Spain provides some of the best hiking trails in the world with its varied landscapes, mountain ranges, and well-maintained trails. Whether you are a highly skilled hiker or just looking for a new experience, there is definitely a beautiful trail to be experienced while hiking in Spain.
For the best hikes in Europe, including France, Germany, Swiss Alps and Italy see our detailed article.
5 Epic Trails For Hiking In Spain
Here is a list of the best hiking trails in Spain:
- Camino de Santiago
- Picos de Europa
- Pico Sobarcal, Pyrenees
- Sierra Nevada
- Caminito del Rey
1. Camino de Santiago Trail
Camino de Santiago is arguably the most famous Spanish walking route, it is about 500 miles long. It is a series of ancient pilgrim routes that have been in use for a thousand years or more.
The trails are flat and easy with many of the tracks being paved and well-maintained. The main routes require very little technical walking so you do not need a lot of hiking experience.
This wasn’t always the case, at one time, the walkways were literally falling to pieces. Back then there was a high risk of falling down the cliff, it was likely the most dangerous hike in the world!
The routes are also well-marked, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
Many consider this hike to be more of a pilgrimage and it is incredibly social. You can also expect to walk through a number of rustic villages and enjoy landscapes with abundant views.
The best time to go would be during April, May, June or September. These months supply warm weather, everything will be open, and you can escape the crowds that would be there in the summer.
Due to the historic nature of the route it is less about experiencing nature and more about embracing history and its people, so if you are looking for a wilderness adventure, the Camino de Santiago may not be for you.
2. Picos de Europa Trail
The Picos de Europa National Park is Spain’s oldest national park. It displays incredible vistas, such as dramatic limestone peaks and lush valleys, as well as rich wildlife.
One of the most beautiful and popular routes is the Ruta del Cares known as the “Divine Gorge”, it is carved out of the side of rocks and goes over bridges and through streams.
It is a 12km trail of moderate difficulty with a reasonable fitness level being required, it is mostly flat so the only issue you could face would be the distance. This trail provides beautiful views of the cliffs and the Cares river below.
Although the Ruta del Cares is the most popular route, it is certainly not the only option when hiking through Picos de Europa. There are a number of trails with varying distances and degrees of difficulty to suit every hiker’s needs.
The best time to hike in the Picos de Europa would be June and September; when the weather is milder, the days are longer and there are less crowds. Although if you are interested in birdwatching or viewing the flower the best time to visit would be April, May and October.
3. Pico Sobarcal Trail In The Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a mountain range that forms a natural border between Spain and France. If you’re looking for a physical challenge along with cultural experiences, then hiking Pico Sobarcal is just what you need.
Pico Sobarcal stands at 2259m and its summit awe inspiring views of the Pyrenees. Reaching the summit takes a total of 7 hours. The majority of the hike is moderate, but it does get very difficult as you approach the summit due to the rocky terrain.
Reaching the peak is reserved for advanced and experienced mountaineers and it is not wise to tackle the climb if you do not have the skills to do so.
Experience the variable lush, forested and rocky landscapes and get take in the spectacular views from its peak.
The Pyrenees provides plenty of mountain torrents and beautiful waterfalls to enjoy.
The best time to hike the Pico Sobarcal is late spring and the summer months when the weather is at its most pleasant.
4. Sierra Nevada Trail
The Sierra Nevada mountain range is located in Andalucia and has several hiking trails that can all be walked within a day.
There are some very easy trails as well as some more challenging ones, providing you with many options depending on your fitness level and hiking experience.
The Mulhacen, which is the highest mountain on the Iberian Peninsula, stands at 3479m and has multiple trails leading to its peak. The hardest route is via the northern face and is only for more advanced mountaineers.
The easiest route is via the southern face and takes only 2 hours, this is the most popular route. The trails are best done in summer but can be done in any season.
If scaling the mountains isn’t your thing, the foothills provide pleasant weather and beautiful views.
5. Caminito Del Rey Trail
The Caminito del Rey trail located in the region of Malaga was once known as one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world, reserved for only the bravest adrenaline junkies due to its deteriorating pathways and steep cliffside drops.
You’ll be happy to know the trail has since been renovated. The pathways have been repaired, handrails have been added as well as stairs and bridges making it completely safe but still spectacular.
The trail is 5 miles long (7.7km) and runs from Ardales to Alora. You should be able to complete the hike in about 4 hours.
Although it is no longer a place for thrill seekers it still boasts incredible views and landscapes.