Best hiking and walking areas in Spain
In this blog I will talk about the best regions for hiking and walking areas in Spain. Some areas are off the beaten path and other areas are more known but have incredible landscapes and gorgeous hikes. You can design a walking trip or hiking holiday around these regions.
Within Spain we can really find 6 different climates (Mediterranean, continental, arid, oceanic, mountain and subtropical) each climate creates completely different ecosystems. In fact, here I will try to cover the regions and focus on as many ecosystems as we can.
The following hiking and walking areas in Spain have incredible hikes along beautiful and completely different landscapes. The regions below are mostly off the beaten path, and therefore you will need a car to reach these areas.
Anyone who has visited Spain can’t argue that the landscapes in such a small country like Spain change vastly. Thus, some of the regions that we will talk about are: the subtropical forest laurisilva in Canary islands and Cadiz; the desert landscapes in Almería; temperate forests in the north; mountain ecosystems in the Pyrenees, Picos de Europa, Gredos and Sierra Nevada; and of course Mediterranean forest!
Hikes and walking areas in Andalucia
It is hard to select just a few hikes and walking areas in Andalucia as it is so broad and there are so many natural parks with incredible hikes. However, I have decided to select Cadiz and Granada as the location for my favourite hikes and walking areas in Andalucia.
-Hike in Sierra Nevada national park
Vereda de la Estrella hike: One of the most beautiful hikes in Sierra Nevada national park with lots of water and dense vegetation. You will also have fantastic views of the mountain system. The best time to do the hike is spring and the fall.
The full hike from the parking and back is around 20km with medium difficulty and it takes around 5-6hours.
-Hikes in Grazalema natural park
Cadiz province has more than a third of its surface protected, the highest percentage of the provinces in Andalusia. Grazalema region is well known for being the rainiest place in Spain. It has an annual rainfall of 2,200mm and of the 1,300 Mediterranean plant species that have been registered here, some of them are endemic to this natural park and can flourish perfectly. In fact, there is an incredibly rare Spanish fir forest, a relic from the Tertiary period called pinsapar.
Pinsapar hike: Hike from Grazalema to Benamahoma and enjoy walking along Spanish fir forest which was typical in the tertiary geological period, same as the laurisilva subtropical forest in Los Alcornocales natural park. This hike is one of the best hikes in Andalucia and Spain with a unique habitat.
The full hike from the parking and back is around 12km with medium-high difficulty and it takes around 3-4hours.
-Hikes in Los Alcornocales natural park
Cadiz province has more than a third of its surface protected, the highest percentage of the provinces in Andalusia. Los Alcornocales is one of the largest natural parks in Spain with 174,000 hectares. The cork oak forest in Los Alcornocales natural park is the largest cork oak forest in Spain and one of the largest in the world.
Canuto de Risco blanco- Valle de Ojén – San Carlos del Tiradero: To enter this land I recommend to ask for permission and call in advance to ensure that there is no hunting that day. Moreover, if you do the Canuto de Risco Blanco hike in Los Alcornocales natural park you must have a permit. Call 856587508, or send an email to this natural park to ask for a permit when you hike here.
The full hike from the parking and back is around 10-11km with medium difficulty and it takes around 3 hours.
Hike of Los Prisioneros- Helechal- El Pelayo: This hike starts near Algeciras, where you can also do the “Río de la miel” hike if you have energy and then start this hike. Throughout this hike you will be able to take in views of Gibraltar rock and its bay, and of Morocco. Be fascinated as well by the subtropical forest, laurisilva, that you will see in the hike.
The full hike from the parking to the end is around 10-11km and it takes around 3 hours.
Hikes and walking areas in El Jerte, Extremadura
-Hikes in El Jerte
Carlos V hiking route in el Jerte:If you are looking into an incredible hiking and walking area in Spain this is for sure one of them. It is almost at the end of the trail that Carlos I or Carlos V the emperor did to arrive to his retirement destination in Cuacos de Yuste. Walk along chestnut and oak dense forests, walk along creeks and along the famous cherry trees of El Jerte. Best time to do the Carlos V hiking route in el Jerte is in spring to see the cherry blossom.
The Carlos V hiking route in el Jerte is around 25km with medium-high difficulty and it takes around 8-9hours.
Garganta de los Infiernos hike: This hike in El Jerte is a shorter hike than the previous one but in this walk in El Jerte you can enjoy walking along the famous geological formation los pilones. Los pilones is created by rocks that have been circling around inside of a hole in a rock forming a very spherical rock formation and a rounded soft hole. Walk along chestnut and mediterranean forests.
You can walk the Garganta de los Infiernos hike at any time of the year.
The Garganta de los infiernos hike in El Jerte is around 13km with medium difficulty and it takes around 3-4hours.
Hikes and walking areas in the north of Spain
-Picos de Europa National park
Cares hike: This hike in Picos de Europa, in Asturias, has stunning views of the mountainous landscape. You walk along the cliff of the mountain and following the old aqueduct. You can do the Cares hike anytime of the year but look at the weather before doing it.
This Cares hike in Picos de Europa is around 11km each way (22km) with medium difficulty and it takes around 5-6hours.
