No matter where I live in the world, I’ll always have a huge soft spot for Spain. It’s a treasure trove of unspoilt beauty spots and offers an amazing range of outdoor activities to suit all seasons, from gentle walks in summer to extreme skiing in winter. Here’s my favourite destinations for a year of outdoor love.
Stretching from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees are justly famous for their incredible beauty. 450km of steep peaks, gentle rolling valleys and ancient towns make the area a hiker’s haven. If you feel like a challenge, walk the Camino de Santiago or Way of St James, an ancient pilgrimage route to the medieval city of Santiago. Spending a summer walking 769km of winding roads through ever-changing countryside is an experience you’ll never forget.
More info: www.spain.info
The home of Spain’s best surfing and kite surfing, Tarifa’s combination of wide sandy beaches and strong winds make it a wave paradise. Ten kilometres of golden sand skirt the edges of beautiful countryside and friendly towns with a vibrant nightlife, and on the beach, a host of schools offer surf coaching and board rentals. so you can up your adrenaline levels whilst looking over the strait of Gibraltar to Morocco.
More info: www.sierranevada.es
Seconded in Europe only by Fontainbleu, Albarracin is a bouldering paradise, with the added bonus of being less busy than its French counterpart. Towering sandstone blocks tucked into forest glades are ideal for all levels of climber, with a spread of grades from 3 to 8b+. The local town is gorgeous, too, and the surrounding countryside is dotted with pretty wooded walks to explore when you need a break from the rock face.
More info: www.albarracin.org
I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the world – the Sierra de Aracena mountain range in Andalusia. A region of dappled woodland, chestnut groves, rolling green pasture and sleepy, whitewashed villages, it’s a completely unspoilt corner of the country. Walking the paths and winding roads of the area is an unmitigated pleasure – all you’re likely to meet on your average walk are the black Pata Negra pigs, source of the incredible local cured jamon, a delicacy that is famous throughout Spain.
More info: www.juntadeandalucia.es
I first learned to ski in the charming Sierra Nevada, or ‘Snowy Mountain Range’, which is accessed from a winding road that leads up the mountainside from the medieval city of Granada in Andalusia. The resort boasts more than 100km of snowy pistes and wide red and blue routes meander all over the mountainside, making Sierra Nevada perfect for intermediate explorers. The friendly village and baby slopes mean it’s a beginner-friendly resort, too, and the local ski school even run fantastic women’s-only packages.
More info: www.sierranevada.es
If you’re planning a year of trips and adventures, get covered by Stay Sure before you go – their brilliant annual multi trip rates will cover you for all your travels, or choose winter sports cover to keep you safe on the pistes.