There are many incredible hikes in Tenerife, that it would be a real pity to miss out on them while on the island. Tenerife is the biggest and most populated of the Canary Islands. It’s capital is Santa Cruz the Tenerife, though San Cristobal de la Laguna, where the University of La Laguna was founded in 1792 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is probably the most popular city to visit.
To read more about the Canary Islands, check my post “Which Are The Best Canary Islands?“
There are many reasons why Tenerife is one Spain’s most visited islands. Blessed with a beautiful climate, it is a paradise for surfers, who find persistently good waves. The island is packed beautiful beaches such as La Caleta, real hidden gem thanks to the quiet environment and gorgeous setting (and where there is a fantastic fish restaurant!); or Playa del Bolullo, boasting dark volcanic sand and surrounded by high cliffs. Although remote, there is an easy trail that makes going one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife
Tenerife also has some lovely villages. And last but definitely not least, the hikes in Tenerife are among some of the best in Spain, thanks to Mount Teide (the highest volcano in Europe) and Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other than volcano hikes, there also are some nature hikes and coastal trails.
Fore more incredible hikes in mainland Spain, check my post “Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain.”
This post highlights 10 fantastic hikes in Tenerife, and includes some tips on other places to visit, where to stay on the island, and other useful information.
What are some of the nicest hikes in Tenerife?
10 Incredible Hikes In Tenerife
The most difficult hikes in Tenerife
The hike to Guajara, Tenerife’s 4th highest peak which is located on the south eastern edge of Las Cañadas ridge, in Las Cañadas National Park, isn’t long. It’s just about 9 km. The ascent isn’t much, really. But the altitude makes it challenging and altitude sickness may cause problems. What makes this one of the top hikes in Tenerife is the incredible view. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Las Cañadas, Mount Teide and the south coast of Tenerife.
The best time of the year to attempt this hike are May and June, when there’s beautiful flowers on the way; or September and October.
Make sure you are prepared for sudden weather changes, and keep in mind that the temperature on the summit may be 20 degrees colder than on the south coast. Dress appropriately and carry an extra layer.
Once at the summit you will find a small abandoned stone shelter which is a good place to keep out of the wind and have lunch. The descent follows the same path, or alternatively there is an old goat-herder trail following a ravine on the west side, which however is very hard to follow. You will get why I say that it’s one of the most difficult hikes in Tenerife!
Medium difficulty hikes in Tenerife
Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the 14 km coastal walk from Los Crisitanos to Las Galletas, right at the doorsteps of the biggest tourist resorts on the island. It goes through some beautiful nature reserves and offers incredible views of the south coast. The trail starts in Casa Carolina, an old villa on the sea front; it goes past the beach and towards Montaña Guaza – a protected natural area. There is a trail on the right which is less known and goes towards the cliffs.
Once there, the trail goes around the plateau through a rocky landscape surrounded by cactus. It eventually goes down through a steep slope towards Palm Mar, through the nature reserve of Malpais de la Rasca, where there’s the beautiful lighthouse. From there, the trail goes all the way to Las Galletas, a lovely fishing port, crossing some banana plantations and abandoned fields. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
When hiking in Tenerife, Teide is a must!
The easiest hikes in Tenerife
Las Montañas Negras
las Montañas Negras are located in the north-west of Tenerife and owe their name to the color of the volcanic ash that formed them. They include Volcan de Carachico, whose 1706 eruption caused the destruction of the port of Garachico.
One of the nicest hikes in Tenerife is the one that starts in San Jose de los Llanos, just north of Santiago del Teide, and following a circular route goes to Montaña Bilma, then turns east to get to a forestry track that runs along Canal Vergara. On this part of the hike, the view spans so see the lava flaws of the 1909 eruption of Chinyero (the most recent eruption in Tenerife). On clear days, it’s possible to see all the way to the valley around Santiago del Teide, Mount Teide and Pico Viejo.
The last part of the trail is downhill, going to San Jose de Los Llanos.
The overall hike is 14 km but the ascent of just 200 meters makes it one of the nicest, easiest hikes in Tenerife.
Immediately east of Mount Teide there is Montaña Blanca, the third highest peak on the island. The hike there is one of the easiest yet most rewarding hikes of Tenerife among those in Teide National Park. It is a dirt track that for around 7 km zig zaps up the back of the mountain, going by the Huevos de Teide (giant boulders that were ejected during volcanic eruptions). Along the way it is also possible to see the lava flows on the side of Mount Teide.
