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20 stunning Spanish landscapes

From volcanoes to beaches, natural scenery whose beauty is certain to captivate any visitor

  • Located in the central Pyrenees, the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park stands out for its huge mountains towering more than 3,000 meters above sea level. The eastern part of the park is especially stunning, as the reflection of the mountains can be seen on the water. The installation of ramps in certain areas also means that people with limited mobility can also enjoy the beauty.
    1Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park (Catalonia) Located in the central Pyrenees, the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park stands out for its huge mountains towering more than 3,000 meters above sea level. The eastern part of the park is especially stunning, as the reflection of the mountains can be seen on the water. The installation of ramps in certain areas also means that people with limited mobility can also enjoy the beauty. AGEFOTOSTOCK
  • Thanks to its geographic location and subtropical climate, the center of La Gomera island preserves an extraordinary jungle site, featuring an abundance of protected species. The forest at Garajonay National Park presents visitors with an image of the earth as it was 60 million years ago.
    2Garajonay National Park (La Gomera, Canary Islands) Thanks to its geographic location and subtropical climate, the center of La Gomera island preserves an extraordinary jungle site, featuring an abundance of protected species. The forest at Garajonay National Park presents visitors with an image of the earth as it was 60 million years ago. AGEFOTOSTOCK
  • An hour's drive from San Sebastián, land and sea intertwine on the lovely Sakoneta beach, which shines with its greatest splendor at low tide. Erosion has carved continuous, vertical patterns into the cliff walls, known to geologists as flysch, and it makes the rocks especially scenic.
    3Sakoneta Beach (Basque Country) An hour's drive from San Sebastián, land and sea intertwine on the lovely Sakoneta beach, which shines with its greatest splendor at low tide. Erosion has carved continuous, vertical patterns into the cliff walls, known to geologists as flysch, and it makes the rocks especially scenic. GETTY
  • At the heart of Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, through the wide array of climates brought by the deep valleys and the high mountains, a large inventory of species abound. The result is a site with an incredible diversity of living organisms. Eagles thrive, as do marmots, and pine trees grow beside oaks in the forests.
    4Ordesa Valley (Aragon) At the heart of Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, through the wide array of climates brought by the deep valleys and the high mountains, a large inventory of species abound. The result is a site with an incredible diversity of living organisms. Eagles thrive, as do marmots, and pine trees grow beside oaks in the forests. GETTY
  • At a height of more than 300 meters, this is the tallest waterfall on the Iberian Peninsula. There are several different parking lots at which you can leave your car and undertake the walk to this stunning view of the Nervión. Though it’s best to do so after heavy rainfall or during the seasonal thaw, as the waterfall is greatly reduced during the winter.
    5Salto del Nervión (Burgos and Álava provinces) At a height of more than 300 meters, this is the tallest waterfall on the Iberian Peninsula. There are several different parking lots at which you can leave your car and undertake the walk to this stunning view of the Nervión. Though it’s best to do so after heavy rainfall or during the seasonal thaw, as the waterfall is greatly reduced during the winter. GETTY
  • These miniature, desert-like badlands in northern Spain are unique due to their location in a region that is much better known for its wet and green landscapes. Erosion from wind and rainfall have carved out surfaces that are commonly referred to as “elephant hides.”
    6Bardenas Reales (Navarre) These miniature, desert-like badlands in northern Spain are unique due to their location in a region that is much better known for its wet and green landscapes. Erosion from wind and rainfall have carved out surfaces that are commonly referred to as “elephant hides.” GETTY
  • The Lakes of Covadonga are situated 1,000 meters up in the Picos de Europa mountains. Around them, herds of horses, cows and goats graze at their leisure in a calm and tranquil environment. Visitors are also encouraged to take advantage of the surrounding hiking trails – no hiking or climbing experience is required to embark on them.
