The Natural Reserve of the Subbética Mountain Range is located in the northern part of the Cordilleras Béticas. They are divided into Sierras Subbéticas in the north, the Cordillera Penibética in the south and the Depresión Intrabética in the centre.
From a geographical point of view, it is perceived by visitors as a rugged, rambling and rough terrain because of its typically Mediterranean formation, of Alpine origin. Its landscape is defined by limestone rocks, rich in paleontological terms with a lot of fossil remains of ammonites (extinct molluscs) which can be found in many different areas and are alternated with sinkholes, “poljes”, “channels” and many caves.
It occupies a surface of 32,056 hectares and due to its great geological wealth it was recognized by the UNESCO as a geopark. The area includes (fully or partially) the municipalities of Cabra, Rute, Carcabuey, Priego de Córdoba, Luque, Iznájar, Zuheros and Doña Mencía.
From a landscape point of view one of the most interesting places is “La Sierra (Saw) de Cabra”. From the peak called “El Picacho”, five Andalusian provinces can be seen, along side it is the “Nava de Cabra” balcony. On top of which is located the Sanctuary to the “Virgen de la Sierra”.
Other mountains of great interest are those of Rute and Horconera. In Horconera we can find “la Tiñosa” which is 1.570m high, becoming the maximum elevation of the province of Córdoba. The “Cueva de los Murciélagos” (Cave of Bats) in Zuheros is declared a Natural Monument, it is located 980 m above sea level and contains many rooms of great beauty famed for its stalactites and stalagmites.
Due to its geographical location, heterogeneity of its relief, the limestone of its soils and the climatological conditions, the Park counts with several endemism and species of restricted distribution. The vegetable cover is typically Mediterranean and inside it we can differentiate the forests, bushes and pastures, the forests on the riverbank and the rock vegetation communities.
The particularities described in the previous paragraph also concern the fauna that has adapted to this environment and contains more northern species such as Cabrera’s shrew, the blind mole, the wryneck, etc.
Among the reptiles, we can find the European pond turtle, the salamander… There is an important community of birds of prey in many rocky pits: Bonelli’s eagle, eagle owl, peregrine falcon and griffon vulture. In terms of mammals, we can highlight the wildcat, the marten or Miller’s water shrew, the latter being in a precarious situation.