“A rare combination of learning Spanish and hiking in the Picos de Europa National Park, this walking holiday restricts group sizes to six, so you’re fully supported at every step”
Daily Spanish classes | Picos de Europa | Pico Paisano | Tresviso | Local cheese tasting | Bulnes | Cider tasting at a traditional local working farm
Description of Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain
We are a language school...with a twist! We mix learning Spanish with walking in the Picos de Europa National Park in the North of Spain.
The price includes: - Spanish intensive course with a maximum of six people, with enrolment, materials, level test if appropriate, notebook and pen. During the class hours, there is access to the school kitchen, with complimentary coffee, tea and biscuits! - Guided walks, Monday to Thursday - Transport in the area to and from walk destinations - Map of the area - Advice on extra outdoor activities, travel, things to do over the weekend, etc.
Our courses start on Mondays, so you can get here any time before then. From Monday to Friday you will have 4 x 50 minute lessons in our friendly school and around 4-hour hikes into the National Park and surrounding area where you can practice your Spanish. Friday afternoons and weekends are free for you to explore the area on your own. We keep class sizes small, with a maximum of 6 people, normally 2-4, and cater for all abilities so you are guaranteed to learn lots of practical Spanish. Please note that if there is only one person on a course, the lessons are reduced to three a day.
The walks are a great way to get conversations going and everybody has a go. Our teachers are native and the excursions give a real world opportunity to practice the language. All activities are optional, so we won’t be upset if you decide to take some time out!
During the walks we like to go off the beaten track and to show you the hidden sights and delights the area has to offer, such as the ancient villages tucked away in the valleys of the mountains. Our walks are tailored to the group and a reasonable level of fitness is sufficient.
The Picos de Europa are a wild mountain range rising up off the Atlantic coast to a height of 2650m just 10km inland. It is very different to the Spain most people picture. The area was the first national park to be designated in Spain and it’s easy to see why. The mountains are, to say the least, dramatic. The limestone massif has been eroded into huge canyons with crystal blue rivers flowing at their base and abundant wildlife. Everyday you are likely to see committees of vultures and many other species. There are still bears and wolves roaming wild, although you are less likely to see these.
The gastronomy of the area is superb: simple food made of quality local ingredients cooked to the highest standards with generations of know-how. Good eating is a big part of the culture we want you to experience.
We are a small business run by Ana, who grew up in the area and has a passion for languages and everything the National Park and its surroundings have to offer.
You'll have a great time!
Note: Our closest international airport is Santander. We also provide a transfer service from Bilbao and Asturias airports, and there are public transport links to Panes from all three airports. Santander, Gijón and Bilbao are international ferry destinations too.
All times are flexible, and may change during the week due to weather conditions or group desires. On Monday we meet at the school at 0900, a quick get to know everybody followed by 4 x 50 minute Spanish classes until 1300. Some of the classes might be run outside in the local area. 1600-2000 Off to the hills and walk to Pico Paisano, the local mountain to our school and a superb way to get a feel for the area.
0900-1300:- 4 x 50 minute Spanish classes followed by 1600-2000:- Hike to Tresviso, a classic assent in an awesome canyon to a hidden village, where you can taste the local cheese with a well earned "caña".
0900-1300:- 4 x 50 minute Spanish classes followed by 1600-2000:- Trip into the heart of the Picos de Europa. This walk is a classic canyon route heading up to a hidden village called Bulnes. Great views, lots of opportunity for photography and loads of history.
0900-1300:- 4 x 50 minute Spanish classes followed by 1630-2030:- Local forest hike, visit local working farm and orchard and get a feel of the traditional ways of life. Taste the local home-made cider.
0900-1300:- 4 x 50 minute Spanish classes. After the class we meet up to help you organise and give advice of the wide range of outdoor activities available in the area, as well as local visits you can enjoy on your free afternoon and over the weekend.
Saturday is free for the group to have fun on their own. We are always available for free advice on what to do. There are many awesome routes which can be self guided.
Pack and return to the airport after a fantastic week
PLEASE NOTE: this is our normal itinerary, however from November to February we run the walks in the mornings from 09.00 to 13.00 and the Spanish classes from 16.30-20.30. This is due to light conditions. Itinerary might also vary according to level of fitness of the group, as well as weather conditions (safety).
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
We are serious about maintaining the natural beauty of the region and take steps to ensure that the environmental impacts of our activities are kept to a minimum.
In order to reduce vehicular traffic in the area, we prefer to pick up all visitors from the airports, ferries and train stations that service the area.
We promote local environmental projects and initiatives, and use these as a point of interest in our walks. This improves knowledge, awareness and allows a positive transfer of ideas.
We take litter home with us (whether it’s ours or not).
We walk responsibly, minimising soil erosion and disruption to animals. We use lesser known routes to halt over exploitation and damage.
We are knowledgeable about the environment we live in and its rich history. One of our passions is supporting people who respect their environment by taking an active interest and helping out with work when things are busy, for example at our friends traditional farm.
We want our business to have a socially positive impact locally and beyond. We visit local businesses and promote traditional practices that do not abuse the environment.
We take an active interest in other local businesses, for example helping out when things are busy at one of our neighbour’s traditional farms. We organize cinema nights at the school for the locals, as well as conversation exchange opportunities (such our "Menage a three" nights where Spanish, English and French are spoken over a glass of wine). We also work with local projects to promote sustainable development.