Roque del Conde
Roque del Conde is one of the most famous landmarks of southern Tenerife. This mountain that looks over the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas. It’s possible to walk there (it takes around 3 hours) and from the peak there are gorgeous, 360 degree views of the south of Tenerife. This makes it one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife.
It is a 6 km hike on a paved path starting in Vento – there’s signs pointing to it from the main road in Arona. Here the altitude is around 600 meters above sea level, while at the peak it is around 1000. The trail goes through the Barranco del Rey, a deep gorge cutting through the southern side of the Tenerife, and then up the plateau.
One of the nice things about hiking in Tenerife is that the trails go through villages and beaches. The Masca Barranco hike goes from the picturesque Masca, thought to be Tenerife’s prettiest village, to the beach, through a prehistoric landscape. The walk to the beach takes roughly 3 hours, and once there it is possible to either take the boat to Los Gigantes or to walk all the way back.
The landscape is gorgeous when hiking in Tenerife
Arona to Ifonche
One of the most popular hikes in Tenerife is the one from Arona to Ifonche. It is a 9 km hike that goes along a well marked trail, and starts 1 km north of Arona, following an old goat herder track all the way to Ifonche. The way back is via Barranco del Rey gorge. It is the first leg of the longer walk to Adeje, Taucho and Vilaflor.
Las Lajas to Ifonche
One of the easiest excursions in Tenerife is the one that starts in Las Lajas, the barbecue area of Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal, at about 10 km from Vilaflor. The first part of the trail is quite easy, on a good dirt track where you will cross paths with many mountain bikers in the winter months. You will be crossing the Pasaije Natural Protegido (Protected Natural Space) of Ifonche, as well go by the resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas.
After walking for about 2 hours, the view is obscured by the Alto de Chimoche, which reaches 1500 meters of elevation.
It takes around 4 hours to walk the roughly 12 km.
Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada
This 9.4 km walk is thought to be one of the top hikes of Tenerife. It goes through ancient forests and steep mountain ravines to then get to a hamlet where the locals still live in cave houses, much like it can be seen during the Tamadaba hike in Gran Canaria.
For more hikes in Gran Canaria, check my post “Hikes in Gran Canaria.”
The Fortaleza trail is a nice and easy one – the only thing that may cause a bit of difficulty is the altitude. It’s one of the nicest excursions in Tenerife to explore the north crater wall of Teide and Teide National Park.
When To Go Hiking In Tenerife
The best time to go hiking in Tenerife is towards the end of the spring or the beginning of autumn, when temperatures are milder. Throughout the winter, the temperatures are mild; whereas in the summer it’s really hot and it is not recommended to go hiking.
There are some lovely cities and villages in Tenerife
The Nicest Cities In Tenerife
Santa Cruz the capital of the island, is a great starting point when hiking in Tenerife. It is a nice place to visit, with a good selection of tourist attractions. The main one is Tenerife Auditorium, designed by famous architect Calatrava. Espacio de las Artes, the art museum, is another must. The city centre is packed with beautiful squares and lovely small streets.
San Cristobal de la Laguna is the second most important city on the island, home of the University of La Laguna, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It used to be the capital of the Canary Islands. The Old City boasts some beautiful churches (especially the Cathedral) and some nice squares.
Many villages can be seen when hiking in Tenerife. The nicest ones are Masca, which is perched on a rock: it is a series of narrow, cobbled alleys and overflowing gardens; Garachico, which is a tiny port that survived a volcano eruption; Tegueste, which is known for its farmers’ market; and Vilaflor, which is the highest village in Spain and is entirely surrounded by the forest. Last but not least, Granadilla is home to a beautiful baroque church dating back to the 18th century.
The Best Places To Stay In Tenerife
Tenerife is a popular tourist destinations. As such, there is a very good selection of accommodation options, for any kind of traveler and any budget and even for those who go hiking in Tenerife.
Here’s a selection of places to stay in Tenerife:
Wild camping is not allowed in Tenerife. Although there are meant to be a few campsites on the island, at the time of researching for this post it looks like most of them are closed for refurbishment. The online list seems rather outdated.
How To Get To Tenerife
Tenerife has two airports: Tenerife South Airport, and Tenerife North Airport. South Airport is connected to mainland Spain and the rest of Europe through regular and budget flights, though some of them are only seasonal. North Airport is not as well connected.
