Finding truly natural autumn landscapes in Spain is easy. Perhaps the only difficulty is choosing from the idyllic spots that are spread across the country. The coastal landscapes that are more associated with summer give way to sleek mountains, vast vineyards, valleys where time seems to stand still and forests engulfed in a completely peaceful atmosphere. Below are some irresistible and unknown places to get in touch with nature, without any obstructions.
Ambroz Valley, Cáceres
Experience a “Magical Autumn” at least once in your life. This cultural event, with a different and original programme each year, is held in the stunning Ambroz Valley in Cáceres, Extremadura. Sightings of all sorts of birds, water activities, hiking among its oak groves, chestnut and pine trees or the high mountain areas are just some of the options in the ideal place to forget about your worries. Did you know that in 2019 it was chosen by the European Commission as a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN)?
Monasterio de Piedra, Nuévalos (Zaragoza)
Stunning waterfalls, lush forests, caves and rocky galleries with incredible views of the lakes in the background, as well as watching elegant birds of prey. A route through a completely lush natural landscape.
Hayedo de Montejo beech forest, Madrid
Just a short distance from Madrid, in the Sierra del Rincón, is one of the lushest and dampest forest areas in Spain, which look like film settings. The range of colours in the Hayedo de Montejo in autumn, including yellows, greens, reds and oranges, complement the beech trees to create a magical atmosphere.
Las Médulas, El Bierzo (León)
A passing point on the Camino de Santiago, Las Médulas is part of a region with a wealth of history, monuments and archaeological sites: El Bierzo. The visual impact of the irregular topography in this former mine complex, where the Romans extracted up to 800 tonnes of gold from, is truly stunning. The reddish rocks and the surrounding chestnut trees are a couple of the reasons why UNESCO named it as a World Heritage Site. Walk, cycle or ride a horse along the route to truly get to know the landscape, enjoy the autumnal custom of the welcoming chestnut trees in one of the best areas for them... The possibilities in Las Médulas are endless.
Black Lagoon, Soria
Walking among the pine trees in the Revinuesa Valley leads to the peaceful Black Lagoon, 2,000 metres high. The dark water, combined with the light and shade coming from the nearby pine and beech trees, creates a dream-like landscape which has been the basis for numerous legends. This mysterious oasis in the Sierra de Urbión (Soria) inspired famous Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Before the snow arrives in autumn, the contrasting tones of the plants is spectacular.
Bear Trail, Asturias
A former railway route that has been converted into a Greenway, a route with signs for hikers and cyclists. Three itineraries in a Y-shape between the villages of Entrago, Tuñón and Santa Marina. Along the 36 kilometres of the route there are 30 tunnels, 7 bridges and 3 gorges. The Bear Trail invites you to play the part of a traveller who explores the stunning nature of Asturias with the curiosity of a treasure hunter. One of the best aspects of this experience is catching sight of the brown bears who live in semi-freedom in an enclosure on the route.
Irati Forest, Navarre
It is a real privilege to stand in front of one of the largest and best-conserved forests in Europe. All of the activities in Irati (Navarre) are conscious of conserving the practically unspoilt environment, including the regulated mushroom collections. In autumn, it is interesting to hear the mating calls of the deer in the mating season. Each season in the beech and fir forest is special and it is the same place that Ernest Hemingway used to get lost in after the San Fermín festival.
Spanish fir forest, Sierra de Grazalema (Andalusia)
The place that receives the most rainfall is in the south of Spain, in the Sierra de Grazalema nature reserve. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, this extraordinary enclave in the province of Cadiz contains real vegetation jewels. The Spanish fir forest, a thousand-year-old species, is one of them. A Roman road, paths for walking or horse riding, paragliding and hand-gliding for the more daring types... There are plenty of options for everybody to connect with the Sierra de Grazalema in their own way. This area is also known for “eco-development” and native activities such as creating woollen blankets and leather products under strict conditions that respect the environment.
Colomèrs Glacial Cirque, Vall D’Arán (Lleida)
The spectacular Vall D’Arán, located in the heart of the Pyrenees, joins natural, gastronomic and artistic attractions together in perfect harmony to stimulate all the senses. The feeling of being in a unique environment starts with an Atlantic climate despite its Mediterranean location. Places such as the Colomèrs Glacial Cirque, which is known for its medicinal waters, is just one of the unique experiences to be had here. It has more than 30 lakes that can be accessed by a tarmac track from the edge of the Aiguamòg valley.
Fuente Dé viewpoint, Picos de Europa (Cantabria)
The Picos de Europa National Park is full of highly recommended places across the three provinces it span: Asturias, León and Cantabria. The Fuente Dé viewpoint is 1,800 metres high and can be found in Cantabria. Just over three minutes in a cable car and you are there, with the Liébana region at your feet. Stunning panoramic views that last in the memory while you leisurely enjoy a Liébana cocido, a typical stew from the area, and if it is a snowy day you really have the feeling of floating among the peaks.