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6 Hiking Routes in Spain Not to Miss
July 3, 2020 | Guest Post by: Rebecca Brown
From the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the rugged Pyrenees in the northernmost part of the peninsula, hiking in Spain is one of the best activities for a holiday. The people of Spain love to get out and stay active. Moreover, they welcome everyone who wants to join in on the fun. So, if you are headed to Spain, make sure to check out some of these hiking routes.
Caminito del Ray
A few decades ago, Caminito del Ray was considered one of the most dangerous footpaths in the world. Thanks to extensive restoration efforts, the walk is completely safe and attracts more and more hikers each year.
But, just because it was made safe it doesn’t mean it was made boring. Walking over the newly constructed steel suspension bridge is a spectacular experience.
However, if you want to take on the Caminito del Ray, you will still need a head for heights. The path is about 5 miles long and takes 4 hours to complete.
The Sendero Histórico
In the foothills of the Pyrenees, across northern Spain, you will find the GR1—a 700-mile remote but accessible hiking path. It starts from Puerto de Tarma and runs through medieval and Romanesque towns, castles, and churches.
The path follows the historic Christian-Muslim line of control. You can zero in on the highlights if you are unable to hike the entire route. The Mallos de Riglos by the Gallego River is one of the more interesting points.
Camino de Santiago
Also known as the Way of Saint James, Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular hikes in the world. The Camino is so much more than a hiking trail—it is also a network of ancient pilgrims’ ways that lead to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, where the shrine of Saint James is located.
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the Camino. This historic hike is popular with people from all walks of life.
The most popular route starts at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a French town located near the France-Spain border, and the oldest route starts at the town of Oviedo in Asturias.
No matter what route you choose, prepare for a multiday hike. The longest routes take more than a month to complete. But, the locals always do their best to accommodate the large influx of pilgrims each year.
One of the most unique features of the Camino is the system of pilgrim Hotels (Albegues). Albergues are fairly inexpensive, but the bedding situation can be a bit tricky so it’s best to bring your own sleeping bag.
Cumbre Vieja, La Palma
When you’re done exploring peninsular Spain, why not head to the Canary Islands? On the island of La Palma lies a gorgeous volcanic ridge known as Cumbre Vieja.
The route takes around 8 to 10 days to complete since it’s approximately 90 miles long. You can even do it backwards if you want. The path snakes its way around Martian-like landscapes and ancient craters.
On the east side of the ridge, the hike will lead you above clouds. The west side of the island offers incredible views of El Hierro and La Gomera. La Palma shows plenty of color contrasts, from brown oxidation tones of volcanic terrains and black lava trails to the deep green of the Canarian pines.
GR92, Costa Brava
This ten-day coastal hike is perfect for intrepid travelers. However, the trail is divided into 20 stages, so it can also be a perfect weekend or one-day hike.
The trail runs all the way from Portbou, a small town nestled at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, to Ulldecona, a medieval town located in southern Catalonia, taking you along the gorgeous Catalan coast. This is a great hike for those who want to experience the real Catalonia.
But, if you plan to hike just a few stages, the sections between Begur and Palafrugell that lead further down into the Costa Brava are some of the most spectacular parts of the route. The section that leads to the top of the Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l’Empordà is also breathtaking.
Picos de Europa
Between the areas of Cantabria, Asturias, and Castilla y León, you’ll find one of the biggest and oldest national parks in Spain—Picos de Europa. In 2003, UNESCO declared Picos de Europa a Biosphere Reserve—a learning place for sustainable development.
The area is characterized by snowfields, peaceful lakes, green pastures, rocky pinnacles, and huge massifs. The entire range is quite walkable since it spans only 15 miles.
There are a few routes you can take, the Covadonga Lakes trail being the most popular one. This incredibly rewarding circular route is 7.5 miles long.
It is a great option for a family getaway with the kids since it is very flat and easy. The route starts at the Covadonga Sanctuary and leads along the most picturesque lakes of Picos de Europa.
About the Author:
I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft and Camino Adventures gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.
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