In Spain, a natural park (Spanish: parque natural) is a natural space protected for its biology, geology, or landscape, with ecological, aesthetic, educational, or scientific value whose preservation merits preferential attention on the part of public administration. The regulation of the activities that may occur there attempts to assure its protection. Natural parks focus their attention on the conservation and maintenance of flora, fauna, and terrain. Natural parks may be maritime or terrestrial and can be in the mountains, along the coasts, in the desert, or any other geographically defined space.
Spain distinguishes natural parks from national parks. The categories of protected areas in Spain under Law 4/1989 are not based on higher or lower levels of protection, but on functions and characteristics:
The largest protected space in Spain, and also its largest natural park, is the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in the province of Jaén, at the headwaters of the Guadalquivir. 9.1 percent of the surface area of Spain is protected, including 42 percent of the Canary Islands, 30.5 percent of Andalusia, and 21.51 percent of Catalonia, with lesser percentages in the other autonomous communities. Andalusia, being far larger than the Canary Islands or Catalonia, has 36 percent of the total protected areas in the country.