Picos de Europa
Guided walking holiday
Picos de Europa guided hiking holiday
- Dual level – two guided walks offered each day
- Two centres to explore the northern and southern sides of park
- 3* hotels – both with pools
- Hike the Cares Gorge and visit the Fuente De cable car
With high limestone peaks, alpine meadows and the deep and famous Cares gorge, the Picos de Europa has a superb range of hikes.
Choose between two hikes each day – a higher harder and lower easier hike. It’s a great way for you to set your own pace for the week.
The holiday is based at two pretty villages – Arenas de Cabrales and Cosgaya. This allows us to explore both the northern and southern sides of the park.
The 1.5 kilometre deep Cares gorge, high limestone peaks and rolling scenic meadows make the Picos de Europa a walkers paradise with lots of fantastic routes.
The Picos de Europa National Park
The Picos de Europa initially became a National Park in 1918, however it wasn’t until as recently as 1995 that its area was expanded and it became the National Park we know and love today.
Along side it´s National Park status the Picos was also recognised in 2003 by UNESCO to have world wide importance as a biosphere reserve.
Whilst in the area two gastronomical musts are the Cabrales cheese and the Asturias’ cider. Cabrales is a famous blue cheese made from a blend of cow, goat and sheep milk and left to mature in caves with 90% humidity.
The cider or, in Spanish ´sidra´ is produced throughout the region and is not carbonated. Due to this fact there is a special way in which the drink is poured and trained ´escanciadors´ or cider severs serve this drink to you with a flourish!
The National Park is also steeped in history, no where so much as Covadonga with it´s striking basilica built from pink limestone.
Here a battle between the Iberian Christians and the Moors is said to have taken place in 722 AD. This battle is regarded as the beginning of the Reconcquista.
Arrive in Arenas from Bilbao. We’ll have a briefing about the week and enjoy our evening meal.
Low and high level: Cares gorge
Today both hiking options will explore the famous 1.5 kilometre deeo Cares gorge. Hike along a spectacular path which contours around the valley 200 metres above the river bed. The gorge is pretty long so the shorter hike will walk roughly two thirds of the gorge before turning back while the longer option will hike all of the way to Cain at the end of the gorge.
Low level: Covadonga lakes
A circular route around the Covadonga lakes, Pico Mosquital and Mirador del Rey for superb views over the western Picos. Afterwards we’ll visit the famous Covadonga basilica.
High level: Refugio Vega de Ario
Starting at the beautiful Covadonga lakes we wind fairly steeply uphill through the alpine pastures and into the hills above to reach Refugio de Ario.
Low level: Poncebos to Bulnes
Hike up to Bulnes in the heart of the massif. Bulnes is a pretty village nestled amongst the mountains. After lunch we’ll descend via the funicular.
High level: Refugio de la Vega Urriellu
A circular hike to Refugio de la Vega Urriellu that sits at 1960 metres right under the Naranjo de Bulnes the most famous mountain in the Picos.
The morning will be spent in Arenas where there is an option of taking a local caves tour where the famous a strong flavoured Cabrales blue cheese is made. We’ll then make the very scenic drive round to Cosgaya stopping off in the beautiful town of Potes.
Low level: Fuente de & Refugio Aliva
After an exhilarating cable car journey our hike takes us gradually through high mountainous scenery to Refugio de Aliva.
High level: Torre de los Horcados Rojos (2562m)
From the cable car we head to the peak of Torre de los Horcados Rojos as well as the tiny Refuge Cabana Veronica, which was originally a gun turret off an old battle ship.
Low level: Cosgaya circuit
Today we´ll hike from the hotel and take in some of the scenery local to Cosgaya.
High level: Vega de Liordes
We’ll wind our way up to Collado de Liordes and cross a high mountain plateau before descending. The views all day are superb.
Free morning before transfer back to Bilbao.
Picos de Europa
Sun 30 June – 7 July.
1349 € per person (based on two sharing a double or twin room).
180 € single supplement
7 nights accommodation:
4 x Hotel Picos de Europa (Arenas de Cabrales)
3 x Hotel del Oso (Cosgaya)
Breakfast each morning
Picnic lunches each walking day
3 course evening meals each night (wine included with meal)
Transfers to and from either Bilbao airport or train station.
Transport to the walks each day and between the two villages.
Flights, insurance, lunch on the rest day, additional drinks with evening meal (wine included).
Getting to Bilbao
From the UK
There are flights from several UK airports (inc. Stansted and Manchester) on Ryan Air and EasyJet.
Brittany Ferries have one route from the Portsmouth to Bilbao. The ferries are a great way to travel and have private cabins, restaurants, bars and viewing decks. All of the routes allow you to take your own car and crossing take around 24 hours. Visit www.brittany-ferries.co.uk for time tables and prices.
From outside Europe
Most of our guests from outside of Europe fly via Barcelona or Madrid, combing a stay in one of these two excellent cities with their walking holiday. From either city there are excellent rail or bus links to Bilbao.
See more travel options and details on our getting here page.
3* Hotel Picos de Europa (Arenas de Cabrales)
The first 4 nights will be in Hotel Picos de Europa ideally located in the centre of Arenas de Cabrales on the Northern side of the Picos.
A lovely place to relax after your hikes with an outdoor swimming pool and seating area with great views.
Breakfast and a delicious three course evening meal will be served at the hotel. On our final night in Arenas we’ll eat out in one of the local restaurants which will be within easy walking distance.
3* Hotel del Oso (Cosgaya)
The final hotel is a short drive from Fuente De in the pretty village of Cosgaya on the Southern side of the Picos.
With an outdoor swimming pool, beautiful grounds and scenery it is a lovely place to enjoy your final few days.
Breakfast and a three course meal will be served at the hotel which is part of the Cantabria ‘Club de Calidad’ which is in recognition of it’s excellent local dishes.
Frequently asked questions
Where do you pick up from?
Which meals are included in the price?
Can you change between the easy and hard walks during the week
What level is each hike?
This was our first experience of a guided walking holiday and it will not be our last. Everything was excellent, hotels, transport, walking and local information. Despite a week of unsettled weather predictions, our guides took time and care to plan our routes so we didn’t have raincoats on all week.
David & Jennifer, Picos de Europa, July 2018.
A wonderful holiday – Good walking options – Great variety of challenging hikes, spectacular scenery. Great company, super food and wine.
Martin, Helen & James, Picos de Europa, July 2018.
The walks were well planned and the guides took a lot of care to fit in with the abilities of the group and with the weather.
Anthony, Picos de Europa, July 2018.
An excellent walking holiday in the Picos – the knowledge and support of Phil enabled us to do more than we had thought we could.
Jane & Peter, Picos de Europa, July 2018.
Picos de Europa
Guided walking holiday
30 June – 7 July
1349 € per person
An excellent walking holiday in the Picos – the knowledge and support of Phil enabled us to do more than we had thought we could.Jane & Peter
A wonderful holiday – Good walking options – Great variety of challenging hikes, spectacular scenery. Great company, super food and wine.Martin, Helen & James
This was our first experience of a guided walking holiday and it will not be our last. Everything was excellent, hotels, transport, walking and local information. Despite a week of unsettled weather predictions, our guides took time and care to plan our routes so we didn’t have raincoats on all week.David & Jennifer