Cazorla, Segura & Las Villas Natural Park covers 1/5 of Jaen province, my adopted home, and is Spain's largest protected area. It is stunning. Wherever you are in the natural park the views are dramatic and even leaving the park the mountains go on forever creating a dramatic backdrop to the seas of olive groves. This natural area sits between the mountain ranges of Sierra Morena and the Subbeticas in Cordoba province. It has many indigenous plants and because of its importantance ecologically it is a Unesco biosphere reserve.
For walking, hiking, photography and sightseeing it's a fabulous area and almost in the middle of this great green area is the huge lake El Tranco. Because of it's mountains there were many strongholds and castles built, many in disrepair but lots that are visitable with fantastic views if you make it to the top!
On our last overnight visit we stayed just outside the town of Cazorla in a lovely little guest house - Cortijo San Bautista and explored a small area of this vast park. If Parador hotels in the middle of nowhere are your thing then the Parador de Cazorla is a great remote spot.
Moorish towers and castles on rugged crags, rushing waterfalls and trickling streams, white mountain villages with steep,narrow streets all combine making Cazorla an incredibly popular and compelling area to visit.
Even though it's within Jaen province it takes us about 2.5 hours to get to Cazorla town, so it's not a worth a day trip but after three visits now, we've fallen in love with the area, next time we'll stay at least 3 nights to explore the northern part of this incredible landscape. It's somewhere to put on your list.
Coming soon La Iruela, the castle and ampitheatre - the second and fourth photos.
Read about our stay in Cortijo San Bautista and the English Bassett Hounds.