From limestone walls filled with tufas and pockets in Catalonia to the red sandstone bouldering in Albarracín, Spain is home to some of the best rock climbing in the world.
If it's not already on your radar, the predictable weather, surprisingly affordable flights, and an immense variety of climbing styles mean Spain should be high on your list for your next climb-cation.
"But where to go rock climbing in Spain!?"
We get this question so often we decided to write a little guide to help get you thinking about your next climbing trip!
While each crag deserves a guidebook of its own, we've highlighted a few of our favorites. Scroll down below to find your climbing discipline!
Even though climbing media gives all the hype to Albarracin, La Pedriza is actually the largest bouldering area in Spain!
The most recent guidebook from Talo Martin includes 3470 boulder problems with more being opened each day. The rock is friction-dependent granite with slabs, technical vertical faces, and overhangs all with that Joshua Tree vibe.
While renting a car is always the best choice, its proximity to Madrid (45 minutes) makes it a feasible option on public transit for those willing to walk. Just remember to pack an extra roll of tape if you want to Keep Climbing — the rock can be sharp!
Peak Season: Mid-fall through mid-spring Airport: Madrid Nearest town: Manzanares El Real Pad Rental:Hostal La Pedriza Why we love it: La Pedriza also has fantastic slabby sport climbing, trad, and multi-pitch. Short drive to other major granite bouldering areas in Madrid.
There's a reason many climbers say bouldering in Albarracín is the best climbing Spain has to offer!
With juggy gym-style roofs and slopey mantles ranging from V0 to V15, there's something here for every climber. A dedicated local crew has opened several thousand boulders and many of the classic areas are packed full of quality climbs. Lots of variety of grades within each sector make Albarracín a good choice for groups of boulderers at different levels.
The village of Albarracín feels like it's stuck in the middle ages which you'll notice quickly as you wander around the cobblestone streets and fortress walls. The village has all of your basic amenities, but a rental car is a must since the parking to access the boulders is several miles uphill.
Peak Season: Early fall through late spring Airport: Madrid (3.5 hours), Barcelona (4.5 hours), Valencia (2 hours) Pad Rental & Gear:Sofa Boulder Nearest town: Basic amenities in the village. Teruel (30 minutes). Why we love it: Skin-friendly rock means you can climb many days in a row. Athletic style translates well if you're used to gym climbing.
Deep Water Solo Climbing
Deep Water Soloing in Mallorca recently came into the spotlight with Chris Sharma's ascent of Es Pontas, but this Mediterranean island has long been a premier destination for those brave enough to climb over water.
There are dozens of crags around the island with routes ranging from beginner to 5.14+. The Cala Barques crag is one of the most popular for its wide range of difficulty (5.8 to 5.13+) and heights of no more than 14 meters. Cala Marcal is another great spot to check out for those looking for easier climbs (5.6 to 5.11d) or to get used to the fear factor...and it's roadside!
As with any climbing discipline, DWS comes with dangers and it's extremely important to take the appropriate safety precautions. Plan on going with a group and consider visiting more popular crags. Make sure to check the water depth/currents, have an exit plan, and take a few practice jumps from 5 meters. Don't worry too much about the grades and remember that you can always try again if you are unsure of a move!
If the sea swell conditions aren't favorable, those of you Rope Guns will love the fantastic selection of sport climbing in Mallorca.
Peak Season: Late summer, September, October Airport: Palma de Mallorca Nearest town: Crags scattered around the Island Why we love it: Climbing + beach...do we need to say more?!
Margalef has long been a staple on the Spanish climbing scene and often gets its name in the headlines with regular visits from pros like Alex Megos and Stefano Ghisolfi. But apart from hardcore climbs like Perfecto Mundo, there are well over 500 routes ranging from 5.Fun! to 5.11d.
The rock here is conglomerate and leans towards an athletic style of climbing on pockets. There's also an excellent variety of short, bouldery routes which makes it a popular choice if you tend to spend time climbing indoors.
If you like changing sectors or come with varying levels, you'll love that many of the cliffs have short (aka...30-second) approaches.
Peak Season: Early fall through late spring Airport: Barcelona (2 hours) Nearest town: Very basic amenities in Margalef. Plan to stock up on supplies after leaving the airport. Why we love it: Margalef is less than an hour's drive from Siurana making it possible to visit two world-class crags in one trip!
