As with any mountainous region, conditions in the Picos de Europa can change in an instant and packing for all seasons is just as important as not going too far off track.
Although the rest of Spain swelters in summer this is the best time to visit the Picos de Europa as it is warm, not hot, and there’s less chance of rain – although packing waterproofs is recommended as a matter of course. A dusting of snow can be found around the top of the Fuente Dé cable car as late as May although spring is the best season if you’re content to walk lower down the slopes, especially as mountain peaks are still dipped in white. It can get soggy from Sept onwards although the glorious gold and rust coloured foliage brings beech trees to life, perfect for a woodland stroll.

Picos de Europa Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)

Our top Picos de Europa Holiday

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 €830 5 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct, 30 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Picos de Europa or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Things to do on a Picos de Europa holiday

Things to do in the Picos de Europa...

The combination of structured lessons, guided walks and organic encounters with non-English speaking local people will give your grasp of Spanish a real kick start with tailor made tuition and homestays adding to the benefits of total immersion. Hiking in the Picos de Europa offers every opportunity to seek out remote communities and strike up conversations with restaurateurs and shop keepers who rarely come into contact with tourists. Weather beaten and sculpted through aeons of glacial action, the Picos de Europa peak at over 2,650m (Torre de Cerredo) and trough into 1,500m gorges (Garganta del Cares) with remote, and often abandoned, farmsteads, high alpine plateaus and precarious precipices providing travellers with wild walking at its best. This is a region where weather conditions can turn on a sixpence so pack your poles, phrase book and poncho before heading onto a trail without another soul in sight. Dark and foreboding, crisp and clear; the weather in the Picos de Europa will invariably play an important part in any photography session so prepare for the positives and unleash your lens on some of Spain’s most dramatic natural scenes. Cantabrian chamois clambering over scree, jagged limestone fingers piercing cobalt blue skies or white-tipped crowns from the Mirador de Cable at 1,830m; get ready to be amazed as you develop your photography skills in the Picos de Europa.

Things not to do in the Picos de Europa...

Be over confident. Some of the trails within the Picos de Europa aren’t for the faint hearted with self guided trip notes and expert local guides definitely recommended for making the most of the region in the safest way possible. Other activities such as canoeing, photography and language lessons are also much more enjoyable and shouldn’t really be undertaken if you’re not happy to take on-board expert advice.
Choose bangers and mash over purchasing pan in Panes, or beach towel and flip-flops over poles and boots. Basically, the Picos de Europa is an authentic antidote to the Brits abroad. Discover the real Spain without the crowded trails; where rural restaurants reveal morcilla de Burgos, Cabrales blue cheese and empanada de atún whilst nightlife is more chilling with cicadas and sidra, or vino tinto, as opposed to neon-tinged hedonism.
Wake to the sound of church bells and the smells of home cooking at a locally-owned hotel or family home and you’ll quickly understand why you should think again if you value 5-star luxury over rustic charm. Staying within the Picos de Europa region places you at the heart of rural communities with self-catering options and rustic restaurants revealing a charming side to life in northern Spain without the influence of an overrated outside world.


Advice on fitness levels

Advice on fitness levels

Ana Rodríguez García, from our supplier Peak Me Languages, which offers Spanish language lessons with walking activities, shares her local knowledge:
“All levels of fitness can enjoy Picos, just not all of it! The area is steep, and although there are some flatter walks, you have to be prepared to go up a bit. It's well worth it though as the views are always stunning - if the weather is kind. This is another key thing, while you can self-guide lots of walks, we would always recommend walking with a local guide. The weather can change extremely quickly and the terrain can be dangerous in poor visibility.”
The best time to visit the Picos

The best time to visit the Picos

"I think the best time of year to visit is June and September. The weather is really mild, the days long and the area is mainly empty of other visitors. This means all the classic walks, such as Ruta del Cares, which is not very nice to do in the summer months, will be almost empty. April, May and October are also great months if you're into birdwatching, wild flowers or nature photography.”
“The summer months are busy and the pressure can be felt on the environment (and the people). Stay off these months if you can, it'll be more enjoyable for you, more sustainable for everyone else. It goes without saying that there are lots of endemic species of flora and fauna, so be extremely respectful with the environment and always follow your guide's advice when you walk.”
Things to do in the Picos

Things to do in the Picos

"There are lots of different outdoor sports to be practised in the area, so if you have enough time, try doing a via ferrata or canoeing one of the rivers that cut through Picos. A great day out is the classic route of Ruta del Cares. It's quite long, but it's mainly flat, with dramatic scenery to be enjoyed throughout. Some parts of Picos are very close to the sea. The coastline is absolutely stunning, with a few chunks that can be walked too, so don't miss the opportunity to have a dip if you come in the warmer months or do some walking by blowholes and sandy coves.”


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Picos de Europa travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
we enjoyed staying in a self catering apartment at Las Bardenillas about a 10-15 minute walk from the language school. Canoeing on our final afternoon was great fun...very peaceful and great views
- Kate Sharrock on a Spanish and walking holiday
“The school was in Panes where virtually nobody spoke English so we had to speak Spanish virtually the whole time.” – Ann Potter on a Spanish and yoga holiday

“Be prepared for changeable weather and don't be put off if it rains. We had both warm sunshine and heavy rain. Look around you at the detail as well as the wider landscape - there is so much to appreciate at the smaller scale.” – Maureen Fidkin on a photography holiday

“This holiday is based in a rural part of Spain so you are unlikely to meet any English speaking people. Do not be put off! Your eagerness to learn a new language is appreciated and by the end of your holiday your enthusiasm for learning the language will have been given a real shot in the arm!” – Graham Care on a Spanish and walking holiday

Come prepared for walking. You'll be fit after two days, but make sure you bring walking poles. I am 70 and none of the walks were too difficult for me.
- Gabriel Fuller on a Spanish and walking holiday
“In Panes virtually no one speaks English. Meals are huge, biased towards meat choices and menus are mostly in Spanish, some places don't offer a menu. Dinner starts at 8pm, not before. Potes, 25km away, has a lot more choice and menus are in English. Hire a car. It gives you so much more flexibility to explore this stunning area.” - Sue Tilney on a Spanish and walking holiday

“Being a vegetarian in Northern Spain is not easy!” – Eileen Boyle on a Spanish and walking holiday
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Mick Stephenson mixpix] [Temp box: Rick McCharles] [Things to do box: Marcus Hansson] [Advice on fitness: Rick McCharles] [Best time to visit: Francisco Gonzalez] [Best time to visit 2: Francisco Gonzalez] [Things to do in the picos: Gabriel González] [Tips intro: acebal] [Tip 1: Katie Moum] [Tip 2: lucas Favre]