Picos inn to inn walking holiday in Spain

“A tailor made, self-guided walking holiday from inn to inn through the Picos de Europa mountains, Spain’s biggest and best kept secret.”

Highlights

Picos de Europa National Park | Potes | Liebana Valley | Cable car ride into mountain peaks | High mountain pass walk from Liebana to Valdeon | Cares Gorge

Description of Picos inn to inn walking holiday in Spain

Picos de Europa - beautiful mountain scenery - charming village inns - ancient pathways - varied walking, inn to inn - self-guided walks - welcome briefing - local support - luggage transfers

Pause the everyday and enjoy the stunning Picos de Europa mountains as you explore step-by-step. Pass through peaceful forests, along a dramatic gorge pathway and across high pastures below a curtain of mountains.

Soaring vultures and the clang of cowbells accompany you as you traverse all three provinces of the area - Leon, Asturias and Cantabria. Days are well-paced, with maps and walking notes provided. Your bags are transported ahead of you each day to await your arrival.

Suitable for most active travellers who enjoy a good hike. There are opportunities to shorten some walks or take a break mid-way through should you wish. Your efforts will be very well rewarded in the Picos.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive and explore. Your guide will meet you at the airport, port or railway station in Santander today and drive you around an hour and a half to the Picos de Europa mountains. Settle into your comfortable hotel, overlooking mountains, where you have a briefing for the week's walking. (D)
Day 2:Walk in meadows and woods. Today’s walk takes you down to the town of Potes and then up a side valley to your next inn where your bags will be waiting. You can shorten this walk by 8km. Walk 21km, 7hrs, up 530m, down 655m. (B,L,D)
Day 3:Walk between valleys. Walk through some of the most remote parts of the Liebana Valley. Walk from village to village, crossing meadows and woodland over a ridge between valleys. Walk 14km, 6hrs, up 740m, down 690m. (B,L,D)
Day 4:Walk through riverside beech forests. By now you are walking along the main Liebana Valley as it narrows towards the huge amphitheatre at Fuente Dé. Walk 15km, 6hrs, up 970m, down 570m (B,L,D)
Day 5:Rest or walk to a summit. Relax today or take the cable car to the high mountains and walk to one of the summits for amazing views. Optional walk 10km, 5 hrs, up 750m, down 750m.(B,L,D)
Day 6:Cross a high mountain pass. Change valleys and provinces today as you walk from Liebana in Cantabria over to Valdeon in Leon. Hike to the pass at 1,780m, where can enjoy wonderful views of the mountains and surrounding valleys. Walk 14km, 5hrs, up 700m, down 850m. (B,L)
Day 7:Walk the Cares Gorge. Having hiked through the valleys of Liebana and Valdeon, the last day's walking takes you through one of the most famous walks in Spain, the Cares Gorge. Follow the path carved out of the rock, with the river below you and the mountains above. Walk 22km, 6hrs, up 160m, down 900m. (B)
Day 8:Return home. Transfer back to the airport, port or railway station in Santander today for your onward journey. (B)

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

May to October departures
Our top tip:
Brush up your Spanish – you are heading into truly magnificent rural Spain. So, “tu país es asombroso” is a good start.
Trip type:
Self-guided, tailor made.
Activity level:
Definitely not a walk in the park but pretty strenuous with 12-20km/day.
Accomm:
Small rural hotels and B&Bs.
Included:
Accommodation, most meals, luggage transfers, walking notes, maps and airport transfers.
Solos:
Solos welcome. Surcharge for single room.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Picos inn to inn walking holiday in Spain

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Part of what makes the Picos so special is the preservation of a simple rural way of life in remote villages. During this holiday you walk from small village to small village on a unique route. Indeed, our guide Diego Martin, has to go out with his machete to clear the path from time to time. All restaurants and hotels are small and locally owned. We book directly, ensuring maximum benefit for local communities.

You walk independently but you are met by a guide at the airport who talks to you about the area on your arrival day. We send you lots of information about your destination before you leave – guidebooks, maps, local information, etc. Because you travel as an informed tourist, you get more from your holiday and you will know how to minimise the environmental impact of your visit.

