Walking the Picos de Europa

Book any European summer trip by the end of July and receive a box of eight European wines, and four Dartington glasses - perfect for a summer BBQ!

For full details please click here

8 days
from
£899
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 96 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
TSQ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Best Sellers - Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Varied walks in the beautiful 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, tranquility and inaccessibility make the Picos a walker's paradise. Chamois, Griffon vultures, Golden eagles and many other species are regularly spotted, and, although 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.

Highlights

  • Diverse walks in Spain's oldest national park
  • Incredible Picos wildlife including chamois, golden eagles and griffon vultures
  • Traditional mountain villages in the valleys of Green Spain
  • Family-run hotel with stunning panoramic views
  • Five challenging graded departures with longer walks
  • Combines with TSB (Walking in the Basque Country)

Key information

  • 7 nights at the family-run Hotel Torrecerredo
  • 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2214m, average 1500m
  • Special challenging departures available
  • Reasonable fitness required

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa's & Vaccinations
  • Single supplement

Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; uneven paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 216.0km/10.0miles
Day 314.0km/8.0miles
Day 424.0km/14.0miles
Day 611.0km/6.0miles
Day 710.0km/6.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Visit the Arenas de Cabrales valley; pastures of Vanu and spectacular views.

    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 posible to view a large variety of flowers. Looking skywards it is also possible to spot some vultures roaming the thermals.

    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 that requires some previous experience today.


    Walking approx. 16km; duration 7 hours; ascent +730m; descent -730m. Highest point (Los Fresnos col): 720m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Ascent to Pandescura peak with superb views of the Western Massif.

    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; duration 6 hours; ascent +550m; descent -580m. Highest point (Pandescura peak): 1000m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Classic Cares Gorge walk, one of the most popular walks in Spain.

    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. 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; duration 7 hours; ascent +550m; descent -550m. Highest point (Los Collaos): 500m

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day. Optional activities include caving, canoeing, canyoning or a trip to the coast.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Summit of Peña Main, one of the classic viewpoints of the Picos; continue on to Pandebano Col.

    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; duration 7 hours; ascent +1050m; descent -740m. Highest point (Cabeza La Mesa): 1612m

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Walk up to the twin summits of Mancondiu offering fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs.

    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. 10.5km; duration 5 hours; ascent +735m; descent -735m. Highest point: Macondiu peak 2000m

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

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 three-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.

Weather

There can be snowfalls in the Picos as late as May, and the area is subject to rain at all times of the year (although this typically falls in the evening and rarely affects the walking). From early June to early October the weather should be very pleasant for walking, though it is rather unpredictable and mists can come in from the coast. Those wishing to join the Picos departures at the beginning and end of the trek season should go prepared for cooler weather. In early June and late September there may be snow on the upper reaches of the trek.

North Spain and Picos de Europa

Is this trip for you?

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 Grade 3 (Moderate). However, we also offer 5 departures as Grade 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 our local contacts are always able to find a suitable alternative.

