8 days
Duration
Moderate
Difficulty
Spain
Location
April-October
Availability

Hiking the Picos de Europa: Highlights

  Stunning walks in the Idyllic Picos de Europa National Park

  The awe-inspiring peak of the famous “Picu Urriellu”

  Tasty regional produce, such as famous Cabrales blue cheese and sparkling Asturian apple cider

  A flexible programme with many choices, suitable for families

  Easy to combine with a stay on the beautiful Asturian coast, or a city trip to Bilbao, Oviedo or Gijon


The Picos de Europa, arguably the most impressive mountains in all of Spain, offer some of Europe’s most spectacular treks. A network of well-defined tracks will take you to villages that haven’t changed for centuries, such as the quiet and rustic Bulnes, surrounded by towering rocky peaks and only accessible by foot or by a spectacular funicular railway.

The Picos emerge dramatically from the coastal landscape as a natural frontier between the green north coast and the more arid Castille. This 8-day trip on the north side of the Picos, in the lush green province of Asturias, is designed to be an enjoyable and relaxing walking holiday. Based in two locations, you will be able to sample a variety of landsapes, from open meadows with grazing cattle to stunning river gorges with nesting vultures. You have the option of choosing easier or more challenging walks, including an ascent to the mountain hut beneath the famous Picu Urriellu.

8 DAY TOUR From €525 per person sharing*
*A high season supplement will apply during peak summer periods
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers
ACCOMMODATION

Two pleasant and comfortable family-run hotels (** & ***) with outdoor terraces (one with swimming pool). Spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

The hotels listed below have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.  If either hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked.

You can book additional night(s) at either of the hotels.

AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 22nd and October 25th.
INCLUDED
7 nights in selected hotels
7 breakfasts
7 dinners
Luggage transport on days 3 and 7
Transfers according to program (except optional funicular railway day 7)
Detailed maps and route notes
24/7 telephone support
NOT INCLUDED
Flights & travel insurance
Transfers from and to airport or harbour
Lunches (available to buy from hotels or village shops)
Personal expenses (drinks, phone calls, tips, etc.)
Any other items not mentioned in the program
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Additional nights before, during or after the walk
Singe room supplement
Transfers from/to the airport on arrival/departure
 Transfer Unquera – Arenas de Cabrales

 

1

Day 1: Arrival in Arenas de Cabrales

Settle into your comfortable hotel located in the centre of this picturesque village . Time to try the local cider on one of the terraces, explore the quiet squares and back lanes or to visit the Romanesque Santa Maria de Llas Church. Arenas is also an excellent place to pick up walking gear or food supplies for your trip.

Overnight: Hotel Picos de Europa, Arenas de Cabrales

2

Day 2: Circular walk from Arenas

OPTION 1 – Distance: 10 km | Ascent: 350 m | Descent: 350 m | 3½ hrs approx.

OPTION 2 – Distance: 11.5 km | Ascent: 650 m | Descent: 650 m | 5 hrs approx.

Ascent to the summer meadows of Nava, situated 500 m above the Cares River with excellent views of the Picos. A strenuous but very rewarding walk, especially in early summer when the meadows display a multitude of brightly coloured flowers. Option of doing an alternative shorter walk through shady countryside at a lower elevation.

Overnight: Hotel Picos de Europa, Arenas de Cabrales

3

Day 3: From Arenas to Sotres de Cabrales

Distance: 9 km | Ascent: 575 m | Descent: 250 m | 3½ hrs approx.

Short transfer to Tielve, one of the most authentic villages in this part of the Picos. Walk to Valfríu, where residents still produce the famous local blue cheese, Queso de Cabrales. Gradual ascent through a fairy-tale landscape of heather, old beech woods and streams to a pass at 1240 m, then down to Sotres (1050 m), one of the highest villages in the Picos de Europa and starting point for a number of excellent walks. This will be your base for the next four days.

Overnight: Hotel Sotres

4

Day 4: Walk from Sotres through the Andara Massif

OPTION 1 – Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 550 m | Descent: 840 m | 5 hrs approx.

OPTION 2 – Distance: 18.5 km | Ascent: 1045 m | Descent: 1335 m | 8½ hrs approx.

Circular walk through the Eastern Massif of Picos, following rocky paths and a disused mining track through a limestone landscape of sharp ridges, deep depressions and bottomless shafts. Look out for brightly coloured alpine flora among the rocks. There is also a good chance of seeing chamoix, vultures and different types of eagles. Several options to shorten or extend your walk.

Overnight: Hotel Sotres

5 & 6

Day 5 & 6: Choice of walks from Sotres

OPTION 1 – Distance: 6 km | Ascent: 300 m | Descent: 300 m | 2½ hrs approx.

OPTION 2 – Distance: 14.5 km | Ascent: 840 m | Descent: 840 m | 5½ hrs approx.

OPTION 3 – Distance: 18.5 km | Ascent: 635 m | Descent: 635 m | 6½ hrs approx.

OPTION 4 – Distance: 19 km | Ascent: 1000 m | Descent: 100 m | 7 hrs approx.

Choose from among 4 different walks to do from Sotres, depending on the weather or your personal conditions and preferences. To the Vega de Urriellu mountain refuge and back, reaching an elevation of 2000 m at the foot of the imposing Picu Urriellu. Through meadows and woods of the neighbouring village of Tresviso, where the very rare Urugallo, or local Capercaille, lives. Up to 1650 m through an interesting glacier valley surrounded by sheep, horses and cattle, all closely watched by vultures. Or a quiet stroll along farming tracks near the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Sotres

7

Day 7: From Sotres back to Arenas

OPTION 1 – Distance: 13 km | Ascent: 425 m | Descent: 1100 m | 5 hrs approx.

OPTION 2 – Distance: 23 km | Ascent: 600 m | Descent: 600 m | 7 hrs approx.

Along farming tracks up to Pandebano Pass (at 1245 m), leaving Sotres behind. Descent along an ancient footpath through natural meadows and low vegetation to Bulnes, a truly authentic mountain village accessible only on foot or by funicular railway (since 2001). Ride the train down through a tunnel to Poncebos or extend the walk through an impressive gorge where vultures nest. Taxi transfer from Poncebos to your hotel in Arenas. If the weather is not the best or you wish to rest your knees, taxi transfer to Poncebos in the morning to walk into the famous Cares Gorge. Return to Arenas by public bus or taxi.

Overnight: Hotel Picos de Europa, Arenas de Cabrales

8

Day 8: Departure

Arrival and departure info

  Santander is the nearest airport (100 kms/1 hr 20) to Arenas de Cabrales. However, Bilbao is another option. (230 kms/2 hr 21).
From Santander and Bilbao, you take a direct bus to Unquera and then continue by taxi to Arenas de Cabrales. See bus timetables at www.alsa.es
It is possible to pre-book airport transfers for arrival / departure. Costs will depend on number of passengers, airport used and time of pick up.
Hiking the Picos de Europa
Hiking Tielve to Sotres

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