While the Costa Brava’s beautiful beaches pull in crowds of tourists every year, you may be surprised to learn that there is a wealth of natural beauty to be discovered inland too. Whether you are down by the coast or up in the hills, the region boasts a fantastic variety of flora and fauna that makes for a spectacular sight. If you’d rather flee the crowds and explore the best natural parks on the Costa Brava, then read on.
Cap de Creus
Situated in the Alt Empordà (Upper Ampurdan) region, Cap de Creus is a nature reserve which spans eight towns. This maritime and land reserve was established in 1998 and stretches over 13,886 hectares. The flora here holds many a surprise. Species include Aleppo pine trees, Pistacia lentiscus – an evergreen of the pistachio family, lavender and Seseli Farrenyi, a native plant which only grows in the Cap de Creus natural park. And the fauna is equally as impressive. There is a good chance of spotting sea eagles, kestrels, and European shags, which are part of the cormorant family, all of which are very common here. As 3,090 hectares of Cap de Creus are underwater, its fauna also includes marine life, such as saddled sea bream and red scorpion fish. Another attraction of this natural park is the unusual and impressive sculptures in the rock face, a testimony to natural art forms. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful natural parks on the Costa Brava and can be explored on bike, kayak, foot or horseback.
Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
This is another beautiful natural park with a particularly varied ecosystem. Nature has staked its claim on the land featuring ponds, marshes, beaches and rivers. This wet area covers 8,424 hectares and spans eight different towns, and is home to a number of animal species. It is an ornithologist’s delight. There are more than 300 species of birds to be spotted, making for an impressive display. Six species of heron, a lesser-grey shrike, a red-footed falcon, and a red-throated pipit are all regular sights here, making it one of the best natural parks on the Costa Brava.
The Volcanic Zone Natural Park in Garrotxa
Next up is this impressive volcanic landscape, which is definitely worth a visit. The Garrotxa Volcanic Zone natural park spans 11 towns, including Olot, Sant Feliu de Pallerols and Castellfollit de la Roca. It has a rich and varied plant life, with tall trees growing freely. There are no less than 28 footpaths you can take to discover this nature reserve which features fabulous scenery. A number of interesting sights are located right in the middle of the park. Among them, the Montsacopa volcano nature reserve which lies between the Montolivet and Garrinada volcanoes. And, of course, a must-see is the columnar jointed volcanic rocks in Castellfollit de la Roca. Basalt and rock formations formed by cooled lava and volcanic matter prove that nature is sovereign here and presents an impressive display of force and beauty.
The best natural parks on the Costa Brava: other places to visit
If you are spending your holiday at a luxury villa rental on the Costa Brava, then you will be perfectly located to explore the beautiful local scenery. Other than the natural parks listed above, we also recommend a trip to the Cadi-Moixeró natural park near Alp, Montseny natural park in Arbúcies or the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter natural park in L’Estartit. If you’re not in this area, you can naturally have a look on our other offers like our luxury villa rental in Spain.