Headwater - Walking in the Sierra de Gredos

8 days
from
£1,369
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Trip code: 
W07GD
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
8

Just west of Madrid, the Sierra de Gredos is Spain's secret heartland; a vibrantly contrasting montage of mountainous peaks, thundering waterfalls, verdant plains, fragrant fruit orchards and glacial lagoons.

This region offers a wealth of varied walking routes from your base in the northern half of the Sierra in the tiny village of Hoyos del Espino, nestled on the edge of the Gredos Regional Park and against a breathtaking backdrop of jagged granite peaks. Choose from gentle meadow strolls through the flower-filled river valleys, or comfortable higher level hikes (the park is at 1800m), where you're likely to meet wild goats and spot huge griffon vultures soaring overhead. In order for you to really get to know the entire region, we have included complimentary car hire as well as detailed route notes for optional day walks in the southern half of the Sierra; a contrasting cluster of tiny Mediterranean-like villages tucked away among terraces of olives, figs and vines. The beautiful historic cities of Avila, Toledo and Salamanca are also easy day trips.

Highlights

  • Fabulous walks in undiscovered Spain: mountain vistas, ancient Roman roads, riverside tracks and authentic villages
  • Paradise for bird lovers: woodpeckers, red kites, griffon vultures and buzzards
  • Excellent gastronomic cuisine and superb Spanish wines
  • Possible day trips to historic Avila, Toledo and Salamanca; extra nights in Madrid are also recommended
  • Extensive and totally flexible walking

Key information

  • 7 nights single-centre accommodation
  • All gourmet breakfast, 5 a la carte picnic lunches and all evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All gourmet breakfast, 5 a la carte picnic lunches and all evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car

What's not included

  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplements
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

The walks are on varied terrain. Walking boots are essential, and walking poles recommended as there are several long descents. The itinerary page describes just a selection of the many excellent walks possible in this area. Some of the higher walks may not be possible in early season due to snow.

Day by day breakdown
Day 214.0km/9.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 49.0km/6.0miles
Day 613.0km/8.0miles
Day 714.0km/9.0miles

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

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Hoyos del Espino

    Arrive at El Milano Real, your luxurious base for the next 7 nights, tucked away in the northern foothills of the Sierra de Gredos. Before dinner you will be welcomed with a glass of champagne and have the opportunity to discuss your week's walking options.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    The Seven Springs Walk

    A pine carpeted track takes you first to the peaceful River Tormes then, ascending gently past wild strawberries and pink crocus, you enjoy incredible 360°ree; views of the jagged Gredos mountains. Ibex cluster in the luscious pastures peppered with springs and fountains. Returning to the village, there's time for a drink in one of the friendly local bars before a gourmet dinner in the spectacular dining room.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    La Laguna Grande

    This magnificent walk takes you up to the impressive Laguna Grande set between the majestic Morezon and Almanzor peaks - the latter being the highest in the Gredos at 2,592m. The wild and dramatic glacial bowl is a fantastic picnic spot - look out for sure footed ibex silhouetted against the skyline. Above, red kites and huge griffon vultures soar on the thermals.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Navarredonda

    A great day for enjoying the diverse landscapes of the Northern Gredos. Wend your way across the broom-covered hillsides with long distance views to tiny white villages nestled in the vines. There are shady pine woods, and flower-filled meadows where black Avila cattle graze as you pass to reach idyllic picnic spots by the river.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Optional visits to Avila or Salamanca

    We've left today free for independent exploring, however we strongly recommend the 50 minute drive to the historic Spanish city of Avila, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set against a backdrop of the Gredos Mountains, this walled city - many sections of the walls are still intact - dates back to C11, and its 87 towers and 9 gates are the most complete in Spain. Alternatively, Salamanca, is arguably the country's most graceful city with its dual Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals, and is just 90 minutes away.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    The Morezon

    If the skies are clear today, you'll feel you can see forever! It's not unusual to have 70km views south all the way across the plain to the Toledo Mountains - especially if you climb to the top of the Morezon (2389m). A real 'on top of the world' experience shared only with wild goats!

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Waterfalls and Meadows

    If you choose to stay close to home, today's relaxed walks explore the valley of the River Tormes. Look out for dippers as you amble past stunning waterfalls and through the shady forests and alpine meadows reminiscent of Switzerland. Alternatively we provide a selection of walks in the southern Gredos, just a 45-minute drive away.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Leave Hoyos Del Espino

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

The cuisine of Gredos is simple but tasty. Local specialities include roast lamb (cordero asado), haricot beans cooked with chorizo sausage (judías del barco) and cochifrito, which is a pork stew with aromatic herbs. On this holiday, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a combination of traditional local and Spanish dishes and more elaborate international creations. Fresh seasonal produce is the prime ingredient so menus change depending on what is in season and available locally.

Spain is renowned for the quality of its wine and this includes those from the Castilla-Léon region, although not much of it comes from the area surrounding the Sierra de Gredos. Castilla-Léon is predominantly known for its red wine, which includes D.O. Ribera del Duero produced using the tempranillo grape. The flavours range from fruity young reds to fuller-bodied aged wine. Another robust local wine is the D.O. Toro (meaning ‘bull’). White wine produced in the area includes D.O. Rueda, cultivated in the Valladolid province based on the local grape, Verdejo. Rueda is the main white that you will find in the Madrid area and prices are reasonable. You will find an extensive wine list at the hotel offering a wide selection of local, regional and international wines. We have included wine on your first evening to introduce you to those available.

Weather

In April and October expect temperatures in the 40-60°F/5-15°C with high chance of rain showers though it could also be simply partly cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in May, June and September tend to be about 10°F/5°C warmer than April and October. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds. July and August are typically sunny and warm (60-80°F/15-25°C). Occasionally in summer there can be very hot days so it is always important to make sure you have enough water.

Is this trip for you?

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 12.6km (8 miles). Please note that these are the average distances for the shorter walks , however on three of the days there is the option to extend the walk.
No. of days Walking: 5
Terrain: The walks are on varied terrain (Variable; rocky, stony paths and walks through forest on tracks). Walking boots are essential, and walking poles are reccommended as there are several long descents. The itinerary page describes just a selection of the many excellent walks possible in this area. Some of the higher walks may not be possible in early season due to snow.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel

Excellent hotel serving superb regional cuisine. You'll eat well on this holiday, our luxurious rural retreat, the stylish Hotel El Milano Real offers outstanding gastronomic menus and a la carte picnics on all walking days. In the evenings, expect mouth-watering temptations such as venison with wild berries or beef carpaccio with foie gras shavings and mustard vinaigrette. With an extensive bodega of more than 500 Spanish wines, we've included wine on the first evening to give you a taste of what's on offer! There are fabulous views from the hotel itself and the excellent Aguas de Gredos spa centre is just next door, great for aching muscles and offers a 15% discount to Headwater customers.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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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]

Call us on 020 8772 3936