Doñana National Park, Spain

Doñana National Park located in Spain was established in 1969 and is approximately 542 square kilometers.

 

Facts about Doñana National Park

  • Estuary: The marshes, lagoons, scrub woodlands and sand dunes in southwestern Spain run along the Guadalquivir River at its Atlantic Ocean estuary. The area is virtually unmarred by development or agriculture.
  • Protected Area: This is one of Europe’s best known conservation areas and has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve, a Ramsar Wetland Site and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Bird Haven: The park has more than half a million birds each year during winter and as much as a half of Europe’s bird species can be seen here at one time or another.
  • Beaches: The Park boasts 24 miles of fine beach on one of the few large stretches of untouched coastline remaining in Spain.
  • Royal Retreat: With a well-chronicled history dating back about 700 years, it is said Spanish Kings once enjoyed Doñana as a private hunting ground. In later years, the park’s wetlands were drained for farming and grazing.
  • Rare and Threatened: Doñana’s wildlife include many rare species, including the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle. It also has many endangered birds.

 

How to Get There

There are two main visitor centers, La Rocina and El Acebuche. The northern part of the park may be entered from the Jose Antonio Valverde visitor center about 19 miles south of the town of Villamanrique de la Condesa.

 

When to Visit

If you visit the park during the wet months of November to January, you can see a wild contusion of birds. In the Spring, many birds pass through on migration or stop over to breed. During the summer months, the heat causes water levels to diminish and the park may be less welcoming for much of the wildlife, although some still remain.

How to Visit

The park is heavily protected, and visitor access is limited beyond the beaches, trails, bird hides and lagoons found in the vicinity of the numerous visitor centers. If you wish to visit the larger park trips must be arranged with official guides. It will be well worth it though, just make sure you book these excursions well in advance.