Tourism and Sports in Contact with Nature

Spain has countless companies and specialist guides that organize recreational activities in the countryside, on the sea, in the mountains and also in the air. This is an extensive list of intriguing suggestions with all the right ingredients: tourism, leisure and nature. Spain offers visitors some very enticing ways to enjoy nature’s marvels—an essential complement to their trip.

As in few other places in the world, Spain’s coasts and inland areas abound with natural spaces that invite all types of adventure activities. Its extensive coastline, the vast surface area of its mountain ranges and varied climate make it one of Europe’s richest natural enclaves; and the uncommon beauty of Spain’s landscapes does not go unnoticed by outdoor or adventure sports enthusiasts.

Hiking, snow skiing, windsurfing, sailing, climbing or routes on bicycle are examples of the most common activities tourists engage in when they visit. However, other sports such as hot air balloon rides, parachuting, scuba diving, off roading in 4x4s, rafting, hang-gliding, gliding, canyoning, cave exploring, paragliding and canoeing continue to gain popularity.

There is a wide range of activities, with something for everyone. More conventional, but no less interesting for that, are excursions on horseback. The majority of riding clubs and schools in Spain rent horses for this purpose. This combination of exercise while in contact with nature is the best way to explore the country’s most beautiful and secluded spots.

Safe Tourism

Participation in some of these activities requires a guide or instructor. For example, a license is required to pilot a hot air balloon, and advanced knowledge of aerostatics is required to obtain it. In any event, it is advisable that novices begin with the aid of a licensed instructor. In some cases, if you are unfamiliar with the terrain, it is best to get advice from a guide or expert with intimate knowledge of the area. In Spain there are hundreds of companies, centers of active tourism and specialists you can turn to for advice, instruction and to supply you with the right equipment. Spanish active tourism and adventure companies take care to have licensed instructors, approved materials in perfect condition, as well as the corresponding civil liability insurance.

Sports and Nature

The spontaneity of the landscape will provide lovers of country or mountains walks with many trails to enjoy, hills to crest or beautiful secluded beaches to photograph. Spain has many wonderful areas to admire and wander through -all you need is a desire to discover and enjoy nature’s wonders.

The natural surroundings of “Green Spain”, between the mountains and the sea, enable you to participate in all kinds of water sports in such breathtaking places as: The Cíes Islands Nature Park, recommended for scuba diving; the coasts of Cantabria and the Basque Country for windsurfing and paragliding; and the Miño and Sella Rivers for canoe trips. Inland, in the Picos de Europa National Park, you can engage in all types of mountain sports: major mountain climbing routes, sport climbing, backcountry skiing, hiking, mountain biking and even horseback riding on a number of routes, the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago among them.

For their part, the peaks of the Pyrenees in Navarra and La Rioja provide an exceptional backdrop for hikes through the Iratí Forest and for cave exploring in Aralar and Urbasa. In Bárdenas Reales there are many interesting routes to take on foot or mountain bike. The Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago also crosses through this area, another interesting route to travel by bicycle, on foot or on horseback. In the Pyrenees of Aragon and Catalonia, conditions are favorable for numerous activities, in addition to this area’s chief sport: skiing. This is one of Europe’s natural spaces that is most loved by adventure sport aficionados: Their needs are satisfied with descending the Sierra de Guara ravines, ascending the peaks of Aneto and Maladeta, climbing in Mallos de Riglos and Ordesa, rafting and canoeing on the Gallego, Cinca and Noguera Pallaresa rivers, paragliding in Castejón de Sos and by hiking and mountain biking through the Hecho, Benasque, Pallars Sobirá, Ribagorça or Berguedá valleys. In Catalonia there are also various aerodromes for parachuting and other aerial activities.

And for lovers of water sports, the Mediterranean Sea around the Costa Brava boasts some truly beautiful places for scuba diving, with depths of more than 35 meters at Roca Dèntol or at the Formigues Islands. These are places of high ecological value and especially attractive for their submarine caves. The entire Levante coast, down to Andalusia, offers excellent conditions for underwater sports and windsurfing.

But Andalusiais more than just coastline. It has many natural spaces to be explored such as the Cazorla y Segura and Doñana Nature Parks. Both are protected areas that have more than 200 marked trails and an intricate network of roads with no vehicular or foot traffic, ideal for bicycle rides. Historically, horses have had a very direct relationship with these two park communities, and for this reason the old paths and livestock trails are the chosen itineraries for a pleasant journey on horseback.

Moving away from the coasts, there are many ways in which to enjoy the inland landscapes. It is worth highlighting that Castile-La Mancha has more than 40 natural areas in which adventure sports such as hiking or equestrian tourism are available. For the more daring among us, there are aerodromes equipped for parachuting, gliding, and good take-off areas for paragliders. In Castile-Leon, mountain sports and cave exploring in the lovely caves and natural cavities characteristic of the Leon, Avila and Burgos landscapes predominate. The three roads that cross through Castile-Leon--the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago, Ruta de la Plata and the Duero River Route--are excellent for hiking, bicycling or horseback riding. Extremadura also contains many important natural areas in which hiking and other activities are permitted: Monfragüe National Park, Cornalvo Nature Park and the Cíjara Nature Reserve.

On the Balearic and Canary Islands, the mild climate makes it possible to engage in all types of water sports practically year round.

Spain is a country of great natural beauty, ready for adventure. It is a paradise for lovers of river, sea, mountain and aerial sports.



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