Other Useful Information
Several sites have information on the hikes in Tenerife, but the information is scattered at best. There is a Walk This Way Tenerife on the best trails of the island that can be bought online on Amazon.
Another site is Tenerife Hiking, but it’s outdated, with the last post being published in 2008.
Several companies offer guided hikes in Tenerife. Among them, there are Tenerife Hiking and Macs Adventures.
For more hikes in the Canary Islands, read my posts on the best hikes in Lanzarote and the best hikes in Gran Canaria. Also check my post on why I do not recommend hiking alone.
Have you ever been to Tenerife? What are your favorite hikes in Tenerife?
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Much like in mainland Spain, there are many incredible hikes in Gran Canaria. This popular tourist destination famous for its beaches actually is a top adventure getaway, which makes it one of the best Canary Islands.
To learn more about the rest of the Canary Islands, read my post “Which Are The Best Canary Islands?” And to find out about the best hikes in Spain, read my post “Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain.”
This post highlights the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria, dividing them by length and difficulty level, and provides some useful tips to enjoy the island. Before I get to the core, let me however give some background information on this beautiful place.
Some Background Information On Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is largest of the Canary Islands and the second most populous of them. Its capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital, was founded in 1478 with the name Real de Las Palmas. It is the most populous city of the Canary Islands archipelago, home of a famous carnival where Las Canteras beach is located: this is a protected area and fantastic diving spot. Finally, but quite importantly so for hiking junkies, Las Palmas is a good base to go on more excursions in Gran Canaria.
Like the other Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origins. With its 1949 meters, Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak on the island, followed by Roque Nublo, which reaches 1813 meters. These are some of the nicest spots for hiking in Gran Canaria.
Known as “Miniature Continent,” Gran Canaria enjoys various different climates and varied landscapes. This is why tourists love it! More than 4 million people visit every year to enjoy the sandy beaches, explore the lovely villages, go to the green ravines, and needless to say to go walking in Gran Canaria.
The most famous attraction in Gran Canaria is the Maspalomas Dunes, in the south. Most tourists spend their time on that side of the island, which is where the climate is warmer and sunnier and most of the best resorts in Gran Canaria are located.
But Gran Canaria has yet more to offer. Some incredible places are located on the eastern side. Agüimes is a lovely restored small city. Not far from it there’s Guayadeque ravine, a protected area where a church has been built on the side of the mountain and which is the location of some incredible restaurants. Playa de El Cabron is a marine reserve and has some of the best diving in Gran Canaria.
The majority of the territory of Gran Canaria is protected by the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Area; and about a third of it is a recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is to say that nature is incredible there. Such incredible variety of landscapes makes Gran Canaria an incredible hiking destination.
So, without any further ado, let me finally highlight the top hikes in Gran Canaria.
There are some incredible hikes in Gran Canaria
11 Fantastic Hikes In Gran Canaria
The best long distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Camino de Santiago
Not to be confused with the official Camino de Santiago in mainland Spain, this is a good 3 day hike that has to be included among the nicest long distance hikes in Gran Canaria. It used to be a 55 km walk connecting connecting San Bartolomé de Tirajana (aka Tunte) to Gáldar (actually, the Obispado Diocesis de Canarias in the former’s Plaza de Santiago with the Iglesia Matriz de Santiago de los Caballeros).
Nowadays, the hike is 75 km long, and as far as walking in Gran Canaria, this is one of the best places as there are some incredible views. The starting point is in Maspalomas and the walk goes by the resorts of Playa del Inglés. So it is a coast to coast walk. As during the hike several microclimates are crossed, make sure to carry all the necessary layers and gear.
Medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria
Playas de GüiGüi
With such a beautiful coastline, it goes without saying that some of the top hiking in Gran Canaria is along the coast. Some of the beaches such as the Playas de GüiGüi (which are gorgeous and off the beaten path) can only be reached by boat or on a hike. The trail that starts in La Aldea de San Nicolás is on the challenging side, but there is a shorter, easier one leaving from Tasartico – from there, it is a nice 3-hours walk round trip.
One of the nicest medium distance hikes in Gran Canaria is Tamadaba. This is a lovely, 22 km mountain walk starting in the hamlet San Pedro, home of several coffee plantations. The trail goes through a gorgeous pine forest (which actually is Gran Canaria’s largest nature reserve). Going up, the views of Agaete and the port of Puerto de Las Nieves are breathtaking.
