A new tour to one of Europe’s most striking and beautiful landscapes – the Sierra Nevada in Southern Spain!
A holiday to visit the World Heritage site of the Alhambra and the beautiful Alpujarra region of the Sierra Nevada. The cluster of tiny whitewashed villages are spread along the park’s southern extremity. We shall stay in one of the iconic villages in the area.
The Sierra Nevada, covering an area of over 850 square kilometres, is home to the 3,478-metre Mount Mulhacén, mainland Spain’s highest peak. Andalusia’s Sierra Nevada natural park is the largest in Spain. We shall explore the flora of this diverse mountain but also take in the interesting butterflies to be found in this area and other fauna.
About 2,000 species of vascular plant, a quarter of those recorded for the whole of Spain, have been recorded here, with 70 plant species only being found in the Sierra Nevada. Because of its high altitude the mountain hosts several different habitats from Mediterranean to Alpine. There is extensive woodland of Castanea sativa and Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), Pinus sylvestris, Juniperus sabina, J. communis, Quercus faginea and the maples Acer granatense and Acer monospessulanum. Commonly occuring shrubs on the lower slopes are Juniperus oxycedrus, Daphne gnidium, Berberis hispanica, Crataegus monogyna, Pistacia lentiscus, Olea europaea sylvestris and Quercus ilex.
The water courses are fringed by alder trees (Alnus glutinosa), ash trees (Fraxinus angustifolia), elms (Ulmus minor), willows (Salix atrocinerea) and poplars (Populus alba).
Over 60 species of bird inhabit the Sierra. including Golden and Bonelli’s eagles, peregrine falcons, griffon vultures and kestrels. On the higher slopes are Alpine accentors, black redstarts, northern wheateaters, rock thrushes, rock buntings, red-billed choughs and skylarks. In the woodland areas are hoopoes, short-toed treecreepers, green woodpeckers, coal tits, great tits, goldfinches and golden orioles. The most commonly seen mammal is the Spanish ibex, a type of mountain goat with distinctive curling horns. The park is renowned for its outstanding variety of butterflies with 120 species recorded here. We shall look for Provence Orange tip, Sooty Orange tip, Western Dappled white, Green-striped White, Nevada blue, Gatekeeper and Southern Gatekeeper.