SPAIN, probably better known for its long beaches packed with sunloungers and all-inclusive holidays, has much more to offer and you only have to travel inland a few kilometres to get a real feel for nature and tranquillity.
One such area is the municipality of Alhama de Murcia where you will find the Sierra Espuña Regional Park which is surrounded by small villages such as Gebas and El Berro, both situated alongside the hills that make the nature reserve.
Gebas, which has a population of around 20 full time residents, is surrounded by gullies, canyons and ravines, giving it a spectacular look not dissimilar to a lunar landscape, it also has forested areas with formations of grasses and pine trees, a magnificent contrast offering stunning views.
El Berro, just a few kilometres away from Gebas is again a small village, although slightly larger than Gebas with approximately 100 residents. It has cafes, restaurants, and a bakery.
The stunning area caters for all types of visitors, with hotels and campsites nearby offering activities that include rock climbing, water rafting, quad bike hire or just somewhere to relax and unwind.
The Sierra Espuña Natural Park which was protected in 1992 has also been classified as a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) as well as a Site of Community Importance (SCI).
The many pine trees were famously planted, in almost a regimented fashion, by the Spanish engineer Ricardo Codorniú with the aim of helping the landscape which suffered from landslides and erosion in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century.
The fauna in the area is rich and varied, it’s not hard to find squirrels, mouflons (wild sheep), wild boars or golden eagles, although in 2015 the authorities had to organise a cull of the wild, goat looking, sheep whose population had expanded. Of the 1,400 only 300 were left.