The trail (a circular route) follows the signs to Camino El Valle-Tamadaba then reaches El Hornillo. Here, some locals live in cave houses according to a tradition that goes back to well before the Spanish conquered the island in the 15th century.
Ruta de Las Presas
This 32 km long trail takes its the name from “presas” (damn) that can be seen throughout the hike, such as Presa Caidero de La Niña, Presa del Parralillo (from where there’s a great view of Roque Nublo) and Presa del Candelaria. The trail starts in La Aldrea de San Nicolás, which is located on the west of the island, and goes all the way to Artenara, which is Gran Canaria’s highest municipality. One of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria, it is part of the GC-210. It actually follows the road motorbikes passing by are quite common.
Venguerra is natural dark volcanic sand beach that can be accessed by the beach west of Puerto De Mogán. It’s thought to be one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria. In Puerto De Mogán, a road that is closed to cars takes all the way to Venguerra. The hike is quite long (overall 25 km round trip) but it’s fairly easy, so it takes around 5 hours to complete. It’s one of the nicest easy hikes in Gran Canaria.
One of the easiest hikes in Gran Canaria is the one leading to Moriscos, the highest peak in the north of the island. The trail is about 10 km and can be walked in around 4 hours. It follows in part the caldera of the Tejeda. During the initial bit, the hike goes through some beautiful chestnut groves. It then reaches a viewpoint from where it’s possible to see as far as Las Palmas. During the hike it’s also possible to visit the caves where the indigenous population used to live.
Some of the nicest hikes in Gran Canaria are in the area of Maspalomas
The nicest shorter hikes in Gran Canaria
Barranco de Los Cernícalos
One of the nicest, short hikes in Gran Canaria is that of Barranco de Los Cernícalos, which goes along the Kestrel Ravine. Locals living in the area of Telde and Valsequillo particularly love this trail, which can get quite busy during the weekend. Make sure to start nice and early to beat the crowds. The starting point is the Lomo Magullo’s Los Arenales parking lot, which can be reached by bus Telde’s San Gregorio. The trail, which takes around 4 hours to complete, goes through the Reserva Especial de Los Marteles and all the way to the waterfalls. Most of the walk is in the shade.
This is one of the nicest, most popular short hikes of Gran Canaria, taking about two hours to complete. The starting point is La Goleta car park (which is on the road that connects Ayacata with Pozo de las Nieves). Here, there are several stalls selling cheese, nibbles and also water. The path goes all the way to the Roque Nublo. It’s not a good idea to walk it in the summer, as it can get really hot – opt to go between October and May instead, but make sure to layer up as it may get chilly because of the altitude.
Lighthouse at Puerto De Mogán
Though short, this is not the easiest among the hikes in Gran Canaria. The trail is quite steep! It’s a very short walk towards the cliff in Puerto de Mogán, and there is a sign to the Mirador (look-out point). The view from there is great, but it’s even better at the lighthouse and the sunset from there is splendid.
Los Tilos de Moya
One of the shortest hikes in Gran Canaria (taking just little over one hour) is the one that goes through the Barranco de Laurel. The area is beautiful, packed as it is with eucalyptus trees, and with many Alpispas birds. It’s a great, easy excursion in Gran Canaria for families with children, who will be easily entertained in the forest and by all the beautiful birds.
With regards to easy hiking in Gran Canaria, the Santa Lucia one, going around the various municipalities of Santa Lucia for about 10 km, is a lovely one. It goes through fields, orange groves, palm trees forests and the archaeological site of Montaña de los Huesos, before getting back to the village.
There’s more than hiking in Gran Canaria. Windsurfing is great there!
The Best Time To Go Hiking In Gran Canaria
The best time to go hiking in Gran Canaria is from October to May. Most European tourists visit in the winter, when the mountains can get really cold, but walking in Gran Canaria remains pleasant. Keep in mind that the weather can change dramatically within a few minutes, with sun often giving way to mist and occasionally even heavy rain. If going in the summer, remember that it gets very hot, so only plan short hikes and start as early in the say as possible to avoid the hottest hours.