9 Reviews of Picos inn to inn walking holiday in Spain

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
4
4
1
0
0

Reviewed on 04 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The challenges of the daily hikes through spectacular and varied topography and scenery

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the park. The mountains and meadows are gorgeous. And..request a pair of hiking poles.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Tourism always helps the local economy. We did not, however, always receive warm welcomes from locals on the trail. The dislike of Americans is palpable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Absolutely LOVED IT! The team was wonderful. Thank you.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Nancy,

Many thanks for taking the time to post a review on the RT site following your trip to the Picos with us. It's wonderful to hear that you and Liz had such a great time.

I think the aspects of the Picos you've experienced are very much what we would highlight, with the one very clear exception of some not so welcoming encounters.
While I can honestly say that this is the first we've heard of this type of behaviour, (and we do have US clients travelling here on a regular basis), we never want to
think of our clients being less than warmly welcomed.

We're great believers in the power of travel - done well - to build bridges and forge links and understanding between people. Knowing you and your approach to
travel as I do, I think that when travellers like yourselves visit fairly remote/unknown destinations, it absolutely plays an active role in this. Hopefully that's some
small consolation!

It sounds as though this didn't detract too much from your overall enjoyment though, which is great news. Thank you again for taking the time to post a review, and
we look forward to welcoming you on another trip to Spain or Portugal with us soon.

Best wishes,

David

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


From a walking perspective - the Cares Gorge, although stunning views of the Picos everyday were fabulous. From a hotel/food perspective - Posada de Tollo and our host Berta. What a gem!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We were mostly staying in small, locally run hotels who used locally sourced products

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a terrific escapism. We hardly saw anyone each day and there was zero litter anywhere. It was a great holiday to recharge mental batteries and feel close to nature at its best.

Reviewed on 05 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The tranquility and beauty as we walked through the most stunning landscapes, an amazing vista at each turn.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take your phrase book if you don't speak the language and walking poles were very useful on many of the walks.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Benefited smaller hotels before the main tourist season had begun. As we walked everywhere between transfers we reduced environmental impacts especially as there were only 2 of us although our luggage was transported by motorised vehicle.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


One of the best we have taken. We absolutely loved every minute. We considered it a privilege to be allowed to experience the different landscapes and habitats in such a private and personal way.

Reviewed on 01 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Many mosts! The arranged tours of the cork insulation factory, cooking class, hand-made tile company.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be aware that one of the accommodations is not a hotel or B&B, but a low-grade hostel. Otherwise fabulous stays and hosts. Hikes were spectacular, though a few parts were very challenging for seniors. Need easier options in a very few cases. GPS was very good, though some more thorough user training would have helped.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Helped local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent except for hostel stay and final transfer. The personal support and logistics planning were superb. Always felt that Fernanda and assistants were always ready to help especially when unexpected challenges arose.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Cory, Many thanks for taking the time to post a review on the Responsible Travel site following your recent trip to Portugal with us. We're delighted you had such a good time on your tailor made journey to Alentejo. Sorry to hear that you found the guesthouse in Beira didn't quite match up to expectations. We do try to make it clear that this is a simple accommodation, though I'll double check whether we can make that any clearer. We believe that one night in fairly basic accommodation is well worth it, given the access it provides to a unique inn to inn walking route which we have been able to create in using it! Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to post a review, it's wonderful that Fernanda and our other local partners looked after you so well, and I hope we can welcome you on another trip soon.
All the best, David

Reviewed on 13 Jun 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Cares Gorge -- it rivals sites like Machu Picchu, the Grand Canyon, etc.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for rain, but don't necessarily believe the daily forecast. And, be in good shape to hike as some of the altitude gains are signficant.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We helped the local economies with our purchases.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


¡Maravilloso!

