Climbing and mountaineering
Andrey Bandurenko. Fotolia
Woman rock climbing.
Sergis Wand. Fotolia
Climber on the Via Ferrata Croqueta de Obarra. Huesca.
Via Ferrata in the Sierra de Guara mountains. Huesca.
Climbing and mountaineering
If you fancy a challenge, and want to have fun and discover stunning natural spaces with spectacular views, then Spain is your perfect place to go climbing! There is a wide range of areas where you can practise your favourite sport. You can climb up rocks of different levels, go climbing on ice and reach summits more than 3,000 metres high.
You can book your climbing and mountaineering experiences on this page. Here you'll find information on prices, the dates on which you can do the activity in question, how long it takes, what language options are available and its target public.
Spain is Europe's second most mountainous country, which means that it is perfect for climbing. It boasts many high summits, sheer cliffs and faces, even right next to the sea, where you can go climbing and do alpine traverses that are suitable for different levels of ability. Spain has managed to become a popular climbing destination. The interior is very mountainous – the Sistema Central and Sistema Ibérico mountain ranges and river canyons with sheer drops are ideal for climbing. In the Balearic Islands, more specifically in Majorca, you can find the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains; and in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, you can climb up to the highest peak in Spain: the Teide. Spain has a large network of mountain huts that cater for anything you may need on your ascents and traverses. What's more, the staff at these facilities can give you information on the traverses in the area. In most Spanish cities you will find clubs, schools and specialist companies who can give you advice and show you which routes to take. Most of the mountains are protected areas and the scenery is stunning. They boast unique flora and fauna, like Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (the highest calcareous massif in Europe), or Sierra Nevada National Park (with 15 peaks higher than 3,000 metres above sea level).
Types of climbing: Rock Climbing
There are three types, depending on the surface you are going to climb: ice, snow and rock. One of the most popular is rock climbing, as rock is the main climbing surface. Before you start, you should know what type of rock you are going to be climbing, because each type has its own specific features, and the level of adhesion will be different. In Spain you find three kinds: granite, limestone and conglomerates.
Best times of the year
You can practise it all year round. Any time of year is great for rock climbing – even in winter, on the Mediterranean coast. Ice climbing is best done in winter.
There are several mountainous regions in Spain which are suitable for climbing. If you are up for it, here are some of the places you can visit: Picos de Europa Mountains : The peak of Naranjo de Bulnes is a favourite. The Pyrenees : Summits here reach 3,400 metres. Sobrarbe and the Ansó Valley are a climber's paradise. The gorges in Sierra de Guara mountains (Somontano) are also ideal. Sierra de Guadarrama mountains: About 50 kilometres from Madrid you can find Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, where the mountainous area of La Pedriza is situated. It is one of the most popular places with climbing enthusiasts, and suitable for all levels. Sierra de Gredos : In Ávila, don't miss the gorges and lakes formed by the Gredos Cirque. The peaks of La Galana and El Almanzor afford the best panoramic views. Sierra Nevada : In Granada, you can find areas that are suitable for climbing in the highest peak on the Iberian Peninsula: Mulhacén (3,479 metres). Montserrat : There are more than 3,000 paths to get to the highest point. Hoz del Júcar gorge: You'll be amazed by its spectacular faces, some of which are extremely difficult to climb! Balearic Islands : Majorca has areas to go climbing, such as La Creveta, in Pollença; El Puig de Son Sant Martí, in Alcúdia; and Cala Magraner, in Manacor. Canary Islands : Torreón de Figueroa, in the Teide National Park, in Tenerife; and the rocky cirque of La Ayacata, in Gran Canaria. Summit of Moncayo : The highest peak in the Cordillera Ibérica mountain range. Montes Vascos: In the mountains of Gorbea and Anboto you'll find many marked routes and a wide variety of climbing schools. Limestone mountains in Alicante: Peñón de Ifach, Callosa de Segura, Tozal de Levante. If you are an expert climber and you like risks, don't miss El Caminito del Rey (Malaga), which is considered to be one of the most dangerous routes in the world. Its main attractions include the beautiful scenery, a ravine, a hanging footbridge and its height (more than 100 metres). Access is free to go climbing, but you have to have civil liability insurance.
Wear a light helmet that meets climbing regulations, and comfortable, light and breathable clothing to start climbing. Harness, ropes and carabiners are also necessary for certain types of climbing. If you don't have the equipment you need, you can always hire it at the place where you go climbing. Before you start climbing a wall, take into account the inclination, and the size and shape of holds and distance between them. If you want to organise your own climbing, you should find out whether you need a permit or prior authorisation for the area you are interested in. You don't need to be federated to enjoy climbing in Spain, but you should always check the specific conditions in each region at the schools and federations. In case of an accident, contact the emergency service by calling 112, or the Civil Guard at 062. For more information on climbing and to find out which route suits you best, visit the tourist offices in each area or get in touch with their respective federations and schools. You can also visit the Spanish Mountain Sports and Climbing Federation's website. We recommend reading our practical health and safety tips. Given that the recommendations and regulations provided may change, we advise you always to check the requirements before starting out on your journey.