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Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

One Big Mountain
Tuesday, September 6, 2022 @ 11:47 PM

Spain is a land of contrasts, as many of you know. It is perhaps most well-known for its beautiful sandy beaches that go hand in hand with the great weather, particularly during the summer months. But it’s not all about the sun, sea and sand. Spain is also one of the most mountainous countries in Europe as well, and climbing to the top of some of the country’s highest peaks will reward you with the most spectacular sights ever.

Richard Ford, the 19th-century traveller and first British hispanophile, jokingly said in 'Gatherings from Spain' that the country is just one big mountain. 24% is above 1000 m and 76% between 500 and 1000 m above sea level. Spain has an average altitude of 660 metres. In Europe only Switzerland is higher (by a long way - average altitude of 1,300 metres). So it should come as no surprise that Castilian is so rich in words for mountains, hills, cliffs and plateaus. 

Of the 505,988 km2 of Spain , 57,615 km2 are below 200m, 156,370 km2 are between 201 and 600m, 198,650 km2 are between 601 and 1,000m, 88,766 km2 are between 1,000 and 2000m; and 4,587 km2 higher. Only 12% of mainland Spain lies at a gradient of less than 1 in 20 (5%)

The Pyrenees have a maximum width of 130km, run 440 km and cover 55,375 km2. In the Pyrenees, there are 212 peaks above 3,000 m. The highest peak is called Aneto (3,404m) although until the early 19th century it was thought that Monte Perdido was higher. 

The largest surviving glacier is on Aneto. It currently covers 163 ha, down from 692 at the end of the 19th century. The Pyrenean glaciers are melting fast. The last glaciers disappeared in the Sierra Nevada in 1913 at Corral de la Veleta which was the southernmost glacier in Europe.

Walking is a great way to keep fit, but walking in the mountains (with a bit of climbing) is even better. Every region has its own area of peaks and natural scenery. Why not try some of the smaller heights before heading for the ‘big’ ones?

1. Teide (Tenerife) 3,718 

2. Mulhacén (Granada) 3,478 

3. Aneto (Huesca) 3,404 


4.Veleta (Granada) 3,392 
5. Llardana (Huesca) 3,375 
6. Alcazaba (Granada) 3,366 
7. Monte Perdido (Huesca) 3,355 
8. Cilindro (Huesca) 3,328 
9. Perdiguero (Huesca) 3,321 
10. Maladeta (Huesca) 3,309 




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