Walking vacations in Spain guide

Viva España!

Walking in Spain unearths the secret scenery, delicious cuisine and captivating wildlife known only to the Spanish. Coastal trails, high ridges and world-famous footpaths all offer a unique perspective on a country that has become rightly or wrongly synonymous with irresponsible tourism and putting your best foot forward is the perfect means of redressing the balance.
Thanks to Spain's rich and varied terrain you'll discover a great choice of walking routes to suit all abilities, with areas away from popular trails offering just as much in terms of healthy exercise and cultural diversity. From blow holes and cheese production in the north to cork oaks and wild olives in the south, walking vacations in Spain are full of surprises so leave preconceived notions at home and explore with an open mind.
Find out more in our walking vacations in Spain guide.

Is a walking vacation in Spain for you?

Responsible Travel recommends

Do go walking in Spain if...

… you like a range of landscapes. There’s much more to Spain than just beaches so prepare for high karst meadows, snow-capped peaks and valleys filled with dense forest.
… you're interested in birdwatching. Southern Spain provides a key passage for migrating birds, such as raptors and storks, as well as an ideal habitat for vultures and eagles.
… you like to get away from it all. Head inland and upwards for better views with fewer crowds.
… you like to set your own pace. Lazy mornings, late lunches and afternoon walks to avoid the midday heat – bliss.

Don't go walking in Spain if...

… you're hoping to stay out all night. If you want to party all night and sleep all day then don’t choose a blimmin’ walking vacation in Spain!
… sun hats aren't your thing. Even on a cloudy day you will still need to protect yourself against the sun so don’t leave home without a hat, water and sun cream.
… you don't like tapas. Walking away from popular seaside resorts is going to mean that you have to face real Spanish food not just a full English or Sunday roast.
… learning the lingo is a hassle. Many remote regions of Spain have yet to be introduced to tourism or the English language. Lucky them! Walk with a phrase book and practise as you go.

Walking vacations in Spain


Guided or self-guided?

If you enjoy walking under your own steam and feel comfortable following comprehensive instructions, with the added assurance of 24/7 backup, a self-guided walking vacation in Spain is for you. If you’d prefer to follow an expert and find out new things as you walk, whilst not having to worry too much about where you’re going, then a guided walking vacation in Spain is just what you're looking for.
At the end of the day, both options give you the chance to get outdoors and experience a side to Spain that few beach dwelling visitors will ever appreciate, safe in the knowledge that your luggage is waiting for you at hand-picked accommodation just around the next bend. Learn the language, watch the wildlife and meet the people that have been largely unhindered by tourism – both guided and self-guided walks encapsulate the surprisingly isolated natural beauty of Spain.

How tough are they?

If you’ve signed up for a walking vacation in Spain you really should know what you’re letting yourself in for. All of Responsible Travel’s walking vacations have been graded, introductory, moderate or strenuous, to help make your search easier with no hidden surprises.
Introductory walking vacations are perfect for those who like to walk but also want to save some energy to soak up the views. There are some great introductory walking vacations in Spain with the coastal trail to Cap de Creus Natural Park in Catalonia definitely worth exploring further. Moderate walking vacations step things up a bit and if you’re contemplating a bit more of a challenge then the trail across the central mountains on Gran Canaria is one of many moderate walking options. Strenuous walking vacations tend to involve longer distances however, no technical knowledge or specialist equipment is required so you’re not in the realm of challenging treks just yet. Check out the routes from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela which require walking for more than 100km over the course of a week.

Centre based or nomadic?

If you like to come home to a few familiar comforts after a good day’s walk then Spain has some great center-based walking vacations where you can return to a comfy bed and pick up your book from where you left off or catch some zzzzs before an evening meal. Alternatively, if you’re looking to channel your inner nomad and walk from one place to the next, safe in the knowledge that your luggage will be ready and waiting for you on arrival, there are plenty of free roaming options to sate even the wildest of gypsy spirits.

Hut or high end?

Budget, energy and route will all play their part in where you’re able to stay whilst on a walking vacation in Spain and if you fancy booking into a high end hotel, complete with four-poster and spa bath, or prefer to rough it a bit in a traditional shepherd’s hut, then both options are ready and waiting. Walking can take its toll on the limbs so giving yourself a bit of comfort is definitely a good idea; however, if you’re hoping to walk in remote areas then sometimes you’re going to be restricted as to what type of accommodation is available. It all depends how far you're willing to walk.
Photo credits: [Top box : dominique Bernardini] [Guided or self guided: Marcus Hansson] [Centre based or nomadic: José Antonio Gil Martínez] [Hut or high end: Ikeofspain]

Written by: Chris Owen
Catalonia self guided walking vacations, Spain

Catalonia self guided walking vacations, Spain

Self-guided walking vacations in Catalonia

From 715 8 Days ex flights
Spanish course & hiking vacation, Picos de Europa, Spain

Spanish course & hiking vacation, Picos de Europa, Spain

Spanish classes + stunning hikes in Picos de Europa

From 672 7 Days ex flights
Las Alpujarras hiking vacation, Spain

Las Alpujarras hiking vacation, Spain

Guided walking vacation, Andalucia, with writer Chris Stewart

From 1295 8 Days ex flights
Picos inn to inn walking vacation in Spain

Picos inn to inn walking vacation in Spain

Hike through beautiful mountains staying in rural inns

From £1275 8 Days ex flights
Gran Canaria walking tours, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria walking tours, Canary Islands

This unique volcanic island reveals unexpected variety

From US $1190 8 Days ex flights
Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Spanish Course + walking in the Camino del Norte

From 672 7 Days ex flights
Las Alpujarras guided hiking vacation, Spain

Las Alpujarras guided hiking vacation, Spain

Fabulous guided hiking vacation, Sierra Nevada, Andalucia

From 685 8 Days ex flights
Extremadura hiking vacation, Spain

Extremadura hiking vacation, Spain

Finca al-manzil collection of splendid walking routes

From 400 7 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Mathew MacQuarrie]
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