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A flock of flamingos takes flight in Doñana National Park, Huelva

Are you thinking about a wildlife-spotting safari? You can see these animals in Spain


With patience, with respect for the environment and for the animals, and accompanied by experts, in Spain you can observe wild animals in their native habitat. Some of these suggestions can practically guarantee a sighting; for example, whale and dolphin watching, many bird species, or deer in the rutting season. For others, you will need the right conditions and a little luck, but you could be rewarded by a sighting of a brown bear, a wolf, an Iberian lynx, or the huge bearded vulture.  

  • Dolphin (Delphinidae) leaping near the Spanish coast

    Dolphins and whales

    There are plenty of boat trips to see dolphins on the coast of Cádiz, on the Canary Islands, in the region of Murcia, and in the Rías Baixas of Galicia. The dolphins themselves often approach the boats in some areas. You can even see the occasional pod from the shore, if you have good eyesight. Meanwhile, it is possible to spot whales and orcas in Cantabria and the Basque Country, although sightings are more unusual.

  • Red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Cabañeros National Park, Ciudad Real

    Red deer

    The rut is the red deer mating season, when the stags bellow to attract the does and challenge their rivals. It usually happens in late September, the best time to watch the deer from a distance and enjoy their mating rituals. This natural spectacle can be seen in many places in Spain, including the mountains of Alto Campoo (Cantabria), Sierra de la Culebra nature reserve (in Zamora, Castile and Leon), Cabañeros National Park (between Toledo and Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha), Doñana National Park (between Huelva, Cádiz, and Seville, Andalusia), and Monfragüe National Park (in Cáceres, Extremadura).

  • A flock of flamingos (Phoenicopterus) in the Ebro Delta, Tarragona


    Spain is an ideal destination for these elegant birds, which are attracted by the mild temperatures. They can easily be seen at almost any time of year among dunes and wetlands all over the country. Places like Doñana National Park and Delta de L’Ebre Natural Park (in Catalonia) are particularly good locations.

  • Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) in the forest

    Brown bear

    An endangered species, it is estimated that only 330 brown bears remain in Spain. They inhabit the Cordillera Cantábrica mountains, among beech, oak and birch forests, in natural spaces like Somiedo Natural Park and Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias Natural Park (Asturias), Montaña Palentina Natural Park (Castile and Leon), and the mountains of Campoo de Suso, Polaciones, and Liébana (Cantabria). Bear-watching should always be guided by an expert, and at a safe distance. Bear-spotting excursions usually set out at dawn or sunset from April to June and from August to November. 

  • Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Sierra Morena, Andújar, Jaén

    Iberian lynx

    This large feline is critically endangered. It is estimated that more than 1,000 Iberian lynx live on the Iberian Peninsula. There are several Spanish government programmes and NGOs working to rescue and conserve the species, and Andalusia can boast two fairly robust populations, in Doñana National Park (the part in Huelva) and the natural parks of Sierras de Cardeña y Montoro (Córdoba) and Sierra Morena de Andújar (Jaén). You are more likely to spot them in the early morning, and from hides on hillsides and areas with grassy clearings. They must always be observed from a distance, and you will need binoculars, silence, and a great deal of patience. 

  • Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in Zamora


    Spain has one of the densest populations of wolves in western Europe. They inhabit the mountains known as Sierra de la Culebra, in Zamora (Castile and Leon), where they can be seen at any time of year. And from September to November, you may even spot the wolf cubs who were born in the previous spring. The Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente Iberian Wolf Centre in Puebla de Sanabria is an essential visit to find out everything about this animal. 

  • A pair of cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) in Monfragüe, Cáceres

    Cinereous vulture

    These enormous birds, with a wingspan of 2.5 metres or more, is the symbol of Monfragüe National Park (Extremadura). The estimated population there is about 400 pairs. Sierra de Guadarrama National Park (between Madrid and Castile and Leon) is also a good place to observe them. 

  • Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) gliding over the region of Aragón

    Bearded vulture

    These large birds patrol the skies in high mountain areas where human settlements are few and far between. It is estimated that 40% of the European population are based in Aragón. The Sobrarbe area, including spots like Aínsa or Escuaín, may be the likeliest place to see a bearded vulture. It is also home to other rare bird species, including red kites, cinereous vultures, and golden eagles.