The Nicest Cities In Gran Canaria
There is a handful of beautiful cities on the island, all providing a good starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria. Las Palmas, the capital is a nice, medium sized city with interesting attractions. The old city center, with the squares, markets and urban parks is beautiful. Make sure to also walk along Avenida Maritima and enjoy the gorgeous beaches, such as Las Cantera, and to gorge on food in one of the fantastic restaurants.
Another town is Maspalomas, which is more of a resort place famous for the sand dunes and the beautiful lighthouse built in the 19th century. The best resorts in Gran Canaria are located there.
26 km south of Las Palmas and 5 km from the coast there is Aguimes. After many years or neglect from tourists, the city saw a new life when the center was restored. It’s a nice example of a traditional Canarian hill town, where travelers can appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the island. And it is a good starting point for some nice hikes in Gran Canaria.
Other small cities worth visiting include Galdar, which is built on a dormant volcano; Teror, boasting beautiful cobbled streets; and Telde and its beautiful churches.
Las Palmas is a great city and a nice starting point for hiking in Gran Canaria
The Best Places To stay In Gran Canaria
The best resorts in Gran Canaria are in Maspalomas. However, as a major tourist destination, Gran Canaria has some excellent accommodation options in other locations too.
Here’s a selection of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria:
With regards to camping sites, there aren’t many options. There’s one in Playa de Vargas, where guests can pitch a tent. Another one is Club de Camping y Caravaning, though the webpage is only in Spanish. It’s supposed to be a good, clean camping site, so perhaps it’s worth bypassing the language barriers. Camping El Pinillo has cabins places for caravans, but doesn’t have pitches.
How To Get To Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria’s only airport is that of Las Palmas, which is well connected to mainland Spain, Europe and some African countries via regular and budget airlines.
Other Useful Information
The main resources for hiking in Gran Canaria are Outdoor Active and Komoot. However, although the main pages have information in English, the rest is usually in German and the information is often approximate.
Various companies offer guided hikes of Gran Canaria. Walking Gran Canaria and Macs Adventures both have multi-days hiking itineraries.
A map of Gran Canaria can be found on Amazon here, and there also is a book summing up 50 walks around the island which you can get here.
Here’s some more information on Gran Canaria.
For more hikes in the Canary Islands, read my posts on the best hikes in Lanzarote and the best hikes in Tenerife. Also read my post about why I don’t recommend hiking alone.
Have you ever been to Gran Canaria? What are your favorite hikes in Gran Canaria?
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There are some incredible hikes in Spain. This is a fantastic destination for any kind of traveler, and I keep going there. I may as well say that it is my favorite country in Europe, the only one I’d consider living outside my beloved Sardinia – save of course for Israel, but that isn’t in Europe, right?
What I like about Spain is that there are many beautiful cities – some very big ones and a bunch of medium and smaller cities. There’s an incredible amount of lovely village. Not to mention the fabulous art and museums – my favorite is the Guggenheim in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. The food is so good, even for a picky eater like me: Spain it is among my top 5 favorite foodie destinations. And last, but not least, nature is absolutely gorgeous, which makes hiking in Spain a real treat.
I truly enjoy nature and I am a bit of a hiking junkie (though I never hike alone, and here is why), and any time I visit the country I find a great variety of hiking trails in Spain.
A few things to know about hiking in Spain is that different regions are best walked at different times of year; there’s hiking trails in Spain for all levels of difficulty, all of them offering the most varied views (whether it is breathtaking mountains or gorgeous coastal panoramas).
Some of the best hikes in Spain require a modest effort of just a few hours walking, and are perfect for one day out in the nature; other hiking trails in Spain are much longer, more challenging, and needless to say they offer some truly rewarding views.
But what are the nicest places for hiking in Spain? It is not easy to select them. I have my preferences, though, and thought I’d put them on a list which, however, is hardly exhaustive. In this post I explain where to find the most amazing hikes in Spain.
These are the views along some of the most amazing hikes in Spain
Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes In Spain
Spain is famous for the Camino de Santiago, a series of walks that may well be considered one of the top hikes in Spain. The trails depart from many places around the country (in fact, around Europe! Some leave from Portugal and France too) and all end up in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. This isn’t the average multi-day hike, though: many see it as a pilgrimage. I am not religious, but I have walked bits of the Camino and visited many places along the Camino del Norte, and found it an incredible experience.
But for the purpose of this post, I have decided to talk about other hikes in Spain that are not just those along the Camino de Santiago.
Read more about Galicia here. And here’s a post on the places to visit along the Camino del Norte.
