Doñana is located in a unique region, on the crossroads of routes between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and between Europe and Africa.
Doñana’s biogeographic condition determines its natural and cultural characteristics, making up a diverse ecological mosaic where we can see the beach, the living dunes, the wildlife reserves or stabilized sands, the salt marshes and the transition zone between sands and clays locally known as “Vera”.
With unquestionable natural value, the first thing that surprises the visitor is the enormous variety and great contrasts in the landscape, defined by the diversity of its ecosystems; the “desert” of the mobile sand dunes contrasting with the “jungle” of the thick riparian forest; and the enormous “lake” of the salt marshes opposed to the extensive Mediterranean scrub.
The Atlantic draws the sand to the beach where it is transported by the “foreño” wind inland, forming the mobile dunes. The wildlife reserves represent the most stable landscape of the Park and are formed by a thick scrub in which you can find isolated examples of cork oak, strawberry tree, juniper and wild olives.
Given its geographical situation, it is a refuge to numerous bird species, becoming an extremely important wintering zone, migratory stopping-off point and breeding zone. And for some birds, like the graylag goose, it becomes the principal wintering zone of the whole European continent. More than 300 different bird species can be observed through the different seasons.
The presence of animals like the imperial eagle and the purple swamphen, both easily spotted, and the white-headed duck and the timid lynx, make Doñana a key environment for these species in danger of extinction.
when Alfonso X “The Wise” converts Doñana into a royal hunting ground. It is kept as such by its succeeding owners until 1969 when it is designated as Doñana National Park.
Finally, the mythical image of the village of El Rocio and its pilgrimage lend to Doñana one of the most special cultural events of our region.