Accommodation

Hotel Torrecerredo

Our base for the week is the lovely Hotel Torrecerredo, a small family-run hotel in Arenas the 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) from 160 GBP.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2017
    Judith Beresford
    Exodus for me works on word-of-mouth and recommendations. So mine is, go! It's a fabulous location with moderate-to-challenging walking, spring flora and fauna fascinating, and so unexpected: like a slice of Switzerland. Our guide, Alvaro, is one of the best - Exodus I'm sure should be very sorry to lose him - but there is such a commitment to quality from the hotel that the team will always be a good one. Excellent food, comfortable beds, lashings of hot water... a very homely home base.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many, but I guess Alvaro's love for his home and his understanding o the mountains was pretty inspirational.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Like the previous reviewer, I would definitely do it again! Which, I suppose, is the highest recommendation..
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Lisa Edwards
    This holiday was so much more than I expected. More challenging, more fun, more mountainous! I don't know why but I didn't equate a mountain region with so much ascending. I am a regular hiker and was surprised to find that I could walk for up to two hours uphill and still maintain a conversation. Alvaro the guide was inspiring and motivational, and the group were encouraging and fun to be with. We really bonded over the tough uphills and the shared experiences of the magnificent scenery. I was sad to leave the group at the airport and I think part of me is still in the mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing around ten vultures flying around the top of a mountain - a bird I'd thought would be ugly, but it's actually quite beautiful. Our group had experts in flora and fauna who brought the whole thing to life for me. I learned so much.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro. What can I say? We all thought he was amazing and were sad to hear that he's leaving Exodus in August. He will be a great loss to the team. He was like a sheepdog taking care of his flock, scampering up and down mountains to make sure we were ok. I can still here him say, "slowly as you like!" as we ascended yet another dizzying height. He imparted so much knowledge about the area from history to wildlife and he was just the right amount of encouraging to all of us, individually.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't go before mid-May because you'll have cows wearing cowbells outside your bedroom window at 1am (lovely as they are). They go up to higher pastures in mid-May. Have the G&Ts in the hotel bar - the fishbowl glasses and the measures are amazing. Take your own hairdryer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A friend has already booked this holiday off the back of my Facebook and Instagram posts. It's a winner and I would recommend it to anyone who is fit enough to take it on. It was definitely not 'moderate' in my book - I found it challenging. I've had to reassess my idea of my own fitness but I ended the week feeling like a butcher's dog.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Karen Jones
    This trip was amazing - the hotel is great, food incredible (even for non meat eaters), generous hospitality, excellent location. The walks vary, all are magnificent. The area is so untouched by modern life and tourism, it is a real treat for the senses. The location of the hotel is lovely, pretty shops, bars and restaurants - all only about 3-4 minutes away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was different - from breathtaking high peaks, stunning meadows, dramatic gorges to unspoilt villages.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is fabulous and a real credit to Exodus - he is passionate about his homeland, willing to share the history, challenges and beauty of the area, he was well aware of everyones ability, considerate and always ready with a smile and encouragement!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't hesitate - book the trip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The evening meals are incredible, always a choice of 3 main courses, tasty soups, delightful desserts and an appetiser to start! This is a real value for money trip...
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Mary Palfreyman
    The Picos is a fantastic area with wonderful scenery and mountain terrain. To walk in the Picos was a great way to see the area and get up and close to the peaks. The hotel was great with a lovely terrace bar over-looking the valley and peaks and it was a great way to end the day with a beer in hand here (who needs telly). The food at the hotel was amazing and the staff at the hotel went out of their way to ensure that all guests had a memorable experience - I know I did. I am vegetarian and did not struggle at all for food, the hotel caters for vegetarians and there was always a veggie option available - even packed lunches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cares Gorge - it took my breath away....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvero was just great, he has a kind, considerate and passionate attitude to everything that he does. He was always there for everyone in the group, from the slowest walker to the fastest walker. He knew the area and plants, animals, birds that lived there and would go into details explaining this.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do this trip, do not hesitate...I had an amazing week and could not find fault in anything. Everything was just perfect.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If I could do this trip again....I wouldn't change a thing :-)
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Rosalind Deer
    A haven for wildlife set in stunning scenery; sheer peaked mountains, deep rocky gorge, green pastures. Exceptional Leader. Well organised walks. One free day. Homely hotel and friendly, helpful staff. First-class evening meals, freshly cooked by proprietors, Jim & Pilar. Generous breakfasts and varied packed lunches, Fantastic shower.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From mountainside watching two enormous Griffon Vultures silently riding the thermals. Spotting a Short-toed Eagle flying above us carrying a snake in its beak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is an exceptional leader and natural teacher; passionate about the Picos, with a special interest in wildlife, he shared his knowledge appropriately not only with our group but with each individual, making time to get to know each person's interests. Breakfast briefings by Alvaro each day regarding weather, suitable clothing and water quantities to take were very useful. Each walk was carefully planned according to weather and trail conditions and pace managed; Alvaro gently encouraged those 'flagging' and directed those 'eating up kilometres' when necessary, moving quickly along our procession to ensure everyone was happy and had a sense of achievement at the day's end.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not 'a walk in the park' because, at times, the terrain was challenging. Risk of vertigo at a few points. Pack for changeable mountain weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you love wildlife & mountains, what more could you want? Go for it!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Penelope Gray
    Well planned walks. Lovely scenery. First class leader. Comfortable hotel - excellent food

