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Grazalema Natural Park ~
Designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 1977, the Sierra de Grazalema was declared the first natural park in Andalucia in 1984 and remains one of Spain's most ecologically outstanding areas.
The 51,695ha park is famous for its spectacular rugged limestone landscape of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges. By far the most impressive gorge the Garganta Verde, with its exceptional griffon vulture colony and rocky walls that tower vertically for 400metres. Andalucia's largest cave system is also here, the Hundidero-Gato with its biggest cavern measuring 4km long and an entrance of 60metres high.
Dotted around the sierra are attractive whitewashed villages, the one ithat gives the park it's name - Grazalema, nestling between two rugged peaks, the Pico del Reloj and the Pico de San Cristóbal.
Around 3,000ha of the park is called an Área de Reserve, with the most fragile ecosystem - Spanish fir forests and black vulture colonies. Conservation measures are stricter than the rest of the park and visits are controlled in terms of dates and numbers. At times when fire risks are greater walks to this area are prohibited For walks in the rest of the park, except for Sendero Garganta Verde, you must go with an authorized Turismo Activo company (details from the information offices listed below). For the rest of the year, you need to obtain permits from the El Bosque information office.