Doñana stretches across a vast plain between Seville and the Atlantic Ocean. Sun, air, water and mud are the protagonists for hundreds of kilometres around this enormous and uninhabited geological basin, the history of an Andalusia eroded, transported and sedimented here over millions of years.
Described by romantic travellers, inhabited by forgotten communities, transformed by the rice industry and rediscovered by environmentalism, Doñana in Seville has become a discovery for the Sevillians, after centuries of anonymous coexistence, thanks to the curiosity of travellers and the enhancement of the tourist services.
In Doñana, marshlands, meadows, forests, rivers and rice paddies, together with the towns that surround it, form a small universe full of life and biodiversity which, throughout the year, offers the possibility of enjoying the most emblematic, important and well-known natural space of the entire European continent. Moreover, this paradise not only represents an ecological and environmental landmark, but is also a huge capital in terms of sustainable tourism.
For this reason, we suggest that you delve deeper into this territory and stimulate your knowledge of the culture, history and nature offered by the towns in this unusual paradise. Aznalcázar, Isla Mayor, La Puebla del Río, Pilas and Villamanrique de la Condesa. In the end, we offer you a plan with five proposals to enjoy and get to know this Sevillian setting, a jewel of Europe and a paradise for nature and ornithology lovers.
The south-west of the province of Seville treasures an exceptional forest on warm sands and flat reliefs that have been a larder and refuge for animals, birds, plants and humans for thousands of years.
We suggest you begin this plan observing nature from a horseback perspective, that is, with a horseback ride in Villamanrique de la Condesa in the surroundings of Dehesa Boyal and La Laguna de San Lázaro, in the heart of the pine forest, from where you will be able to appreciate Doñana in Seville from a new perspective.
The forests and meadows of Doñana in Seville have more than 200 km of signposted and interpreted trails to suit all tastes. The Carril de las Trescientas, the Cordel de los Playeros or the Cañada de la Isla are ornithological and scenic trails in the pine forests of Aznalcázar and La Puebla del Río. These trails go deep into the pine forest and allow, on a good walk or a quite bike route, to discover the nooks of this vast forest.
Likewise, from the recreational area of Dehesa Nueva and after the Casa de Colmenar site, you will find a trail along which you can walk under the tops of the tallest pine trees in the forest of Aznalcázar known as Los Planos. Los Planos is a group of pine trees that form the pillars and the vault of a vegetation cathedral 30 meters high. Take the opportunity to walk through the Dehesa de Tornero during the first days of spring and witness the arrival of the first African birds of prey in the hunt for the rich fauna of a wet meadow.
Otherwise, you can begin your hiking route by going to any of the car parks along the roads of the area, or stop at the Dehesa de Abajo and the Cañada de los Pájaros, from where you can be guided or accompanied on these forest adventures. Walking through the Dehesa de Abajo you will find thousands of resident and wintering birds that find their refuge here before dispersing across the marshland. And don’t forget to wear your binoculars around your neck. Doñana in Seville is the perfect territory to observe at close quarters an unequalled ornithological biodiversity in the middle of the Eurasia-Africa migratory corridor. Proof of this biodiversity can also be found in the Manchazuhillos lagoon.
While you walk, pay attention to your surroundings as the world can take on a new dimension after observing such a beautiful animal as the lynx. Thus, our forests and meadows can give shelter, food and life to a predator that has escaped the clutches of disappearance. It is an experience that everybody should live at least once in a lifetime.
Finally, you can enjoy the historical tradition of a wild herd among meadows such as the Ganadería Partido de la Resina in Aznalcázar, which, nestled among the trees, has seen how the marshland has been transformed into crops and rice paddies in front of its boundaries.
And if you prefer to delve into the cultural tradition of the area, every April, Villamanrique de la Condesa holds a weekend of festivals, cultural events and fairs related to knowledge and the dissemination of the culture and traditions of Doñana in Sevilla. For this, come to the Fair of Crafts and Traditions of the Doñana Environment or to the International Championship of Yokes and Carters.