The sierra is popular with walkers, mountain bikers and rock climbers, the best seasons being spring and autumn. A convenient gateway to the southern Sierra de Gredos is Arenas de San Pedro. Nearby, Guisando, El Hornillo and El Arenal, a trio of villages at a distance of 5km, 6km and 9km from Arenas, respectively, have access to walking trails.

Worth a Trip: A Picturesque Hike

Running west off the N502, near Puerta de Pico, the scenic C500 passes Navarredonda de Gredos and on to Hoyos del Espino, from where the small AV931 leads into the sierra, ending after 12km at La Plataforma. This is the jumping-off point for one of the region's most picturesque walks, leading to the Laguna Grande, a glassy mountain lake in the shadow of the Pico de Almanzor. The easy-to-moderate walk along a well-marked 8km trail takes about 2½ hours each way. Next to the lake is a refugio (mountain shelter), which is often full, and good camping. From here it's possible to climb to the top of the Pico de Almanzor (difficult) in about two hours, or else continue for two hours west to the Circo de Cinco Lagunas (easy to moderate). From there you can either backtrack or descend via the Garganta del Pinar towards the town of Navalperral de Tormes, a rigorous undertaking that can take five hours.

For organised activities, including horse riding, trekking and abseiling, check out the eco-friendly Alternativas en el Medio Natural. You can book the refugio in advance by calling 920 207 576 or 91 847 6253