Due to its location in the far south of Europe and isolation from other high mountain systems, the Sierra Nevada is home to an unusually large number of endemic species, as well as great biodiversity. This unique ecosystem is highly vulnerable to human activities, so it is important to show respect for its fauna and flora.
Below we have set out some things to bear in mind when you are in the Sierra Nevada:
- Don’t light fires or throw away cigarette butts! Unfortunately, the combination of dry conditions, heat and wind means that wild fires are common in the south of Spain, and the national park is not immune. Clearly the risk is particularly high in summer, but fires are prohibited all year round in the national park. Outside the park there are some picnic sites where BBQs are provided, but they can only be used during the winter months.
- Don’t disturb the natural environment. This includes not collecting or harming any animals, flowers, plants, rocks or minerals. Hunting and fishing are obviously not allowed in the national park, and elsewhere you will generally need the permission of the landowner and/or a license.
- Don’t leave any rubbish behind, or pour any liquids into streams or rivers. Although organic waste will eventually decompose, particularly in the high mountains it can take a very long time to do so, and in the meantime it is unsightly.
- Don’t let your dog off its leash in the national park.
- Don’t drive or cycle cross-country in the national park – stick to the designated roads and tracks. Outside the national park you can cycle on any public paths or rights of way that you think your cycling skills are up to.
- You must notify the authorities if you plan to camp in the national park. See our guide on camping in the national park for further details.