Parque Nacional de Doñana
Parque Nacional de Doñana
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This beautiful stretch of undeveloped wilderness is home to hundreds of birds, deer, pigs and other wildlife.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles1,311 reviews
Excellent
675
Very good
355
Average
147
Poor
66
Terrible
68

j_maeseele
Izegem, Belgium68 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
The donana park is a nice place. So we went by boat and jeep. You can't visit the park without a guide.
The village at the beginning of the trip is interesting. We had no possibility ot book an english tour, so everyting was Spanish. One of the guides took his time to give some explanation in english, what was very kind.

The trip along the parc was nice, but without possibility to have a walk. you would like to walk on the enormous beach, but we stayed in the jeep for the whole tour. Also to make some pictures, this was embarrassing.

So, a bit of a disappointment...
Written July 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Donald P
7 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
Excellent bilingual guide Fran. We visited the northern part of the park. The forrest had many deers, some were observed close by. Some animals tracks were shown, and in the marsh land due to the drought the wild horses appeared in terrible condition, their ribcages sticking out and we saw 2 dead horses on the way. Surely, water and food could be given to these poor horses?? Very distressing sight! We were brought to a visitors center where an artifical pond showed a number of birds. The drought is a real issue due to climate change but also the over agriculture in the area sucking the water out of the ground. A huge problem.
Written October 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pedro
Palamos, Spain325 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
A Mediterranean climate means rain in winter; dry in summer. Doñana is in the south of Spain, close to Africa = very hot in summer. Together these = no water in summer. The El Acebuche water has dried even by May. That some visitors went there and found no water is hardly the park's fault. Also, in Spain they speak Spanish. Weird, I know. So prepare yourself for that by reading the excellent free guides and route descriptions that are available on the internet. Sorry, but I get brassed off when a park gets TA down-rated because foreigners expect unreasonable conditions. If you are crazy about ducks, go in winter. But in winter it is cold (!!). It could well rain. Don't blame the park. Dress appropriately. Take an umbrella. The best balance between water, wildlife and not too wet is in April. June to December is a useless period.

Why not five stars? 1) Because the area has been screwed up by man to bring us paella rice and early peaches in European supermarkets. But enough remains that is precious. 2) Most of it you can't get to other than on an official trip. If you don't want to get on a bus with the general public (who tend to speak and laugh), then pay more and go on a specific (e.g. birdwatching) trip. Read the brochures. The problem is that these are monopolies = high prices; the specialist trips even more. 3) The El Rocio restaurants near to the main 'maresma' are a rip-off. Go deeper into the town to where real folk eat. 4) Be careful of Easter, and of May when there is the famous pilgrimage. Prices escalate crazily.

There is enough to see without going on an official trip. You will probably not see an Iberian lynx this way, because you cannot (legally) drive through the park. On the main coastal road between Matalascañas (dreadful seaside resort) and Mazagon, there is an area of dune habitat where you can walk around. You can see the beach environment. At La Rocina you can do an excellent walk along the river. You can also drive a considerable distance there through different habitats. At El Rocio town the views are spectacular between January and May. If you are good at reading maps you are allowed to drive to the breeding islands at José Antonio Valverde. In May I saw a greater concentration of night-herons there than anywhere else on the planet.
Written July 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ElizabethGOutdoors
Austin, TX32 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
We visited and did hikes at all the visitor centers on our own--I really didn't want to be stuck in a 4x4 for four hours, just getting out to take pictures. It was delightful, energizing, and fun to follow our own schedule, plus we saw all the major vegetation types (coto, playa, dunes, marisma). In advance, we bought a very detailed map of the park in Madrid (at La Tienda Verde, Calle de Maudes, 23, full of maps for nature lovers) but you could do it without that very well. Each visitor center has at least one hike on boardwalk (3-5 km each), plus informational exhibits of varying quality. 1. La Rocina has two areas to visit/hike (the initial visitor center and then the palace, ~7 km further down the road, with a surprisingly good exhibition upstairs in the palace). And spend a few minutes driving through the town of El Rioco, famous for the springtime pilgrimage and Wild West feel of the purposely-left-unpaved roads. 2. El Acebuche has a meandering trail overlooking a restored marsh lake. 3. Torre Higuera: As you enter Matalascanas, park on the right/NW across from the commercial center, and from the Visitor Center you can take a short. straight (~1km) boardwalk to the lighthouse and a nice overlook. We saw a host of paragliders swooping around. 4. On the far south end of Matalascanas, there's a public park just past the large Gran Hotel de Coto, and start on a boardwalk that soon disappears under shifting sand, you can then walk as much of this lovely undending beach as you have time/energy for. 5. On the South side of the Guadalquivir river, from Sanlucar you can drive to the Laguna del Tarelo, where there's a bird blind overlooking a lake, and there's a 5km trail that starts there--we only did about .5 km because it was hot, the start of the trail was soft sand, there were flies, and we were tired. We actually did all this over two days, and #5 requires a 1.5 hr. drive over to the other side, so really depends on your itinerary. It was early October, marshes were all dry, and we saw no water birds except at Laguna del Tarelo (#5). But the easy hiking on the boardwalks was still very pleasant. We picked up various maps at each visitor center to help guide us and learn about the ecology.
Written October 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AngelaTX
Denver, CO5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My fianace and I visited this park on May 20, 2006. We had a 3.5 hour quided tour with a tour company called Donana Nature. The company's website was well done so we thought it would be a good company to go with. We booked an English tour, but ended up having a tour guide that spoke only Spanish, which was very disappointing since we really wanted our tour to be as educational as possible. Since our Spanish abilities are just shy of intermediate, we weren't able to understand a lot of what our guide said -- especially when it came to describing the flora and fauna. Still, the park was well worth visiting and the visitor's center was nice, although not super new or fancy. I'm glad that the Spanish government decided to preserve this diverse and important ecosystem. I would definitely recommend a visit to this park for anyone who wants to see a more natural side of Spain. Take your binoculars!
Written June 4, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SJ McKinnon
London, UK1,467 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Friends
If you are an experienced bird watcher, you do not need the tours. I spent hours on the internet before going to Doñana National Park reading bird trip reports, and using Google Map and street view. This proved the best use of time ever.

