You may already be familiar with the Costa del Sol and some of Spain’s beautiful cities, but there’s much more to discover. With its world-class coastlines, seemingly endless mountain ranges and national parks, this fascinating nation is blessed with incredible natural beauty.
On your next visit to Spain, why not include one or more of these five stunning landscapes?
Picos de Europa, Cantabria
Northern Spain’s Picos de Europa Mountains host some of Spain’s most spectacular mountain scenery. The Picos’ three craggy limestone massifs belong to the Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa where you’ll also find verdant valleys and raging rivers, perfect for hiking and cycling adventures. See if you can spot the endangered Cantabrian brown bear and wolves as you go.
The park gets busy in July and August but is virtually deserted in winter. June and September are quieter months and just as likely to be sunny, without the August crowds and heat.
Mount Teide, Tenerife
Steep volcanic slopes, snow-capped peaks and black sands: Tenerife’s Mount Teide National Park contains the highest peak in Spain along with thrilling, moon-like hiking territory. If hiking isn’t your passion, the cable car offers a short-cut to Mount Teide’s summit for unmissable views across lush greenery and onwards to the other six Canary Islands.
A good time to visit is early spring when flowers blossom and the summit is still capped with snow. In winter, the snow shuts down the main roads and the summit can be un-passable for weeks on end.
Donana National Park, Andalucia
The green marshlands and sweeping dunes of Donana National Park offer a unique habitat for vast numbers of migrating birds, as well as the rare Iberian Lynx. Half-day trips into the park depart from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, returning in time for a superb seafood lunch overlooking the park at Bajo de Guia.
Birdwatchers will love watching migrating species land on the rivers and streams – head for the La Rocina trail which extends alongside beautiful freshwater lakes. Sanlúcar de Barrameda is popular for observing spectacular florescent pink flamingos in flight.
White villages, Andalucia
Andalucia brims with iconic pueblos blancos (whitewashed villages). We particularly recommend Cortes de la Frontera, on the edge of the stunning Sierra de Grazalema National Park. Alternatively, try Arriate, east of Ronda, a picturesque place renowned as one of the best villages for tapas in the region! Other lovely villages worth visiting include: Grazalema, Vejer de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera.
These villages were formerly farming communities but fell into disrepair as the younger generation headed to the cities for work. Nowadays they’ve been rediscovered and restored to delight local and overseas visitors.
Formentera, The Balearics
For coastal scenery, it’s hard to beat Formentera’s miles upon miles of heavenly white sands and almost guaranteed year-round sunshine. From packed tourist resorts to deserted stretches, there’s something for everyone in this idyllic beach Mecca.
Being the Balearic’s smallest island, Formentera is possibly the least known, largely because it’s reachable only by ferry from Ibiza. Rent a scooter upon arrival and explore the island’s stunning white sands and turquoise seas of unspoilt Playa Illetes and Playa Llevant.