THE PICOS DE EUROPA EXPERIENCE
This tour is ideal for Walking clubs with two guided walking options each day.
The Picos de Europa is a limestone mountain range that hugs the provinces of Asturias, Cantabria & the North part of the biggest province in Spain – Castille y Leon.
It is an Eco destination- one of the first National Parks in Europe. As such, there is no mass tourism or the infrastructure that is related to that. Instead, you have a genuine natural environment where wild nature & man live harmoniously in balance with each other.
As a limestone range with peaks reaching 2,600m, deep valleys & green pastures where animals graze up to 2,000m, the area is rich in wildlife, plants, history & geology. Bears, wolves, eagles, vultures, chamois, deer & many others populate the area along with alpine plants & so much more.
Ancient man lived here as did the Romans, Celts & others. It is steeped in history & traces of it are evident throughout.
Little villages populate the valleys with some also higher up & dotted throughout the three “massifs”, giving this area, that lovely authentic experience of rural living where local culture & gastronomy are still preserved.
This tour gives you all of that, the walking is one part of it, the cultural & environmental experiences are the others.
If you have around 8 or more people in your party, we can organize a private group departing on a date to suit you. They may all be a group of friends or just a number of individuals who wish to book a tour.
Day 1: Arrival in Santander
Day 2: HIKE TO MIRADOR DE ORDIALES & THE ROUTE OF THE MAJADAS
LEVEL A. HIKE TO VEGA DE ARIO & CABEZA LA VERDE PEAK. SEMICIRCULAR ROUTE. DISTANCE: 16 KM GRADIENT: +750 m – 750 m
Breakfast. We start the hike from Ercina Lake. If there is one privileged place in the Western Massif, it is the Vega de Ario, where we will have incredible views of the entire Central Massif with its highest peaks, Torrecerredo, La Bermeja, Picos de Los Cabrones, etc., and the depth of the Cares gorge below them. The hike to Vega de Ario is very interesting as the walk takes us through different shepherds huts up to the Marqués de Villaviciosa Refuge. From the refuge, we go on up to Cabeza La Verde peak (1.719m). We rest and have lunch with magnificent views, enjoying unique landscapes, the entire Massif Central, the cares gorge, the small town of Cain and the “Peñas Santas” at the background. Now, we return by the same track until “Majadas Las Bobias” where we take another path going to “Majada de Belbin” famous for its Gamonedo cheese and finally arriving at Ercina Lake. Back to Cangas de Onis. Dinner and accommodation.
LEVEL B. THE ROUTE OF THE MAJADAS. DISTANCE: 12 KM GRADIENT: +400 m -400 m
A Majada is a high mountain meadow, where horses, sheep or other animals are put out to pasture during the mild summer months. The trip starts from Lake Enol in the heart of the Picos de Europa mountain range, and heads up to the top of La Reblagas and then on to the beautiful Toyeyo Majada. The route then continues towards the Las Bobias Majada and on to Vega de Ario, where you will stop to eat with spectacular views of the Cantabrian Sea and peaks of Las Peñas Santas. The route continues via the Belbin Majada, famous for manufacturing Gamoneu cheese and returns to Lake Enol. Back to Cangas de Onis. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 3: THE CARES GORGE. DISTANCE: 13 KM GRADIENT: +250 m -150 m
This gorge, with its narrow passes and gullies, is right in the heart of the Picos de Europa Mountains. The area’s stunning landscape affords unique views of the National Park.
Getting to know this route is a unique experience. The trail is narrow, surrounded by wild vegetation, with water ever-present. The river flows along the valley floor, its sound a constant companion in route. Now and again the path takes you through small tunnels carved out of the rock and across bridges that hang over the abyss. All the while, rocky mountainsides tower up on either side of the trail.
The itinerary runs between Poncebos, in Asturias province and Cain, in Leon province. It runs parallel to the Cares, the area’s wildest river. The route covers 12 kilometres over easy terrain. Transfer back to Cangas de Onis crossing the Beyos Gorge. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 4: HIKE TO NARANJO DE BULNES & MONTE CAMBA TRAIL.
LEVEL A. HIKE TO NARANJO DE BULNES. DISTANCE: 13 KM GRADIENT: +900 m -900 m
We drive to Sotres Village and then the short distance to the tiny hamlet of Pandebano. Leaving our vehicle, we walk up to Collado Vallejo (1.500 m), where the huge monolith of the Naranjo de Bulnes (Pico Urriellu 2519 m) comes into view. This rust-coloured mountain is the famous iconic image of the Picos. We walk up to the very base of the mountain (2.000 m) where there is a refuge. We rest, eat packed lunch and the chance to see climbers attempting to scale the improbable sheer face. We retrace our steps to Pandebano where our transport awaits us to return to our hotel in Cangas de Onis. Dinner and Accommodation.
