Because of its temperate climate, stunning scenery and historical towns and cities, Spain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Europe. It doesn’t hurt that at the end of a long day of hiking, you can sit back with some delicious wine and tapas! There are plenty of trails crisscrossing the country, many of which are well-marked and well-provisioned. If it’s your first time hiking in Spain, you’re definitely spoilt for choice, but here are a few popular hiking locations and routes.
5 Great Hiking Locations in Spain
The Camino de Santiago
Let’s start with the Camino de Santiago, which is probably one of the most well-known hiking trails in Spain (and indeed, the world). It stretches across the northern part of the country. There are actually a couple different routes that you can hike, with the most popular being the Camino Francés. If you hike the entire length of the route (780km), it’ll probably take you a month or more to complete—but you can also hike only certain parts of the route if you’re limited on time. No matter which part you choose to hike, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, accommodation, and everything else you need en route, which is part of what makes it such a popular long-distance hike.
Keen to learn more? Check out the movie “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen, about a father who hikes the Camino Francés in memory of his son. It’s an excellent movie and is available to stream on Netflix (just remember that if you’re already outside the country, you’ll need to use a VPN to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions). If you weren’t sure about the hike before, you definitely will be after seeing the fantastic scenery and beautiful little towns along the route!
Rambla del Castro
There’s no shortage of hiking routes on picturesque Tenerife, which has long been a popular trekking destination for Germans and Brits—but ignore the forests and volcano; the Rambla del Castro is one of the best hikes on the island! Here, you’ll find impressive ocean scenes interspersed with views of banana plantations and old haciendas. For history buffs, there’s an old fort (San Fernando) along the route that you can also explore; artists, there are plenty of places en route for you to stop and sketch or take photos. It’s a relatively easy route, so it’s great for families traveling with children. Best of all: because it stretches along the coast, you’ll find that it doesn’t get quite as hot as those forest treks through the rest of the island.
Punta Suelza and Punta Fulsa
These two summits in the Pyrenees offer what is hands-down some of the most gorgeous scenery in the country. You’ll need to be in shape and able to handle the altitude to summit them: Punta Suelza, the higher of the two peaks, comes in at nearly 10,000 feet. Punta Fulsa is a bit smaller but the scenery is just as amazing—from either, you’ll get great views of some of the larger mastiffs in the area, such as Monte Perdido, as well as viewing beautiful Lake Barleto. The area isn’t as trafficked as other mountains in the Pyrenees, so not only will you feel like you’re on top of the world, but you may also feel like you’re the only person left in the world!
Take a day away from the beaches and bustle of Barcelona to head out to peaceful and spiritual Montserrat, which is located only about an hour (and an easy train ride) away from the city but which feels like an entirely different world. The mountain and its Benedictine monastery have been a pilgrimage site for nearly 1,000 years, and even if you’re not religious, you’re sure to find yourself impressed by the amazing architecture, history and, if you’re lucky, the voices of the famous Escolania, one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Europe. You can also hike out to the hermitages of Sant Joan and Sant Onofre.
El Caminito del Rey
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-inducing adventure, El Caminito del Rey is sure to thrill you. Located in the south of Spain, near Malaga and Marbella, the incredibly thin walkway (3 feet wide) hangs on the cliffsides at heights of over 300 feet above the river below. It was once known as the world’s most dangerous walkway given a number of deaths that all occurred around the same time, but it’s been fortified over the past few years so you no longer need to worry as much…although your heart may tell you otherwise!
Although Spain’s cities and beaches are definitely worth a visit, the hiking is not to be missed! This is, of course, just a small selection of the wonderful array of hiking opportunities you have in the country, but all of them are superb. Make sure you get out and explore; you’re sure to enjoy!