But what happens when you venture off this hallowed path? This nation is full of surprises – and lesser-known walks are plentiful. Whether you’ve done the big names and want to discover more, are hoping to have the hills to yourself or are just keen to try something out of the ordinary, here are our favourite hikes in Spain you may not know!
Picos de Europa
So often these underrated limestone peaks are neglected in favour of more famous mountain ranges. But if you’ve enjoyed the Dolomites or the western Alps, trade their titles for the Picos and you’ll find a real hidden gem. Majestic birds of prey swoop through the skies, graceful and powerful in equal measure. In spring especially, the hills are a cascade of wildflowers.
Walk this way: Walking the Picos de Europa
Sierra de Aitana
The rugged mountains of the Sierra de Aitana are probably Spain’s best kept secret. If you like your mountains deserted and dramatic, your welcomes warm and your annual dose of winter sun to come with some fantastic hiking, this has your name all over it. These hills have some bite – you’ll really feel you’ve earned your splendid home-cooked feast at the end of the day. Did we mention that the local wine is included with dinner?
Walk this way: Sierra de Aitana Trek
Secret Trails of Medieval Spain
The name says it all. These are ancient pilgrimage routes but without the stardom of the Camino de Santiago – and therefore, without the crowds. Meander from monastery to monastery, from grandiose gothic cathedrals to the real privilege of attending vespers with Benedictine monks. You’ll wander through tiny, rural Spanish villages, rich with ancestry from the days of Old Castile.
Walk this way: Secret Trails of Medieval Spain
Walking in Andalucia
Whilst there’s no end to the rolling pastoral beauty of Andalucia’s olive groves, the high point for most is El Chorro Gorge. The ‘Caminito’ that runs through the gorge was first opened in 2015 after a whopping 2.8 million euro investment – an incredible, high level wooden walkway that hugs the contours of the dramatic and beautiful gorge. Following this path feels like levitating along the walls of the gorge, poised partway up over a precipitous drop.
Walk this way: Walking in Andalucia
Venture off the mainland to the stunning island of La Palma. Forget everything you may have heard about the Canary Islands, this is a walker’s paradise – a dramatic, volcanic isle characterised by vertiginous, blackened slopes of volcanic ash plunging down to the crystal clear sea. It’s one of the less visited islands, and benefits from being quieter than its cousins. Head here to escape drab English weather – La Palma enjoys warm year round temperatures and makes a glorious change during those dark, cold winter months.