Natural parks in Orihuela range from small to vast areas of wilderness. Also referred to as reserves, they are protected areas often surrounding mountains or lakes. They are given the title of natural parks due to them being predominantly unchanged by human exploitation. Some areas of coastline are deemed natural parks, as are entire islands such as Tabarca. When encompassing a body of sea they are usually referred to as Marine Reserves. This is the case with the waters surrounding Tabarca Island where a fascinating variety of marine life awaits.
Costa Blanca Natural Parks
The sunny Costa Blanca is home to numerous natural, national and marine parks. Exploring them is great fun, offers a bit of exercise and lets you top up that all essential holiday tan. Some form areas of dunes and coastal scrub land such as the ones in La Mata and Guardamar. Natural parks surrounding mountains offer a great choice of outdoor pursuits. Among their many hiking trails visitors can enjoy bird watching, rambling, rock climbing and cycling.
Tabarca Island can be visited by boat, water taxi or ferry from various towns along the coast. The closest town on the mainland to Tabarca is Santa Pola. The town also offers the widest variety of boat trips. There is also an exciting trip from Torrevieja in a glass bottomed boat. On the island you will find an abundance of interesting flora & fauna both on land and under the waves. Indeed, it's a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving due to its pristine marine life. Visitors can take along a picnic or enjoy delicious fresh seafood in a choice of restaurants.
Orihuela Natural Parks
Hikers, nature enthusiasts, mountain bikers and climbers visiting Orihuela have a great choice of natural parks to explore. About 10 kilometres from the city is the Sierra de Callosa de Segura park and mountain range. The village of the same name lies at its foothills and can be reached by bike, car or tram. The main hiking route to the summit is quite physically testing, but the spectacular views are well worth the effort. Other gentler hiking trails criss-cross the lower slopes. Some of these can be tackled on mountain bikes and there are great climbing routes.
On the outskirts of Orihuela's municipality are two lovely lakes. These are Lake Pedrera and Torrevieja's pretty pink salt lake. Both of these are surrounded by natural parks. A highlight of Lake Pedrera are the two multi-activity centres located near the lake shores. These offer the chance to explore the lake itself in kayaks and canoes. The hiking trails around the lake shores can be explored on foot for free. Alternately for a more thrilling venture, the trails can be negotiated on horseback or quad bike tours, available at both activity centres.
The famous Torrevieja Salt Lake is a bit further afield and has the addition of a Greenway. These are found throughout Spain. They are relatively flat hiking, cycling and horse riding trails that follow the country's disused railway tracks. Further hiking trails can be found around the lake shores. Should you wish to explore the natural park on horseback, Villa Salada have an equestrian school and offer horse riding hacks. The lake itself is fascinating and gets its pink colour from micro-organisms that thrive in the water's dense salinity. This also gives the water buoyancy similar to the Dead Sea, so bring along swimwear and enjoy a float 🙂