LEVEL B. MONTE CAMBA TRAIL. NARANJO DE BULNES & MASSIF PEAKS PANORAMA ROUTE. DISTANCE: 10 KM GRADIENT: +300m -550m
The walk begins directly from Sotres. After leaving the village, a forest path leads us up to the Cabin shepherds of La Caballar. We continue down where the scenery changes, crossing a beautiful beech forest. Looking skywards it is possible to spot a variety of eagles and vultures roaming the thermals. The path leads us to a viewpoint at ‘Majada Tobaos’, which rewards us with commanding views of Tielve far below and the jagged peaks of the central massif in the distance. We descend and walk to the village of Tielve. Back to Cangas de Onis. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 5: FREE DAY
THE COASTAL PATH & LLANES. We start in the small village of Llames de Pría. We will walk along the coast, discovering beautiful beaches, the cliffs and the spectacular “Bufones”, they are seawater geysers close to the sea, which only can be seen in this area. This path is also part of the “Camino del Norte”, and it is quite common to meet the pilgrims walking. After that, we visit a unique cave with spectacular stalactites & 100m passage to the open sea. Then, on to Llanes, a lovely town on the coast with a wide range of restaurants, shops and a great atmosphere.
Accommodation in Cangas de Onis.
Day 6: HIKE TO CUETO TEJAU PEAK & HIKE TO THE LAKE OF ANDARA
LEVEL A. HIKE TO CUETU TEJAU PEAK (2.129 m). DISTANCE: 12 KM GRADIENT: +800 m -800 m
This trek starts in Jito del Escarandi and follows the path past the Ándara mines and on to the Casetón mountain refuge. It then continues to Pozo de Ándara and the start of the climb up to Cuetu Tejau (2.129 m) which has magnificent views of the entire Eastern and Central Massifs of the Picos de Europa. Packed lunch at the top. After lunch, the route then descends the ridge with views of the Áliva glacier valley below. Transfer to Arenas de Cabrales. Dinner and Accommodation.
LEVEL B. HIKE TO THE LAKE OF ANDARA. DISTANCE: 10 KM GRADIENT: +400 m -400 m
This trek starts in Jito del Escarandi and follows the path past the Ándara mines and on to the Casetón mountain refuge. It then continues to the Lake of Ándara. Packed lunch. After lunch, we return until Casetón mountain refuge and then, we will walk down crossing the “Canal de las Vacas”, the old path to go to the mines. Transfer to Arenas de Cabrales. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 7: THE VEGABAÑO FOREST AND JARIO PEAK
LEVEL A. THE VEGABAÑO FOREST AND JARIO PEAK (1,913M). CIRCULAR ROUTE. DISTANCE: 12 KM GRADIENT: +700 -700 m
The Pico Jario is located in the area of Sajambre (León) which is a paradise of forests, the lower part of its route requires crossing forests of sublime beauty. The Jario Peak is separated from the rest of the Massif by the large meadows and forests of Vegabaño. Its situation is therefore isolated from the rest of the summits and in the midst of all of them, which makes it an extraordinary viewpoint of the rest of the summits, both the Western Massif of Picos de Europa and the mountains of Ponga and Redes.
LEVEL B. THE VEGABAÑO FOREST. CIRCULAR ROUTE. DISTANCE: 12 KM GRADIENT: +400 -400 m
This is a delightful forest hike in the extreme south-west of the Picos de Europa, offering the chance to see some of the forest animals and at one point and an amazing panorama from Barcinera mountain pass.
We begin in the remote village of Soto de Sajambre, high above Osea de Sajambre . Our way takes up through this quaint old village and high up into the beech forests, giving us the possibility of spotting at least some of the forest animals that abound here. At the crest we have an easy ramble back down along a wide track, calling in at the Vegabaño Hut and picnic site from which we can enjoy some truly spectacular panoramas of the highest peaks in the western massif.
For the last night, we will go to a “Sidrería” to celebrate a traditional Asturian dinner.
Accommodation in Cangas de Onis.
Day 8: DEPARTURE
Breakfast and transfer back to Santander airport.
DATES AND PRICES 2020
|May – June – September – October
Double or twin room – € 885
Single supplement – € 985
Double or twin room – € 1,025
Single supplement – € 1,125
If you are interested in joining this tour, ask for the dates. If you have around 8 or more people in your party, we can organize a private group departing on a date to suit you. They may all be from a Walking Club or a group of friends or just a number of individuals who wish to book a tour.
- 7 nights at Hotel Los Lagos Nature *** in Cangas de Onis
- 7 Breakfast
- 6 dinners to experience the gastronomy (food & wine) of the towns/villages.
- All transport and listed activities. Airport transfers.
- Guides – English speaking qualified/certified/approved guides.
- Map of the routes.
- Insurances and taxes
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
- Picnic lunch. Can be purchased in the hotel or local shops.
- Dinner on day 5.
- Extra optional excursion The Coastal walk & Llanes (€40)
Please, fill in the form below. We will check availability and we’ll reply by email as soon as possible – usually within 24 hours.