    7Lakes of Covadonga (Asturias) The Lakes of Covadonga are situated 1,000 meters up in the Picos de Europa mountains. Around them, herds of horses, cows and goats graze at their leisure in a calm and tranquil environment. Visitors are also encouraged to take advantage of the surrounding hiking trails – no hiking or climbing experience is required to embark on them. GETTY
  • Cabo de Gata Natural Park is a volcanic complex that also features traces of human activity in the area ranging castles to 19th century mining villages and 20th century flour mills. As beautiful as the land is the sea that lines its coast, perfect for swimming and sailing.
    8Cabo de Gata (Andalusia) Cabo de Gata Natural Park is a volcanic complex that also features traces of human activity in the area ranging castles to 19th century mining villages and 20th century flour mills. As beautiful as the land is the sea that lines its coast, perfect for swimming and sailing. GETTY
  • This amazing landscape near the town of Antequera used to be underwater 200 million years ago and today contains many fossils. It is known for its karst landscape, which filters and transports water underground, resulting in peculiar structures that appear as though many rocks have been stacked on top of each other.
    9Torcal de Antequera (Andalusia) This amazing landscape near the town of Antequera used to be underwater 200 million years ago and today contains many fossils. It is known for its karst landscape, which filters and transports water underground, resulting in peculiar structures that appear as though many rocks have been stacked on top of each other. GETTY
  • The Romans scavenged these hills of León for gold and ended up creating the largest open pit mine in the history of their empire. What remains is a striking contrast or red sand against the green forest. Visitors can walk inside the holes bored by the Romans or view them in their entirety from the Orellán observation deck. It’s been a World Heritage Site since 1977.
    10Las Médulas (Castilla y León) The Romans scavenged these hills of León for gold and ended up creating the largest open pit mine in the history of their empire. What remains is a striking contrast or red sand against the green forest. Visitors can walk inside the holes bored by the Romans or view them in their entirety from the Orellán observation deck. It’s been a World Heritage Site since 1977. GETTY
  • In the east of Lanzarote, this volcano crater emerges at sea level. Beside it sits a peculiar green lake, whose color is caused by the algae and other organisms that live within it. The surrounding black sand provides for an especially striking contrast.
    11Charco del Clico (Lanzarote, Canary Islands) In the east of Lanzarote, this volcano crater emerges at sea level. Beside it sits a peculiar green lake, whose color is caused by the algae and other organisms that live within it. The surrounding black sand provides for an especially striking contrast. GETTY
  • 175,000 years ago, lava emerged from the Earth, giving shape to the Teide volcano, which is also Spain’s tallest mountain. Still active, it’s the third tallest volcanic formation in the world, rising 7,500 meters from the ocean floor. Because of its height above sea level (3,718 metres), it regularly snows at the peak, providing, in a single image, a beautiful contrast between winter wonderland at its summit and arid desert at its base.
    12Teide (Tenerife, Canary Islands) 175,000 years ago, lava emerged from the Earth, giving shape to the Teide volcano, which is also Spain’s tallest mountain. Still active, it’s the third tallest volcanic formation in the world, rising 7,500 meters from the ocean floor. Because of its height above sea level (3,718 metres), it regularly snows at the peak, providing, in a single image, a beautiful contrast between winter wonderland at its summit and arid desert at its base. GETTY
  • On the coast of northern Spain near the Galician town of Ribadeo, waves crash against a series of arches that resemble a great cathedral. In fact, the proper name of this beach is Praia de Augas Santas (“Holy Waters” in Galician). It’s advisable to visit during low tide to admire the sand from the caves and the arches.
    13Playa de Catedrales (Galicia) On the coast of northern Spain near the Galician town of Ribadeo, waves crash against a series of arches that resemble a great cathedral. In fact, the proper name of this beach is Praia de Augas Santas (“Holy Waters” in Galician). It’s advisable to visit during low tide to admire the sand from the caves and the arches. GETTY
  • Rising up 300 meters, this massive gorge in Malaga province was created by erosion from the Guadalhorce river. Because the current is so strong, a dam was built in the 20th century to create hydroelectricity, along with a bridge, making it easy to travel across the canyon. Today, it can safely be visited by the public thanks to a new walkway that replaced the older, far more dangerous track.