I also purchased a great book Birdwatching Guide to Doñana which give details of lots of birdwatching sites. Used together with the bird trip reviews we managed to clock up 118 species of birds in 2 and a half days on our own, a distant sighting of a lynx and numerous deer, hare and rabbits.

All the visitor centres we visited did not have any leaflets, they had been available online in English and I had downloaded them before travelling.

We did not go on the tours, we were tempted to possible do a private birdwatching trip, but they were expensive, and we were confident that we could manage by ourselves. The one advantage the tours have is they have access to to routes closed to the general public, but we like to take our time, and stop frequently to scan areas.

We were based in El Rocío which allows pre-dawn bird watching over the main lagoon. Great to watch hundreds of Glossy Ibis, Egrets, Night Herons, leave their roosts on the eastern shore. It also provided some great close up views of Spoonbill, Flamingos, Black-tailed Godwit, Squacco Heron, Snipe, Purple Swamp Hen, and in early March, lots of Warblers, Swallows, Sand Martins and on our last day, lots of Black Kite

Day 1
Thick fog to start the day, but we left El Rocío and headed out to visit the José Antonio Valverde Visitor Center (JAV), this was despite meeting a couple who said they had not seen much there (we wondered if they were they wearing eye masks when we finished our day!) We decided to use the western route to the JAV. This route takes you across the the top end of the marsh through huge areas of agriculture/fruit farming, until you see signs for the JAV Centre along unmade tracks. We had a basic hire car, which was fine, the first part of the track was very bumpy but passable. This route takes you along deep channels of water with some excellent birding - lots of waders, Spoonbills, etc. The track crosses over the channels again offering some great views of Black-winged Stilt etc. All along the track there were numerous small birds, Larks, Corn Buntings etc. There was also great raptor activity in this area, including over 100 Vultures, Imperial Spanish Eagle, Lesser Kestrel (you go past a nesting area in an old pump house ) Booted Eagles, Hen Harriers, Marsh Harriers and lots of Black Kite. We took over 3 hours to drive 35 km to allow for all the stops and sightings. Once at the JAV centre we stopped for about 40 minutes to scan the lagoons and watch a Booted Eagle that we spotted with a kill. The centre overlooks a lagoon, which you can view from windows, and a very broad walk with screens, it also has a small cafe and toilets.

Before returning along the same western route, we drove out as far as the access gate west of the JAV Centre. It is frustrating that from here you are only a few km from El RocÍo but only authorised vehicle can go through the gate. It was here that we had fantastic sighting on 2 days of a Spotted Cuckoo. We then made a long a very slow journey back with more wonderful bird sightings.

