This one’s for the adventurers, explorers and hikers out there. If you’re up for a holiday but can’t just laze on a beach or by a pool, there’s an active side of Spain to sink your teeth into. That’s right, across the mainland and the Canary Islands, you can conquer some of the top national parks on the books – some even have UNESCO backing for good measure.
Like what you hear? We’ve got the lowdown on six of the most jaw-dropping national parks in Spain and the key points of interest, activities and wildlife you might come across along the way.
This part of astonishing Andalucia is more than just a national park. The Sierra Nevada is primed if you want to hike, but it’s well suited to skiers in the snowy winter months, too. Vast gorges, jutting cliffs, glacial lakes, large lagoons and time-worn paths all await its visitors. No wonder it’s marked as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve!
Take in your surroundings while you’re there in summertime and you’ll soon notice almond, olive and apple trees sprouting from the ground and various different types of flora and fauna as well.
Timanfaya National Park
Of all the national parks in Spain, Timanfaya is pretty out there! It’s one of the most fascinating parts of Lanzarote’s skyline, enjoying a dominant role among the many volcanoes that have created the vast, otherworldly craters. The Martian-like landscape isn’t akin to many other parts of the world, let alone Spain, so you’ll be hard pushed to tick off another park quite so mesmerising.
To top off the extra-special experience, you can dine at El Diablo Restaurant. The food served is cooked using the geothermal heat from the ground below, which can reach up to a whopping 300°C! It’s certainly one way to eat al fresco…
Caldera de Taburiente
On La Palma – one of the seven Canary Islands and known by the locals as ‘La Bonita’ for its pretty looks – you’ll find the wondrous Caldera de Taburiente. The landscape over on the north side of the isle is thick with pines and resembles a rainforest. It’s rugged and dramatic all at once, but be sure to wear durable, waterproof shoes as you’ll have to traverse streams and boggy terrain.
The Caldera de Taburiente itself is a crater that’s surrounded by the mighty peaks and trails in the area, including El Roque de los Muchachos which has its very own stargazing observatory near the summit.
Over in Tenerife, Spain’s highest peak is one to tick off if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Bear Grylls. Sure, you can take a cable car up Mount Teide, but why do that when you could walk the full 3,718m and enjoy that sense of achievement at the end? You’ll be treated to epic panoramas that stretch all the way over to Gran Canaria.
Get there around dusk and you’ll be privy to fluffy clouds blanketing across the burnt ambers of the setting sun. It’s definitely one for the Insta feed. If you can manage squeezing some snacks into your bag, how about considering a picnic up near the top? Talk about food with a view…
Ordesa and Monte Perdido
Tipping just over the border with France into Spain, this national park is part of the postcard-perfect Pyrenees and is another with the acclaimed UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status.
The rocky paths pave the way to heavenly views of an area that looks almost Alpine in elements. All kinds of little plants and shrubs grow here, while you might come across golden eagles, griffon vultures, royal owls and other feathery friends while you’re up there!
Garajonay National Park
The Canary Islands are renowned for their natural attractions and La Gomera is another fine example. It’s home to Garajonay, which has UNESCO World Heritage status and consists of 70% laurel forest. Springs and streams will pop up along the way, while all sorts of plants have flourished and blossomed there over the years. Make sure you’ve got some comfy but cosy shoes on – this national park is often heavily rained on, so it might be a bit muddy and squishy underfoot.
If you’ve got itchy feet now, it’s time to navigate your way over to these national parks in Spain and enjoy day trips galore…
Posted: 19th Jun 2019.