National parks & nature reserves

Geopark of Granada

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Delving right into the heart of Granada Geopark means entering one of the few natural deserts in Europe. Dare to travel by foot, bike or horse between inviting badlands, geological landscapes carved by erosion in the form of rocky outcrops, gorges, fluvial canyons, intense gullies, clay ridges and many other capricious formations.

This territory, after countless millions of years forming part of ancient seas, emerged and became a great closed depression surrounded by mountains. A dense network of streams and watercourses collected the rainwater that, without a sea outlet, would accumulate in a lake facing Baza. This process lasted hundreds of years and the great depression slowly filled with sediments such as layers of sand, silt and clay, and plaster deposits in the lagoon area.

Later on, the closed depression would be opened by the west towards the Guadalquivir basin and the rivers and streams started to drain in that direction. In their new path, the channels, full of life, started to easily pierce the soft accumulated sediments until they formed the current drainage network and the unique erosive landscape seen today.

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A TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

In Granada Geopark you can immerse yourself first-hand in the world of the ancient Quaternary and Prehistory, get to know extinct wildlife and the first hominids who reached Europe and how they lived, tour an exceptional group of dolmens of over 5,000 years of age, visit a settlement from the Bronze Age where the oldest mummified remains of the Iberian Peninsula were found, or learn how Iberians buried the dead and what their monumental cemeteries were like.

In the Fardes River Valley Palaeontological Station in Fonelas, an extraordinary palaeontological site open to the public, you will be able to delve into the world of the start of the Quaternary. What was the Geopark territory like two million years ago? Giraffes, rhinoceros, mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers or cheetahs can tell us through their fossil remains. This is a thrilling and entertaining journey to the world of palaeontology.

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In the north of the Geopark, the Great Trail of the First Settlers offers a trip through the Interpretation Centre of the First Settlers and the palaeontological sites of Orce, the settlement from the Bronze Age of the Castellón Alto, the Iberian necropolis of Tútugi, and the Archaeological Museum in Galera. You cannot miss a visit to the Megalithic Interpretation Centre in Gorafe that provides detailed information on the routes through the dolmens in its Megalithic Park.

In Baza you will also be able to get up and close to the world of the Iberians in the archaeological site of Basti, the ancient Iberian city of Baza where the Lady of Baza was found, and visit the Interpretation Centre of the Archaeological Sites of Baza, and its engaging Archaeological Museum, located in the centre of the city’s Historic Site.

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CAVE HOTELS

Have you ever slept in a cave? It’s like sleeping in the past but with all the comforts of a five star hotel. The Geopark villages, the clay outcrops of its canyons and fluvial cliffs are pierced with caves that have been inhabited since the Middle Ages. These strange troglodyte habitats, restored as accommodation or restaurants, are one of the unique experiences on offer in the Geopark.

You will be able to explore the unique troglodyte world by visiting the popular neighbourhoods of the caves of Baza, Benamaurel, Orce, Galera, Castillejar, Guadix, Benalua, Purullena and others. You will be immersed in a set of troglodyte habitats that range from medieval underground fortifications to contemporary cave-houses.

In Alcudia de Guadix, Trópolis offers a collection of museums and leisure activities bringing the culture of the Hoya de Guadix and the cave-houses closer with their traditional production of bread, wine, cheese and crafts. It truly offers the best of both worlds of leisure and culture in one single space.

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RELAX

The thermal waters in the Geopark underground have been used for therapeutic purposes since at least the Roman times. The spas in Graena, Alicún de las Torres and Zújar, which have been running for twenty centuries, offer stays and programmes to get away from the stress of work and bustling city life. There are also alternative leisure activities and unbeatable scenes on offer there.

You should also have a peaceful stroll through the declared Historic Sites of Guadix, Castril de la Peña and Baza with highlights such as the Roman theatre and the cathedral in Guadix, la Peña and the medieval castle in Castril, or the medina and Arabic baths in Baza.

As for gastronomy, fans of great food cannot miss the chance to taste some segureño lamb, together with an excellent wine from the region. This type of native lamb has its own Interpretation Centre in Huéscar.

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THRILLING EXPERIENCES

You will be able to enjoy a comprehensive variety of leisure and adventure activities in the Geopark, with routes to be explored by foot or bike with a complete and vast network of paths, horse routes, and 4×4 trips, either alone or accompanied by professional expert guides. The Negratín reservoir, along with other extraordinary settings, has beaches and water sport equipment on offer, and if flying is your thing, you can travel at your own pace in a balloon or take a dive from the Free Flight Station of the Hill of Jabalcón.



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