Lying in the sun for hours isn’t exactly the only work-out you planned to do on vacation? No problem! Sandy beaches and crystal clear sea water aren’t just the only beauties in Salento.
Kilometers and kilometers of coastline touch an uncontaminated territory full of natural riches. The scents and colors of the “Macchia Mediterranea” (the typical flora and fauna of these areas) are awaiting you for a unique sensory experience, where nature, in its raw state, will enchant you.
There are six natural parks in Salento, starting from Lecce up to the most extreme point of the Heel. Let’s go explore them in geographical order!
Bosco and Paludi di Rauccio Regional Natural Park is on the outskirts of Lecce, just 9 km from the Salento capital, and extends over 1596 hectares. Here, we find a beautiful holm oak forest, the sandy coast, some marshy areas where the short course of the Idume stands out, a basin and drainage channels.
“Le Cesine” Nature Reserve is close to Lecce as well, which is about 15 km away, on the Adriatic coast of Salento. The park extends for 620 hectares from the coast south of San Cataldo to Vernole and it is the oldest institution park dating back to 1980.
Porto Selvaggio and Palude del Capitano Regional Natural Park is located on the Ionian side of Salento. Extending over an area of 1100 hectares in the Nardò area, the park is characterized by a dense pine forest and has been affected by a series of reforestation interventions that began in the 1950s.
Isola di Sant’Andrea and Litorale di Punta Pizzo Regional Natural Park extends into the territory of Gallipoli, on the Ionian side. The park is home to the only breeding colony of the Corsican Gull.
The Regional Natural Park “Litorale di Ugento” is the most recent to be established (2007) and one of the most interesting and precious areas of the Salento Peninsula, for its naturalistic, historical and landscape value. It covers about 1600 hectares and is characterized by a high variety of natural environments.
Costa Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase Regional Natural Park, established in 2006, covers an area of over 3 thousand hectares and affects 12 municipalities in Salento, from Otranto to Tricase, passing through Castro. Breathtaking views along the eastern coast of Salento characterize the park, from the Grotta della Zinzulusa to the Grotta dei Cervi with the pictograms of the prehistoric era.
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