From epic mountain ranges and dramatic gorges to scenic islands just waiting to be explored, these are the most amazing landscapes in Spain.
If you’ve ever visited Spain before, you’ll know how eye-poppingly beautiful the scenery is! It’s a nation that boasts endless natural wonders, and thankfully, they’re scattered right across the country, from Galicia to Andalucia!
From magnificent mountains and caves, to paradisiacal islands, it’s amazing to discover the stunning landscapes that are off the beaten track in Spain. They’re one of the biggest reasons to plan a holiday to the country… and yes, that’s before we start chatting about how amazing Spanish food is!
But how much do you know about these Spanish wonders? Have you heard of the Islas Cies, a group of islands that might have you thinking you’ve travelled to the Caribbean? How about Charco Verde in Lanzarote? As its name suggests, it’s a bright green lake! And did you know you can ski in the south of Spain, just 30 minutes from warm, sandy beaches?
Many of these scenic spots are off the beaten track too. They may take a little more effort to reach, but often slow travel in Spain brings the most rewarding experiences! You get to see more of the local life and create your own unique memories, away from other tourists.
There are a lot of surprises coming up as I reveal some of my favourite Spanish landscapes. I’ll admit it was pretty hard to narrow this list down to just a few highlights!
15 Beautiful landscapes in Spain (and where to find them!)
Volcanic Landscape: Cabo de Gata, Almería
I bet you haven’t heard of Cabo de Gata before! This is one of the best hidden gems in all of southern Spain. This natural reserve features a mesmerising volcanic landscape, but it’s away from the crowds you’ll see in many other areas in Spain!
There’s plenty to do and see at Cabo de Gata. You could relax on the pristine beach of Playa de los Muertos or check out the famous flamingos of the Las Salinas salt flats.
After a day of sightseeing, I’d recommend you unwind with a cocktail at one of the quaint fishing villages along the coast.
Paradise Islands: Islas Cies
Everyone’s heard of the Canary Islands and the Balearics, but have you heard of the Cies before? I’m guessing not! The Islas Cies are located in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Galicia in the north of Spain.The Romans named them the ‘Islands of the Gods’, and when you see them, you’ll understand why!
With the clearest turquoise water and perfect white sand, they look more like Caribbean islands than somewhere you’d find in Europe. There are three islands in total, and they’re part of a nature reserve, as there are some rare species of birds nesting there.
As they’re protected, visitor numbers are kept low. In fact, if you want to visit you’ll need to apply for one of 2,000 daily permits available via the Galician government. Once there, you’ll be able to hike, explore, swim, camp and take all the photos you could dream of!
Rock Formations: Las Médulas, León
The Medulas are a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Castilla-Leon region of northern Spain. Over two centuries of mining has created one of the most beautiful landscapes in Spain. There are rugged clay mountains and curiously-shaped, orange-reddish sand hills.
One of the best ways to explore the region is to spend a day hiking through the terrain. Once out of the nearest town you’ll feel like you’ve landed on another planet… Mars perhaps with all of the red rocks around!
Alternatively you could take a trip to see some of the area’s historical monuments such as the Santa María de Carracedo Monastery. After a day of outdoor fun, sit down and tuck into some local cuisine, washed down with a glass of the region’s famous rosé wine.
Volcanoes and Green Lakes: Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Holidays in the Canary Islands are filled with sun, sand, relaxation… and a big dose of volcanic activity! From the moment the plane comes into land, you’ll start seeing the volcanic landscapes that stretch across the islands.
We recently visited Lanzarote where I was amazed by the eerie and magical landscapes. I felt like some areas looked more like somewhere on the planet Mars than on planet Earth!
Timanfaya National Park is an absolute must-visit on the island. Here you get to see the volcanic craters and geysers up close. There’s also a unique restaurant, El Diablo, where they use the heat of the volcano to cook the food. There are also 21 vineyards in Lanzarote’s wine region La Geria, and I must say the views of the vines set across the black volcanic landscapes was incredible to see!
There are lots of pretty villages to the north of the island too, including Arrieta and Punta Mujeres. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a more local and authentic side to Lanzarote, away from the crowds.
Lanzarote is also home to Charco Verde – a vibrant green lake. The unique colour comes from seaweed and flora in the water. It’s in a half-submerged cone of a volcanic crater and is on a black sand beach with reddish rocks cliffs surrounding too. Seeing nature creating views containing such distinctive and contrasting colours is simply incredible!
