Hiking in Spain

Traverse the magnificent Pyrenees, explore volcanic islands or experience the remote Picos de Europa on an unforgettable Spanish hiking adventure.

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From hiking the tallest mountain in the Pyrenees to trekking across volcanic landscapes in the Canaries, Spain has plenty to offer avid hikers.

Separating Spain from France, the expansive Pyrenees boast classic alpine adventures among towering, snow-capped peaks and lush, rolling valleys. Put your endurance to the test journeying across the range or take on Spain’s largest glacier and peak up mighty Mount Aneto. Head to the northwest coast and explore the jagged peaks of the Picos de Europa; one of the most beautiful hiking spots in the country. Or venture away from the mainland to the year-round sun of the Canary Islands and trek across other-worldly volcanic landscapes.

Spain is the place to go if you’re a keen hiker, wanting to experience beautiful, lesser-known routes. The Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa are best explored during the summer months, but the Canaries boast the perfect environment for trekking at any time of year.

Here are some of our favourite Spanish hiking spots for you to choose from.

The Pyrenees

Straddling the border and stretching for 430km between France and Spain are the jagged peaks of the Pyrenees mountain range. Surround yourself with thundering glaciers, glistening lakes, tumbling valleys, alpine meadows and desolate peaks reaching over 3,400m. Challenging yet breath-taking, this area boasts spectacular hiking opportunities and thriving biodiversity, with wildlife ranging from Pyrenean chamois to griffon vulture.

Whether you’re traversing across the border on a multi-day adventure or conquering a single mighty peak, most hiking in the Pyrenees takes place during the summer months, when the weather is at its most forgiving. But confident adventurers may want to take on a winter expedition skills course. For the majority of the treks, you need to be fit enough to cover up to 20-30km each day, across varying gradients.

Mount Aneto

At a staggering 3,404m, Mount Aneto is the tallest peak in the Pyrenees and the third tallest in all of Spain. Colossal, yet stunning, the climb can be taken on by adventurous hikers year-round. That said, June or July is the safest and best time, when the weather is better but there’s still snow on the ground covering mountain crevices. You don’t necessarily need climbing experience, but the right equipment, a good level of fitness and a professional guide are essential.

Head to the town of Benasque to begin the trek, then find yourself surrounded by impressive 3,000m peaks and scaling Spain’s largest glacier en route to the summit. Fly to Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées Airport or Zaragoza Airport and be sure to plan a head if you want to stay at a mountain refuge the night before your ascent.

Picos de Europa

Located on Spain’s northern coast, the craggy Picos de Europa are an imposing mountain range, straddling southeast Asturias, southwest Cantabria and northern Castilla y León. Wild in nature and unspoilt by tourism, they offer some of the best hiking in Spain and some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in Europe.

Made up of three massifs, it’s one of the first Spanish landscapes to be recognised as a national park. There’s the eastern Macizo Ándara (2,444m); the western Macizo El Cornión (2,596m) and the rocky Macizo Central, boasting the range’s highest peak, Torre de Cerredo (2,648m). It takes two days and a great deal of hiking experience to summit Torre de Cerrado, and it’s best done so in the summer months. Fly to Asturias or Santander for the easiest access to the mountains.

The Canary Islands

Boasting year-round sun and a landscape which could be mistaken for somewhere, quite literally, out of this world, the Canary Islands offer the perfect base to indulge in some incredible and unique hiking. Head to Lanzarote and explore the Mars-life surface of Timanfaya National Park, the backdrop for numerous big films including Star Wars. Discover the smallest Canary Island, El Hierro; its diverse land and natural wonders earning it UNESCO World Biosphere status. Or take in the panoramic views of Tenerife from the top of Mount Teide, the highest point in Spain.

Your Canaries adventure can take place at any time of year, thanks to their continuously warm and sunny climate, just prepare for things to get particularly hot in the summer months. The islands are small enough that you won’t spend all your time driving between hiking spots and manageable volcanic and coastal terrains are ideal for those with little previous experience.

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