    14Caminito del Rey (Andalusia) Rising up 300 meters, this massive gorge in Malaga province was created by erosion from the Guadalhorce river. Because the current is so strong, a dam was built in the 20th century to create hydroelectricity, along with a bridge, making it easy to travel across the canyon. Today, it can safely be visited by the public thanks to a new walkway that replaced the older, far more dangerous track. GETTY
  • The peak of the mountain Urrielu, or Naranjo de Bulnes, is more than 2,500 meters above sea level. Although it’s not the tallest mountain in the Picos de Europa range to which it belongs, its vertical walls make it perfect for climbers.
    15Naranjo de Bulnes (Asturias) The peak of the mountain Urrielu, or Naranjo de Bulnes, is more than 2,500 meters above sea level. Although it’s not the tallest mountain in the Picos de Europa range to which it belongs, its vertical walls make it perfect for climbers. GETTY
  • The La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park features almost 40 different volcanoes. Despite the landscape being formed by volcanic activity, the area’s rainy climate has resulted in the long dormant volcanoes being covered in vegetation.
    16Garrotxa volcanoes (Catalonia) The La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park features almost 40 different volcanoes. Despite the landscape being formed by volcanic activity, the area’s rainy climate has resulted in the long dormant volcanoes being covered in vegetation. AGEFOTOSTOCK
  • At this extraordinary, 18,000-hectare Mediterranean forest, one can enjoy stunning groves of trees and the sight of birds, including Spanish Imperial Eagles that are indigenous to the area. At the center of the park stands a tower, a ruin from the old castle of Monfrague (pictured). There, you can get the best view of the landscape.
    17Monfragüe National Park (Extremadura) At this extraordinary, 18,000-hectare Mediterranean forest, one can enjoy stunning groves of trees and the sight of birds, including Spanish Imperial Eagles that are indigenous to the area. At the center of the park stands a tower, a ruin from the old castle of Monfrague (pictured). There, you can get the best view of the landscape. AGEFOTOSTOCK
  • The Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet at Doñana National Park (recently threatened by a forest fire), making it one of the most important places in Europe in terms of biodiversity. With dunes, marshes and wooded areas, it is a rich and diverse landscape, featuring many endangered species, Lynxes are bred here and roam the land, while this is a paradise for birdwatchers with flamingos, storks and eagles among the highlights.
    18Doñana National Park (Andalusia) The Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet at Doñana National Park (recently threatened by a forest fire), making it one of the most important places in Europe in terms of biodiversity. With dunes, marshes and wooded areas, it is a rich and diverse landscape, featuring many endangered species, Lynxes are bred here and roam the land, while this is a paradise for birdwatchers with flamingos, storks and eagles among the highlights.
  • One of the best places to gaze at beech and fir trees, this forest can be explored by both foot and bicycle using a number of marked trails. In autumn, the mating calls of deer provide a spectacular soundscape.
    19Irati Forest (Navarre) One of the best places to gaze at beech and fir trees, this forest can be explored by both foot and bicycle using a number of marked trails. In autumn, the mating calls of deer provide a spectacular soundscape. AGEFOTOSTOCK
  • Within Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in the region of Madrid, La Pedriza stands out because of its massive granite cliffs that shelter a large population of mountain goats. It is also sometimes jokingly referred to as the “beach of Madrid,” since there are a number of ponds among the rocks that visitors have historically been able to use for a refreshing swim. Last summer, however, swimming at the highly popular Charca Verde pond was prohibited in an effort to combat littering, and the ban has been upheld this year as well.
    20La Pedriza (Madrid) Within Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in the region of Madrid, La Pedriza stands out because of its massive granite cliffs that shelter a large population of mountain goats. It is also sometimes jokingly referred to as the “beach of Madrid,” since there are a number of ponds among the rocks that visitors have historically been able to use for a refreshing swim. Last summer, however, swimming at the highly popular Charca Verde pond was prohibited in an effort to combat littering, and the ban has been upheld this year as well. AGEFOTOSTOCK