Spain - Natural Park of the Serra Collserola in Barcelona.
Collseerola Park is the largest green area in the agglomeration of Barcelona, a territory under strong demographic pressure. It is bounded to the south and north by the valleys of the Llobregat and Besos to the east by the plain of Barcelona and to the west by the Vallès. The Sierra Collserola stretches over 19,800 acres and its highest peak is the famous Tibidado (1,680ft). The park is a mosaic of Mediterranean-plant environments where forests dominate with, among others, pine forests (Pinus halepensis), green (Quercus ilex) or red oak forests (Quercus rubra) as well as meadows, thickets, scrubs and agricultural land. There are plantspecies representative of all genera: white pine (Pinus strobus), stone pine (Pinus pinea), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), kermes oak, cistus, gorse, elms, brambles, heather, rosemary, hills, shrubs and viburnum tinus to name a few. parcnaturalcollserola.cat
The Barcelona Botanical Garden also offers a magnificent concentration of Mediterranean plants. museuciencies.cat
Spain - Natural Park of the Massif of Albera - Espolla (Costa Brava).
The Sierra of the Albera extends over the eastern section of the Pyrenees, from the Pertús Pass to the Mediterranean. This natural area offers areas of mixed, dense hundred year old vegetation. It separates the two plains of Rossello and Empordà. Its highest peaks are Mount Neulós (1,257 meters), Mount of Pastors (1,167 meters), Mount Four Terms (1,156 meters) and peak Sallafort (992 meters). Various constructions show traces of human occupation dating back to ancient times
The heart of the sierra includes several protected areas: in the west, Requesens-Baussitges, in the east, Sant Quirze de Colera - Balmeta, separated by the Banyuls pass. The first has a rich and varied vegetation with cork oaks, common oaks and sessile oaks, chestnut and beech trees the latter being very important because they are the most eastern specimens on the cost of the Iberian Peninsula. The other area has Mediterranean features with a more sporadic vegetation caused mostly by devastating forest fires that have ravaged the region in recent decades. parcsnaturals.gencat.cat
France - The regional Natural Park of Narbonne
"Geography and geology create a most remarkable diversity and richness of the natural bounty of this region's natural environment. Water-related and very dry environments co-exist depending on variations in humidity, salinity, exposure to wind, geology and altitude. More than 50 types of natural environments co-exist in the Park of Narbonne, some are typically Mediterranean environments others are not: dry grassland, scrubland, pine forests and scattered clumps of oaks, lagoons, marshes with their "sansouires" and their reed bed and sand dunes (all small here!) .. each with its own specific flora. Some are well known to all while others, very original and rare even on a European scale, are developed thanks to extreme ecological conditions. For example the salt steppes on the beaches, tiny areas flooded in winter and overheated in summer, hosting a very special flora." Translated from the website: parc-naturel-narbonnaise.fr
France - Camargue Natural Park
"Delta open to the Mediterranean, the territory of the Regional Park of Camargue covers three municipalities: Arles, the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. It covers over 100 000ha and 75km of coastline. The Camargue, "island exception", known worldwide mainly for its natural beauty and its cultural wealth, is also a land where men and women are working thus, there are marshes, fields and rice paddies. There, you can see pink flamingos and wild bulls living together ! The territory of the Regional Park of Camargue is open to all, but the very fragile ecological balance between fauna and flora requires attention from visitors." Translated from the website: parc-camargue.fr
France - Park Esterel
"Located in the municipalities of Mandelieu-La-Napoule, Theoule and Theoule-sur-Mer, this park with over 770ha was acquired by the Conservatoire of Littoral, with the financial support of the county between 1997 and 2009. Its a wonderful site where volcanic rocks plunge into the sea and where the hills are covered with sparse scrub and largely populated by pines. A cork oak woodland, having survived the successive fires, extends from the Maure Vieille valley to the south of Mont Saint Martin, where we will see the presence of both oaks and pines. The maquis are characterized by several environmemts: high bush, which consists mainly of tree heath, brush heather, Calycotome and arbutus. Low bush is coverd with heather (calluna vulgaris), lavender (lavandura) of the Maures valley, the asphodel (asphodelus) and the immortal sands (helichrysum stoechas). In some wooded valleys, exotic species (eucalyptus and mimosas) expand to the detriment of native species. parc-de-l-esterel
Also to discover the Botanic Garden of Rayol. domainedurayol.org
Italy - Parco National Appennino
This park is part of what in Italy is called the Euro-Mediterranean climatic border. From the Apennine passes, the Mediterranean Sea is visible to the naked eye. The territory contains a set of different environments corresponding to an extraordinary diversity of types and plant species. Meadows on the summits, forests of beech and oak, chestnuts and precious peatlands, significantly characterize the landscape of the park. The amazing variety of flora includes endemic species, arctic-alpine but also Mediterranean and glacial relics. parcoappennino.it
Also to be discovered in the Lucca area: The Orto Botanico di Lucca. ortobotanicodilucca.it