Mountains to climb in Spain
Picos de Europa
Climbing is a great way to have fun while challenging yourself physically, in breathtaking natural surroundings. Spain is Europe's second most mountainous country, and is therefore the perfect option for lovers of this sport. Lofty peaks, crags overlooking the sea, demanding climbs and mountains for beginners are scattered throughout Spain. Get your gear ready, we'll help you choose your summit.
Helmet, harness, rope and carabiners ready? Then make a note of these ten recommendations for climbing in Spain. If you don't have the gear ready, don't worry, you'll find companies who'll provide it for you.
Sierra de Guadarrama mountains.
This range is in central Spain, scarcely 50 kilometres from Madrid, and affords some of the most spectacular landscapes in the region, which you can see from the numerous viewpoints throughout the area. Lying within these mountains is the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO and one of the points most frequented by climbers in the Madrid Region. A highlight of the Manzanares del Real district is the peaks of La Pedriza.In the Madrid Region, you will find places both in the La Cabrera and Patones districts which are suitable for people wanting to take their first steps in the world of climbing, as well as for experts eager for new challenges.
Sierra de Gredos mountains.
This mountain range with its colossal peaks and the outstanding Gredos Cirque, is in Ávila, in the south of the Castile-Leónregion. Throughout this landscape of gorges and lakes you will find sheer walls which are ideal for more experienced climbers. The variety of summits makes it possible to enjoy different styles of climbing, whether on ice, snow or rock. If you are after stunning views from the summit, make a note of these two peaks: La Galana (2,568 metres) and el Almanzor (2,592 metres). The first is much easier to climb, and in winter these are two excellent places for ice climbing, where you will find a glacial landscape, unique in the centre of Spain.
Sierra Nevada mountains.
The highest peak on the Iberian Peninsula is the Mulhacén (3,479 metres) in Granada in southern Spain, in the region of Andalusia. It is in the Sierra Nevada National Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO and which offers climbing routes which include peaks such as the Mulhacén itself, the Pico Veleta peak and the Cerro del Caballo mountain. All of them are over 3,000 metres. What's more, throughout the whole Sierra Nevada there are numerous mountains suitable for climbing, and their great variety makes this an excellent destination for all kinds of climbers.
Picos de Europa.
Located in northern Spain, in the region of Asturias, this is an exceptional area for rock climbing. Today declared Biosphere Reserve, it was the first National Park in Spain, and its extremely demanding peak, Naranjo de Bulnes, is one of its most attractive landmarks for climbers. If you are a fan of ice climbing, there are numerous climbable points to be found in winter in the Picos de Europa and in the nearby Sierra del Mongayo mountains. You can enjoy climbing in a landscape of enormous beauty, with views of the Covadonga lakes as an added attraction. Areas such as Peña Gradura, in Taverga; Fresnidiello, in Cabrales; and Arnao, in Castrillón, will add to your appreciation of this sport.
The Pyrenean mountain range has numerous walls for climbing. Two of the most frequently visited points are the Sobrarbe area and the Ansó Valley in Huesca, in the region of Aragón. The best climbing options in the Sobrarbe area are to be found on ice in the Pineta Valley and in the Cascada de Fuenfría waterfall. The Ansó valley has a wide range of walls on pastures and forests which make for a spectacular climb. Recommended spots are Peña Ezkaurre and Peñaforca. Still in Huesca, the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve is another area favoured by climbers.
Summit of the Moncayo Mountain.
This mountain, in the Dehesa del Moncayo Nature Reserve, is the highest peak in the Iberian Mountain Range (2,314 metres). The Reserve is situated between the provinces of Zaragoza and Soria, about 100 kilometres from Madrid. You'll find several routes to climb the mountain - the most popular one is the one known as Santuario de la Virgen del Moncayo.
This is one of the most attractive summits for climbing in the region of Catalonia and has over 3,000 climbing routes. It is in the Montserrat Mountain Nature Reserve and it is advisable to visit its information centre, as some of these climbing routes have limited access. Other areas of Catalonia for climbing are the Boi Valley, in Lleida; Siurana and La Riba, in Tarragona; and Pedraforca, in Barcelona.
The Costa Blanca.
Here is the opportunity to climb with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop and in a marine setting which is very unusual for this sport. You can do so in the Region of Valencia, in places such as the Peñón de Ifach, Puig Campana and the Ponoch, located in the province of Alicante.
The Hoz del Júcar gorge.
This is in the region of Castile-La Mancha on the banks of the Júcar River, in Cuenca, and has imposing walls with a difficulty of up to level 8. Although it is not an area with a great climbing tradition, more and more climbers are choosing to come here due to the demanding nature of the ascents.
Climbing in the islands.
Both the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, offer the chance to climb all year round in fantastic weather conditions. In the Balearics, Majorca has areas such as la Creveta, in Pollença; el Puig de Son Sant Martí, in Alcúdia; and Cala Magraner, in Manacor. In the Canary Islands you can enjoy a volcanic paradise in which there are genuine climbing treasures such as the Torreón de Figueroa in Tenerife, set in the Teide National Park - declared a World Heritage Site; and the rock cirque of Ayacata in Gran Canaria.
These are just a few of the most attractive climbing options in Spain, although not the only ones. In other regions such as Galicia , the Basque Country, Cantabria, Navarre, La Rioja, Extremadura and Murcia there is also a strong climbing tradition. That is why practically all over Spain you will find clubs, schools and specialist companies who can advise you on safety and which routes to take. You can even hire a guide or sign up for courses for beginners, or to improve your level. To choose the option that best suits you, we recommend getting in contact with the respective tourist information offices or visiting the official Mountain Sports, Climbing and Hiking Federation website (only in Spanish), where you'll find information on the different regional federations.