Superb Spain Travel Experiences for Hikers
Why Spain? Turns out, Spain is the first country UK residents travel to. There’s got to be something there. That’s what we’ll show you – WHY Spain.
Located in the Southwestern Europe, Spain has undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best climate in Europe. And that’s a major factor that makes it a great hiking destination, especially for those running away from the gloomy months in their homelands.
With a variety of ecosystems where you are assured to discover everything – mountains, arid landscapes, forests, wetlands, lakes, cliffs, beaches, flora and fauna – it’s hard to choose which are the best to talk about.
Nonetheless, we’ve done our best to strike a balance on the outstanding travel experiences in Spain and they are all distinctive in their own ways.
Here comes our best 8 in no specific order. So – keep calm, grab a hammock to rest during hiking, and go see Spain!
Picos De Europa
photo credit: pixabay
The Picos de Europa Mountain now takes the largest National Park in Europe on the same name, formerly known as the Montana de Covadonga National Park from 1918 up until 1995. It’s Spain’s first national park and was granted UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation in 2002.
The park covers such an extraordinary surface area and is extremely diverse depending on where you are. There are profound mountain lakes with frosty clear waters and the views are mesmerising.
The hiking here is as good as it gets. There are tough slogs to and from high altitude while the high plateaux can offer easy tracks over fields. In case you are not able to adapt to the steep mountain climbs, you can still find charm in the verdant valleys and gaping winding canyons.
The dazzling nature reserve is home to a diverse wildlife including mountain bears, deer, and wolves while the lakes are home to a lot of salmon, trout and otters. Birds of prey such as bearded vultures, griffin vultures and eagles also roam the skies.
photo credit: urish via flickr
In Spanish, GR stands for ‘Gran Recorrido’ and there are quite a lot of these GR trails connecting key settlements, valleys and passes in the Spanish Pyrenees. Perhaps the most difficult and great of these GR courses and the one that attracts a significant number of hikers is the GR11.
This route extends the whole length of the Spanish Pyrenees, from Hondarribia on the Atlantic to Cap de Creus on the Mediterranean drift, covering 840 km in total.
The route divides into 46 day long areas, the majority of which begin and complete accommodation is available; a campsite, hostel or town. Even better, many of the paths that run through the valleys have signposts and neither troublesome or dangerous.
You’ll come across beautiful lakes in the Pyrenees – Azules, Bachimana and Respomuso. Picturesque valleys will accompany you along the way, one after another while you discover the highest peaks – Lladarna, Maladeta, and Perdiguero.
Ordesa National Park, located below the great Monte Perdido, will surprise you with magnificent beauty and heights of its landscape.
The highest mountain range – El Aneto, will look down on you with their rocks and never-ending snow. The Mountain Pass of Ballibierna will be your last to climb before entering Catalonia through the Valley of Llauset to the little town of Aneto.
photo credit: rob kopf via flickr
Sheltered by the delightful Sierra Nevada Mountains, Alpujarras is perfect for lovers of peace and quietness and for individuals who enjoy dynamic tourism. There’s an interesting history along with local festivals, outdoor activities, and a wide range of rural accommodation.
Be prepared to spend time exploring because there are a lot of interesting places to visit. Hike to the Sierra Nevada Mountain which is particularly popular for skiing and hikers.
Old Roman mines adjacent to the mountain range offers spectacular views of mountain peaks with the coastline on the other side.
Take a walk around the white villages of Alpujarras and enjoy a combination of the beautiful architecture and tranquility. The La Fuente Agria natural water spring and the Romantic dam, Dique 24 are worth seeing and take pictures.
And if you fancy a more challenging stroll, explore the GR-142 which runs from Lanjaron to Finana on the northern Sierra Nevada in Almeria. Or, take the GR7 which starts in Cadiz province and crosses Europe all the way to Greece, if only you could manage.
photo credit: jotomo62 via flickr
The beautiful mountain village sits on a slope at an elevation of 1,320 meters, overlooking the dramatic canyon of the Guadalfeo River. The Sierra Nevada Mountain range offers a striking landscape in the background.
The name originates from the Arabic word ‘vergel’, meaning pasture, and the area still boasts beautiful green fields where sheep, goats and cows graze. You can hear the sound of cowbells as the animals roam around and the trilling of birds is another familiar sound.
The countryside envelops rich fertile farmland of apple, cherry, peach orchards and antique chestnut trees. Berchules is an incredible place for outdoor excursions of hiking, nature strolls, and horse riding.
For a beautiful scenic walk, take the path trail lined by mulberry trees that prompts to an old Moorish curve. This is a well-known site for picnics and sunny days.
The Irati Forest
photo credit: dani martin via flickr
Located on the Eastern Navarran Pyrenees, Irati Forest is the second largest and best-preserved beech and fir tree woods in Europe, after the Black Forest in Germany. It’s a huge green spot which is still about pristine.
Relax in the heart of the backwoods and commune with nature in extreme tranquility; get wrapped in a hush broken just by the wild rushing of water amongst beeches and firs. Appreciate the crystalline currents of the Irati River that turn turquoise in the Irabia reservoir.
Listen to the sounds of the flora and fauna and walk around the delicate grass that covers the forest. You’ll love the fragrance of the forested area that will soon stick itself in your skin.
Several spots in the thick woodland or the splendid fields on the high ground act as a habitat for rare wildlife populations such as foxes, deer and wild boar. There are plenty of birds in the area including robins, goldcrests, black and white woodpeckers and chaffinches.
Atlavista del Teide
photo credit: volcanoteide.com
You are not particularly going to hike in this area but it’s a perfect stopover if you plan to climb to the crater of Teide volcano in Teide National Park, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.
Atlavista del Teide Refuge comprises of two structures with an emergency treatment room, lounge area and kitchen. There are three dormitories which can accommodate up to 54 people. There are drinks, water and it’s possible to heat up your food.
But here’s why it’s special; located at a height of 3,270 meters, it gives you the chance to spend a night in the highest point in Spain. The mind-blowing sky quality means you can watch the stars and share in a one of a kind involvement at dawn and dusk.
If you wake up early enough, you’ll see the very first sun rays appear from the peak of Teide, flooding the entire scene in color, while the volcano throws its shadow over the sea.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience because you can only sleep here for one night. Don’t miss out!
photo credit: mirendu2015 via flickr
Once upon a time, it was a crucial gold mine in the Roman Empire. Today, Las Medulas is an important tourist attraction that draws many from around the world.
The route to Las Medulas starts from Leon and there are extraordinary, beautiful landscapes to see en route. You’ll sight the Cornatel Castle, situated on the limestone precipice and Lake Carucedo before you get to Las Medulas.
You’ll be left stunned by the panorama of Las Medulas; which comprises of miles of greenery peppered with various rocky hills that appear to be canvassed in gold.
Now declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it’s without a doubt one of the most cherished and wonderful destinations in Spain.
Cabo de Gata
photo credit: domingo martinez via flickr
This Natural Park is the largest coastal protected zone in Andalucía boasting some of Europe’s most unique geographical features. And ooh, it’s the only place in Europe with a genuine hot desert climate – a perfect escape from the extreme winter conditions.
The 2km wide guarded seabed is a haven for divers and snorkelers, a majority of whom travel from around Europe to visit and explore the site looking for unique ocean life and hidden treasures.
Hike to the nearby mountain range of Sierra del Cabo de Gata, Spain’s largest volcanic rock formation. Untainted natural beaches of fine, white sand and hidden caves, towering cliffs of volcanic rocks and amazing sand dunes make this coastline a sight to behold.