The other Canary Islands have plenty to offer too, with Tenerife’s Mount Teide being the highest summit in Spain at 3,718m, and Gran Canaria’s famous crater, Bandama Caldera being 1km wide!
Desert: Bardenas Reales, Navarra
Did you know that Spain has its very own desert? This is one of the country’s best kept secrets and one of the true natural wonders of Spain!
The Navarre region of northern Spain is home to the UNESCO biosphere reserve, Bardenas Reales, which is famous for its windswept desert landscapes. Get your camera ready because the area is filled with fascinating natural landmarks and unspoiled, rugged wilderness.
The landscape is so beautiful that it’s been the backdrop for several films including the James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough. I can’t guarantee you’ll see any movie stars if you visit, but the landscapes are special enough on their own!
Canyon: Rambla de Barrachina, Teruel
Here’s another spot you won’t believe is in Spain! Rambla de Barrachina is located in the Teruel province, around an hour from Zaragoza. It’s famed for its rusty red rocks and is often called the ‘Grand Canyon of Spain’. It’s a geologists dream! When you see the stunning canyon and desert landscape, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into the set of an old Western film!
It’s not very touristy, so is perfect if you’re looking to escape the crowds. The best way to explore is on foot, but be sure to pack lots of water for your trek.
When you’re done exploring this Spanish natural wonder, you can head to the nearby charming city of Teruel. Visit the historic city centre and its cathedral tower or check out other interesting landmarks such as the El Salvador Church and Tower.
Gorge: Gaitanes Gorge, Andalucia
This awe-inspiring gorge is located within a natural park, around an hour from Malaga. The limestone cliffs reach heights of 700m, with the River Guadalhorce carving a narrow path through.
One of the things that makes this gorge extra special is that it has a beautiful path running 8km through the landscape, some of it hanging from the side of the cliffs! The Caminito del Rey is one of the most unique trails in the world, and passes along the natural park’s cliffs, canyons, and into a large valley.
If you’re staying in Malaga or somewhere close by, I’d recommend booking a Caminito del Rey tour such as this one, which includes transport and a tour guide.
If you fancy going off the beaten track in this region, pay a visit to the pretty whitewashed town of Antequera. There are some pretty amazing landscapes here too including the historic Dolmens. These large monuments are one of the oldest man-made structures on the planet, and were constructed during the Neolithic and Bronze Age out of large stone blocks.
Picturesque Coast: Costa Dorada
Beautiful beaches, a thriving nightlife and fascinating historical monuments are all waiting for you on the Costa Dorada on Spain’s east coast.
Spain’s ‘golden coast’ is a bit of a Spanish paradise! The region is popular with families, and is home to lots of golf courses, several water parks, and, of course, miles and miles of stunning beaches!
The calm waters of Costa Dorada are perfect for a number of exciting water sports like paddle boarding, windsurfing and jetskiing. If you’re looking for something fun that even the kids will enjoy, you could book a catamaran snorkelling trip to explore Costa Dorada’s hidden coves!
Personally I loved the stand up paddle boarding trip I did to Cova del Llop. This is a small cave a short way along the coast, that’s only reachable by water. I remember the feeling as I paddled into the dark cave, spotting stalagmites and stalactites inside.
Epic Mountains: Sierra Nevada
Did you know you can ski in Spain? And I’m not even talking about in the cooler northern part of the country. You can actually ski in the south of Spain in the Sierra Nevada mountain range!
Located in Andalusia, this region is popular with skiers and snowboarders from November to March. It’s a magical place to visit in the winter months right up until early spring. In fact, there can be snow on the highest peaks right up until June!
That means you can hit the slopes after breakfast and then drive down to the coast for a sunbathing session in the afternoon. There aren’t many countries in the world where you can do that!
The ski resort at Pradollano is home to over 130 slopes, and has several peaks over 3,000m. It’s ideal for skiing, snowboarding and other fun snow activities, and has ski runs to suit all abilities.
If you’re enjoying a southern Spain road trip in the summer months, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained in Sierra Nevada. You could go for a mountain hike, e-bike along the trails or visit Capileira or Las Alpujarras, two charming whitewashed mountain villages with some of the best views in the region.
