TRAVEL

Around Spain in 20 miniadventures

From canoeing to dogsledding, check out a countrywide selection of outdoor thrills

A hiker in the Anaga rural park in Tenerife.
A hiker in the Anaga rural park in Tenerife.FLAVIO VALLENARI

1 Hiking in the protected parks

Tour company Allcaravan specializes in organizing visits and activities in Spain’s protected natural spaces, from national parks to biosphere reserves. It offers programs in all the peninsula’s parks, as well as those in the Canary and Balearic Islands. And what’s more, they can be tailored to all kinds of physical abilities, ages and budgets.

2 Windsurfing in Galicia

Beach & Escolas’ centers in Galicia offer beginners and advanced courses every weekend of the year, and every day in summer. There are individual classes, as well as those for groups of up to six, catering for all ages and levels. Centers can be found at Oza beach in A Coruña, Américas beach in Nigrán and Limens beach in Cangas.

3 Paragliding over Lleida

Situated in the Vall d’Àger, at the foot of Montsec, the En­­tre­núvols paragliding school gives you the chance to soar over Lleida province. There are trips in two-seaters for those who want to experience a flight for the first time, as well as courses for beginners (lasting between two and four days), intermediates (10 flights over four to six days), and advanced flyers (25 to 35 flights over 10 days). A first flying experience will set you back €65.

4 Kitesurfing in Mallorca

For those who want to know how to handle a board and kite, the 30Nodi kitesurfing school in Mallorca offers courses for all levels at its facilities in Can Pastilla, close to Palma de Mallorca, as well as other suitably windy spots on the island. Individual and group classes available.

5 Horseriding in the Sierra de Cazorla

The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in Jaén province is the biggest protected natural space in Spain, covering 214,000 hectares. Tierraventura Cazorla offers you the chance to discover it on horseback along a number of routes down forest paths and trails guided by a qualified instructor. Trips cost €12 per person per hour.

6 Canoeing down the Sella

Thousands of kayakers come together to head down the Sella river in Asturias every first Sunday in August as part of an international challenge. But, of course, you can do it for yourself at any other time of the year, enjoying the landscape without the pressure of competing. Río Sella, K2 Aventura, the Escuela Asturiana de Piraguismo and Astur Aventuras are just some of the companies that rent equipment and offer guides in Arriondas. Prices are around €25.

7 Canyoning in the Basque Country

From its base in Albeniz, Álava province, Inguru Abentura offers all kinds of adventure activities in the Basque Country, including canyoning – a mixture of climbing and caving. The options in the company’s catalogue include simple routes down easy ravines, such as the one at Aguake (Antoñana), to more complex ones, such as at La Leze (Egino). Prices start at €40.

8 Hot-air ballooning in Madrid, Castilla y León and Extremadura

Hot-air balloons offer perhaps the best flying experience money can buy: no noise, no engine – and no vertigo, given that you’re standing up in the basket. It also makes them suitable for all types of people, including those who wouldn’t dare try paragliding or hang gliding. Aerotours offers flights over the Madrid mountains, Segovia, Aranjuez, Toledo, Soria and the Arribes del Duero, while Extremadura en Globo organizes flights over Extremadura. In both cases the standard price starts from €150.

9 Caving in Cantabria

Cantabria is a caver’s paradise, and you don’t need to be a professional to discover its underground world. Cantabria Activa offers guided visits to accessible caves along with accommodation deals in rural properties and other adventure activities from its bases in Cartes, Montesclaros, Cabárceno and Vega de Pas.

10 Boating on the Tagus

With room for 64 people aboard, the Barco del Tajo boat travels the Tagus river in the Tajo/Tejo natural park, the only one in the peninsula to span two countries. There are various routes between Santiago de Alcántara (Cáceres) and Lentiscais (Portugal). Adults €15, children €10.

11 Bungee jumping in Teruel

Anyone in need of an adrenalin hit will find bungee jumping an excellent remedy. Geoventur organizes jumps in the Utrillas area, in Teruel’s mining districts. Each jump costs €25, though you need to be over 18.

12 Snowshoeing in the Aragon Pyrenees

An excellent alternative to winter hiking, walking in snowshoes allows you to progress more easily on soft snow and travel more safely in winter climes. Trips in Huesca province’s Posets-Maladeta natural park organized by, for example, Mas Pirineo, last two hours and include a qualified guide, trekking poles, snowshoes and insurance. The cost is €25 per person.

13 Diving in Cabo de Palos

The Cabo de Palos marine reserve is one of the best places in the Mediterranean to see undersea flora and fauna, while its seabed is also a graveyard for many vessels from throughout the centuries. Atura Sub offers first diving trips suitable for all members of the public for €50 and Open Water Diver beginner courses for €360. Open all year round.

14 Cycling around La Rioja wine country

ASG offers cycling tours around La Grajera metropolitan park, two kilometers outside Logroño, visiting the vineyards in the area. Along the way you will be accompanied by a wine expert who will explain how the vines are cultivated and then harvested. The trip finishes with a wine tasting and a typical Riojan lunch. Tours take place every Saturday and Sunday and cost €30 per person.

15 Waterskiing in Calella (Barcelona)

Water Sports Centre Calella offers waterskiing courses in the company of an instructor for €40 per 15-minute session, or €135 for four sessions. Kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing and catamaraning are also available.

16 Skydiving in Castellón

The freefall in a parachute jump usually lasts 50 seconds – but they can be the longest and most intense 50 seconds of your life. Sky Time in El Grao (Castellón) offers you the chance to do tandem jumps from 4,000 meters, which are also suitable for complete novices. For those who want to go further, the firm also organizes freefalling courses comprising seven jumps and costing from €1,440. A tandem jump costs €205.

17 Gliding in Toledo

While the Centro de Aviación Deportiva de Ocaña, in Toledo province, offers complete gliding courses, anyone just wanting to try the experience once can take one of its introductory flights, during which they will even be able to take the controls themselves.

18 Mountainbiking on Gran Canaria

Like the rest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is full of spectacular trails that can be explored by mountain bike. Free Ride Tours rents bikes at Inglés beach and at the port in Mogán for those wanting to head out alone, as well as offering guided tours of the island all year round. They cost €69, including bike rental.

19 Dogsledding in the Catalan Pyrenees

Crossing a snowy forest driving a dogsled is a marvelous feast for the senses that is fortunately not just reserved for Arctic explorers. Montgarri Outdoor Mushing in the Vall d’Aran, Skicenter Baqueira Mushing in Baqueira, and Rasos Peguera Mushing at the Rasos ski station are just some of the companies offering sled trips in the Catalan Pyrenees.

20 Rollerblading around Madrid

Inline skating is a fun, cheap and accessible way of exercising and getting around any city. Sobre Ruedas Madrid skating school organizes courses for children and adults, as well as loads of weekend activities, including routes around the city and mountains, and slaloming events.