Family Adventures Vacations In The Unspoiled Spanish Countryside
Whether you want to live your family adventures travel meandering over the semi-tropical southern flank of the Sierra Nevada, where you can explore the ancient Moorish traditions that are still upheld by the local villages or taking a short break in the rugged and isolated region of Asturias in the green lung of the Mediterranean, Spain has many places of interest for family adventures.
A few examples:
0 Canyoning in the Pyrenees
0 ULM in Cuenca
0 Trek the Picos de Europa
0 Tramuntana in Mallorca
0 Surf in Basque Country
0 Dive the Canary Islands
0 Guadix caves
0 Pueblos Blancos
Canyoning in the Pyrenees
The Sierra de Guara, is a region placed around 80 Km. south of the Spanish Pyrenees mountain range, in the province of Huesca. This place has a great variety of geological formations. The difficulty of access and the rough trails allows the “Parque de los Cañones y Sierra de Guara” to preserve the richness of its fauna and flora.
Inhabited and abandoned several times, the Sierra de Guara has human traces from the last glaciations. This human presence shows itself through the existence of cave paintings, dolmens, Roman and Arabic bridges where you can still find useful terraces, vestiges of a type of agriculture which used to work a little plot of land.
You will undoubtedly be attracted to the permanent contrast between natures majestic creativity and its harmonious races of humanity, especially the one held by the magnificent landscape with its wonderful fragrances of rosemary and thyme. In short ideal for your family adventures.
You will be introduced to the magic within this “Sierra”, where more than 70 canyons arise over a range of 20 Km. Due to this fact the Sierra has been placed as the European reference for the practice of canyoning at all levels. All levels meaning you can come here as a first timer with your young children as well as a seasoned expert.
ULM in Cuenca (Villalba de la Sierra)
Talking about serious family adventures: two of Spains best and most prudent experts in ULM, both winners of the Spanish league can acquaint you with this aerial transportation mode that lingers between sport and a certain way of life.
In total security and without any vertigo you fly with an average speed of 70 km/hour with a delta wing and a small engine (all of aeronautical quality), and you feel just like a bird does: wind in your hair, total visibility all around you.
You can admire the vastness of the fields below, follow the whimsical course of a river and taste the silence as the pilot cuts the engine for the relaxing descent to the landing zone.
The ULM’s are up to modern standards and equipped with all the necessary security measures. They are constructed by the French firm Cosmos, which is the most prestigious ULM construction company in the world, just to make sure that your family adventures don’t turn into family disaster.
Trek the Picos de Europa
Picos De Europa was the first national park in Spain and contains some of the finest mountain scenery and walking on the Peninsula. The high, jagged limestone peaks are interspersed with green valleys, where a traditional way of life lives on.
Located south of the Bay of Biscay and swept by its humid winds, the valleys of the Picos de Europa teem with trippers in summer. Crowds are slimmer in the upland reaches, but there’s no question that this is the place to trek.
Of its three massifs, you’ll find the Macizo Occidental and Macizo Central the most exhilarating. Stretch your legs with demanding day walks, or take on a challenging circuit such as a four-day route from the base of the cabin lift at Fuente Di or a nine-day trip starting and finishing at Lago de la Ercina.
Unmissable highlights include the seven-and-a-half-mile Garganta del Cares gorge and the Vega de Liordes valley, hemmed in by sawtooth peaks. Refugios (mountain huts) are well spaced. Otherwise, drop down to find accommodations in the villages sprinkling the valley bottoms.
Tramuntana in Mallorca
When you think of Mallorca the first things that come to your mind are overcrowded beaches and drunken tourists, not much in the field of family adventures I can hear you think.
But the north western part of this largest of the Balearic Islands is covered by the Sierra de Tramuntana with heights of 1445 m ( Puig Major) and 1349 m (Massanella).
One can travel on foot on ancient pathways, along the coast then up and through the backbone of this beautiful island. Scenery aside, there are ancient towns and villages to explore along with monasteries .
