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Spain: Explore the great outdoors

Written by Fiona September 26 2014

Continuing a blog series of great outdoors things to do in different countries, this time freelance writer Nina Jackson focuses on Spain. If you have had your fill of lying on the beach sunning yourself style holidays, an active vacation could be for you.

Spain offers a varied landscape and year-round warmth  (as well as some snowy mountains) for an adventurous, action-packed outdoors holiday, whether in summer or winter. There’s a wide variety of Spain trips available, whatever adventure you might be looking for.

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Water sports 

The frequency of flights to Spain from UK airports just goes to prove its popularity with the Brits. What brings so many holidaymakers to this gorgeous nation? You guessed it — the sun, beach and sea. You can kayak across Sierra Helada Natural Park, a massive, spectacular area of land and sea in Valencia, or surf along the Atlantic coast in northern Spain. Got a family full of adventurers? Book them all in on a white water rafting trip in the Catalan Pyrenees.

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Walking and Hiking

You can’t mention walking in Spain and not talk about the world famous Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage undertaken by over 200,000 people last year alone. There are various routes of the Camino, all which end at St. James the Great’s shrine in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

Many “pilgrims” set out on this walk for spiritual reasons although you could do it for the stunning scenery and exercise as well. Collect stamps in your “pilgrim passport” along the way and take the opportunity to chat to walkers from around the globe.

Other scenic hikes include Baixa Garrotxa, a loop through the volcanic region of Garrotxa in north-eastern Catalunya, and Carros de Foc, a more challenging trek through the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in Catalonia.

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Cycling

A bike is a great way to see a country, so consider exploring Spain on a cycling tour. The country is cycling friendly in many area, with quiet roads and cycle paths often available. You don’t have to worry quite as much about taking all your rain gear, either!

Why not mountain bike through the Andalucia region or along the coastal part of the Camino de Santiago? Alternatively, head to the Cantabria province in northern Spain for a quiet, scenic journey. The Costa Verde will bring you through traditional towns and villages, far from the hubbub of Spain’s busy cities.

Climbing

With perfect climbing conditions from autumn through to spring, Spain has become Europe’s premier winter-sun rock venue. Many of the more popular and established crags are located close to the main tourist areas and coastal cities, including Costa Blanca, El Chorro in the southern area of Andalucia and areas around Malaga and Granada. See Climb Spain for more details.

Skiing and snowboarding

Finally, don’t rule out Spain for a winter holiday. Baqueria-Beret, in the Catalan Pyrenees, is a hotspot (cool-spot?) for the locals, including the Spanish royal family. Skiers and snowboarders of all abilities are welcome here, as there are runs to suit everyone.

Want somewhere a bit quieter (and less expensive)? Try Panticosa, in the Aragon Pyrenees. Sierra Nevada, the southern-most ski resort in all of Europe, is another great spot. You even get a view of the Mediterranean from the slopes!

Writer Nina Jackson is a hiking addict and has been on annual trekking holidays since childhood. She has a soft spot for Europe but also loves South America.

Images by Exenf, Javier Sanchez Portero and Miguel Ángel García, used under creative commons licence.

Written by Fiona September 26 2014 Please support this website Buy me a glass of wine

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