Some of the nicest hikes in Spain are on the Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa are located in the North of the country and have some of the best hiking trails in Spain. They are a mountain range set at about 20 km inland from the north coast, and part of the Cantabrian mountains. The Picos de Europa spread across four different regions: Asturias, Cantabria, Castille and León. I visited them during one of my trips to Spain, when I went to Cantabria, and loved it (though it was mighty cold on that day, though it was meant to be summer).
Read more about Asturias here, and about Cantabria here.
The name Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe) is a reference to the first sight of Europe that sailors coming back from the Americas would get. Often referred to as “the Dolomites of Spain,” they are home to some of the nicest hikes in Spain.
The Picos de Europa are mostly made of limestone, so the area is packed with caves (some of which are as deep as 1500 meters) and gorges. The highest peak of the range is the Torre de Cerredo, with its 2650 meters. Several others in the Picos de Europa reach 2600 meters. With such peaks, it’s easy to see why some of the most beautiful hiking in Spain is here!
The North of Spain, where the Picos de Europa are located, is known as “green Spain.” Indeed, it gets a lot of rain throughout the year. The best time for hikes in Spain in the Picos de Europa is the summer time: August is supposed to be the driest month.
Either way, it’s important to remember that the weather can change quickly and abruptly, and wearing or carrying rain gear is recommended regardless of the season. I hiked there at the end of June and sure enough I got caught in the rain (and fog), but loved it all the same – these are some of the pretties hikes in Spain.
Independent of the season, the Picos de Europa are beautifully quiet: they are unknown to mass tourism, and still quite off the beaten path. The few people who visit find some of the nicest hikes in Spain. Only Potes, the main resort town in the area, gets a bit more visitors. But it is never overwhelming.
In order to get the most amazing views of the Picos de Europa, go to Fuente Dé. This can be reached via a cable car, which climbs over 800 meters. It is also nice to hike all the way to the top (it’s one of the nicest hiking trails in Spain). Try to go on a sunny day, though, because during a rainy or cloudy day there’ll be no view at all!
One of the most scenic hikes in Spain that’s in the Picos de Europa is the Ruta del Cares, a 12 km trail that goes from Poncebos in Asturias to Caín in León.
Picos de Europa National Park has several places for those who plan to stay overnight. However, most of the hikes in this part of Spain can be done in a day. There’s several good, well marked hiking trails (some of them in the National Park, others outside) and a bunch of lovely villages which make for an interesting visit. The region is still used for farming, so it is quite common to come across herds of cows and sheep, as well as farmhouses. Easy to see why the Picos de Europa have some of the top hikes in Spain.
Here is a more detailed post about the nicest hikes in the Picos de Europa!
Some of the most beautiful hikes in Spain are in the Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada mountain range has some of the nicest hikes in Spain. It is located in one of the most famous, touristic and (obviously) beautiful regions of Spain: Andalucia. It spreads across the provinces of Granada and Almería. The mountains are within easy reach of Granada, a city I fell in love with when I visited with my cousin in what seems like forever ago.
This range is home to the highest peak in Europe outside those of the Alps – the Mulhacén, which reaches 3478 meters. Easy to see why some of the best hiking trails in Spain are here. Needless to say, the high mountain peaks make the Sierra Nevada a fantastic skiing destination in the winter – all the while, the rest of Andalusia is warm and sunny, (after all, it is quite far south in Europe).
What this means is that hiking here is good in any season, even during the winter months: when snow and ice make the highest peaks of Sierra Nevada inaccessible to most, the foothills still have pleasant temperatures and beautiful views, and offer some of the top hiking in Spain.
The good news for hiking junkies is that when the terrible heat strikes in the summer months and makes hiking impossible at the foothills, the highest peaks provide a good escape and some fresh air – though be advised that the weather can change dramatically within a short time, and it may rain in the summer too. Either way, it’s one of the best regions for hiking in Spain.
There are several hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada. Some go all the way to the Mulhacén. All these trails can be walked in a day, though some of them are way more difficult than others – reminding me of the incredible variety of hikes in Spain. The northern side of the mountain is where the hardest trails are, suitable only for real mountaineers. As a consequence, the southern part, which is much easier, is more popular and crowded.
A good walk (one of the nicest and sweetest hikes in Spain) is the one that goes from the Mirador de Trevélez to the peak of Mulhacén, and it takes around two hours walk.
