All-terrain vehicle trip along the Cofete coastline. Fuerteventura.
Canyoning in the Sierra de Guara mountains. Huesca.
Paco Ayala. Fotolia.
Static hot air balloons in Andalusia.
These are plans for those seeking thrills and challenges in a natural environment. We offer suggestions for you to enjoy the great outdoors while pursuing activities like canyoning, Tyrolean traverse and rafting. But not all the thrills of nature require physical effort, you might like to take a 4 x 4 route or take in spectacular views of the natural surroundings by way of a hot-air balloon flight.
Bear in mind that for most of these activities you need to go through a specialist agency or have authorised instructors and guides. So, in addition to having fun and enjoying the environment, you will be doing so as safely as possible. You can book your adventure sports and experiences on this page. You can find information on their 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.
Because in addition to having a very high rate of daylight and mild temperatures practically all year round, Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe. Its natural surroundings make it the ideal place to pursue outdoor adventure activities. Indeed, it is the ranked second in the world in terms of UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserves. Moreover, Spain has a wide variety of different natural surroundings, ranging from desert and volcanic landscapes to rivers, valleys, steep cliffs and high peaks.
Spring and summer are the best times of the year for canyoning, though you can also pursue this activity without problems in the autumn. Though Spain has numerous places for canyoning, Guara Mountains and Canyons Nature Reserve (Huesca, Aragon) is one of the most ideal spots given that it is home to the highest concentration of canyons in Europe. The Pyrenees, in general and the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park and Picos de Europa National Park are other popular areas for canyoning in northern Spain. The nature reserves of central Spain such as Serranía de Cuenca and in Alto Tajo (Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha) and in northern Extremadura, namely Jerte Valley, La Vera and Las Hurdes are also particularly well known canyoning destinations. In the south you have the Garganta Verde, the Grazalema Nature Reserve (Cadiz), the descent of the Río Verde (Granada), the Trévelez river (Sierra Nevada) and Guadalmina river (Malaga), to name but the most outstanding options.
White water rafting
You can go white water rafting practically all year round, though we advise you check in advance. Moreover, while it is a sport for all ages, there are quite often special, children focused programmes to be found nationwide. Two of the most famous rivers for rafting in Europe are to be found in Spain, the Noguera Pallaresa and the Noguera Ribagorzana in Lleida (Pyrenees). The rivers Cinca, Gállego, Ésera and Ara in Huesca are other popular rafting spots in the Pyrenees. The recommended time of the year for rafting in this area stretches from the thaw months (around March and April) to October. You have the Miño river in Galicia, a really fun and accessible destination for rafting: particularly in and around the vicinity of Arbo. The main spots in Cantabria and Asturias are the Alto Ebro and the proximities of the Picos de Europa National Part, the Cares river and the Deva river. The most inland areas in Spain where rafting is also popular activity are the Júcar river, as well as the Cabriel river as it passes through Cuenca (Castile-La Mancha), while in the Valencia region there is the Sierra de Gredos (between Madrid and Avila or Salamanca, in Castile-León). Andalusia can also boast of rafting destinations worth a visit: the Alto Guadalquivir river, mainly the stretch that passes through Jaén; the Rincón de la Victoria Cliffs and the Genil river, in the heart of the Costa del Sol (Malaga); the Cabo de Gata, in Almería or the Zahara de los Atunes reservoir in Cadiz. These are just some of the most popular rafting destinations, but you can go water rafting practically anywhere in the country.
Adventure parks and Tyrolean traverse
Adventure parks are enclosed areas in the countryside where you can pursue a wide range of activities such as Tyrolean traverse, snowshoeing excursions, archery, orienteering, climbing, fixed rope parks, etc. They are ideal places for a day of adventure activities in the open air. Moreover, a lot them have specially designed programmes for young children. Indeed, there is even a Spanish Adventure Park Association. You can check out the already certified centres in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Castile-Leon, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Extremadura, La Rioja and Madrid. Just click on this web link to check them out. Website in Spanish only
If adventure involves venturing into rugged countryside difficult to access or exploring vast expanses of territory, what better way to do so than in a 4x4? There are organised routes all over the country on duly authorised tracks, not to mention a network of cattle routes. Among landscapes you can visit by 4x4 is the semi-desert of Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve in Navarre, or the plains of the Delta del Ebro Nature Reserve (Catalonia).
Nature from the hot-air balloon
You can take in the marvels of Spain's natural beauty from the air. Among the several options available, hot-air ballooning is one of the best. Enjoy a noiseless, hassle-free flight with the air as your guide. If feeling like a bird is for you, there are a hot-air balloon flights to choose from practically all around the country. April to October is the ideal time of year to select from the options available in Castile-Leon, where you can fly over places such as the Palentina Mountain, the Sierra de Francia Mountains, the Sabinar de Calatañazor Nature Reserve or the Arribes del Duero Nature Reserve, to name but a few. You can get more information on the website of the Castile-León Natural Heritage Foundation. There are numerous options open to you in Catalonia to see the Pyrenees from the air, not to mention the volcanic landscape of the Olot Valley in the La Garrotxa, which has the biggest concentration of volcanoes on the Iberian Peninsula. Or why not take in the extensive La Rioja vineyard landscape from the air, from which you can also make out the Pyrenees in the distance. You can get more information from the website of the La Rioja Tourist Board. Perhaps you might like to fly over the olive groves in Andalusia and Toledo (Castile-La Mancha)? If seascapes are more to your liking, there is a wide range of options to choose from, such as those on Costa Brava, Majorca, the Basque Country or the Region of Valencia. By the way, bear in mind that the best time to start a hot-air balloon flight is first thing in the morning. After the thrill, most of these companies organise a light snack to celebrate your inaugural flight.