Day 2
We made our way to Dehesa de Abajo having driven from Rocío to Villamanrique de la Condesa and then following the signs for Isla Mayor. We stopped on a bridge crossing over the river in an area known as Entremuros - and then along the road with views of the Cañada De Rianzuela (lake) which provided some fantastic views of a large flock of Night Herons, the was full of Grebe (Crested, Slovenian and Little Grebe) Flamingo, ducks, waders and lots of White Stork overhead. Raptors - Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, were found in large numbers. At Dehesa de Abajo - you pay 2 euros to park but with your ticket you get a free coffee. The centre has a great exhibition of the wildlife in the area and in the wider region and is worth a look. The centre also has a good restaurant and toilets.

We then walked to the far end of the lake towards the large pine forest, again picking up more raptors, small birds and waders in the lake before returning to the car.

We then decided to go back to the JAV Centre using the eastern access route (this route was in better condition) the weather was cooler and cloudier than the previous day, but we had good sightings of a Short-eared Owl that was flushed by a Marsh Harrier, Little Owl on an old barn, a flock of 9 Stone Curlew and yet more Raptors, Larks, Buntings, Shrikes, waders etc. It was as we were returning in the very late afternoon we spotted a very distant Lynx to the east of Casa de Bombas.

Half day
After another pre-dawn session on the promenade at El Rocío we had a few hours before we had to leave for the airport. We decided to visit the El Rocina Visitor centre which has some great viewing hides over the reed beds - as we walked through the pine trees from the centre we heard a Tawny Owl, and good views of Treecreepers, Siskin, Serin, Crested Tits and then drive to the Palacio del Acebrón through wonderful dry scrub land with great views of Shrikes, Dartford Warblers Wheatear. At Palacio del Acebrón on the lake was another big roost of Nigh Herons.

The above is just a brief summary, but as you can see, if you do your homework before you go, take lots of time and stop frequently you can really get an impressive list of birds in just a few days.

Spring or winter is a good time to visit as water levels will be higher. There is incredible pressure from surrounding agriculture on water, together with lack of rainfall during the winter, meant that water levels were already low and in place already dry.

We are now planning to return for a visit during the winter.
Written March 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

frash79
Madrid, Spain1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2011
be careful when choosing the tour operator for your visit at Doñana's park. Those boats leaving from the south (Sanlucar de Barrameda) are very expensive and they do not allow you to see anything at all of the park. They only stop in two spots and both of them are not worth it. We had this experience right yesterday and we got very disappointed, practically we did not see the park!!!
Written April 24, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madrileña
Madrid, Spain60 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We arrived on the monday and booked a wood cabin at "La Aldea" camping site in "El Rocio", a small hamlet by Donana National Park. We had booked a private guided visit for Tuesday at 07:30 am with "Discovering Donana". He picked us up on a 4wd at the camping site and drove us around the park (not right through the park as it is not permitted, but through a path way prepared for this)
He asked us what we were most interested in as in birds or just scenery, we said birds and he showed us all there was to see, making lots of stops on the way and explaining everything. We absolutely loved the park and the birds, we got to see loads of them, even a few hundred pink flamingos, some deer, wild cows, etc... the trip was 6 hours long but time just flew by.
We loved the area so much we decided to stay for another night at the cabin, not bad for the price (80 euros a night) two bedrooms, bathroom, fully equipted kitcken and a nice patio.
We visited the Christopher Columbus site that afternoon after the Donana visit and got to see his three ships.
Great day for all ages.
Written January 7, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

djw_southlake
Southlake, TX9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
We wanted to see the nature and wildlife in the Donana National Park (Parque Nacional de Donana). Unfortunately, we made last minute reservations, while in Cadiz, which approached the park from the south out of Sanlucar de Barrameda. The operator was Real Fernando, who stopped at (2) sites. During the 1st stop, we saw birds off in the distance on a pond. On the 2nd stop, we walked to a viewing area that was pathetic. After the guide said "Well I quess nothing go to show up today", we walked back to the boat. Like I said, it was an expensive boat ride. Don't waste your money!!!
Written August 31, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JJHDerbyshire
Derbyshire406 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2018 • Couples
If you want to do one of the many tours on offer, choose carefully. The only company that includes all of the different habitats in its itinerary is the one based at the El Acebuche Visitors Centre. Only they can drive on the beach, for example. Their tours last about 4 hours, are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides and almost guarantee to show you deer, wild boar, birds of prey and lots of other things (but not the elusive lynx!). We have used this company three times and would definitely use them again. Back at the Visitors Centre, you can catch a glimpse of a lynx on a live television link to their breeding centre and go for walks through the surrounding countryside where you may spot some interesting bird life.
Written March 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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