Summary Itinerary:Trails & Traditions of the Picos
Day 1: Arrival in Bilbao or Santander
With the option to arrive by ferry or air, you will be met at either Bilbao or Santander for a transfer to your hotel in the small mountain town of Arenas de Cabrales, in Asturias. Relax or explore before meeting your English speaking local guide in the evening and enjoying a welcome dinner of traditional Spanish food.
Day 2: Route of the Majadas (12km, +400m, -400m)
Your classic warm up hike starts from the shores of Lake Enol, one of the stunning Covadonga lakes. We pass through several scenic majada today; lush high mountain pastures, where livestock are put out to graze in the warmth of spring and summer, and including the Belgian Majada, famous for Gamonedo cheese. Our route offers spectacular views of the Cantabrian sea and peaks of Las Penas Santas. We visit the historic city of Cangas de Onis and the stunning Covadonga Cathedral (Basilica de Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga) this afternoon for a gentle explore, where, in 722, Christian Spanish fought back against the Moorish Invaders to establish the Kingdom of Asturias.
Day 3: Hike to Naranjo de Bulnes (12km, +800m, -800m)
Pico Urriellu (2519m) is better known as the Naranjo de Bulnes and is an instantly recognisable silhouette on the skyline of the Picos de Europa. Our destination on this circular hike, where we can enjoy our packed lunch, is the stunningly situated refuge at the base of the Western cliff face. This is a classic route from Pandebano hamlet, up to Colado Vallejo (1500m) on mountain trails with consistently striking scenery.
Day 4: Cares Gorge Hike (12km, +250m, -250m)
The narrow depths of the Cares Gorge, formed by the tumultuous waters of the Cares River, set the backdrop for todays walk in the heart of the Picos mountains. Expect rock tunnels, river paths, and dramatic bridge crossings. This afternoon we visit Riano, a town encircled by limestone mountains, enjoying a boat trip onto the clear waters of the reservoir for a wonderful change of perspective.
Day 5: Valcabao to Collado Jermoso Refuge (8km, +700m, -700m)
Fully acclimatised to mountain hiking, we set off for an immersive mountain experience in what promises to be a real highlight of this adventure. Collado Jermoso Refuge, where we stay tonight, is found at 2064m in the heart of the Central Massif of the Picos. With far reaching views over the Valdeon valley, the serenity, wilderness and majesty of the surrounding peaks will stay with you for a lifetime. Our fabulously scenic ascent, at the steady pace of the group, takes us past the Vega de Liordes and the cliffs of Colladinas. Relax tonight in the communal facilities of the refuge, enjoying a hearty evening meal, the sunset and mountain sky full of stars.
Day 6: Fuente Dé & Vega de Liordes (11km, +200m, -970m)
Revel in the joy and sense of freedom that comes with waking up in a mountain refuge! You may (or may not…) be pleased to hear that the emphasis of our walk today is downwards! Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife (deer, boar, chamois, wolf & bears!) as we pass through one of the most ecologically valued areas of the National park where oak and beech forests, give-away to alpine grasslands at the foot of Penas de Cifuentes. Back in the valley, we travel to the medieval mountain village of Potes, famous for its bridges & towers, and where we pause to stay the night.
Day 7: Horcados Rojos Summit & Cabana Veronica Hut (12km, +800m, -800m)
Leaving the charming ambiance of Potes behind us, we transfer 30mins to Fuente Dé where we gleefully gain altitude by taking the cable car to the summit (ticket included). Starting high, expect jagged peaks, clear & crisp mountain air and rocky mountain trails. The summit of the Horcados Rojos is a balcony inside the Central Massif with breathtaking views and a magnificent destination for todays final walk. This afternoon we transfer to the coastal town of Llanes for a change of scene, a visit to a local cider factory (one of the main exports of the region), and a typical Asturian dinner.
Day 8: Travel Home from Bilbao or Santander
After breakfast you will be transferred to Bilbao / Santander for your homeward journeys. Time to plan your next escape!