Did you know that Spain is home to no less than 16 National Parks? These wild gems on the peninsula and surrounding islands are wonderful destinations for adventurers where you can scale mountains, ski through fresh powder, walk along island coastal paths and even spot bears along the way. With so many adventures in nature on offer across the country, it’s hard to know where to start exploring. Luckily, Spain-Holiday have done their research and ranked all of Spain’s wildest corners to find the five best Spanish National Parks for hikers. Between them, these five protected spaces offer almost 1,000 incredible trekking trails to choose from, so there’s a walking route to suit every rambler.
The best national parks in Spain for hiking
1, PICOS DE EUROPA NATIONAL PARK
Hiking trails: 156
Welcome to hiking heaven. The Picos de Europa National Park is the jewel in Spain’s crown, a glorious sprawl of tall limestone mountains and summer pastures dotted with traditional, welcoming villages, all connected by a network of well-maintained walking trails. The wild and beautiful Picos de Europa (its name translates as the Peaks of Europe) range of mountains is just 12 miles inland from the northern coast of Spain and stretches across three of the country’s provinces (Cantabria, León, and Asturias), covering 250 square miles of wild landscape. Hike the hills in the morning, surf or swim on the beautiful coast in the evening – does a day of adventure get better than that?
Explore: Six reasons to go hiking in the Picos de Europa.
2, SIERRAS DE CAZORLA, SEGURA Y LAS VILLAS NATIONAL PARK
Hiking trails: 290
Welcome to Andalusia’s wild heartlands. There are so many glorious walking routes in this mountain range that it’s hard to know where to start, but the the Cerrada de Elias hike, pictured, which follows the turquoise flow of the River Borosa through canyons to the dark waters of the Valdeazures Lagoon, is a good place to start.
Explore: Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
3, SIERRA NEVADA NATIONAL PARK
Hiking trails: 165
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 ski and hiking routes meander all over the mountainside, making Sierra Nevada perfect for intermediate skiers and boarders as well as walkers mountaineers seeking snowy summits in cold weather.
4, TEIDE NATIONAL PARK
Hiking trails: 89
The Canary island of Tenerife may be best known for its beautiful beaches and coastal vibes, but at the heard of the island more rugged adventure awaits. The Teide National Park, so beautiful it’s a protected UNESCO site, is crowned by the volcano of the same name, a 3,718-metre summit that’s the highest on Spanish soil. Reaching its peak is ann amazing eight-hour trek that mountain lovers will want to add to their bucket list, or if you just want panoramic views, hop on the cable car to the summit for a shorter walk.
Explore: Teide National Park
5, ORDESA Y MONTE PERDIDO NATIONAL PARK
Hiking trails: 55
Sweeping canyons frame tall peaks in this stunning corner of the Spanish Pyrenees. Monte Perdido translates as ‘the lost mountain’ – did you ever hear a more tempting name? The National Park is home to trekking routes of varying difficulty that wind through high mountains, past rushing waterfalls and along the stunning Monte Perdido Glacier. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – you might even spot one of the brown bears that call the park home.
Explore: Ordesa y Monte Perdido
Find more hiking destinations and inspiration here.