Spain is a great place for hiking, but walking here can be much more difficult than other areas of the world due to the unforgiving limestone underfoot which can tear and scar your boots and shoes – not to mention your legs – in minutes!
- During summer the heat in southern areas in particular can be extreme. Check the weather forecast beforehand and take plenty of water.
- Some areas can be very remote – if you get lost you might not find anyone to help you!
- Signposting is generally quite sparse.
In Spain there are 3 types of official trails
- Long distance trails (Senderos de Gran Recorrido) are marked with red and white bars – see GR Routes. These routes may be hundreds of kilometers long, and not the sort of thing you’d walk in one day.
- Shorter distance trails (Senderos de Pequeño Recorrido) are marked with yellow and white bars. Information about these may be found at the Province level in Spain, eg PR Routes in Valencia Province
- Local trails (Senderos Locales) are marked with green and white bars. Information about these may be found at the local level in Spain – town halls and tourist offices – but it may be difficult to track them down on the internet (eg Walks around Benissa, Walks in Candelaria). Sometimes a search on the name of the municipality plus “sendero local” may yield useful results.
However many of the paths used in our descriptions are not marked at all and while they may be easy to follow on the ground some of them will track across rough terrain with little in the way of guidance.
Almost all the walks on this site have GPS tracks which you can download. If you are sufficiently interested you may want to buy a GPS machine and map from somebody like Garmin or Magellan, but if you have a smart phone then you can install a GPS navigation app on it and use it in conjunction with the directions to follow the walk.
If you haven’t already got a GPS navigation app and want to find one, we suggest:
- Search on the internet for apps compatible with your phone which have good reviews
- Remember that some apps are more geared towards driving than hiking
- You need one which has the ability to download and store maps with contours which you can access offline (you won’t always have a mobile phone signal!).
- Maps are freely available on OpenStreetMap so you shouldn’t need to be paying lots for them.
These apps make navigation a lot simpler, but the disadvantage is that you become reliant on them and then you find on a remote walk that your battery is flat, or you drop your phone and break it.
However, if you do find a good walk and would like to share it, why not write it up and submit it to this site so that others can benefit as well!
Guidance Notes for Walkers
The times used in the walk descriptions here are generally taken from gps tracks and represent walking time only between significant points. In addition there is an indication of the time required for completion of the total walk taking into account stops for water, photos and lunch – if appropriate. You may find that you are consistently faster or slower than the times indicated on these routes, but in any event they will act as an indicator of how long you should allow between significant points. For each route there is an opportunity to give us feedback about any serious errors that you encounter and we would appreciate having any constructive observations.
The mountains in Spain are rugged and the paths are often rough with loose stones and thick undergrowth and many other hazards which can cause tripping. Care is needed at all times. Walkers should assess their ability to complete the walks taking into account the following walk gradings used on this website:-
E – Easy: A walk of up to 4½ hours on good surfaced tracks and less than 200metres ascent. Indicated in Green on the site.
M – Moderate: up to 12km, less than 400 metres ascent and less than 50% rough going. Indicated in Yellow.
MS – Moderately Strenuous: Up to 600 metres ascent and/or no more than 15 km with some rough going taken at a reasonable pace. Indicated in Orange.
S – Strenuous: More than 600 metres and/or more than 15km with steep, loose or heavily vegetated sections. Indicated in Red.
VS – Very Strenuous: More than 800 metres and/or more than 20km with steep, loose or heavily vegetated sections. Indicated in Black.
X – Experienced walkers routes: Routes which require considerable stamina and/or significant scrambling skills on rough, steep or exposed sections.
Scr – Scrambling: This implies the need for handholds to ascend steep rock pitches with a sense of exposure to vertigo and where a slip could lead to a serious accident.
A – All good tracks
B – Less than half the route on rough ground
C – More than half the route on rough ground
In the walks descriptions these are represented by the grade first followed by a slash and then the indication of type of paths. So S/C indicates a Strenuous walk on mostly rough terrain.
Road. A surfaced carriageway suitable for vehicle use (even if some parts are in disrepair)
Track. An unsurfaced but suitable for 4 wheeled vehicles (even if partly vegetated or partly concreted)
Path. An unsurfaced, single track and only suitable for walkers (or possibly mountain bikers)
R and L. Indicate right and left respectively and L/RHS means left/right hand side.
Barranco. The bed of a water course which may vary from a small stream (arroyo) to a significant river (rio)
Bancales. These are terraces. Generally bancal refers to the wall that separates terraces, but the term is generally used to describe an area of terracing.
Mozarabic trail. An engineered path with a supporting wall on one side, often with cobbles and well graded steps associated with moorish construction although in reality many of them are much more recent constructions. Many were used as major communications routes for people and burros (mules) before the advent of the motor car.
Y/W – indicates yellow and white striped markers
G/W – indicates green and white striped markers
R/W – indicates red and white striped markers