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All walks were very good. Gorge walk, high level "balcony" walk in particular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class. Knowledgeable. Enthusiastic. Put real effort into planning walks according to weather forecasts.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a variety of weather in the mountains. Good quality waterproofs including boots were needed on the week I went.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel owners and staff were welcoming and really helpful.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Anne Taylor Murray
    What is it about a range of mountains that is so inspiring? Their nobility, their grandeur, their immutable timelessness? All this and more is to be found in los Picos de Europa.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just sensing my own insignificance in the face of the enormity of those mountains. One gains a whole new perspective on life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is passionate and knowledgeable about his own region of Spain. Amongst his exceptional qualities as a walking guide is human compassion. My 76 year-old body was not always up to the challenge of those magnificent mountains. Alvaro knew exactly when to give me encouragement to go the extra mile. As a consequence I return home with a sense of accomplishment and very, very happy memories of my week

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Angela Milne
    An extremely well organised trip in a delightful hotel on the outskirts of a small but busy village. The trip was fully catered apart from the day off and the standard of cuisine was exceptionally high.Transport was provided to the coast on the day off and advice given on a walk along the coast and where to eat.The bar and outside terrace of the hotel provided an excellent place to end the day and sit outside enjoying drinks and sun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Carres gorge is a fantastic walk and we did it on the last day as this was forecast to be cooler and less crowded as many of the Spanish visitors were on their way home. The two scrambling summits we did were also highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Alvero was brilliant, he was full of enthusiasm, organised the programme to suit the walks to the weather conditions and even carried 8 litres of water for group use on very hot days.Jim the hotel owner and cheif cook was also extremely helpful and very interesting to talk to.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We spent a couple of days in Bilbao before the trip and one after to enable us to go Easy jet from Manchester. Exodus booked us the flights so we had a package.It is a fantastic compact city and the Guggenheim is an amazing piece of architecture.The town is well worth a visit. Shortage of plugs for charging devices so if you have a two way charger take it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would thoroughly recommend it.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Michael Cowling
    This was an excellent holiday. The walks were well planned, the scenery was fantastic and the hotel is pleasant and relaxed with outstanding food. The only problem was that it was too hot.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being in the most beautiful scenery but with no one else around most of the time apart from our group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is just the best leader. Every day he adjusted the programme according to the weather. His knowledge and love of the mountains is outstanding. He worked so hard going from the front of the group to the back many times on each walk to encourage us and ensure that everyone was OK.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks are not easy but definitely worth the effort.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Carole-Anne Sims
    My last three Exodus walking trips have been to the Dolomites and I was looking for something similar in respect of challenging walks with spectacular scenery, I wasn't disappointed! The trip was recommended to me by a few of my fellow travellers last year so I had no problem making the decision to book.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No particular moment was inspirational other than repeatedly coming across abandoned dwellings on our walks. In our busy lives it is hard to imagine that people chose to exist in such isolated and difficult to access areas. The simple life?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oh my goodness! Our group leader, Alvaro. Words to describe Alvaro - enthusiastic, energetic, encouraging, witty, thoughtful, committed and basically an all round nice guy. He had an uncanny knack of providing an accurate daily weather forecast which included advice as to whether 'plastic' trousers would be required. Funny! He often made the group chuckle!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fantastic trip and well worth doing. I went on the challenging grade week. If you are relatively fit and enjoy longer days of walking then the challenging week would be for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my third trip with Exodus as a solo traveller and yet again I quickly felt at ease in the group allowing me to safely enjoy a week doing an activity I love. Jim and Pilar at the Hotel Torrecerredo gave us a warm welcome and were very accommodating. The food was delicious and plentiful, many calories were burnt on the mountains but quickly replaced with the varied menu. I throughly recommend this trip.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trips you might also like

Sierra de Aitana Trek

Beautiful off-season walking through rugged Spanish mountain landscapes

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Walking & Trekking
8 days inc. flights
From £999
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging
4.8 / 5
 from 
Add to wishlist

Walking in Andalucia

Explore romantic countryside, rugged hills and Moorish villages of Andalucia on foot

Guided Group

Walking & Trekking
8 days inc. flights
From £979
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate
4.4 / 5
 from 
Add to wishlist
  • New

Walking in Galicia

Walk the rugged and dramatic Costa da Morte in the Spanish region of Galicia!

Guided Group

Walking & Trekking
8 days inc. flights
From £1,149
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate
Add to wishlist
Call us on 0208 772 3936