This guest post was written by James C
Spain has a bad reputation in Europe for being a holiday destination for uninspired sun worshippers who just want to lie on the beach all day before staggering into an English themed pub to gorge on burgers. For those of us who know the real Spain, nothing could be further from the truth. Spain is a brilliant destination for hiking and walking trails. Grab yourself some cheap flights to Spainand check out these routes. A word to the wise: Spain is a very laid back country. While this makes for relaxing tascas where you can pick up a beer and some pintxos, it can also mean hazards. Be sure that you have the most up to date version of your guidebook, or better yet get advice from locals.
Great Spanish Walk 1: Las Lajas to Ifonche – Tenerife
Photo by Josemico Although La Gomera is the first place to spring to mind when discussing hiking routes through the Canary Islands, walkers in the know have been packing their hiking boots and jumping on flights to Tenerife for years. The diversity of the landscape is really something: whether you’re wandering along the coast, or heading into the volcanic mountains. Easily accessible by bus, the pine forest trail from Las Lajas to Ifonche is perfect for those who like to take their time and drink in the scenery. Descending through pine forests and up the Alto de Chimoche hill, the route ends in the pretty town of Ifonche where you can cool down with a cold cerveza from a local tipica. The route is also popular with mountain bikers, so be wary.
Great Spanish Walk 2: Villareal to Tajadilla Viewpoint – Extremadura
Photo by Rens Kokke Twitchers and wildlife lovers will adore this hike through the stunning landscape of western Spain. Passing through ancient dehesa farmland and towards the flooded Tieter Valley gorge, you’re likely to spot wild deer and birds: including rare species of vulture. This is a fairly short walk and can be accomplished in under three hours, but the views from the Tajadilla Viewpoint make this one of Spain’s greatest walks. Remember to pack your binoculars for this one.
Great Spanish Walk 3: Camino de Santiago – Northern Spain
Photo by karissada Is it possible to write an article about Spanish walks without mentioning the most famous? One of the most important Christian pilgrimages of medieval times, no matter your religious background you’re bound to find this walk both interesting and challenging. Traditional pilgrimages start at one’s home, but unless you live in Spain it’s probably wiser to start in one of the designated starting points. Technically any route to Santiago de Compostela is a pilgrim’s route, but most people choose to start in the Pyrenees. From the French side you can begin at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port or Somport, and on the Spanish side Roncesvalles and Jaca are popular. Although the full walk is a whopping 778kn, if you walk at least 100km you’re eligible for a certificate that can be picked up at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago.
Great Spanish Walk 4: Alcornocales – Andalucia
Photo by Serafin-Sanchez
Allow half a day for this fairly easy trek. Starting on the outskirts of Gaucin, the pretty trail soon descends into olive and almond groves and takes you past the village and around a mountain. Meadows, pretty trails, and a section of Roman road mean that this walk never gets boring, but brace yourself for the end where you ascend up towards the village of Gaucin. Stop to take in the views across the Genal Valley before stopping in picturesque Gaucin where you can see straight across to the Rock of Gibraltar. In my opinion this walk wouldn’t be complete without a Mediterranean lunch on the terrace of La Fuctuosa Hotel; with views straight across to Africa.
James C is an online media professional who loves both hiking and Spain–especially when they are combined.