Spain's Sierra de las Nieves region in Malaga Province has finally gotten official designation as a national park, Spain's sixteenth, and the third in Andalucia.
The area was previously designated as a natural park and has been a Unesco Biosphere Reserve since 1995. The new status will bring stricter environmental protection, as well as funding for more infrastructure for visitors. Projects are already underway to upgrade hiking, cycling and horse-riding paths.
The area is noted not only for its often-snowy mountains, but also for a string of whitewashed villages along the old road that connects the area to the seaside resorts of the Costa del Sol.