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Spain's 16th National Park is 'born': Sierra de las Nieves, Málaga province
31 May 2021 @ 13:07

ANDALUCÍA has just acquired another National Park – a status that could dramatically increase tourism income and job creation, vital in the holiday industry's post-pandemic recovery.

Málaga province's first National Park, the Sierra de las Nieves (photos 1-4: Andalucía regional tourist board)

The Sierra de las Nieves is shared between the Málaga-province towns of El Burgo, Yunquera, Tolox, Monda, Istán, Benahavís, Parauta and Ronda, and its impact as a key visitor hotspot is expected to be felt in the neighbouring municipalities of Alozaina, Casarabonela, Guaro, Igualeja, Ojén and Serrato.

“Now is the time for us to make a determined focus on Andalucía's natural environment to create 'green jobs' and turn our rural heritage into a key player in our community's post-Covid social and economic recovery,” says regional environment minister Carmen Crespo.

The southern strip of mainland Spain has just upped its number of National Parks by 50% - it is also home to the Doñana, which sits mostly in the province of Huelva but spills partly into that of Cádiz, and the Sierra Nevada in the province of Granada, one of southern Europe's most popular ski resort areas, clearly visible from the Alhambra Palace, and partly shared with the next province to the north, Almería

Curiously, two of the three National Parks in Andalucía have names that suggest the polar opposite to the region's fame as a popular sunshine destination: Sierra Nevada translates approximately as 'snow-covered mountain range', and Sierra de las Nieves roughly means 'mountain range of the snows'.

Indeed, at altitudes of 1,000 feet or more, snow in deep winter is fairly common in Spain, even in its warmest regions, and the country is replete with ski resorts scattered widely enough that a high percentage of the population can either get to the slopes and back in a day, or can feasibly do so with just a one-night stay locally.

And as the second-most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland – which makes it the most mountainous in the EU – Spain is not short of rural areas of exceptional beauty and botanical and biological value.



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