Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe, which makes it an ideal destination for the enthusiast hiker. From picturesque Andalusia to the green north and the faraway Canary Islands, Spain boasts an excellent variety of hiking routes, offering devotees the opportunity to discover a different side of this wonderful country, one that reveals its outstanding natural beauty.
Stretching from the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country to Girona in northeastern part of Catalonia, the Spanish Pyrenees are certainly a premier choice among experienced hikers in Spain. Considered one of the best kept secrets of Europe, the region features an excellent array of trails, picturesque mountain villages, and accommodations where stubborn hikers can spend the night. In addition to the stunning scenery with quaint green valleys and snow-capped peaks, hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees offers travelers the opportunity to discover a series of inspiring places, time-honored traditions and gastronomic backgrounds.
Northern Spain attracts hikers with an assortment of gorgeous landscapes, numerous mountain ranges, as well as nature reserves and national parks to suit all tastes and abilities. Explorers can venture into the famous pilgrim trail of Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) or they can discover the scenic beauty of the Picos de Europa National Park in Cantabria. Either way, the décor is enchanting and peppered with rugged mountains, villages steeped in history, medieval bridges, lush valleys, scenic river gorges, and ancient monasteries.
Other places of interest in the north of Spain include the spectacular limestone cliffs surrounding the Valderejo Natural Park in the Basque Country, the River Ebro Natural Park in Cantabria, and the Aralar Natural Park situated between the community of Navarra and Gipuzkoa region.
In the south, the mighty Sierra Nevada has already established itself as a firm favorite among hikers. Nestled in Andalusia – the picturesque south of Spain, this mountainous region rich in plant and animal life offers a myriad of hiking opportunities, all complemented by breathtaking scenery. On their way, trekkers will have the chance to explore the famous white-washed Andalusian villages, to spot a variety of wild birds and animals – including the Spanish ibex, and to soak up some of the most spectacular views the country has to offer. Some of the finest hiking trails in Sierra Nevada are the Vereda de la Estrella, Las Alpujarras, and the Integral de Sierra Nevada, which is also the most complex and difficult route.
The Balearic island of Mallorca, with its rugged Tramuntana mountain range, along with the otherworldly volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands, are some excellent hiking destinations as well.