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Cares gorge was just unforgettable - both picturesque and a little frightening.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to meet a lot of people having difficulty communicating in English. Spanish or French may help.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope it did. In fact the trails are well supported, and there are lots of tourists, so this seems reasonable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a good and enjoyable holiday. One thing that could be improved concerns food. In our very first hotel it was too simple for me. Having to do without
yogurt for breakfast seemed a little odd for this otherwise well holiday. In all the other hotels it was all right.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Alex,

Many thanks for taking the time to post your review on Responsible Travel. We're delighted to hear you had such a great time.

I loved your take on the Cares Gorge, it is indeed spectacular - a lot of people are surprised by the scale of a relatively little-known part of northern Spain's
mountains! The Picos hold so many surprises, though as yet rather little-known outside Spain (which accounts for the fact that English is not widely spoken).

It's great that you had such a good time, and I do hope we can welcome you all to another walking trip in Spain soon.

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Picos mountains are wonderful, we enjoyed every aspect of the trip. The hotels were varied and all excellent as was the food.
The heat!!!! 34c at 3500m.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Follow the route notes and you will not have a problem.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday benefited local people, from the taxi drivers moving our bags to the local people working in the small hotels and bars.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good experience. Looking at the Portugal trip Alex mentioned when he collected us from Santander

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Dorothy,

Many thanks for taking the time to write a review of your holiday to the Picos with us.

I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time in the mountains. Working directly with all the people involved in the holiday is something we're particularly proud of, so it's lovely to hear that this was evident. As the Picos is so close to our hearts, we're always delighted when we can help clients experience them and the people who live there.

I hope we can welcome you on another trip in the near future.

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We went on a self-guided holiday to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, with notes and maps from the tour company and our bags transported ahead of us each day. For the most part, we stayed in small hotels and guest houses (some you would have called B&B). We spoke to no-one who had any English for 4 of our 7 days. It felt as if we were in a very remote corner of the world! Our most interesting night was in a rural farm which has been in the same family for 400 years.
The mountains and alpine meadows are wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Learn a bit of Spanish! As with everywhere in the world, people are really pleased when you have a go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Pretty much everything we ate and drank was grown locally. Most places we spent money were owned by the person running them. I don't suppose having your cases transported ahead is ecologically correct, but we're too old now to carry our own stuff!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We couldn't fault it. As an introduction to a new area, it was faultless. We're encouraged to return, and next time go under our own steam.

Reviewed on 29 May 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Cares gorge walk

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take a GPS device

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


As expected. A good holiday with some hard days walking - very fulfilling

Read the operator's response here:

Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to post your review, we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your holiday to the Picos. Since your return, we've spoken to several of the people in Spain who were involved in putting your holiday together, and they too are very happy you had such a good time.

I would just like to reassure you that your holiday, while perhaps not very overtly, really did benefit the local people. As you stayed in seven different, family-owned hotels and inns, all booked directly by us, your stay had a very real impact locally.

As you will know, the economy in Spain is currently not in a great way, so every night's accommodation, or meal in a local restaurant, is very happily received.

One other comment - again while not an obvious component in your own holiday - you might be interested to hear that one of our founders, Diego, (who I think you met?) is heavily involved in a local foundation which promotes conservation and rural development in the area. By choosing your walking holiday in the beautiful Picos, you have contributed, albeit indirectly, to this conservation effort, for which we are very grateful!

Thank you again for choosing to travel with us to the Picos, and I hope we can welcome you to another part of Spain very soon.

All the best,

David

Popular similar holidays

Las Alpujarras walking holiday, Spain

Las Alpujarras walking holiday, Spain

Guided walking holiday, Andalucia, with writer Chris Stewart

From €1295 8 days excluding flights

Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

Walk and talk on this small group language holiday in Picos de Europa National Park

From €659 7 days excluding flights

Catalonia self guided walking holidays

Catalonia self guided walking holidays

Self-guided walking holidays in Catalonia

From €715 - €799 8 days excluding flights

Gran Canaria walking tours, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria walking tours, Canary Islands

This unique volcanic island reveals unexpected variety

From £1105 - £1515 8 days including UK flights

Convert currencies