THE PICOS DE EUROPA EXPERIENCE
This tour is ideal for hill walkers with a good level of fitness & recent experience walking at level A or B.
This Trekking take us into the wonderful mountain scenery of Picos de Europa National Park. This tour explores the Picos de Europa National Park with walks in the wild landscapes of the western, central and eastern massifs.
The Picos are a limestone mountain range that hug 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 the 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 wild life, 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.
|DURATION||8 days 7 nights|
|DATES 2018||May, June, July, August, September, October|
|DIFFICULTY||2 LEVELS OF HIKING DIFFICULTY EVERY DAY
Be active and healthy. Exercise several times per week.
Mountain experience required.
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: LEVEL A:HIKE TO MIRADOR DE ORDIALES. LEVEL B: THE ROUTE OF THE MAJADAS
LEVEL A. HIKE TO MIRADOR DE ORDIALES AND COTALBA PEAK. DISTANCE: 18 KM GRADIENT: +950 m – 950 m
This is a classic walk in the Western massif of the Picos de Europa. We start walking from Pan de Carmen (just beyond Lake Enol) until Vegarredonda Refuge, is about one and quarter hours from Pan de Carmen and just before you reach the refuge many of the higher peaks of the western massif become visible. From the refuge onwards, there is a section of this walk which is slightly rockier though the path is well defined all the way. From here onwards, we often see chamois and at times they can be quite close to you. We soon come to the Ordiales refuge and beyond this point the path is slightly less obvious. Then, almost without realising it, we’re at the Mirador de Ordiales where Pedro Pidal (the founder of the National Park Picos de Europa in 1918) was buried. Look over the top & marvel at the breathless views and 1,000m sheer drop down to the Angon Valley below. Now, we can be starting the ascent to the Cotalba peak. There’s an interesting little scramble just before we reach the top. Once on the summit the high peaks of the western massif are almost close enough to touch, the lakes can be seen in the distance and the Ponga Mountains look as fantastic as ever. After taking full advantage of the vistas around us, we retrace our steps. 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: LEVEL A & B: 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: LEVEL A: HIKE TO NARANJO DE BULNES. LEVEL B: MONTE CAMBA TRAIL. NARANJO DE BULNES & MASSIF PEAKS PANORAMA ROUTE
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 shepperds 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
CANOEING ON THE RIVER SELLA. A descent of the spectacular River Sella in sit-on-top tandem canoes, enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and exciting rapids. The canoeing tour is about 12 km and around 3 hours of easy paddling through stunning landscape. Halfway through the trip there is a stop for a relaxing picnic lunch on the banks of the river and the brave can even take a dip!
EXCURSION TO OVIEDO. A visit to Oviedo, the historical town and the famous Prerromanic monuments of Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. Free time for lunch in Oviedo.
Accommodation in Cangas de Onis.
Day 6: LEVEL A: HIKE TO CUETO TEJAU PEAK. LEVEL B: 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: LEVEL A THE VEGABAÑO FOREST AND JARIO PEAK (1,930 m) LEVEL B:THE VEGABAÑO FOREST
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.
EXTRA OPTION FOR THE DAYS 4 & 5 LEVEL A. OVERNIGHT IN REFUGE
DAY 4. HIKE TO NARANJO DE BULNES AND JOU DE LOS CABRONES REFUGE. +1.300 m – 300m 13 Km. We drive to Sotres 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. Now, we continue to the heart of the Central Massif. Firstly, we walk up until “La Brecha de los Cazadores”, where we must do a little scramble. Now, we walk in a moonscape until Horcada Arenera, from this point we can see the highest peak of the National Park, Torrecerredo (2,570 m). From here onwards, there is a rocky section up and down until Jou de los Cabrones Refuge. The small refuge Jose Ramon Lueje (Jou de los Cabrones) is in the heart of the Central Massif of the Picos de Europa, surrounded by the highest peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains, where only the wind breaks the silence of the mountains. Before dinner, we will enjoy the spectacular sunset. Dinner and accommodation in the Refuge.
DAY 5. FROM JOU DE LOS CABRONES TO PONCEBOS. -1.780 m 8,5 Km. This hike is one of the hardest routes in the Picos de Europa, due mainly to the huge gradient to be saved. The upper half of the route descends through a hard and steep path, but with amazing views. In the lower section, we will walk through the canal of Amuesa to the hermitage of the same name, across grazing pastures, we will pass through the village of Bulnes. Finally, we will walk down until Poncebos through the canal del Texu. Transfer back to Arenas de Cabrales. Dinner and accommodation.
DATES AND PRICES 2019
|May – June – September – October
Double or twin room – € 820
Single supplement – € 140
Double or twin room – € 895
Single supplement – € 140
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 options: Minitrek with overnight in Refuge (€130), Canoeing or Excursion to Oviedo (€30)