-Urdaibai biosphere reserve
Hike to San Pedro de Atxarre baseliza: this hike in the north of Spain is in the Basque country within the Urdaibai biosphere reserve. A very short hike but with views from the top that you will want to take a nice photo. We did and printed and framed it for our house. From the top you have views of the river and the sea, as well as the beautiful formation that the sedimentation of the river has left. Please read more about this beautiful place here.
You can do the San Pedro de Atxarre hike year-round but look at the weather before doing it. We did it in summer and it was gorgeous.
This San Pedro de Atxarre baseliza hike in Urdaibai biosphere reserve is around 2km each way (4km) with low difficulty and it takes around 1-2 hours.
-Hikes and walking areas in Pyrenees
Estany de San Marurici to Amitges: This Estany de San Marurici to Amitges hike in the D’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National park is a beautiful hike along woodlands in a very steep valley, with lakes and mountainous landscapes. There are other easy hikes in the Pyrenees if you prefer. The best time to walk Estany de San Marurici to Amitges hike is at anytime of year except winter.
This Estany de San Marurici to Amitges hike is around 22km with medium-high difficulty and it takes around 6 hours.
-Ordesa national park in the pyrenees
Faja de Pelay hike: This Faja de Pelay hike in Ordesa national park is incredible and very versatile. This hiking and walking area in Spain is outstanding. Walk along woodlands in a steep valley, following the river and take in incredible views of the pyrenees.
There are other easy hikes in the Pyrenees if you prefer. The best time to do the Faja de Pelay hike is at anytime except winter.
This hike in the Ordesa national park is around 21km with high difficulty and it takes around 8-9hours. Just in case you are interested Ordesa national park has easier hiking trails.
Hikes and walking areas in Canary Islands
-National park of Garajonay
Pajarito – El Cedro – Tajaqué – Pajarito: Enjoy the views and the subtropical forest in this gorgeous hike in the heart of Garajonay national park. The Pajarito-El Cedro-Tajaque hike can be done at anytime in the year. It is the longest hike and one of the most versatile hikes in Garajonay.
This hike in the Garajonay national park is around 15km with Medium-high difficulty and it takes around 6 hours.
-National park Caldera de Taburiente
Ruta de Los Brecitos al barranco de Las Angustias: Enjoy the views and the subtropical forest in this gorgeous hike in the heart of La Caldera de Taburiente national park. You can do the Los Brecitos al barranco de Las Angustias at any time of the year. This hike goes along the valley and then you hike to the top where you will have incredible views of the national park. The Caldera de Taburiente is an 8km in diameter crater of a volcano with up to 2000m of uneveness. It has lots of endemic flora to the region.
Please take into account that you can walk further and connect both points. Or on the other hand, you can take a taxi to take you to the starting point.
This hike in the Garajonay national park is around 13km with Medium-high difficulty and it takes around 5-6hours.
-Teide National park
Ruta 040: One of the hardest trails in Spain if not the hardest, as it is the hiking and walking trail in Spain with the biggest change in elevation, 3800m. I had to put it out there for some of you who love a challenge. To ask for an authorization please contact the Teide national park here reservasparquesnacionales.es. This ruta 040 hike in Teide national park can be done at any time of the year.
This hike in the Teide national park is around 27km with high difficulty and it takes around 8-9hours.
Hiking and walking holidays in Andalucia
If you enjoyed this blog with the hikes in Andalucia, and are looking for hiking holiday in Andalucia surrounded by nature, then keep reading. Moreover, I offer tours in the natural park of “Los Alcornocales”, “La Breña”, “Grazalema” and “El Estrecho” in Cadiz and Malaga. I also focus on agrotourism and cultural tours including: Visits to the almadraba in a private boat; private sherry and Andalusian wine tastings; olive mill tours; Iberian ham tours; and white town tours in Cadiz province.
Guided hiking tours in Andalucia
Cadiz province is one of the most biodiverse provinces in mainland Spain. Habitats range from dense forest reminiscent of cloud forest to Mediterranean forest, dune systems, and more. Moreover, enjoy the incredible views of magical landscapes in Cadiz and the Strait of Gibraltar. Cadiz has over a third of its surface protected, while its climate and sunlight hours are similar to Canary Islands.
If you want to do any of the above hikes in El Estrecho natural park in Cadiz please click here to read the guided coastal hikes that I offer or contact me.
Join my hiking tour in Los Alcornocales natural park, where we will head to the heart of the natural park and see the only subtropical forest in mainlad Europe, laurisilva. These places are very pristine areas with beautiful landscapes and with possibility to see roe deer, wildcats, common genet, Griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures and more. On the other hand in our guided nature tours you will discover the coastal hikes in Andalucia.
Contact me if you are interested in doing any hikes in Grazalema natural park. As I also lead tours in the “pinsapar” Spanish fir forest another forest as old as the laurisilva, from the tertiary geological period.
I lead the hikes in Andalucia above. Furthermore, I will also explain the habitats that we find and some the landmarks of the hikes. I will help you identify Mediterranean plants and explain the traditional, culinary or medicinal use that it had in the region.
To learn more about hiking and walking holidays in Spain, please click the big blue button to read more posts. And, If you have any ideas and suggestions, please do not hesitate to write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.