Discover the serene landscapes of one of Europe's most unique ecosystems on a private small-group tour to Doñana National Park. This UNESCO-listed wetlands preserve is home to an amazing variety of plants and animal species including birds of prey, wild boars, and the elusive Iberian lynx. You’ll also get a dose of local culture with a visit to Sanlúcar de Barrameda and taste it famous Manzanilla wine.
Less than one hour away from Cádiz, you will arrive in the Doñana National Park. Doñana has a biodiversity that is unique in Europe, although there are some similarities to the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue of the Camargue river delta in France, with which Doñana Park is twinned. The park features a great variety of ecosystems and shelters wildlife including thousands of European and African migratory birds, fallow deer, Spanish red deer, wild boars, European badgers, Egyptian mongooses, and endangered species such as the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx.
The Doñana Natural Park includes parts of the provinces of Cadiz , Huelva and Seville . It contains a wide range of eco-systems and is close to the Doñana National Park , considered to be Europe 's best ecological reserve. It has a total surface area of 53,709 hectares , 3,400 of which belong to the province of Cadiz.
It was declared a Natural Park in 1989 in order to soften any possible impact on the National Park and contains a wealth of important natural and cultural items. It partially forms part of the "Doñana Biosphere Reserve" (1986) and has been a Special Protection Zone for Birds (ZEPA) in 2002.
The zone consists of pine forests (Pinar de la Algaida ), salt marshes (Bonanza Marshes), together with tributaries and channel of the River Guadalquivir which used to flood the salt marsh. This landscape is currently noted for its horizontal aesthetics and a bluish tone from the morning mists.
The Bonanza Marshes, situated near to the mouth of the Guadalquivir , are a strip of natural salt marshes that are flooded when the tide comes in, unlike the rest of the River Guadalquivir marshland that nowadays only receives water from the rain. These marshes are between El Pinar de la Algaida and the river bank, and are fundamental for wintering birds in dry years.
Situated on the left of the mouth of the River Guadalquivir and opposite Doñana, the origins of the first settlement came about because of the building of a Phoenician temple dedicated to Astarté. This stately town - declared a Historic Ensemble- has an urban design characterised by being divided into two great nuclei: the Barrio Alto and the Barrio Bajo. The Barrio Alto is the historic centre with the town’s monuments, narrow streets, white house fronts and aristocratic palaces such as the Palace of Orleáns y Borbón (beside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad) or the Renaissance Palacio Ducal de Medina Sidonia. Nearby, we can find the Arquillo or Rota Gate, the remains of the Medieval walls, the Santiago Castle (15th century), the Las Descalzas Convent and Nuestra Señora de la O Church. Going down the Cuesta Belén towards the Barrio Bajo, there is the Auditorio de la Merced, and the 15th century ‘Covachas’ -the best example of Gothic architecture in the town– which decorate one of the façades of the Dukes Palace. The Plaza de San Roque is the site of the wonderful atmosphere of the Market Place, full colour and local flavour, with its stall-holders singing the praises of their products at the tops of their voices. On the way to the Church of Santo Domingo (16th century), we find the Church of San Jorge and the Regina Coeli Convent. In the opposite direction, there is the Church of El Carmen and the Capuchin Convent.