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Spain’s six hottest regions for an active holiday

Whether it’s your first time to Spain or your fifth, there is always something new to discover in this storied European country. It’s the home of boundary-pushing artists, rich red wines and culinary traditions that have been influential around the world. The terrain is incredibly diverse, from one of the world’s most famous pilgrim trails to towering mountain ranges, volcanic fields to sunny coastlines. Whether you’re biking, walking or a mix of both, Spain will surprise and inspire.



Camino de Santiago 

Since the Middle Ages, people have been walking along the Camino de Santiago in northwest Spain. Today it is one of the world’s most legendary walking routes, and truly brings to life the expression “It’s the journey, not the destination.” The Camino de Invierno, or the Winter Way, is the hidden gem of this storied experience—and blending that path with the Spanish route, also known as Camino Frances, ensures you have a truly individual journey. From mountain villages to cliffside vineyards to rugged coastlines, daily walks will reveal the depth and diversity of Spain’s Galicia region—and we’re not just talking about the wine, though that is just as memorable as this walk! In true pilgrimage fashion, it’s traditional to move to a different hotel as you progress through the route, but a luxury spin is de rigueur. The rewards for each day’s trek include a meal in a 16th-century mansion, private tastings of unique vintages with winery owners and evenings relaxing in design-forward hotels unlike any other in the region.  

Hiking along the Camino

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Basque Country 

If you’re looking for something completely different, the Basque Country is calling your name. With their own language and culture, this is a community that has stuck to their historical roots. They’ve also kept centuries of tradition alive through vibrant artistic celebrations, as well as a 13th-century sport called pelota. Flanked by the Pyrenees and the coastline of the Bay of Biscay, the terrain here is diverse—ideal for a week of cycling, hiking, surfing and swimming with the family. Or, for something slower paced, walking routes will lead you through country villages, rural pastures and along coastal trails with stunning views. During your time in this region, chat with chefs in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants, take in Frank Gehry’s breathtaking architecture in Bilboa and soak in the sun in San Sebastian.

Chapel of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Lush grounds of Auberge Ostape

Rioja

Rioja is famous for its wine, but it’s also home to diverse landscapes, medieval heritage and historical towns, and mouthwatering Michelin dining. Those after a cycling trip can explore trails through Ebro River Valley, the Catabrian mountain range—which features routes from the L’Eroica cycling races—and wine country in the foothills of the mountains. Travellers looking for a customized experience can have a Bespoke itinerary designed to include biking and walking, arts and culture, and food and wine. Retrace Hemingway’s time in Rioja or spend the afternoon at the Guggenheim in Bilboa. Time your journey to take part in the Tempranillo grape harvest. Or plan your trip around stays in incredible hotels that are focused on design and architecture. 

Marqués de Riscal Hotel by Frank Gehry

Vineyard-lined roads perfect for biking

Catalonia 

A unique region in Spain by design, Catalonia is famous for its staunchly independent people, strong culture and its own language, Catalan. It was inspiration for Picasso, Dalí and Gaudi, and its landscape is just as exciting as those artists, ranging from the towering Pyrenees to volcanic flats, rolling pastoral hills to rugged coast. For those who want to cycle through the region, a week of biking in Catalonia will have you rolling along volcanic flats with the mountains as your background, soaking in the sea breeze along the sunny Costa Brava, and stopping in small countryside villages for a café con leche. Or, have a trip tailor-made for you that explores Garrotxa Volcanic Natural Park on foot, or set your sights on the countryside from the heights of a hot-air balloon ride. Pair vineyard visits with tapas tours, and dive deep into the arts scene with private guided tours of galleries and museums, including the Teatro-Museo de Salvador Dalí. 

Catalonian coast roads

Tossa de Mar

Mallorca 

One of the Balearic Islands’ magical destinations, Mallorca can be enjoyed at any pace. It’s a vibrant hub for cyclists thanks to gorgeous coastal roads, rolling hills and demanding climbs in the UNESCO-designated Serra de Tramuntana mountains on the north side of the island. It’s an incredible opportunity to see the island with a boost from an e-bike, which offers the flexibility of a break from challenging rides when you need them. When you’re not on a bike, indulge in the divine culinary scene—scores of citrus trees, almond groves and artichoke fields. Plus, plenty of fresh fish and seafood. Hikers have their own rewards, with amazing views of the Mediterranean the reward for walking mountain trails. The walks are a delight for the senses, with trails going by apricot orchards, point forests and blooming bougainvilleas. Pair your active exploration with culinary immersion in the form of tapas tours, visits to food markets and craft gin tastings.   

Private dining tucked into nature

Ascent to Cape Formentor Lighthouse

Andalucia 

Spain’s southernmost region, in Andalucia you see the influences of Moorish rule in its architecture, particularly in the cities of Granada, Córdoba, and Sevilla, and savour the diversity of its agricultural lands. It’s the home of sherry, or Jerez as it’s called there, and the dance tradition Flamenco. In other words, it’s a guaranteed good time here. Explore Andalucia on a Bespoke trip and discover biking and hiking routes that will take you through white-washed, sun-drenched villages on the mountains, and then down into beachside towns, where the Mediterranean Sea beckons. Try your hand at slicing jamon Iberico and put on your dancing shoes for a Flamenco lesson. The rewards after an active day exploring are many, including cooling gazpacho, creative tapas and abundant paella. 

Hilltop town of Casares

Seville’s Plaza de Esplana

Explore B&R’s Scheduled Group Trips in Spain or create your own uniquely Spanish adventure by planning a Bespoke trip with your group.