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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Guided walking holiday
  • Picos de Europa

  • Spain's greener side

Dates
  • From early May to mid October
Price
  • Price depends on number in your group, please contact us for a quote
Grade
Profile
  • 8 days: 6 days single-centre based, guided walking in the Picos de Europa, Spain. Average: length 6-7 hrs, altitude gain 700m.   
Highlights
  • Majestic and rugged peaks in the Picos de Europa rising abruptly above the Atlantic coast
  • Impressive limestone valleys and cliffs in a fascinating karstic landscape
  • Home to Europe’s most impressive fauna and flora in Spain’s first National Park including the wolf, bear and chamois
  • Varied guided walking that allows you to experience the high mountains without being overly challenging
  • Great guest house full of local character
Accommodation and Meals
  • Full board accommodation at Casa Gustavo, a 500 year-old farmhouse converted to a friendly and informal guesthouse in the Picos de Europa
What's included
  1. Pick up from Santander (possibility of transfer from Bilbao—please check before booking) and all transport for the week, guided walks led by your host and mountain leader Mike Stuart, accommodation at Casa Gustavo with en-suite rooms, breakfast, packed lunches and 3-course dinner with wine.
What's not included
  1. Travel between the UK and Santander, lunches on the day of arrival and departure, any excursions or entrance fees, travel insurance
 

See full list of guided walking & trekking holidays

See similar guided holidays - Vanoise - Vercors - Cantal

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Walks

Picos de Europa - Spain's Greener side

The Picos de Europa are a majestic range of limestone mountains in the north of Spain rising abruptly from the Atlantic coast just 20 kms to the north. Made up of three distinct massifs, the region is characterised by steep-sided valleys, huge towering cliffs, isolated pretty villages and rugged limestone peaks reaching over 2600m in altitude. Your weeks guided walking holiday will explore the numerous facets of these fascinating and spectacular mountains shaped by the action of ice and water. Designated as Spain’s first National Park, the region is home to some of Europe's most impressive wildlife species, including wolf and bear. The Picos de Europa enjoys a temperate climate with the coast and the western mountains creating Spain’s green landscape, whilst the valleys of Liébana, lying on their eastern flank, experience a much drier and more arid climate.

Walking profile

For the most part the guided walks are centred around the moderate/challenging grade. Some days can be varied to allow for easier or more challenging walks. A reasonable level of fitness is required along with a good head for heights and surefootedness. Paths in the Picos de Europa are generally good though sometimes rugged and stoney and on mountainous terrain. 

 

location picos de europa Spain guided walking holiday

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome at Santander airport and transfer to Casa Gustavo in the Picos de Europa

Day 2 - Pico Jano

A gentle introductory walk with an ascent of 500m through oak woods, interspersed with open glades. The summit affords stunning 360° views of the Cantabrian mountains, the valley of Liébana and the eastern massif of the Picos de Europa. Adding to the interest are the remains of an ancient fort and the opportunity for a dip in a lake.

Day 3 - Salarzón

From this scenic village lying under the prominent landmark of Peña Ventosa (windy peak) in the Picos de Europa, we walk up through well-established, indigenous Holm and Pyrenean oakland rich in birdlife. An ascent of 600m brings us to open heath and pasture with views of the old market town of Potes in the distance below.

Day 4 - Fuente De - Pico Padiorna

Today we cheat and catch the cable car to take us high into the heart of the Picos de Europa. Our goal, Pico Padiorna, 2,319m, may involve a little scrambling but with the option of resting and communing with the dare-devil Alpine choughs or, if you're lucky, Snow voles, if you don't want to make the summit with its views down into the hidden valley of the Vega de Liordes.
Ascent - 500m.

