Owing to the temperate climate, mountainous interiors and sun-drenched beaches, Spain is every walker’s paradise. From the majestic peaks of the Picos de Europa to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, our walking holidays in Spain offer a whole host of wildlife spotting opportunities and incredible historic sites that vie for your attention.
Our top 5 walking holidays in Spain are packed with phenomenal views and immersive experiences that beg you to delve deeper into this intriguing country. So, whether you’re looking for a last-minute summer getaway or an exciting adventure that you can look forward to in 2023, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Walking the Picos de Europa
This iconic mountain range takes centre stage in Spain’s oldest national park, and its distinctive limestone peaks offer the most breathtaking views. This guided trip is one of the most-loved walking tours in Spain and leads you along two gorges and one peak of each massif, introducing you to wildly beautiful scenery.
Activity level: For the majority of this trip, the routes taken are of a moderate level and require a reasonable level of fitness. There’s also the option to tackle some more challenging higher peaks.
Highlights: There’s no doubt the scenery is one of the main highlights of this trip. The panoramic views from the summit of Peña Main are mind-blowing as you gaze across towering rocky peaks, lush green meadows and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. The wildlife you’ll meet along the way is equally as impressive, with fabulous birds such as Golden eagles, Griffon vultures and Chamois soaring overhead. You might even catch a glimpse of boars, bears and wolves on your journey, although they’re more rarely sighted.
When to go: During springtime, the valleys are at their most beautiful when they’re blanketed in colourful alpine flowers. In early spring, the temperatures are cooler, making for comfortable walking conditions. It’s definitely worth booking this trip in advance for 2023.
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2. Camino de Santiago Trek
On this walking adventure, you’ll trek some of the best sections of ‘The Way of St James’, one of the oldest pilgrimage routes in the world. Starting in Samos, you’ll pass ancient oak forests, medieval monasteries, and Roman bridges before climbing up the famous Monte do Gozo for breathtaking views of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Activity level: Marked as moderate the terrain you will see will vary from man-made paved tracks, tarmac, forest trails to gravel. Although the walks are not technically difficult, there will be some steep ascents and descents should be expected, so a reasonable amount of fitness is required. In Northern Spain, you can expect low altitude throughout.
Highlights: One of the major highlights of this trip is exploring the historic Galician capital of Santiago de Compostela, home of the burial site of the Biblical apostle, St. James. If you’re lucky, you may be able to witness a moving experience of a group of eight tiraboleiros (incense carriers) in the Santiago de Compostela swinging the famous botafumeiro(thurible)into the crowd on special occasions. Another highlight of this trip is that you can collect stamps for your pilgrim’s passport along the way, giving you the perfect memento of your trek while you pass Romanesque cathedrals and unspoilt rural scenery. Northern Spain is also famous for its gastronomy, so we’d recommend trying roast suckling lamb or blood sausage with delicious wine from Ribera del Duero, or the crab stew and stuffed quail. However, one of the most popular delicacies is Octopus, “Pulpo a la Feira” that’s served with paprika, olive oil and sea salt and “grelos” (boiled sliced potatoes).
When to go: The months of May, June and Sep are the best times to walk the Camino de Santiago, as the weather is sunny but not too hot and downpours are less likely, you’ll also enjoy plenty of company from other trekkers along the way!
3. Sierra de Aitana Trek
The Sierra de Aitana is one of Spain’s few remaining secret gems, and while it may only be a few miles away from the Mediterranean, it’s worlds apart from Costa Blanca. Following shepherds’ paths and ridgelines, you’ll escape tourist hot spots and head into tranquil valleys where mountainous landscapes and coastal views stretch out before you.
Activity level: While much of this trek follows well-defined footpaths, several sections are steep and rocky and require a good level of fitness. The variable terrain and daily distances err on the side of challenging as you climb three summits over the course of five days.
Highlights: The summit views from Puig Campana, Aitana Peak, and Serrella Peak are arresting and worth the tough climbs. But the treks aren’t all about the summits; the sights and experiences along the way are just as wonderful. Explore the unusual peaks and needles of Penya Roc, gain a cultural insight into the village of Beniardá and visit the local olive oil factory.
When to go: Early to mid–Autumn is a great time to trek the Sierra de Aitana as there’s still plenty of sunshine but without the intense heat. It’s also a good time to visit the olive oil producer when the olives are harvested.
Find out more about our Sierra de Aitana Trek here >>>
4. Walking in Andalucia
This rural region is made up of fertile farmland, olive groves, rugged peaks and sleepy villages. As well as exploring the countryside on foot, you’ll discover the charms of Seville,with a visit to Giralda, an architectural masterpiece, and the beautiful gardens surrounding the magnificent Alcazar Palace. This trek also takes you among the Sierra de Grazalema National Park, along El Chorro Gorge and across the aerial path of Caminito del Ray.
Activity level: Following well-defined paths with some easy climbs, this tour is considered leisurely to moderate. However, there’s the option of a more challenging tour to the higher peaks.
Highlights: Staying in a rustic, country farmhouse, you’re introduced to the relaxed and authentic Spanish way of life. In the evenings, you’ll dine on fresh, local cuisine and there may be the opportunity to sample traditional Spanish tapas. You’ll also dig a little deeper into the back story of Andalucia with a trip to the Caños Santos Monastery and the whitewashed village of Setenil.
When to go: Summer is a great time to visit when the countryside is lush, and Seville comes alive with festivals and music. There’s still plenty of time to book our last-minute Spain holidays for the summer.
Find out more about our Walking in Andalucia trip here >>>
5. Sierra Nevada & Granada
The Sierra Nevada is Spain’s highest sierra and is home to diverse wildlife and endemic flora. Walk among ancient chestnut forests, lavender fields, pretty valleys and mountain ridges, where you’ll enjoy spectacular views.
Activity level: Classed as moderate, this trip takes you on mostly leisurely walks along paths and forest roads with some uneven and steep sections.
Highlights: Explore whitewashed Moorish villages and discover local culture as you tuck into authentic cuisine. You’ll also visit the city of Granada, where bohemian cafes and tapas bars go hand in hand with magnificent architecture. But the main event has to be the optional tour of the resplendent Alhambra, an Islamic palace complex and former royal residence.
When to go: In spring the temperatures are cooler, but you’ll still enjoy sunny days, with April and May being the best months for wildflowers in the valleys. In autumn, the daytime temperatures are ideal for walking. Fall colours during these months are particularly spectacular too and the trees are laden with fruit. So, why not book ahead for 2023 and give yourself something to look forward to?