Doñana National Park

Doñana is a national park in Spain, 90 kilometers south of Seville. Formed in 1963. Covers an area of 75,800 hectares. The park protects pine forests on the dunes of the ocean coast and freshwater swamps at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. Doñana National Park was included in the World Heritage List in 1994.

Doñana National Park

Since July 2006, the Administration of the Doñana National Park is subordinate to the Center for the Protection of Nature Reserves of the Government of Andalusia. Scientists and naturalists and the park's scientific center are engaged in the reproduction of birds and animals, the preservation of their habitats, and the restoration of pine and shrub plantations.

Fauna of Doñana

This is an ideal place for various species of birds; birds from Africa fly here in the summer, and from Northern and Central Europe in the winter. Here you can observe more than 300 species of birds, including geese, ducks, flamingos, herons, 37 species of mammals, including the Iberian lynx and 11 species of amphibians. Doñana Park is home to the Spanish imperial eagle, whose population has now been reduced to 14 pairs. The individuals are beautiful in the pink flamingo colony park.

Doñana National Park

There are three main ecosystems in Doñana Park. The largest are swamps, the water in some of them is salty. On the Atlantic coast you can see dunes, the largest are 35 meters high, they move approximately 3-6 meters per year. The zone of Mediterranean forests and shrubs is represented by cork oak, pine trees, heather thickets, cedar, juniper, lavender, cistus, and rosemary. In spring the marshes are covered with flowers. This makes it one of the most unique nature reserves in Europe.

History of Doñana Park

At the beginning of the 13th century, the king of Castile declared the Guadalquivir estuary to be his zone of interest - there was a hunting reserve that belonged to the crown of Castile. Later, in the 15th century, the Duke of Medina Sedonia turned the area into his own hunting grounds and built a residence there that was more like a museum than a palace. The artist Francisco Goya visited the Duchess of Alba in this palace during their whirlwind romance. The name "Doñana" comes from the name of Dona Ana de Mendoza, who married the Duke of Medina Sidonia VII and settled in this area. In the park you can see a signal tower, built in the late 16th - early 17th centuries to protect against pirate attacks. There are also primitive Romanesque churches, which were founded by King Alfonso 10 of Castile after the complete liberation of the territory from the rule of the Moors.

Scientific interest in this area began in the 19th century, when a complete catalog of birds found in the province of Andalusia, compiled by Don Antonio Machado and Nunez, was published. By this time, hunters and naturalists began to collect collections of eggs and stuffed birds living in the estuary.

The easiest way to get to Doñana Park is by car from Seville on the motorway or from the nearest town of El Rocío. There is a bus service several times a day from Seville's Plaza de Armas or El Rocío bus station. Entrance to the park is strictly controlled. There are several entrances where you can get information about the reserve and hiking trails. One is located 500 meters from the village of El Rocío, a 3-kilometer-long trail that runs along the freshwater lake and Charco de la Boca swamp. From Playa de Castilla you can walk along the border of the park and see magnificent landscapes and bird colonies along the coastline.

The main entrance is located 11 kilometers south of El Rocio. There is a small cafe, a souvenir shop and a bookstore. From the center you can walk along well-marked trails on your own - about 5 kilometers through the forest area - or book a four-hour guided tour. A private visit can be arranged. More expensive excursion options cover all three ecosystems, while more budget-friendly ones, as a rule, cover two - forests and swamps. Several agencies offer excursions, so conditions and prices may vary. There are also cycling trails in the park, and horseback riding or boat excursions can be arranged upriver from Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the visitor center.

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Doñana National Park - geographical coordinates
Latitude: 37
Longitude: -6.333333


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