Spain is a country of many facets, with beautiful sandy beaches, cultural cities and world-leading cuisine. The European destination offers something for every type of traveler. But, for those intrepid explorers who find the idea of lounging on a sunbed or traipsing around museums more snooze-worthy than relaxing, our guide to the top adventures in Spain is here to help.
From kayaking down a river toward the Atlantic Ocean in northern Spain to witnessing the wonders of the volcanic Teide National Park while paragliding in Tenerife, our picks of the best adventures in Spain promise to deliver new and exhilarating ways to experience this varied country.
Skiing in the Pyrenees
Imagine a skiing trip to Europe and France, Switzerland or even Italy are the first places that come to mind. However, the Spanish Pyrenees and more specifically the resort of Baqueira-Beret (pictured above) is hailed as one of the continent’s best-kept secrets. And don’t just take our word for it – Baquiera is reportedly the go-to skiing spot for the King of Spain himself.
With over 99 miles of ski slopes spread over three main areas, Baqueira caters to all abilities and experience levels, from easy green runs through to off-piste terrain and near-vertical runs to rivals that of the Alps. The summer season, when the powdered slopes transform into lush green mountains, is equally rewarding with the Spanish Pyrenees renowned for its excellent hiking trails.
A suite at La Pleta by Rafael is a must when skiing at Baqueria-Beret. The luxury mountain hotel offers direct access to the slopes via a private transfer service. For those needing to hone their skills or for younger guests, the hotel has an in-house ski school, while more experienced skiers can make use of the heli-ski offering to discover unchartered slopes.
Hike the Caminito del Rey trail in Andalusia
The thrill of traversing this path is still second to none / ©Shutterstock
A hiking trail may not sound like the height of adventure, but the infamous Caminito del Rey near Malaga, Andalusia is not for the fainthearted. Crossing the heart of the Gaitanes Gorge, Caminito del Ray is an aerial path bolted to the rockface suspended some 330ft above the ground, with some spectacular views along the route.
The path was originally built in the early 20th century as a route for workers traveling to the nearby hydroelectric dam but later fell into disrepair, tragically leading to several deaths in the late nineties. Thankfully Caminito del Rey has now been repaired and reopened to the public, but with nearly five miles worth of sheer drops, the thrill of traversing this path is still second to none.
After the excitement of such an adventure, you’ll want somewhere ultra-luxe to rest your head. For this, Villa Padierna is the only option. Located just 20 minutes away from the famous walkway, the five star wellness hotel can arrange a bespoke excursion to Caminito del Ray, followed by a trip to one of Spain’s best spas and restful sleep in a well-appointed suite.
[See also: The Best Horse Riding Locations in Spain]
Explore the Balearics by boat
The islet of Dragonera is a protected natural area / ©Shutterstock
Spain’s paradisical clusters of islands are world famous for their sandy coves, turquoise blue waters and amazing boating opportunities. For a luxury sailing adventure in Spain, head to the island of Mallorca, located within the Balearic archipelago off the east coast of the mainland.
Here, you will find the opulent Cap Rocat hotel, which offers its guests a way to head out onto the water in style with its own private boat, CR. A series of sailing itineraries are on offer, but for the full experience opt for the eight-hour boat tour, which takes guests along the coastline to visit the nearby islands of Cabrera and Dragonera, which has been designated as a protected natural area, as well as stopping off at some of Mallorca’s famous sandy beaches for a secluded dip in the sea.
And, for the perfect post-adventure treat, visit Cap Rocat’s stylish spa which offers a range of indulgent treatments and calming spaces.
[See also: The Best Road Trips in Spain]
River kayaking in Asturias
The river has portions of wild rapids and calmer sections for gentle paddling and admiring the view / ©Shutterstock
The Asturias’ Sella river has long been a favorite destination for keen kayakers in the north of Spain. The river is most famous for its canoeing competition called the International Descent of the River Sella which dates back to 1929. But you’ll find this spot perfect for getting out on the water no matter when you visit, be it on a kayak or a canoe.
The river starts in the Picos del Europa National Park before meandering down towards the Bay of Biscay, which opens out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Your kayaking experience can be as strenuous or as relaxed as you please, with the length of the adventure in your hands. The river has portions of wild rapids and calmer sections for gentle paddling and admiring the view, as well as plenty of river beaches to rest.
Among a host of other outdoor experiences that showcase the best of this region, the luxurious Puebloaster hotel can arrange kayaking trips to the Sella river for its guests, with the concierge team on hand to create a bespoke itinerary.
Paragliding in Tenerife
The volcanic Mount Tiede is amazing to view from the ground, but from the sky it is otherworldly / ©Shutterstock
When you’ve explored all Spain has to offer on land and on sea, there’s only one thing for it: head to the skies. To help guests explore the beauty of the Canary Islands differently, Royal Hideaway Corales offers an exhilarating paragliding experience across the Teide National Park.
Hailed as one of the most impressive geological monuments in the world, the snowcapped peak of the volcanic Mount Teide is amazing to view from the ground, but from the sky it is otherworldly. After cruising above the mountains, your paraglider instructor will guide you across forests before slowly descending back to land near the coast.
Soaring at some 7,000 ft above the ground, of all of our top adventures in Spain picks, it is this one that could rattle even the bravest of travelers.
[See also: Surprisingly Quiet Spots in Spain’s Biggest Cities]