Avila and the Sierra de Gredos

Avila

Our hiking tours, multi-adventure trips and other activities in the Sierra de Gredos usually begin with a night in the impressive historic city of Avila, 100 km NW of Madrid. Ávila is Spain’s highest provincial capital at an elevation of 1130 m.  Avila has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and its highlights include its 11th – 12th century walls, considered one of the world’s best preserved medieval defensive perimeters, and the cathedral – Spain’s earliest Gothic church. Avila is also famous for being the birthplace of Santa Teresa, the 16th century mystic and ascetic, and where she founded her order of nuns – the ‘Barefoot Carmelites’. For a detailed description, see the Wikipedia article

The Sierra de Gredos

Location

Approximately 150 km west of Madrid. Central Spain’s highest mountains, with several peaks over 2500m (8200 ft), the Sierra de Gredos forms the western section of the major cordillera (mountain system) known as the sistema central, which runs approximately East-West across the middle of Iberia and divide the higher plains of northern Castile from the lower plains of southern Castile and Extremadura.

The Regional Park

In the early 20th century, Spain’s royalty established the country’s first hunting preserve in the northern high glacial zone. This was expanded over time with the result that today a large portion of these mountains enjoy Spain’s second highest level of protection – Regional Park – where most of our hiking routes are located.

Fauna & Flora

The difference in elevation between the northern and southern valleys is roughly 1,000 m / 3281 ft., creating a great diversity of climate and ecosystems, and richness of fauna and flora. Over 50% of the peninsula’s terrestrial vertebrate species are found in Gredos, including the peninsula’s largest population of Spanish Ibex and one of Europe’s highest densities of birds of prey.

As for flora, there are approximately 1400 species, of which 14 are unique, as well as many associated with both Atlantic and Mediterranean climates. For more information, please read our personally written description of this area…

See our photo gallery of fauna and flora of Gredos

You might also be interested to read what Wikipedia has to say about the Sierra de Gredos