From the mountains to the coasts, the beautiful landscapes of Northern Spain are not only ideal for hiking. Here is our guide to the very best outdoor adventures you can enjoy with your family this Spring.
Please, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom if you think we have missed any…
Via Ferrata in Ordesa
As one of the most unusual and spectacular mountain landscapes in Spain, Ordesa National Park tops our list when it comes to our favourite places in the Pyrenees. Besides the amazing hiking options, another way of reaching the sky and discovering breathtaking landscapes is by ‘via ferrata’, a sensational activity combining hiking and climbing. Via ferratas are graded according to physical difficulty, although the fantastic thing is that no prior climbing experience is needed here – reasonable fitness and a cool head are, however.
Cave Art in Cantabria
With 17 caves opened to the public, the Cantabrian Coast represents the pinnacle of Palaeolithic art in Europe. Most art on display is from the Magdalenian phase – from 17,000 to 13,000 BP – which is the busiest period for art decoration, and can be best experienced at the Altamira and El Castillo caves. While Altamira might be the most popular one, its actual cave has very restricted Access, so visitors usually go to the brilliant replica nearby. For a more genuine and raw experience though, El Castillo is a must as you get to see the impressive paintings close up.
Ziplining in Ponga Natural Park
Located in the Gorge of Beyos, a beautiful canyon situated in the depths of Ponga Natural Park, Vidosa Multiaventura is a park dedicated to family adventures. With three different zip-lining and suspension bridges circuits, at different altitudes, you’ll be able to enjoy the views of the magnificent Gorge of Beyos. The gorge is eroded by the Sella River, which runs along the Cantabrian massif and has a length of about 20 km.
Rafting the Sella River
When the snow melts in the high mountains of the Picos de Europa in Spring, the flow of the Sella grows. Therefore, there is no better moment to enjoy an exhilarating rafting session than this! With several rafting options in the area – which include 6, 10, 12 or 14 km rides, depending on how far you want to go – this is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping while enjoying picturesque scenery in the Asturian countryside.
Canyoning in the Picos
Descending canyons is something everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. Because of its mountainous terrain, the Picos de Europa is an excellent place in which to do this. With different levels of difficulty, this is a great opportunity to take the kids abseiling down a waterfall, jumping into natural pools and sliding as you make your way down the canyon. All participants are fully protected by a helmet, a harness, a wetsuit and ropes.
Maze in Villapresente
Built by a former forester in order to save his business and fledgling forest, this 5,625-square-meter maze has been labelled as the largest in Spain. Opened last year on the outskirts of Santander, this is a lovely activity you should do with your family if you’re in the area. The average walking distance is 1-4 kilometers, but it’s possible to walk just over 5. In any case, don’t worry, a rescue team and several safety exits can help you out if needed.
Horse riding in Garrotxa Natural Park
There’s something special about seeing a place on horseback. You can be in contact with nature and explore a wide variety of landscapes in a shorter time. Located between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Mediterranean coast, Catalonia’s Garrotxa Natural Park is a great place to enjoy horse riding away from the crowds. Riding routes here include medieval villages, ancient volcanoes and even beaches, so what more could you ask for?
Mountain Bike in Benasque
In the hearth of the Spanish Pyrenees bordering with France the Benasque valley rises vertical and untamed. With its trails going over 2000m, down by alpine hillsides with red loam, narrow steep single-tracks and deep green forests, this is one of the most enthralling mountain biking areas in the Pyrenees. Although, not all the biking trails are exclusive to the most skilled among us, the mountains in Benasque offer routes for all levels, both physical and technical. From guided tours and family outings to endurance and free-ride…
Ballooning in La Rioja
There can be no better way to appreciate La Rioja’s vibrant vineyards, punctuated with dramatic, snow-tipped mountains, than from above. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the world-famous wine region is therefore one of the most magical experiences you can have here. Most tours depart from Haro and include a brindis de altura (toast from the height), as you celebrate your adventure with a glass of Riojan cava upon descending.
Sea kayaking in Ribadesella
More stable and comfortable than white-water kayak, sea kayaking is a wonderful way to discover the beauty of the Cantabrian Coast. With lots of interesting features along the coast between Llanes and Ribadesella – such as caves, blowholes, spectacular cliffs and rocky inlets – you’ll be able to reach corners hardly accessible otherwise. The kayaks are practically unsinkable, and it’s a great activity for the whole family.
Ready to explore for yourself?
Discover Spain on a Pura Aventura trip! From the Romans to the Moors to the Catholic Kings, Spanish history is as varied as its landscapes, people and food. You can keep your Costas, they have nothing to do with the Spain we know and love – a Spain which never, ever fails to surprise and delight us…