You say you are more of rugged rock climber, well If you are prepared to take your time, the small roads on the East of the island will lead you to one of the most beautiful rock climbing spots in Europe.
The routes here offer all kinds of difficulty, from easy rock climbing to really hard routes.
Beware though: during the summer it can be too hot for rock climbing and the recommended periods are during the autumn and spring.
Spain has 4,964 km of coastline so there is no shortage of good places to surf. Since this is a family adventures activity I don’t know very much about I am going to direct you to a specialist site on this subject: Family adventures Wannasurf
And for the still adventurous ( hé this is a page about family adventures isn’t it?) but maybe a little bit more at ease here are two activities that can be done with much less effort 😉
Thousands of years ago people were drawing fish and deer on the walls of caves in the South of Spain. Traces of these early caveman are still being found. However even today more than 30.000 people are living underground in Andalucía. That is not because they missed the civilization but rather a deliberate choice on the part of these “modern” caveman.
They prefer their subterranean homes to the coldness of today’s concrete housing blocks. Family adventures walking in a cave district may be walking inadvertently on someone’s rooftop.
Most of these caves are equipped with all the amenities of a modern home anyway. One can find modern caveman in the valleys of the rivers Andarax en Almazora in de province of Almería, but the greatest number of them can be found in and around Guadix in the province of Granada.
There are houses, bars, discotheques, shops and churches all partially or totally underground… now how is that for family adventures?
People who live in these houses praise in the first place the silence of their homes, the isolation of noise is perfect. A constant room temperature of around 18° C ,be it winter or summer is another benefit.
The exploration of cave can be another part of family adventures. Many caves are open to the public and in some places there are speleological expeditions for the more expert adventurers
On the border of the provinces Málaga and Granada remains were found of a Neanderthaler man, probably dating from 85.000 years ago…Near Maro, in the province Málaga you can find the Cueva ( Spanish for cave)de Nerja, a series of subterranean spaces with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. They were opened to the public in 1960 and are illuminated.
Adventurers who want to visit the La Pileta cave however must find their own way over mile long galleries with the only light coming from an oil lamp. The walls are ornated with many mysterious symbols and the famous painting of a pregnant black mare indicating there once was a sort of fertility cult going on.
This cave was found in 1905 by a local farmer José Bullón Lobato. His family today still owns the land on which the cave is situated.
Of all the people who visit the province of Málaga only a few venture out more than a couple of miles away from the beaches. And that is a shame because Málaga, like the rest of Spain has much more to offer than beaches alone.
For instance take the Pueblos Blancos, large agricultural villages with white plastered houses. They are found in the lower part of Andalucía.
There is even an official Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos. Don’t be mislead by the pueblos on the Atlantic coast. They need tourism for their survival and are by no means representative for the real thing.
A few miles away from the coastal line things change because the effects of tourism are no longer there. Even so that it is very hard to find accommodation unless you are a real backpacker…
Regular tourists will have to find accommodation in Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera or maybe Olvera.
The best route for family adventures to explore the Pueblos Blancos runs from Ronda to Algeciras. On it you will find mostly small villages; 1000 – 2500 habitants, the village of Alpandeire only counts about 200. A lot of the people moved to the big cities: Madrid, Barcelona or the coastal regions.
The king of the Pueblos Blancos is Olvera with its Moorish tower and Christian basilica. The streets are clean, albeit a bit sombre. The local fiesta exceeds everything in the surroundings: in the second half of august all the stalls, fair attractions and bars stay open until 5 o’clock in the morning for 5 days in a row…
Those are only a handful of examples of family adventures possible in the beautiful country that is Spain: fishing, charter fishing, hiking, biking, hot air ballooning, canoeing, kayaking, golf, horseback riding, houseboat rental, hunting, rafting, white water rafting, scuba diving, snorkelling, skiing, snowmobiling and so many more outdoor activities wait for you to live, enjoy and explore.