Spain boasts some of the most fantastic landscapes in Europe, perhaps even in the world. From stunning rivers to unique rock formations, Spanish landscapes are truly diverse, not just home to beaches, and the Iberian Peninsula is full of stunning natural landscapes just waiting to be discovered.
For this reason, we've put together this guide to Spain’s natural treasures that everyone should visit at least once in their life. These are places that are worth preserving just as nature offers them to us, where you can really let go and get lost. Whether you're planning your next trip to Spain when travelling is allowed, or enjoying the views at home, it's time to begin our tour of 5 Spain's best natural landscapes.
Las Médulas, León
The Médulas are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are located in the Bierzo area of the province of León. The history of this fascinating place dates back to the 1st century when the Romans decided to divert water here to erode the weak rock and extract gold from inside. Over the years, mining continued until it became the largest open-pit gold mine in the entire Roman Empire, thanks to which the Roman legions could be maintained.
The mixture of aggressive engineering and powerful nature created a landscape of clay mountains with curious shapes and reddish-orange sands mixed with vegetation. This fabulous sight of strong, contrasting colours is one of Spain’s greatest open secrets.
Cabo de Gata, Almería
The Cabo de Gata Natural Park is located in Southern Spain in the province of Almería and is one of the few examples of a volcanic geo-park in the Mediterranean. Thanks to the particular geographical isolation of this area, the characteristics for the conservation of this curious natural enclave, half-desert, half-coastal area, are just right.
The natural park contains the desert of Tabernas, a barren area that receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and that has been used to film some of the most legendary spaghetti western movies in history.
And for those who still want to hit the beach, here are a couple of recommendations where you can enjoy a dip: the Playa de los Genoveses and Playa Mónsul beaches.
Hoces del Duratón, Segovia
The Duratón River, a tributary of the Duero River, has its source in the region of Madrid. On its way through the province of Segovia, close to such emblematic towns as Sepúlveda and Pedraza, it passes through an area of limestone rock that has been eroded over the years to create what is today known as the Hoces del Duratón.
If you visit this wonderful place, then you definitely have to take a walk through the Ermita de San Frutos, a simple 12th-century Romanesque construction on the edge of the river bank. According to the locals, if you go early in the morning you will have the perfect light to take pictures of the vultures that start coming out of their nests to fly over the area, creating an atmospheric and awesome landscape.
And if you end up falling in love with this unique landscape, why not complete the adventure by crossing the riverbed on an exciting canoe trip?
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Bardenas Reales, Navarra
Among all the luscious green areas found in the Spanish region of Navarra is this very interesting desert landscape. The Bardenas Reales are a fantastic landscape of rock formations that the passage of time has modified, leaving in its path some spectacular scenery. The uniqueness of this location means it has even been used as the backdrop for several films, like James Bond's The World is Not Enough.
While photos give us an idea of what this place is like, it's not until you walk through the Bardenas, especially at sunset, that you get an idea of the immensity, size and infinite variety of their shapes.
Camí de Ronda, Costa Brava
The Camí de Ronda is a path between cliffs of the Costa Brava that during the 20th century was used by the Spanish Civil Guard to control smuggling. Nowadays, it has become a perfect tourist route where visitors fall in love with the blue tones and rocks of the Costa Brava.
The route goes from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Begur, about 27 miles or 43 km, although there are different stages to suit everyone, from a 50-minute walk to a 6-hour hike. There is also a more ambitious route which is 87 miles long (140 km) and passes through the city of Girona, making a kind of triangle between the 3 towns.
If you decide to go to the Camí de Ronda, you will enjoy fabulous views of the Girona coastline, where the intense blue of the sea combines with lush greenery, along with the beautiful villages you will come across along the way.