These are the most beautiful mountains in Spain

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December 11 is International Mountain Day. This year the focus is on the restoration of mountain ecosystems. Spain has a wide variety of beautiful mountain peaks and natural parks with emblematic peaks.

There are too many to mention, but you should not miss the seven peaks from this article if you love Spain and the mountains. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) promotes the International Mountain Day with the main theme “restoration of mountain ecosystems”. The FAO wants to highlight the importance of these ecosystems and demand solutions to the threat to these places from climate change. An interesting fact in this context is that of the twenty plant species that provide 80% of the world’s food, six originated and diversified in the mountains: corn, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, and apples.

Also read: A quick guide to Spain’s national parks

Sparsely populated and water supplier

The FAO emphasises that today only 15% of the world’s population lives in mountains. As mountain areas become increasingly deserted, they are more exposed to the effects of climate change. Of the ecosystem’s native species, 84% are therefore threatened with extinction. Mountains are also of great importance because half of the freshwater we consume on Earth comes from mountains (springs and meltwater).

Mountainous country

On this International Mountain Day we can emphasise that Spain is also a very mountainous country. The most important mountain ranges are the Pyrenees, which form the border with France. The Cantabrian Mountains, which include the Picos de Europa. The Iberian System or Iberian Ridge Mountains forms the division between the Spanish plateau and the valley of the Ebro River. The Central System or Castilian Mountains divide the Spanish plateau in two. It runs from east to west above Madrid. The Sierra de Guadarrama and Sierra de Gredos are the best-known areas here. Finally, more to the south lies the Cordillera Bética, of which the Sierra Morena and the Sierra Nevada are part.

In addition, there is of course another important reason to cherish and protect the mountains: the incredible landscapes they give us. What spectacular mountain landscapes does Spain offer? We have listed seven for you.

1. Volcano Teide

Teide mountains

At 3,718 metres, Pico del Teide on Tenerife is the highest mountain peak in Spain. Yet it is easy to visit without having to be an expert in mountain climbing. Especially if you decide to take the comfortable cable car. The trip to the highest part of the mountain is a true nature experience. During the climb, you will see the vegetation and terrain change. Another advantage of Mount Teide and the surrounding national park is that every season is suitable for going up. Mount Teide has an unprecedented beauty, which is sometimes compared to a moon landscape.

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2. Mulhacén and the Sierra Nevada


As we already mentioned, the Mulhacén, on the mainland, is only a few hundred metres lower. It rises proudly in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. However, more experience is needed to climb this peak. You will quickly fall in love with this mountain and its neighbouring peak Veleta, the symbol of the Sierra Nevada ski station. The mountain panorama is visible from the ski slopes of the Sierra Nevada and many parts of Granada city. This mountain giant can even be seen from the Costa Blanca and Costa Tropical.

3. Monte Perdido

monte perdido mountains

When we talk about beautiful mountains and landscapes, the Aragonese part of the Pyrenees should not be missed. Here are some of the highest peaks in Spain and the subject of the region’s typical postcards. In the heart of the Pyrenees, the possibilities to enjoy the mountains are endless. You can enjoy beautiful walks in the summer and fully enjoy the snow in the winter. Anyone who has been there will understand why the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park was one of the first in Europe to be declared a protected nature reserve.

Also read: The Spanish Pyrenees from east to west

4. Los Gemelos Encantados y el Lago

international mountain day

In neighbouring Lleida (Catalonia), the mountain landscapes are just as idyllic and both the green of summer and the white of winter are of unprecedented beauty. The most recognisable mountain is the so-called ‘gemelos encantados’, the enchanting twin. The double-headed mountain rises in the eastern part of the Aigüestortes National Park. Together with the glacial lake of San Mauricio, in which they are beautifully reflected, they form the perfect picture of the Catalan Pyrenees.

5. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europe bij Potes

Partly located in the regions of Asturias, Cantabria, and Castile and León, the Picos de Europa mountain area is one of the most beautiful and most accessible mountain landscapes in Spain. The glacial lake area in Covadonga, accessible from Cangas de Onis in Asturias is easy to reach. In the low season, you can drive there yourself by car. In the busier months, you take a bus and once you arrive at the top you can walk one of the marked routes. They lead you around the idyllically situated glacial lakes and between the much-photographed cows in the area. It is so beautiful that you keep coming back.

6. Mallos de Riglos

mallos de riglos mountains

These remarkable geological formations located in the municipality of Riglos, about 45 km northwest of the city of Huesca, are not in the Pyrenees and are not classified as high mountains. Still, they deserve a place on this list. On the one hand, because they form a unique image thanks to their shape and reddish colour, which catches the eye from afar. This is due to the presence of iron and clay. This creates a spectacular view, especially during sunset. On the other hand, because these mountains are highly appreciated by climbers. Parts of it require special skills to climb.

7. Sierra Salvada y Valle de Ayala

Sierra Salvada mountains

When we talk about the mountains in the Basque Country, we quickly think of the typical rolling valleys dotted with trees and farms. However, there are also rocky areas of great height, such as the mountain walls in the Ayala Valley. In this impressive limestone formation, you will find spectacular viewpoints that will pleasantly surprise you. With 224 identified species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as several plant species, the biodiversity here is enormous. That is why the area has been designated as a “Special Protection Area for Birds” (ZEPA).

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