The mountain’s chair lifts and gondolas also run in the summer months, so you don’t have to exert yourself too much! If you’re travelling with kids, how about taking a ride on Trineo Ruso, a fun alpine coaster that’s open in the summer.
Sierra Nevada is also an incredible place for stargazing, so don’t forget to admire the night sky above up once the sun goes down.
Coastal Rock Formations: Bolnuevo, Murcia
Murcia is home to some pretty and very underrated beaches. One of the most unique is Bolnuevo, where you’ll find several huge rock formations on the sand.
These natural sandstone wonders have been weathered by wind, rain and the ocean over the years. You’ll think they’re pretty eerie when you first see them, but it’s a great example of how powerful nature is!
Beautiful Islands: Balearic Islands
If you’re looking for a holiday spot with plenty of sun, sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise water, then head to the Balearic Islands! These sunny islands each have a different vibe, but they’re all home to gorgeous beaches and pretty scenery.
The Balearic Islands consist of the four main islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formantera. Each island is filled with quaint fishing villages and lush landscapes like the enchanting Cabrera National Park.
I recently visited Menorca for the first time and I was absolutely in awe of the beautiful turquoise water, intriguing caves and blue pools. This island is a lot quieter than Ibiza and Majorca, so if you like to travel without the crowds, I’d recommend picking this island!
While Menorca has plenty of pretty beaches, there are also amazing cliff jumping spots. If you’re brave enough, wander the coast and find a spot for yourself! Hold your breath and jump in – there’s no more exhilarating feeling!
Caves: Drach Caves, Majorca
Looking for a truly unique experience? Why not check out the Drach Caves in the town of Manacor on the island of Majorca? Over millions of years, pressure from the Mediterranean sea formed this fascinating cave system, which is filled with impressive stalagmites and rock formations.
In order to check out the Drach Caves, you’ll need a boat, so it’s best to book onto a tour like this one. Not only will you get to admire the beautiful caves, but you’ll also discover one of Drach Cave’s most interesting features, the 177-metre underwater lake known as Lake Martel. You won’t believe your eyes when you see it – it’s spectacular!
Waterfall: Pozo de los Humos, Salamanca
The province of Salamanca has plenty of natural wonders including the thundering waterfall, Pozo de los Humos. It’s around 50m tall and is the perfect place to spend a day in nature.
The canyon here stretches for over 100 miles and you can explore it either on foot or by bike. If you’re up for a trek, I’d recommend hiking up to the Pozo de los Humos lookout and enjoy Instagram-worthy views of the entire canyon!
Rocks and Religion: Montserrat
Have you ever visited Montserrat before? Many combine a trip here with a city break in Barcelona, as they’re just an hour’s drive apart. The area’s top attraction is the Benedictine Montserrat Monastery, perched on a rocky crag surrounded by magnificent cliffs. This is a beautiful spot where nature and architecture combine to create something extra special.
Just getting there is a bit of an adventure, as you reach the monastery via cable car! Once there, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Catalonian countryside while soaking in the sights and history of the monastery. I’ve included a trip to Montserrat on my Northern Spain road trip itinerary. Check out that post for lots of tips for making the most of a trip through the north of the country!
Mountain Range: The Pyrenees
Some of the highest mountains in Europe are found in the Spanish Pyrenees. This mountain range stretches a whopping 400km, all the way from Navarre to Catalonia. There are over 200 mountains that reach dizzy heights above 3,000m. It’s one of the most picturesque places in Spain for hiking and cycling.
On top of all the amazing opportunities for hiking and cycling, there are plenty of other fun activities to try. If you feel like spending the day shopping or dining, head to the nearby city of Jaca. If you’re in the mood for a bit of history, explore one of the best-preserved medieval castles, Loarre Castle, or the mysterious San Juan de la Peña Monastery.
How many of these amazing wonders of Spain did you know about before? Has this guide made you want to head for the mountains, the islands, the waterfalls or the volcanoes? There are just so many beautiful landscapes in Spain, wherever you go I’m sure you’ll have an amazing holiday!
If you’re looking for more inspiration on pretty places to visit in Spain, check out some of my most popular travel guides…
- Northern Spain road trip itinerary
- Southern Spain road trip itinerary
- Cadiz travel guide
- Valencia travel guides
- San Sebastian weekend guide
- Costa Dorada guides
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