I've talked about and visited some of the relatively well-known national parks in the Valencia/east Spanish coast area, and some of these Spanish national parks are absolutely stunning. They manage to combine international invisibility with gorgeous and dramatic landscapes in way I haven't seen before. Almost no-one seems to know about them, and yet they are some of the finest and most natural areas I have seen anywhere in Europe.
Cover image credit @ Yellow_lizard
This certainly is a thickly forested and steeply rising piece of landscape, and it's not the most friendly when you first look at it. Due to the lack of visitors and popularity, the national park and surrounding walking routes are not the most well marked or clear, but what they lack in organisation or clarity, they more than make up for with natural beauty and isolation. I'm sure you have been in national parks in the UK, or France or maybe even in the USA, and been surrounded by people taking photos and talking and eating. Well this is absolutely as far from this kind of image as you could get. You'll be lucky if you see another person, which makes it an ideal place to visit to really find the joy of peaceful time spent in the trees and on the mountain slopes.
Photo credit @ Jessicahyde
In the past the area was fairly well known for wine-growing, but that's not the case any more. Although the vine traditions have died off somewhat, the olive trees always have been and continue to be vitally significant to the local people. Alongside groves of olive trees in the lower slopes of the mountainous park, you can also find plenty of pine forests as well as poplar, juniper, oak and hawthorn clumps - this national park is a tree-lovers paradise. Although there were heavy and long-burning fires throughout the 90's, which did a lot of damage to the forest populations the trees have recovered and continue to dominate the landscape.
It's not just grass, mountains and trees in the park, as you can also see some incredible wildlife here too. Spain seems to excel for those who love to watch birds-of-prey, in places that I have written about before like Monfrague National Park. In the Chera-sot area you can find birds like the fairly rare white-bellied eagle (photo below)
Photo credit @ miwa_in_oz
Similarly to Monfrague National Park, you can also find populations of royal eagles, vultures and the speedy peregrine falcons. If you are lucky, quiet and careful, you may catch sight of the wild boar that live in the area too. These monsters can reach close to 300kg and be 120cm at the shoulder. Hopefully you won't catch sight of one of this size as they can be aggressive and dangerous!
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