great mountain of the Western Betic Mountain Range (Pico Torreón 1,648 m / 5,406 ft) and the most accessible from the cities of Seville, Cádiz, Jerez, Gibraltar and, of course, the neighboring Ronda. This condition explains its enormous popularity since the nineteenth century with the romantic travelers and the first naturalist explorers up to the present day. The Natural Park area covers more than 50,000 ha (500 km²) and has a dense network of trails, which allows for very beautiful walks through the Sierra.

The set of limestone mountains dominates the plains of the Guadalquivir depression and the marshes of the Doñana National Park. Grazalema has been the first natural park declared in Andalusia in 1984, and therefore is one of the most prestigious and visited. 

The sierra is the most famous area for the presence of the pinsapo (Abies pinsapo), an Andalusian fir that adapts essentially to a humid, shaded and fresh ecosystem. This means that the distribution of the species is much limited by the torrid Mediterranean climate of Andalusia. The measures of the National Meteorological Institute have forged the legend of Grazalema as one of the points with the highest rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula. It is true that the local weather station receives in some years more than 2,000 mm of rain, but this result is limited to a very small area, a pond in the desert, so to speak.

Remind the Pinsapos forest only grows on the northern slope of the Sierra del Pinar and request authorization from the park to access is necessary.

Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

With its 1,550 meters, the emblematic San Cristóbal crowns the white village and welcome travellers to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

Cones are the reproductive organs of conifers (which botanists do not call “flowers”). In the photo: male cones of the pinsapo, very graphic in appearance and small in size, source of the pollen which fertilizes the female cones, the future pine cones. These are erected in true firs (genus Abies).

The Líbar massif, a mountain that is rarely visited despite its extraordinary geology and cradle of the famous goat breed ‘Payoya’.

The goats of the Serranía de Ronda receive the name of the local gentiles: they are alternately ‘payoyas’ (Villaluenga del Rosario), ‘montejaqueñas’ (Montejaque) or ‘cortesanas’ (Cortes de la Frontera).

Grazalema is above all a white village, extremely charming and pleasant to visit, a haven for travelers and bandits, very popular among Andalusians. Located at the foot of a cliff, dominating the agricultural valley of the Guadalete and surrounded by peaks and rocks, it is one of the beautiful white villages of Andalusia that has managed to preserve its authenticity and tranquility. Starting point for excellent walks, ideal base camp for ecotourism, especially for the quality of its services. On the other hand, Grazalema may have somewhat monopolized interest to the detriment of neighboring municipalities and other areas of the natural park, such as the Líbar massif (Malaga province).

The park is home to a very important colony of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), the star animal, which cannot be missed during a visit. It is also not uncommon to observe the Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica), an endemic species, often inconspicuous but locally abundant. A very rare species is also present, an Iberian-magrébi endemism, the Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum), of a beautiful orange color and, among the Lepidoptera, the Andalusian fritillary (Melitaea aethiere) is worth noting, a threatened species whose The best towns in Andalusia are found in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

Finally, and this is not particular to Grazalema, it is necessary to point out the importance of pastoralism for the conservation of biodiversity. The presence of herds of sheep of the Merina de Grazalema breed and Payoyas goats, which allow us to unite the useful with the pleasant, the conservation of biodiversity with a very famous cheese production throughout Spain.

Join us on the marvellous Trek of the Serranía de Ronda.

The Sierra de Grazalema is the great mountain of the Western Betic Mountain Range (Pico Torreón 1,648 m / 5,406 ft) and the most accessible from the cities of Seville, Cádiz, Jerez, Gibraltar and, of course, the neighboring Ronda. This condition explains its enormous popularity since the nineteenth century with the romantic travelers and the first naturalist explorers up to the present day. The Natural Park area covers more than 50,000 ha (500 km²) and has a dense network of trails, which allows for very beautiful walks through the Sierra.

The set of limestone mountains dominates the plains of the Guadalquivir depression and the marshes of the Doñana National Park. Grazalema has been the first natural park declared in Andalusia in 1984, and therefore is one of the most prestigious and visited. 

The sierra is the most famous area for the presence of the pinsapo (Abies pinsapo), an Andalusian fir that adapts essentially to a humid, shaded and fresh ecosystem. This means that the distribution of the species is much limited by the torrid Mediterranean climate of Andalusia. The measures of the National Meteorological Institute have forged the legend of Grazalema as one of the points with the highest rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula. It is true that the local weather station receives in some years more than 2,000 mm of rain, but this result is limited to a very small area, a pond in the desert, so to speak.

Remind the Pinsapos forest only grows on the northern slope of the Sierra del Pinar and request authorization from the park to access is necessary.

Grazalema is above all a white village, extremely charming and pleasant to visit, a refuge for travelers and bandits, very popular among Andalusians. Located at the foot of a cliff, overlooking the agricultural valley of the Guadalete and surrounded by peaks and rocks, it is one of the beautiful white villages of Andalusia that has managed to preserve its authenticity and tranquility. Starting point for excellent walks, ideal base camp for ecotourism, especially for the quality of its services. On the other hand, Grazalema may have monopolized interest at the expense of neighboring municipalities and other areas of the natural park, such as the Líbar massif (province of Malaga).

The park houses a very important colony of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), its star animal, which cannot be missed during a visit. It is also not uncommon to observe Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica), an endemic species, often discrete but locally abundant.

Note also very rare species such as the Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum), an ibero-magrébi endemism of a beautiful orange color. Among the lepidoptera it is worth noting the Andalusian fritillaria butterfly (Melitaea aethiere), a threatened species whose best habitats are found in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

Join us on the marvellous Trek of the Serranía de Ronda.

Finally, and this is not particular to Grazalema, it is necessary to point out the importance of pastoralism for the conservation of biodiversity. The presence of sheep herds of Grazalema Merino and Payoyas goats breeds, which combine the useful with the pleasant, the conservation of biodiversity with the elaboration of a chees very famous cheese throughout Spain.