Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just someone who wants a great excuse to go to a foreign country and return home in better shape than when you left, Spain is an amazing place to go for a hike. The landscape is remarkably diverse; the food — which you will be famished for — is delicious; and the country boasts 14 national parks, all of which could, by themselves, inspire a visit.
Regardless of whether you’ve ever taken an international hiking trip before, Spain awaits. Here are six of the best hikes in Spain, for everyone from the professional hiking traveler to the newbie who’s just laced up her first pair of hiking boots.
1. Pico Sobarcal
Spain has long been a destination for travelers who desired a physical challenge along with their cultural experiences. Many people buy tickets to Spain via travel sites like Flights.com to run with the bulls, but hiking Pico Sobarcal is an even better reason to head to Spain. A varied hike that sits close to the Navarre and France borders, Pico Sobarcal is a summit with exquisite views.
Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll see a rocky peak called Anguja Sur de Ansabere to the northeast; in the background you’ll spy the French Pyrenees, and along the return route, you’ll enjoy a variable landscape that is alternately lush, forested, and rocky.
2. Beas de Granada
A relatively easy hike — although it is lengthy — this path follows the ridge between Beas and Granada. At almost ten miles, you and your companions will see amazing full-length views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and you’ll end up in the center of Granada, which is a great city to spend the night in.
Consider going in the winter, as the snow-capped peaks of the mountains are especially lovely then. Avoid the summertime for this hike, because there is little shade along the path.
Monachil Valley is something of a wonderland, with fruit trees flush with almonds, cherries, apples, apricots, and pomegranates throughout the growing season. Lavender, rosemary, and thyme are also abundant along the edges of the river that flows through the valley. Spring, summer, and fall are the most beautiful times of year to visit, and because the walk isn’t too difficult, you can do it with children in tow.
The hike starts in Monachil and follows the river through the gorge. Upon return, you get to loop back by a higher elevation, which gives you a remarkable view of the valley. Pay close attention to the directions in this information sheet because the way isn’t well-marked.
The largest of the Canary Islands and the most populous island in Spain, Tenerife has almost 800 square miles and 900,000 inhabitants. A wonderful place to hike, Tenerife’s landscape includes dramatic changes in a small space. Coastline, volcanic mountains, and forests can all be enjoyed on the same hike.
Take the Pine Forest Trail from Las Lajas to Ifonche for an easy route that will afford you plenty of opportunities to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells of the island.
5. Camino de Santiago
Known as The Way of St. James, Camino de Santiago is a series of routes across Europe that have been in use for a thousand years or more. A popular pilgrimage for Christians during Medieval times, the routes today are walked and biked by pilgrims, outdoor enthusiasts, historians, and more.
Every route ends at the tomb of St. James in Santiago, and for the hiker visiting Spain, almost anywhere along this path provides the possibility of some excellent people-watching in addition to the landscape’s abundant views.
Another great consideration for this hike in the Camino Primitivo, the original way of the Camino de Santiago that takes you through a Northern route. Read all about this path in this Camino Primitivo Guide.
Punta Suelza affords hikers one of the best views of the Pyrenees. At almost 10,000 feet, the trip up isn’t overly difficult, so long as you can handle the altitude and its effects on your body and breathing. You can park your car at a spot that’s roughly 6,000 feet high in elevation, and you’ll still get plenty of exercise and grandiose sights.
As you hike, impressive alpine meadows give way to a pine forest, which comes out once again into the meadows and some stunning mountain lakes. While the path is marked initially, you’ll probably have to keep an eye out for cairns as you get closer to the summit. Be sure to bring a good camera; the view at the top really is magnificent.
Grab your best hiking boots, a high quality pair or hiking socks (review the best socks at GearWeAre), an English-to-Spanish dictionary, and a high-quality camera, and enjoy at least one of these hikes the next time you find yourself in Spain.
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