Castile and León is a beautiful region in northwestern Spain that brims with charming villages, stunning landscapes, and fine traditional cuisine – all best experienced on a hike. You can choose from various trails available throughout the region that take you through lush forests, scenic valleys, and rivers.

    Hikers are spoilt for choice in Castile and León, from the iconic pilgrimage route of the traditional Camino de Santiago to the hidden corners of natural beauty that transport you into otherworldly landscapes. Reconnect with Mother Nature and discover the beautiful twists and turns of Spain's geography by taking a walk through Castile and León's most beautiful landscapes.

    1

    Cañón del Río Lobos Natural Park

    Enter a beautiful, otherworldly landscape

    Cañón del Río Lobos Natural Park is a beautiful protected area between the provinces of Soria and Burgos that’s dominated by a canyon. The canyon was formed by the erosion of the river that gives the park its name. You can choose from 20 or so routes of varying levels of difficulty either on foot, by bicycle or horseback, where you’ll see enormous limestone cliff walls with their caves and with vultures and eagles circling above. 

    In short, this is a unique landscape that will allow you to disconnect and feel at one with nature. However, the mysticism of the area is not limited to its vast natural panoramas. Whenever you feel the need to reconnect with the human side that represents the history of the canyon, visit the San Bartolomé Hermitage which was said to be a part of the Knights Templar Monastery of San Juan de Otero.

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    2

    Posada de Valdeon

    Enter a hidden valley

    Posada de Valdeon or the Valdeón Valley is a hidden treasure that lies within the Cantabrian Mountains and the western and central massifs of the Picos de Europa. Its secluded location means you can only reach it from one of the local mountain passes.

    Go from the Pontón pass where you can take in the natural beauty of the region. Once you arrive, start thinking about what to do next, as you’ll easily be spoilt for choice. From horseriding adventures and spelunking to canyoning and ski mountaineering, there’s hardly a way to get bored in this scenic part of Castile and León.

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    3

    Galicia

    Hike one of Castile and León's most popular trails

    Galicia is one of the most famous stages of the centuries-old Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that stretches from Las Herrerías de Valcarce to O Cebreiro. This climb on the French Route is one of the most feared due to the steep ascent but is also one of the most rewarding thanks to its beautiful and breathtaking scenery.

    From the start, you’ll find yourself in the amazing countryside which combines mountain views, grazing pastures, tiny stone villages and Atlantic forests that already bear the scent of Galicia. At the end of the stage, enjoy O Cebreiro that is famous for its pallozas or circular pre-Roman stone houses that today are used to accommodate the pilgrims. Don't miss the Sanctuary of Santa María la Real, where legend has it that a miracle was performed in the 15th century there.

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    4

    Burgos

    Explore charming villages and discover Spanish history

    Burgos' beauty is not limited only to the city as the whole province is full of undiscovered gems. One of the best ways to discover them is to follow the path from Belorado to Agés. You'll go through tiny Castilian villages and cross the Montes de Oca hills, which in the Middle Ages hid bandits who would attack passing pilgrims. That's long in the past now and today the only thing you need to worry about are the steep slopes.

    When you get to Agés, you can rest up. Don't go without visiting the famous archaeological site at Atapuerca, just a stone's throw from your destination. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its value is immeasurable in terms of our understanding of human evolution, thanks to remains found here that date back over 1.5 million years.

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    5

    Camino de Santiago

    A pilgrimage between Foncebadón and Ponferrada

    Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of trails in Castile and León that pilgrims often decide to follow for many reasons. The route between Foncebadón and Ponferrada is a reliable summary of many of them. It features steep slopes which only add to the satisfaction when you reach the key points along the way, as you come across tiny stone villages, an amazing medieval bridge, and even a Templar castle at Ponferrada.

    Don't forget to pop a stone into your pocket before you set off. This might seem like a strange tip. But on this stage, you’ll go over the highest point on the Camino where tradition has it that you should leave a small stone that you’ve brought with you from home next to the Cruz de Ferro cross.

    6

    The Geneva Way

    Combine villages and gastronomy

    The Geneva Way is the route between Rabanal del Camino and Villafranca del Bierzo that goes uphill and down dales. You’ll love the charming small villages that you’ll come across along the way, such as El Acebo and Molinesca. The first will charm you with its narrow streets with their old slate houses and the church of San Miguel de Arcángel.

    Make sure you're hungry by the time you reach Molinesca. The restaurants here, which are aimed at passing pilgrims, feature the very best of León's cuisine such as cured beef in quince jelly rolls (cecina en canutillos de membrillo), meat-stuffed pork intestines (botillo berciano), and sirloin of beef (solomillo de buey).

    7

    Anillo de Picos

    A circular route of Picos de Europa

    Anillo de Picos or The Picos Ring is one way to conquer the Picos de Europa mountain range. It comprises 3 different routes, namely Vindio, Extrem, and Tres Macizos which all test your physical endurance as you marvel at the natural beauty of this national park in Castile and León.

    The 3 routes combine to form a single circuit – a ‘ring’ that is worthy of epic storytelling. A word of warning though – the path is rocky and irregular, while the climate at these heights adds further to the challenge.

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    8

    The French Way

    Head from Burgos to Hontanas

    The French Way or Camino Frances is a hiking trail that stretches from Burgos to Hontanas which features sections of old Roman roads along the way. These ancient roads are practically intact as you walk through the Iberian Peninsula's main wheat-growing area. Cross the River Urbel over a gorgeous medieval bridge and you’ll arrive at Hornillos del Camino, which is an essential stop.

    Here, you can visit an archaeological site at which you can see remains of an old Roman settlement as well as the spectacular San Román church. Keep walking and you’ll eventually see the church tower at Hontanas in the distance – a sign that you’ve reached your destination. After the journey, it’s a great place to replenish with Burgos's famous morcilla blood sausage and cheese.

    9

    Astorga

    A jewel in Leon's crown

    Astorga is where many hikers journeying through Castile and Leon have their breath taken away with sights like the episcopal Gaudí's palace among its picturesque landmarks. The route to Foncebadón is gorgeous, dotted with charming little villages.

    If you didn't have time to try the local cuisine in Astorga, stop at one of these villages and try the cocido maragato, which is a delicious traditional meat stew. Good news for those who can't live without their bicycle – the Astorga-Foncebadón route is perfect to be done on 2 wheels.

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    10

    Vega de Liordes

    A mountain path with stunning views

    Vega de Liordes is a village with a historical landmark and a mountain hiking destination in the middle of a vast alpine meadow in Castile and León. The village lies in the upper reaches of the central massif of the Picos de Europa.

    When you get there, you’ll be overcome by a sense of tranquillity and relaxation. If that is not enough, this meeting of various paths offers plenty else to do. For instance, the village is a great base for rock climbing. For a truly moving experience, climb up to Peña Regaliz or Torre Salinas and look down over the valley below.

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