Self-Guided Walking in the Sierra de Gredos Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07GD
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 15

Trip Overview

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 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.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights single-centre accommodation
  • All gourmet breakfasts and evening meal on first night
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Car Hire essential
  • Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car (on flight inclusive packages)

Trip 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

Is This Trip for You?

Classification: Self-Guided
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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
15

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Hoyos del Espino
End City:
Hoyos del Espino

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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 degree views of the jagged Gredos mountains. Ibex cluster in the luscious pastures peppered with springs and fountains.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • 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
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • 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
    Distance covered: 9 km / 6 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • 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 11th century, 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
  • 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
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • 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
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 8

    Leave Hoyos Del Espino

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

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. 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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £192.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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 & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Air prices include our standard flights/transfers
British Airways Heathrow to Madrid 09:15/12:40 and car hire (Europcar Group B air-conditioned hire car). Drive to hotel, 1 hr 50 mins. Return: Drive to airport, 1 hr 50 mins then British Airways Madrid to Heathrow 12:20/13:50.

Standard transfers
Tour only prices exclude flights and hire car.

Location start:
Hoyos del Espino
Location end:
Hoyos del Espino

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Light walking boots (good walking trainers will suffice)
Small daypack for camera, guidebook, etc.
Water bottle to use when walking and sightseeing (2 litre)
Sun cream
Hat
Sunglasses
Waterproofs
Warm clothes

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

Reading List

Wild Spain: A Traveller’s Guide Mountains of Central Spain

Practical Information

Passport

Spain

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Spain

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip. Cards are widely accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need spending money for meals not included in the itinerary and all drinks. We suggest €25 per day to cover a few drinks if not then €10 per day. On the days where lunch is not included expect to spend €10-€15 for lunch.

Responsible Tourism

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

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.