One of the great things about the area is that everybody helps each other when needed and money is never mentioned. We really like this and support these values. We treat the traditional ways of life and the local people with respect. We make a point of showing these to our groups as a way of promoting the area and creating interesting points of discussion.
We use a local taxi minibus service for our trips to the National Park, allowing us to be dropped off and picked up in different locations. This also minimises pollution and creates employment locally.
The Picos have some very old and traditional villages high in the mountains, these often have combined bar/shops which we use whenever we visit, helping keep them alive for the local people. This is really important as many of these villages are remote and inaccessible during winter.
We use local produce and workforce whenever possible.
Reviews of Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 05 Dec 2016 by Fran Stirk
Superb. We have been back for two weeks and are still talking to others about how wonderful it was. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Oct 2016 by Carole Rakodi
The combination of the opportunity to practise Spanish, lovely scenery, a typical (not very touristy) Spanish village and a group that got on well made the week both enjoyable and worthwhile.Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Aug 2016 by Alice Busse
We enjoyed the teachers at the Spanish school. They made the lessons fun with a lot of basic, practical and helpful information. They were also very open to assistance to problems or questions regarding outside of class situations. The hiking trips amongst beautiful and breathtaking scenery were also very exciting and enjoyable.Read full review
A first class combination of fun and informative Spanish lessons, with exploring a beautiful part of Spain. Well organised by the operator. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Aug 2015 by Sabrina Sweeney
Very relaxing for solo travellers - once you are there all you have to do is study, eat and walk!Read full review
Reviewed on 17 Jul 2015 by Graham Care
We had a really great holiday meeting new people and setting off on our journey to learn a new language. In addition the walks we went on were also really enjoyable. A good holiday for people who like to be active on their holidaysRead full review
Reviewed on 14 Jul 2015 by Jim Rees
The most memorable part of the holiday? The beautiful challenging walks. The friendliness of everyone. The holiday provider staff, their local associates and the small holiday group I was in.Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Jun 2015 by Martin Graham
Our mornings at the school with Ana and Inigo seemed to fly by. It is very well
organised and the facilities are first class. My Spanish has improved noticeably.
The choice of afternoon walks was interesting and varied and our professional
guide tailored them to suit our ability. We had relaxed and enjoyable conversation along the way.Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Jun 2015 by Sue Tilney
Excellent holiday! Picos scenery is really stunning. Panes village is very traditional. The tutors and walking guide all friendly, very competent and helpful.Read full review
Reviewed on 28 Apr 2015 by Rebecca T
The walks were good and varied. Some amazing scenery...This is a good choice if you want to combine some learning and some activity in a lovely part of Spain.Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Apr 2015 by John Cass
Four hours of Spanish tuition followed by 4-5 hours of walking in the mountains is not exactly restful but it is hugely enjoyable and one of the best holidays I have ever had. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Jul 2014 by Hazel Tyror
Fantastic - just what I needed! If you want to learn Spanish, go on some great hikes and be truly immersed in Spanish all week (both in school and in the local community) - then book it without hesitation! Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Oct 2014 by Linda Mead
Everything was local. Used small family run hotel, a local taxi service and a local (and very knowledgeable) mountain guide. Recycling and environmental awareness was encouraged.Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Jul 2014 by Cathryn Priestley
A challenging and rewarding week spent learning new skills and meeting warm, friendly people.Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Jul 2014 by Veronica Thompson
Memorable says it all. It's 5 star as a learning experience . A chance to learn more Spanish in a thoroughly enjoyable, varied and relaxed fashion - on subjects which have real relevance and usage in everyday Spanish lifeRead full review
Reviewed on 29 Jun 2014 by Marianne Gorman
I had the best time imaginable in Asturias doing Intensive Spanish each day with Ana Rodriguez Garcia and walking in the Picos speaking Spanish each afternoon. Accommodation in the simple hotel was perfect. The town was great and the course superbly well run. It was the best decision ever to take this course. And Ana went far beyond any expectation many times during the week.Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Aug 2014 by GUVEN TALINLI
Combination of language classes and hiking is a very good idea. This is a good chance for people who like to walk in the nature. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Oct 2013 by Andrew Robinson
Had a great time. Everyone was very friendly, the teaching by Ana and Celine was brilliant and perfectly judged for my level of ability. The surrounding mountains are lovely and Jamie took us on some great walks in the afternoons. The food and drink in the local bars and restaurants was excellent. I came home with considerably greater confidence in Spanish.Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Oct 2013 by Cecilia Johnson
Excellent. The language school, walks, village and environment were better than I
had dared to hope they would be. I hope I have a chance to return for a longer
stay.Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Jun 2013 by Carina Kane
Loved it! I was made to feel right at home from the minute I met the crew; I made new friends, improved my Spanish and got to walk off the local cheese and cider in the spectacular Picos de Europa. I really didn't want to leave!Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Oct 2013 by Jo Pearson
Really great holiday, a good combination of physical and intellectual activity, friendly and relaxed. A good mix of fellow students, diverse but all like minded in their enjoyment of walking in the mountains and a desire to improve their Spanish. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Oct 2013 by sarah coote
Very worthwhile and enjoyable...walking in the mountains with great landscapes, and interesting fauna, flora and birds were the best partsRead full review
Reviewed on 31 Jul 2013 by Eileen Boyle
4 stars plus...the people, the school and scenery - everything !Read full review