Spain Guide

 

Climbing in Spain

Why go climbing in Spain when there are so many other better known international climbing venues? After all, most people associate Spain with over crowded Costas full of Brits and Germans, soaking up the sun and sangria in equally harmful measures. Think climbing in Europe and destinations such as the Eiger, Matterhorn, Mount Blanc and the Dolomites spring to mind rather than any Spanish mountain peaks.

To coin a phrase of British actor Michael Caine, "not many people know this" but Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe (after Switzerland) and offers an awesome array of excellent rock climbing routes and mountaineering to challenge the most experienced climber.

And because many of the Iberian Peninsula's seemingly endless mountain ranges remain relatively undiscovered, climbers can explore uncharted territory which is increasingly hard to find in more popular destinations such as the Swiss and French Alps.

Spain is one of the world's most popular holiday destinations attracting about 50 million foreigners each year. The vast majority make a beeline for the coastal resorts which is great news for climbers who can enjoy the unspoilt mountainous hinterland while still benefiting from the cheap flights spawned by the multi million pound package holiday industry. All of the country's best climbing areas are easily accessible via international airports serving most major UK airports and European capitals. Out of the high season summer months, flights to and from Spain are often ridiculously cheap and so is holiday accommodation in hotels and self catering apartments/ villas which rely mainly on the summer trade. And you can still eat an excellent three course meal with wine in many Spanish restaurants for less than the price of a cocktail in the more fashionable mountain regions of France and Switzerland.

 

If you climb anywhere other than northern Spain, you can be fairly sure of decent weather all year round (though summer is probably best avoided in the more southerly mountain regions where temperatures can soar beyond a sizzling 40 degrees centigrade in July and August). On the Costa del Sol, for example, you can climb the coastal cliffs and have a dip in the Mediterranean in the morning and go mountaineering or ski ing on the snow covered slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the afternoon.

Put all these factors together with the great climbing to be found in places as diverse as the Spanish Pyrenees, the conglomerate rock formations at Montserrat near Barcelona and the famous El Churro in Andalucia and you can see why Spain is fast becoming a favoured destination among climbers from around the world.

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