No list of sport climbing in Spain would be complete without a shoutout to Rodellar. If juggy, endurance-style climbing is your cup of tea then you'll be right at home at this crag.
Rodellar has dozens of sectors with 100's of different routes to choose from. Many of the classic climbs start in the mid-5.11 range, but there are plenty of routes in the 5.9 to 5.11b in the valley.
The caves and arches create a spectacular backdrop and give Rodellar some of the most picturesque climbing in Spain. Even though temperatures can spike upwards of 90°F degrees in July and August, Rodellar is a popular summer destination because of its natural swimming holes.
Peak Season: Late spring through early fall Airport: Zaragoza (2 hours). Barcelona (3 hours) Nearest town: Basic amenities in the village. Huesca (1 hour). Why we love it: Pumpy, overhanging routes on generous holds. Potential summer destination if you don't mind splitting your morning and afternoon climbs with a dip in the river.
If pockets aren't your thing, you won't have to venture far from Margalef to find the crimpy, technical limestone walls in Siurana!
While this area gets its fame thanks to routes like La Rambla, there is TONS of climbing at all levels especially in the mid-5.11 to 5.12+ range. That being said, there is still plenty of climbing in the lower grades if you go looking. Luckily, most sectors aren't a far hike from the main cliff face.
Peak Season: Late fall through early spring Airport: Barcelona (2 hours) Nearest town: Cornudella de Montsant Why we love it: Southern-facing sectors are a good option for winter months. More skin-friendly than Margalef!
La Costa Blanca is the region of the Mediterranean coastline located in the province of Alicante in Southern Spain. Its sunny crags are in prime conditions in December or January when it's too cold to climb elsewhere.
The largest, most famous crag for sport climbing in La Costa Blanca is Sella, but part of what makes this region stand out is its numerous, high-quality smaller spots (think two guidebooks worth).
With tufas, crimps, pockets, multi-pitch, technical single-pitch faces, and steep cave climbing ranging from 5.Fun! to 5.Hard, La Costa Blanca has something for everyone!
Peak Season: Winter Airport: Alicante, Valencia Nearest town: Alicante, Calp, Benidorm, Denia. Why we love it: Sunny skies, 70-80°F temps, and limestone in the middle of winter? Yes, please! Many crags clustered together means you can sample lots of Spanish climbing.
While temperatures in Catalonia and central Spain climb over 90°F degrees in July and August, the regions of Northern Spain experience much milder conditions thanks to their coastal location. The Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, & Galicia all have loads of climbing crags and make a great option if you are limited to taking your vacation in the summer months.
Noteworthy sport climbing crags include Valdegovia and Araotz (see photo) in Basque Country, La Hermida in Cantabria, and Teverga in Asturias. Each of these crags offers a variety of styles from pockets to tufas ranging from 5.6 to 5.Hard.
And since everyone loves Climbing for Snacks, the gastronomy in these regions is some of the best in Spain!
Peak Season: Late spring through early fall Airport: Bilbao, Madrid (4+ hours). Why we love it: Experience Spain off the beaten path. Excellent food! Great escape from the sweltering summer temps in other regions.
Multi-Pitch & Trad Climbing
Picos de Europa
This national park is nestled high in Northern Spain between the regions of Cantabria, Asturias, and Castilla y Leon. Many of the classic climbs are clustered on the Naranjo de Bulnes peak.
Stash a few tricams in your gear because here you'll find bolted, trad, and mixed routes anywhere from 5 pitches to 19+ pitches long with difficulties across all grade levels. Its northern location also makes it a solid choice during the summer months.
Peak Season: Spring through fall Airport: Santander (2 hours), Oviedo (2.5 hours) Why we love it: Towering limestone walls without much foot traffic. Close drive to world-class single-pitch sport climbing.
Spain is home to some of the best climbing in the world, and we hope this guide will get you brainstorming about where to go on your next climb-cation.
If you have questions or ideas you'd like to share about rock climbing in Spain, leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
Until then, happy climbing DS fam!
But WAIT…Don’t forget to complete your crag-fit!
Get ready for your trip with a comfy top that lets your personality shine. You never know when it'll spark a new friendship halfway around the world!