Tablas de Daimiel National Park

Tablas de Daimiel is the smallest of Spain’s national parks though its landscape is as attractive as any other. Located on La Mancha plain in Ciudad Real in the region of Castilla-la-mancha, the park is a wetland that covers 1,928ha. Above all, the Tablas de Daimiel National Park is perfect for avid bird watchers and is designated as a Special Protection area for birds due to its large number of bird species including both migratory and permanent residents.

The wetlands were created where the Gigüela River joins the Guadiana River to form marshland and was declared a national park in 1973 and later named a Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park takes its name from the local town of Daimiel despite the fact that the town only owns around 30% of the land nowadays.

Flora and Fauna

Flora and fauna are extremely important elements in terms of the parks’ natural development, and there is a rich abundance of interesting plants, wildlife and birds. As a result of the merging of water from the two rivers (Gigüela River and the Guadiana River), an interesting combination of fresh-water species and brackish water species thrived in unity. In terms of flora, the common reed and bulrushes live alongside the Great Fen-Sedge, giving the wetlands its unique composition.

Birds thrive off this type of environment, especially because of its unusual location in the dusty plains of Castilla-la-mancha and as a result Tablas de Daimiel National Park is therefore the perfect habitat for both migratory and resident birds. Among the most commonly seen migratory fauna includes; the purple heron, the grey heron, the great bittern, the red-crested pochard, the northern shoveler and the wigeon.

In addition to birds, the national park is also a hotspot for wildlife, and its populations are ever increasing. The park is home to 13 species of reptile and you might catch a glimpse of a number of the parks resident water animals such as; northern pike, common carp, marsh frog, fire salamander or the grass snake. Mammals can also be easily spotted amongst the reeds or beneath the low tamarisk trees and the more common species include the European Polecat, the water vole, the least weasel and the European otter.

National Park under threat

As the smallest and only wetlands national park in Spain, Tablas de Daimiel is no stranger to problems and in terms of conservation and protection and over the past few years its future has been unpredictable. Due to its unusual location amid the dusty and hot plains of La Mancha, demand for water from surrounding villages for use in agriculture has dramatically decreased its water level and the overexploitation of its resources has been a constant threat to the future of its landscape and inhabitants. Not only did this exploitation have serious reciprocations on its water level, but in 2009 a particularly hot summer led to the break-out of smouldering fires which, had the water level been as it previously was, would have been prevented (News article covering the incident). The park is further under threat from illegal wells which have also been constructed in the area.

Visitor Centres

  • Centro de Interpretación del Agua y los Humedades Manchegos:
    If you’re interested in learning more about the park, its wildlife and its conservation then this visitor centre is a definite must. It houses a number of interesting exhibits providing detailed information about the national park as well as aquariums, interactive games, a library, a map collection and educational workshops which make learning about the park a fun and memorable experience. For opening times and contact details click here.

  • Visitor Centre of the park – As the official visitor information point for the park, this centre offers information about tour routes and maps of the area. There are also photos and plans of the landscape which will aid you in getting the most out of your visit. This should definitely be the first stop on your journey around the park if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
    For opening times and contact details visit: