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Walking the Picos de Europa

from $1,649.00

Enjoy varied walks in beautiful Spanish mountains

  • Reviews 81 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Walking the Picos de Europa.

Spain’s third highest mountain range, the Picos de Europa is a region of dramatic limestone peaks and lush valleys. Carpeted in beautiful wild flowers in spring, this area is also known as ‘Green Spain’. Its terrain, tranquillity and inaccessibility make the Picos a walker’s paradise. Chamois, Griffon vultures, Golden eagles and many other species are regularly seen, and, although more rarely spotted, bears, wolves and boars still survive in this incredible wilderness. We base ourselves at the friendly, family-run Hotel Torrecerredo, positioned in the heart of the region and offering breathtaking panoramas of the highest peaks from its welcoming bar and restaurant.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners included
* 7 nights at the Hotel Torrecerredo
* Airport Transfers (at designated times)

Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Diverse walks in Spain’s oldest national park
  • Incredible wildlife including Chamois, Golden eagles and Griffon vultures
  • Traditional mountain villages in the valleys of Green Spain
  • Family-run hotel with stunning panoramic views
  • Challenging departure dates available (inquire for dates)
  1. Day 1 Start Arenas de Cabrales.

    The trip starts in Arenas de Cabrales this afternoon. Those on the group flights will be met at Bilbao Airport and transferred to our hotel, which has views up to the highest peak in the national park.**

  2. Day 2 Visit the Arenas de Cabrales valley; pastures of Vanu and spectacular views- Moderate departure (level 3)

    The walk begins directly from our hotel. After leaving the village, a path leads us up to the pastures of Vanu with the most famous peaks of Picos de Europa visible on sunny days.We continue onwards where the scenery changes and we are able to view across the main valley of Cabrales. During Spring time, it is possible to see a large variety of flowers. Looking skywards it is also possible to spot some vultures soaring above.For lunch we will approach the village of Inguanzo before completing the final part of the walk. This section of the walk is more undulating and provides us with fresh views and a comfortable last mile takes us back to Arenas de Cabrales.Most of this first day’s walk follows wide easy tracks for warming up with some steep ascents. There is only a short section of downhill walking during today’s walk.Walking approx. 16km/ 10 miles; duration 7 hours; ascent +730m; descent -730m. Highest point (Los Fresnos col): 720m.

  3. Day 3 Ascent to Pandescura peak with superb views of the Western Massif- Moderate departure (level 3)

    A short transfer takes us to the village of Canales. The first part of the day follows farm tracks before a short climb up to the ’Collado de los Buitres’. If you are lucky you may see Griffon vultures soaring above. We then follow open terrain, slowly ascending to the base of the Pandescura peak. A simple ascent to the top will lead us to an ideal lunch spot with superb views of the Western massif peaks. We then descend through green hills to the village of Bovia.Walking approx. 14km/ 9 miles; duration 6 hours; ascent +550m; descent -580m. Highest point (Pandescura peak): 1000m.

  4. Day 4 Classic Cares Gorge walk, one of the most popular walks in Spain- Moderate departure (level 3)

    The classic Cares Gorge has been described as the jewel in the crown of Spanish hiking. For 12 km, the engineered path has been blasted into the rock face. Originally built in the 1940s as part of a hydroelectric scheme, it is now one of the most popular walks in Spain. In places, the surrounding peaks rise over two thousands metres above the path and if we’re lucky, we may catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful wall creeper bird. The path eventually emerges in the village of Cain, where we have lunch before our return along the same path to Puente Poncebos. Transport will be waiting here to take us to back to our hotel in Arenas. The walk is relatively flat with a gradual ascent of just 350m from Puente Poncebos to Cain.Walking approx. 24km/ 15 miles; duration 7 hours; ascent +550m; descent -550m. Highest point (Los Collaos): 510m

  5. Day 5 Free day. Optional activities include caving, self-guided canoeing, canyoning or a trip to the coast- Moderate (level 3) & Challenging (level 5) departures

    Today is free for you to visit the coast or try a spot of caving, self-guided canoeing or canyoning. Our local staff will be able to help organise any of these activities.

  6. Day 6 Summit of Peña Main, one of the classic viewpoints of the Picos; continue on to Pandebano Col- Moderate departure (level 3)

    Starting close to the village of Tieve, we walk up into the Main range and summit Peña Main, one of the classic viewpoint in the Picos. We walk to Pandebano Col and then begin our descent.Walking approx. 11km/ 7 miles; duration 7 hours; ascent +1050m; descent -740m. Highest point (Cabeza La Mesa): 1612m

  7. Day 7 Walk up to the twin summits of Mancondiu offering fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs- Moderate departure (level 3)

    At 2000m, the twin summits of Mancondiu are the highest point we reach during the week. Most of the walking apart from the last 200m is on disused mining tracks. The top offers fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs and is a fantastic end to a diverse week of walking.Walking approx. 11km/ 7 miles ; duration 5 hours; ascent +735m; descent -735m. Highest point: Macondiu peak 2000m

  8. Day 8 End Arenas de Cabrales.

    The trip ends in Arenas de Cabrales this morning.**

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Where you stay

Hotel Torrecerredo

Our base for the week is the lovely Hotel Torrecerredo, a small family-run hotel in Arenas de Cabrales, It has a pleasant garden terrace attached to the café bar and the panoramic restaurant gives views right up to the mountains peaks. All rooms have en suite facilities along with TV and Wi-Fi. The hotel is situated in a rural setting, five minutes’ walk from the centre of the village, which is well serviced with banks, cafes and shops. The hotel’s restaurant serves delicious traditional meals all cooked with locally sourced ingredients.

Single accommodation is available (on request). Please note that paying for a single supplement only guarantees a room for single use and does not under normal circumstances mean that a twin or a double for sole occupancy will be provided.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners are included.

The region has several delicious specialities for you to try while you are staying here. The area is famous for its gold-medal-winning blue cheese, Queso Cabrales, which is matured in some of the thousands of deep limestone caves that dot the hills. Lesser known, but equally appealing is the local lamb Cordero al la Menta and a wholesome bean stew, Fabada Asturiana. Fresh fish comes from the coast at Llanes and Ribadesella, half an hour’s drive away. The local wine is very drinkable, though a glass of local cider can be more refreshing.

Breakfast: Fruit juice, tea, freshly ground coffee, cereals, bread, cold meats, cheeses and a selection of local fruit (depending on season) offered buffet-style. There are also eggs cooked to order, sponge and Anis cake.

Lunch: Generally includes a large bread roll, with a choice of fillings daily, chocolates and fresh fruit.

Dinner: Homemade four-course meal usually consists of soup or salad for the first course, a choice of 3 main courses, with meat, fish, or vegetarian, followed by a homemade dessert.

Wine: To accompany the evening meal, the hotel has a reasonably comprehensive wine list available.

Over the years, the hotel has developed tasty vegetarian alternatives. Please let us know in advance if you are vegetarian or have any other special dietary requirements.

This trip is Activity Level 3 (Moderate) with 5 days of walking.

The walking here is varied and spectacular, with some superb scenery at the higher levels. Over the course of the week we will try and tackle two classic gorges and one peak in each of the three massifs in the Picos de Europe, Spain’s first national park. Most of the walking is on shepherds paths, old disused mining paths and some sections of Roman ‘roads’, although the final ascents of the peaks can be quite rough underfoot.

The majority of the trip departures are Level 3 (Moderate). However, we also offer a selection of departures as Level 5 (Challenging). This is to offer those that wish the opportunity to ascend the higher peaks. It is important to be assured of your fitness on these departures.

As in all mountain ranges, the weather is unpredictable and this may affect several walks. With changeable weather it should be expected that on some rare occasions higher-level walks may not be available. Although please be assured that your leader will always try to find a suitable alternative.

