Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind about Spain. But 3 simple facts may change this preconception: 1) Spain´s boasts a large netowork of national parks, 2) The country geography is full of mountains, ravines, and spectacular landscapes and 3) the climate of the Iberian Peninsula ads to the beauties of nature, and makes hiking possible in Spain to enjoy at all times.
Hiking on on beautiful routes though the Spanish territory is actually one of the best things to do in Spain!. Months like April, May, September or October can be perfect to enjoy a bit of adventure in Spain.
An average hiking route can go from 20 to 25km, and will take you about 7 to 8 hours depending on your rhythm and on the level of the group, which can lead to stay in a an accommodation in a rural area that will complement your nature adventure. Many hikes like El Caminito del Rey or San Juan de Geztelugatxe have become very popular, but there are many more interesting and enjoyable hikes in Spain.
If you are trying to decide where to spend a couple days hiking and trekking, there is no place better than Spain. Spain offers a wide variety of terrains you can choose from mountain ranges, to routs along the coast to historic pathways used for millennia, all well marked and well kept. Picos de Europa National Park, the Camino de Santiago, Las Vías Verdes, etc. there is plenty to choose from in Spain.
Best hikes in Spain
The Picos de Europa national park is located in Asturias, about 6 hours north of Madrid (by car). Ruta del Cares, one of the mountain ranges most popular routs runs for about 12 km from Poncebos in Asturias to Caín in León. ‘The Divine Gorge’ as it is known, is carved out of the side of the mountain and traverses bridges and rivers.
Easily the most famous hiking route, also known as The Way of St. James. To be precise this hiking route consists of several ancient pilgrimage routes, all heading towards the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. One of the oldest and most popular routes starts in the city of Oviedo in the province of Asturias, known as the Camino Primitivo Route. Perhaps the most popular route starts in France, the Camino Frances, and makes its way across the northern coast of Spain.
We have covered the Camino de Santiago extensively, so if you want to get a more in-depth look at this incredible hike check out the articles bellow.
El Caminito del Rey is one of the most popular routs you can take in southern Spain now adays, but was once considered one of the most dangerous hikes you could undertake. The rout use to have sections of the pathway missing which wouldn’t be a big deal if we were talking about a smooth, tranquil jaunt though the Andalusian countryside, but El Caminito del Rey will take you through sheer cliff with dramatic drops. So safe pathways are a must.
The route was closed for many years because of these safety issues. Now, thanks to the extensive renovations that have taken place over the years El Caminito del Rey has become one of the most popular treks you can experience in Andalusia. The pathway is now repaired, as are the bridges and stairways and handrails have been added for those who need them. El Caminito del Rey is about 8 km long and will take you about 4 hours to complete. You can read more about this fantastic attraction at our Caminito del Rey full guide.
Located in Huesca in northern Aragon, this is one of our top hikes in Spain. It is located close to the border with France. The route will take you up the side of a mountain to the summit, Pico Sobarcal at 2,259 meters. It is a difficult trek, not for the faint of heart, but the amazing views, the pristine natural environment and sense of accomplishment make this one of Spain’s most amazing hikes. It will take about 7 hours because of the terrain and only advanced hikers should really attempt the climb.
Las Vías Verdes spans over 7,000 kilometres across the Iberian peninsula but it isn’t just 1 particular rout, Las Vías Verdes is a web of different trails and cycling routs that occupy what was once the old railway system of Spain. There is a total of 77 different routes scattered throughout the country. Along the way you will find museums, hotels restaurants, etc. that also have repurposed the old railway infrastructure
Another one of Spain´s tallest mountains. The Mulhacén is the tallest mountain of the peninsula, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada (southern Spain). You can choose from several different paths to summit the mountain, depending on the degree of difficulty you want to face, but whichever you choose, the best time to attempt the climb is in summer. The most difficult route is the northern face which only should be attempted by experienced mountaineers, and the southern face is the easiest (and most popular). This is a difficult hike, but a very rewarding one and our of our top options in Southern Spain.
The GR92 runs parallel to the western coast of Spain, through Catalonia. The rout starts at Portbou, on the border with France and goes all the way to Uldecona. The rout has 20 different stages and runs for 200 km. The 20 stages allow hikers to easily choose the perfect experience and duration for them. The rout goes through the Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l’Empordà and through sections between the beautiful village of Begur and Palafrugell which might offer some of the best views and scenery. This is one of our favorite hikes near the sea in Spain.
Peñalara is one of the best if not the best place for hiking near the nation’s capital (Madrid). Peñalara is located in the Sierra de Guadarrama, about an hour outside the city. The rout takes about 3 hours round trip and will take you through the amazing Peñalara nature park. Peñalara is one of the tallest mountains of the Guadarrama mountain range and an area of great biodiversity.
You will have to make your way down to the Island of Tenerife for this one, but if you do it will it will be completely worth your while. Las Cañadas will take you through alien volcanic landscapes, around the towering Mount Teide in the center of the Island. The Teide is the highest peak in Spain standing 3,718 meters tall and can be hiked as well. If you reach the top you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing views of the Island and you will get to see the 80 m wide volcanic crater at the center. A once in a life time experience. But there are more options to enjoy great walks in Tenerife. We include below our favorite ones!