Catalonia, a country of natural parks

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If you are spending your week looking wistfully at the picture of a forest on your computer wallpaper, now is the time to turn that image into realty. You can do so in one of the 18 natural parks you can find in Catalonia. They are natural environments of great beauty and locations to lose yourself and connect with nature. Whether you like the sea or the mountains, Catalonia has a nature area for you close to home that you can enjoy all year round.

What natural park do you prefer?
Each natural park in the country has a special charm. You can discover the areas with coast, inland landscapes or mountains, such as the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. It is the only National Park in Catalonia: water is the main attraction. There are nearly 200 lakes surrounded by impressive cliffs and rich flora and fauna. And nothing compares to the volcanic landscape of La Garrotxa, which could be the green reflection of the moon's surface. The more than 40 volcanic craters look like the irregular terrain of the moon, only this landscape is covered in dazzling vegetation. The horizon changes completely in the Delta de l'Ebre, where the wild fauna displays all the splendour. It is considered a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, and its area of 320 square kilometres makes up the largest water habitat in Catalonia. Any fan of birdwatching can delight at the 370 species that stop there on their way to warmer climates.

Nature tourism through natural parks
More than 30% of the region is protected in order to conserve the natural ecosystem. Nature tourism or the version of ecotourism invites you to enjoy, see and learn about the values and resources of these natural spaces: the wild fauna and flora and the landscapes. It is a respectful closeness to your surroundings and the environment. You can tour on foot, using one of the accessible routes or paths that go through the Catalan natural parks, such as the GR 92; on a bike taking the Volta al Montsant bike path; or in kayak. In the parks, you will find the activity you are looking for to experience nature.

What natural park do you want to explore first?
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Ecotourism, experiences to connect with nature
Ecotourism, experiences to connect with nature
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Nature tourism or ecotourism invites you to enjoy, see and learn about the values and resources of the parks, including the wild fauna, flora and landscapes.

Catalonia Natural Parks
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They are natural environments of great beauty and locations to lose yourself and connect with nature. They are protected places to be enjoyed all year round.
Lake Ratera, in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park  (© Kim Castells)
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is the only national park in Catalonia. There are five routes on which its 41 square miles can be discovered; highlights include the Els Encantats mountain and the 200-plus lakes.
Group of people enjoying the views of the head of the Vall de Cardós from the Corbiu Viewpoint (Alt Pirineu Natural Park). There is a panel with additional information about the geography, flora and fauna of the natural park. (© Òscar Rodbag)
Alt Pirineu Natural Park
Situated between Pallars Sobirà and Alt Urgell, the Alt Pirineu Natural Park is the largest in Catalonia. Pernui, in the district of Sort, is the gateway to this park.
The Sierra of Cadí from the town of Querforadat    (© Servicios Editoriales Georama)
Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park
The CadÍ-Moixeró Nature Reserve is an essential place for nature lovers and can be contemplated from anywhere in the region. Its peaks range from 900 metres (in the lowest areas of the valleys) to the 2,648 metres of the Canal Baridana mountain.
Montserrat massif.  (© Turismo Verde S.L.)
Montserrat Natural Park
Montserrat is one of the greatest symbols of Catalonia, that from being a religious centre has become a bastion of Catalan identity, without ignoring the natural environment and its characteristic morphology and structure of rounded and abrupt rocks and needles.
Hiking on the Remolar-Filipines Nature Reserve route.  (© Turismo Verde S.L.)
Delta del Llobregat Protected Nature Area
The purpose of the Natural Areas of the Llobregat Delta is to protect the Llobregat Delta wetlands. There are hides and lookouts dotted around most of the lakes, beaches and marshes.
Montserrat massif.  (© Turismo Verde S.L.)
Montserrat Natural Park
Montserrat is one of the greatest symbols of Catalonia, that from being a religious centre has become a bastion of Catalan identity, without ignoring the natural environment and its characteristic morphology and structure of rounded and abrupt rocks and needles.
Ravine at the Montseny mountain range. (© J. Moragues)
Massís del Montseny Natural Park.
The Montseny massif is both a natural park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is crowned by peaks such as the Turó de l’Home (1,706 metres) or Matagalls (1,697 metres). It is also home to a wealth of natural and cultural heritage.
Woods near Poblet monastery.  (© Miguel Raurich)
Vall del Monestir de Poblet Landscape of National Interest
Santa Maria de Poblet is one of the most important monastic monuments in Europe. As well as having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it harbours the graves of the kings of the Catalan-Aragonese crown. From its beginnings in 1153, it provided land on which the monks could stock up on everything they required, it was also originally covered by forestry.
Panoràmica Racó de MIssa       (© Joan Capdevila)
Serra de Montsant Natural Park
The Serra de Montsant Natural Park is located in the north of the Priorat region and has a surface area of 22,837 acres, creating a rich scenic, natural and intangible landscape.
Car in La Fageda d'en Jordà. (© Lluís Carro)
Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
The volcanic area of La Garrotxa, declared a natural park in 1985, is the Peninsula's best example of volcanic landscape and one of the most significant in Europe.
Toll del Vidre in the pass of Tortosa-Beseit  (© Miguel Raurich)
Els Ports Natural Park
The Els Ports Natural Park is located between the regions of Baix Ebre, Montsià and Terra Alta. It is distinguished by its shapes, its two differing climates, as well as its fauna, a highlight being the Spanish ibex, to which the park acts as a reserve.   
Observing birds at sunset in the Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l'Empordà. (© Lluís Carro)
Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
The Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Natural Park is the second most important wetland area in Catalonia, after the Delta del Ebro.
Monastery of Sant Llorenç del Munt. Natural Park of Sant Llorenç de Munt and the l'Obac mountain range. (© Francesc Muntada)
Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac Natural Park
Sant Llorenç del Munt and L'Obac are two mountain ranges separated by the Les Arenes stream that are joined to the north by the Estenalles mountain.
Serra de l'Albera mountains    (© Nano Cañas)
Massís de l'Albera Landscape of National Interest
The L’Albera Mountain Range extends along the eastern section of the Pyrenees, from the Pertús mountain pass to the Mediterranean. This is an area of outstanding natural and scenic interest, with zones of very old, varied and luxurious vegetation, ancient constructions and human relics.
El Pedraforca, in the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park.    (© Servicios Editoriales Georama)
Pedraforca Massif Landscape of National Interest
The Pedraforca Mountain soars up impressively in a very small area, formed over millions of years by the erosion of calcareous materials and the soft marl that has resulted in its unique and special profile. It is situated in the pre-Pyrenees in the El Berguedà region, and is part of the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park.
Núria. View of the lake with the shrine in the background    (© Servicios Editoriales Georama)
Capçaleres del Ter i del Freser Natural Park
The Nuria Valley is a fantastic natural area in Catalan geography, of glacial origin and with a wide variety of flora y la fauna. It sits on the southern side of the eastern part of the Pyrenees, at two thousand metres above sea level and is surrounded by peaks reaching up to three thousand metres. Its highest point is the Puigmal, at 2,913 metres.