Day 5 - The Cares Gorge

Probably the best-known of the walking days in the Picos de Europa, an earlyish start and an hour's drive take us to the start of the walk at Poncebos in the western massif of the Picos. From here a gentle incline to begin with takes us into the gorge proper, the clear blue-green waters of the River Cares below. The track levels out with breathtaking views of limestone peaks above. We should meet friendly goats and witness Griffon vultures soaring between the cliffs. After a refreshing drink (or two) in the bars of Cain, we return following the contours of the hydro-electricity canal.

Day 6 - Cucayo to the Rio Frio (cold river)

Shortly after leaving Cucayo a wonderful photo opportunity appears of the village's spreading, rusty-red pan-tiled roofs of the old houses and barns. The path rises through shady woods, a mixture of Beech and oaks, and crosses streams to lead us up to the pastures below Peña Prieta, the highest peak of the Cantabrian mountains. This is bear and wolf country so the grazing livestock are accompanied by the local breed of large dogs. Don't worry though, they're used to people and often sniff out a packed lunch! This high pasture is cobwebbed by rippling brooks and is a perfect place for cooling our feet.
Ascent can vary between 700 - 1,000m, .

Day 7 - Fuente De - Horcados Rojos

Back up to the cable car, we take a track leading under the big rock face of the massif of Peña Vieja (Old Peak), the highest point in Cantabria. Keeping our eyes open for Wallcreeper, a rare, beautiful, butterfly-like bird, we should see Chamois leaping the rocks and the chance of Golden eagles flying above. We reach Horcados Rojos with tremendous views of the Picos' most famous mountain, Naranjo de Bulnes.
An ascent of about 700m.

Day 8 - Departure

Tranfer to Santander airport

Cares Gorge Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday

Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday

view of Cantabrian mountains Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday

Naranjo de Bulnes Picos de Europa Spain Europe guided walking holiday

View from Pico Jano Picos de Europa Spain Europe guided walking holiday

Pena Remona Picos de Europa Spain Europe guided walking holiday

Once you have booked on this guided walking holiday, further information about the walking, the Picos de Europa region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.

Please Note: We will endeavour to keep to the walking days described above as far as possible; however they are subject to change. In addition, we like to maintain a certain degree of flexibility to take account of the group’s abilities and interests, and the local conditions. The final selection of walks will be made by your guide during the week after consultation with the group.

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


Description.

Details  

Casa Gustavo, is a 500 year-old farmhouse converted to a friendly and informal guesthouse managed by your welcoming hosts Lisa and Mike Stuart and now shared with children, cats & dogs. This ancient and atmospheric old house makes a great base for our week's guided walking holiday in the Picos de Europa of North Spain. It has a captivating charm with it's thick stone walls, solid oak beams, wonky, wooden floors and interesting doors. There is a flower-filled courtyard with barbecue where dinner is served on hot evenings. Evening meals are three set courses of good food making use of as much local and seasonal produce as possible. They could include goat cheese and pear salad, Lisas’ lentils with chorizo or Mikes’ paella, all accompanied by plenty of our “extremely quaffable” house wine.

Accommodation Casa Gustavo Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Travel Options

Travel Options


Flight Options

Cheap flight deals can be found with Ryanair into Santander from London Stanstead (plus other european cities including Dublin) or Easyjet into Bilbao or Oviedo. For these last two options, please check with us before booking.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets

Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.

We would be happy to book travel arrangements to the Picos de Europa in Spain on your behalf for this guided walking holiday.

 

By Train

www.raileurope.co.uk
www.eurostar.com

www.seat61.com or "The Man in Seat Sixty-One" is an excellent site for train aficionados.

You can use Rail Europe's train finder in our travel shop to organise and book your train journey.

Travelling by sea

Brittany Ferries sail to Santander & P&O Ferries to Bilbao. For a full list of ferries and prices take a look at www.aferry.co.uk

 

Photos

Photos


view of Cantabrian mountains Pico de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Pena_Vieja Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Pena Remona Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Naranjo de Bulnes Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday
Cares gorge Picos de Europa Spain guided walking holiday