6 stunning spring walks in Spain

By Alison Hall

Spring has arrived and the first cuckoo has already been heard in the UK. That means it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and step into the flower-filled landscapes of Spain. Here are six gorgeous walking holidays that will allow to explore some of its most beautiful, unspoilt corners on foot.

Alicante's Secret Mountains

1. Alicante’s secret mountains

Alicante, where spring arrives early, is a great landscape to explore on foot. At this time of year, the almond blossom lights up the terraces and the lime-loving flowers – like Spanish foxgloves, vivid yellow Phlomis lychnitis, and orchids – produce spectacular displays that last until June. The best introduction to these limestone landscapes is a circular route from the village of Tárbena with some staggering viewpoints en route. There, take a long deep breath and admire the panorama of fertile valleys, hills and dramatic gorges. Look out for the terraces of almond and olive groves, as well as avocado and carob groves.

The Grazalema Sierra

2. Grazalema Sierra, Andalucia

The Grazalema Natural Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977 in recognition of its unique fauna and flora and today over a thousand species can be found in the Natural Park. Take a six-hour circular route, from the ‘pueblos blancos’ of Montejaque, which covers limestone ridges and stone stairways, and wonderful green valleys. After a damp early spring, the valley is carpeted with saucer-sized, blue Peruvian scillas. Growing with them are the graceful St Bernard’s lily, lax flowered orchids and the small flowered tongue orchid. But that’s not all: the apparently barren limestone mountains shelter at least 40 species of mammal and 136 species of bird including one of the biggest colonies of Griffon vultures in Europe.

Citrus Groves and Dramatic Coast

3. Mallorca’s Tramuntana Sierra

Mallorca’s most dramatic scenery – and its prettiest villages – are to be found in the Tramuntana Sierra in the north-west of the island. With their craggy limestone peaks contrasting with the sea below, the mountains provide a wonderful backdrop to clusters of honey-coloured houses. The name Sóller (pronounced Sol-yer) is derived from the Moorish expression for ‘the golden valley’, and it takes no great leap of the imagination to see why. The charming town nestles in a fertile valley and is surrounded by citrus plantations and thousand-metre peaks – perfect as a base for spring-time walking. Highly recommended is the route to Fornalutx, known as the village of a thousand years and said to be the prettiest in Mallorca. In spring the paths are ablaze of colour, lined with many varieties of flowering shrubs.

Along the Catalan coast

4. Along the Catalan Coast

The Catalan Coast is one of Spain’s most popular walking routes, taking in its sandy bays and quiet coves. Spend a leisurely week in the balmy spring weather discovering on foot the unspoiled northernmost Costa Brava and you are bound to stumble across a spring festival or two. Catalonia has its own language and distinctive culture with traditions and fiesta dating back 1,000 years. Don’t miss the opportunity to work on your Sardana, which originated in the Empordà region, but is now considered to be the Catalan national dance.

Coast of Almeria

5. Coast of Almería

The coastline of Almería is Europe’s sunniest corner. The landscapes of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park are more reminiscent of North Africa than Europe, with bare, rugged hills descending to salt flats, and wild sandy beaches. Snorkelling even close to the beach enables you to observe shoals of fish in the crystal clear waters. Among the walking highlights is a route from Rodalquilar through the Arizona-like landscapes that are dotted with cactus and towering aloe vera plants. En route, pause for thought at Cortijo el Fraile, the scene of the tragic real-life events that inspired Lorca’s ‘Blood Wedding’, the classic penned in 1932.

Ibiza's hidden charms

6. Ibiza’s Hidden Charms

A world away from the hedonistic resorts of the south, and well before the summer crowds appear, walkers can expect to come across quiet villages, ancient stone watchtowers and idyllic coves that are only accessible by foot. This leisurely walking break begins on the coast at Santa Eularia before heading inland through carob, almond and olive groves to San Juan. The rich island soil provides a habitat for many different varieties of flowering shrub at this time of year. While people may be thin on the ground as you walk from one hotel to the next, the birdlife is abundant, thanks to the large resident populations of spring visitors from Africa, including bee-eaters, swallows and swifts.

All images courtesy of Inntravel.

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