Sierra Nevada National Park occupies most of the Sierra Nevada range. It’s also been recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The National Park is really vast and there’s many trails. Add to this that few people outside of Spain are aware that the region has some of the most scenic hikes in Spain, and this means having a nice and peaceful hiking region throughout the year.
Here is a more detailed post about the nicest hikes in the Sierra Nevada!
Odessa Valley is one of the best places for hiking in Spain
The Pyrenees mark the border between Spain and France, and within them there’s the small State of Andorra. The mountain range, where some of the greatest hikes in Spain are located, goes from the Western Cap Higuer in the Bay of Biscay to the Eastern Cap de Creus in the Mediterranean Sea. The highest peak is Aneto, reaching a height of 3404 meters.
The mountain range goes all the way through Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre. One interesting fact about the Pyreness is that, unlike the Alps, there are no lakes at all here, and not many usable high mountain passes. However, there’s plenty of mountain torrents and some beautiful waterfalls – the most famous one is Gavarnie, with its 462 meters jump. And most importantly so, for the purpose of this post, is that there’s some of the top hiking in Spain.
Another interesting thing about the Pyrenees is that the can vary a lot. The West, closer to the Bay of Biscay, is more rainy and colder than the East. It is also where the only glaciers in the Pyrenees are located. Both areas are home to some fabulous hikes in Spain, where some of the most famous and challenging trails in Europe are located: the GR10 in the northern area, in France; the GR11 in the southern parts; and the HRP, which is even more challenging as it goes at a higher altitude.
Other than having some of the top hikes in Spain, the Pyrenees are a good skiing destination in the winter.
Here is a more insightful post about the best hikes in the Pyrenees. Some hikes in the Pyrenees are located in Garrotxa: check out this 7 days hiking itinerary through Garrotxa.
Costa Brava has some of the most breathtaking hikes in Spain
Costa Brava literally means “rugged coast.” This lovely coastal region is located in Catalonia, and starts at around 40 km north of Barcelona, in Blanes, going all the way to the border with France. Though most people who visit this popular part of the country go for the beautiful beaches and lovely small cities, the nature is incredible too, and there’s some of the nicest hikes in Spain.
Costa Brava boasts three natural parks, several areas of natural interest, and an fine range of trails – some of the nicest hiking in Spain. What I love about hiking here is that it is completely different from the rest of the country, and in a way it reminds me of hiking in Sardinia: most trails go along the coast, all the time having breathtaking views of small coastal towns, small coves with clear turquoise waters, and the typical Mediterranean vegetation.
The most famous trail (actually one of the most famous hikes in Spain) is the Camino de Ronda, or GR92. The trail runs for around 220 km. Most of it goes the coast and through beautiful fishing villages, coves and beaches, not nearly as croweded as the ones in other parts of the country.
I know that hiking junkies will want to walk the entire trail, which takes ten days. The good news for those who don’t have that much time or that just want to add a day hike to their trip is that the Camino de Ronda can be accessed from many places, to walk just portions of it – something that makes it one of my favorite hikes in Spain.
I will be writing a more detailed post about the hikes in Costa Brava, too.
Caminito del Rey: one of the best hikes in Spain
I have some great memories of Malaga and of a feria I went to in the summer, years and years ago. Located in Andalusia, Malaga is mostly known for the lively, pretty and colorful city home of some fantastic art museums. What many seem to ignore is that this region is an adventure lover’s paradise: the mountainous inland terrain has some of the most amazing, scenic hikes in Spain.
The Montes de Malaga natural park, located north of the city, is a series of beautiful hills, mountains and forest with hiking trails of various length and difficulty. Antequera, which is even more inland, is where El Torcal natural park, famous for its karst landscape, is located. The region is scattered with pretty villages, so that going on what are some of the top hikes in Spain can be paired with a cultural experience too.
One of the most famous hiking trails in Spain in the Malaga region is the Caminito del Rey, which used to be considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world because of some missing sections of pathway and its cliffside drops. The entire area was closed for years for safety reasons, but thanks to renovation and maintenance works the trail opened again in 2015. The trail, one of the nicest hikes in Spain, is around 8 km long and it takes about 4 hours to complete.
Here is a post on the best hikes in Malaga.
For hikes off continental Spain, check my posts on the best hikes in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
Have you ever done any hiking in Spain? What’s your favorite place to do it?
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