Please note that due to high demand for this tour, on some weeks we may lay on a second group departure, which will follow an alternative itinerary. This includes the same walks but taken in a different order, usually reverse.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Walking Pecos de Europa

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Cares Gorge and seeing at close hand the engineering involved in building the canal/aqueduct to deliver water to the hydroelectric power plant. Walking the Roman mining trail to the isolated village of Bulnes and beyond to the col for lunch.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro was outstanding. Not only knowledge of every track and trail in the region, which gave him the ability to vary the daily program to make the most of the weather and ensure we were not left exposed in the electrical storms prevailing at the time but also of all the flora and fauna, thus adding another dimension to the treks.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not assume Spain in summer means sun and dry conditions. Take a light waterproof and over trousers and a fleece or sweater as just walking in cloud can be cool and wet. If you want to do the canoeing option (something of a highlight for me) on the free day take a swimming costume and shoes you are happy to get wet. Make sure you are protected against the sun, especially the tops of your feet. I found the waterproof product P20 excellent and it only has to be applied once per day. I noticed P30 and 50 are now available.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If all your guides and hoteliers are of the standard of Alvaro and hoteliers Jim, Pilar and their staff I look forward to more holidays with Exodus. Indeed, I have already booked northern India with the Annapurna extension in November and considering cycling options.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Fantastic walking holiday!!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the final summit on the last day.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    What can I say. Alvaro was just a treat to be with. He has so much experience and knowledge and is a lovely person. Very encouraging and helpful.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is graded Moderate, but I would advise you to get a little training in beforehand to really enjoy it.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Iain, Glasgow

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountain walks very rewarding but for sheer drama it would be hard to beat the Cares Gorge walk. We started on a fairly misty morning so you do not really get a sense of how deep the gorge is. Then as the day progressed the cloud lifted we saw all the cliffs and mountain peaks. The walk itself starts off fairly steeply but this only lasts about 30 minutes and then the rest of the walk is fairly gradual on a good quality mining path. At the top of the gorge is a village where you can have lunch at a café and re-stock. This is by far the longest walk you do and it can get very warm in the gorge but take your time and plenty of water and you will enjoy it.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Alvaro was excellent. He is local to the area and not only is he familiar with the routes, he was able to share his considerable knowledge about . It really adds to the general experience. He set a reasonable pace for the group and if we were allowed to go on ourselves he always identified clear points to stop to allow others to catch up.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good hat and plenty of sun cream as shade is limited and the sun can be strong. On some of the walks there are streams where you can safely drink the water but always check with the guide. I took about 2-2.5 litres a day on the walks.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food at the Hotel Torrecerredo is excellent. You get to try several local recipes and it is not what you expect if you think it will be tortillas and paella. I was in a twin room which has an excellent shower and the bed was fairly comfortable. However, there is no air-con or fan so it can get quite muggy.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

A wonderful week

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Realising what a great group we were and how we all gelled together. The Cares Gorge was stunning.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro our leader had an excellent knowledge of the area, its flora and fauna and did a great job of looking after our group with its wide range of abilities. Nothing was too much trouble. He understood the British sense of humour.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Walking in the Picos

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No magic moment it was just a great trip with nice people staying in a nice hotel run by extremely helpful owners for whom nothing was too much trouble .
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    I work in the outdoor industry and he is someone I would be very happy to work with . His knowledge of the flora and fauna routes and mountain summits was excellent. He also gave us an insight into the life , culture and economies and politics of Spain particularly the North . He has what money cannot buy -PASSION.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I looked at a number of weather forecast before leaving for a number of weeks before our departure date. They all said rain in parts throughout the day and they were ALL WRONG . We got wet once and the rest of the time it was brilliant sunshine ! The weather in the Picos is very localised and you need to be prepared for it .
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food was excellent to the point of when faced with the option of eating in the village or another night at the hotel we all decided to stay in the hotel - no better recommendation !

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