40 independent reviews for Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

Reviews for Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

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review 13 Nov 2017

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

This experience provided a very well structured and fun language course provided by the language school, combined with a week of varied outdoor adventures with a superb guide and in a spectacular setting. This provided a great combination. The icing on the cake was provided by the three other solo travellers whom I met and who helped to make the week one of memorable laughter.

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

Just book it!

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

Yes. In addition to the language school and adventure outfit, we stayed in accommodation owned and run by locals; and shopped and dined locally. The groups are small, which felt as if they were in keeping with the size of the village. Apart from the use of a van to make the generally short drive to where the outdoor activity was located, environmental impacts were minimal.

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

5 star - both the language school and activity centre were committed to providing an excellent experience. I will go back!

review 30 Oct 2017

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

It was great to combine language learning and outdoor adventures.

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

If you like these two elements: language learning + active holiday, you'll meet people with very much the same interests.

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

Yes.

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

The language school and the tour operator for the outdoor activities were very professional and dedicated to provide the best experience for their guests.

review 18 Oct 2017

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

Lots of laughs learning a new language in the morning, stunning scenery for walking, and the challenge of staying upright while canoeing in the afternoon.

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

Make sure you bring a small dictionary and good footwear as well as a sense of humour.

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

It certainly brought trade to the town's hotels and restaurants and probably benefited some local suppliers of food.

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

An excellent combination of good-humoured intellectual stimulus and physical outdoor activity in a beautiful area.

review 25 Sep 2017

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

Wonderful hikes through stunning scenery in the afternoons - guides were great.

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

Very easy to travel on your own - you will meet like minded people and have many opportunities to practice your Spanish - not much English spoken in Panes!

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

Yes- we all stayed in local small hotel or with local families. We ate out locally in small family bars/restaurants- no multinationals here

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

Very friendly language school - well pitched to our abilities. I enjoyed watching short films and music videos- 4 hrs Spanish every morning seems daunting but the time passed really quickly. The hiking was challenging - you do need to be fit- but you get to see some spectacular scenery, whilst practicing Spanish at the same time .

review 21 Sep 2017

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

Travelling alone and being welcomed into a group of like-minded travellers.

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

Go for it! Do research travel options before committing, it is not the easiest place to access by air (but that adds to the charm).

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

The holiday supported local businesses in Panes, which is heavily dependent on a short tourist season.

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

Excellent, exceeded all expectations.

review 18 Sep 2017

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

The language course was really excellent, with great teachers who were very well organised and responsive to our different levels. They really made use of the town as a resource and the townspeople really helped us practice as they all knew of our tour operator and why we were there. The guided walks were lovely, quite steep but at a relaxed pace and very varied with amazing mountain scenery. Our guide Helena was easy company and happy to chat to us in Spanish but had good English too.

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

Get the most out of it by preparing first and enjoy your group! We enjoyed eating lunch and usuallydinner too together in a variety of bars and restaurants and didn't talk English all of the time!

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

Yes very much, as we stayed in local hotels or other families and ate out in several different venues as well as buying everyday items and souvenirs. The partnership between the school, activity centres and hotels/ hosts is clearly working well and it felt like everyone was keen to make our stay successful so gave us every opportunity to practice.

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

Excellent, don't think it could have been improved upon.

review 31 Jul 2017

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

All of it was memorable and exciting - we enjoyed learning the languages and the different hikes were spectacular.

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

Go for it - you won't regret it. If you'd ever wanted to learn a language then this caters for all abilities.

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

Yes we used the local supermarkets and restaurants that served local produce and family run rural hotels.

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

Had the most incredible time!

review 29 Jul 2017

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

Fabulous walks in the mountains and the ability by the end of the week to order lunch in Spanish!

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

Panes really has everything you need for self catering - so live like a local for a week.

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

Absolutely excellent.

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

Excellent.

review 2 Jul 2017

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

Living in a small village on the edge of the Picos gave me the opportunity to slow down and enjoy learning the language while hiking in a truly magnificent natural environment.

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

Just do it!

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

Yes, I think that tourism benefits the small village of Panes.

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

Excellent. My experience exceeded my expectations. The language school was quite good - the teachers were skilled and enthusiastic. It was work, but it was fun!

review 18 Apr 2017

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

The combination of being active with amazing walks plus the chance to learn a language.

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

If you have no Spanish, a phrase book which helps you order food is helpful. Very little English is spoken in Panes, which is great for practising your Spanish.

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

Yes. We used local bars, restaurants and shops, and travelled mostly on foot!

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

A brilliant combination of learning, walking and having fun with others. Having never done an 'organised' holiday before I was a bit worried it may not work, but it couldn't have been better.

review 21 May 2017

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

Cultural experiences on the alks. Ancient caves, isolated monasteries. Interesting walks, lovely scenery. I got on well with the other participants and we met up for dinner.

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

Highly recommended, lovely location, local arrangements all satisfactory. Works well for solo travellers, get more from the classes if you are independent and then have a go speaking to the locals.

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

Local people benefitted from the employment opportunities and services used by visitors, shops restaurants, hotels. Low environmental impact, perfectly satisfactory accommodation.

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

An excellent experience, 2 of the teachers prepared lessons well. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to hangout in the hills and have a stimulating time interacting with local people and getting the feel of the area.

review 3 May 2017

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

Thoroughly enjoyable experience all round. Well taught lessons and lovely walks in stunning scenery.

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

An excellent combination, give it a try.

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

We were very much part of the local community and helped bring money and employment to a small town.

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

Excellent

review 7 Apr 2017

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

I had a lovely week at this language school in Panes. Really professional teaching in the morning, a lovely mountain guide each afternoon and I stayed with a very kind family in the village.

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

Go for it.

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

Absolutely. Everything was local.

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

I would not hesitate to recommend it.

review 5 Dec 2016

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

A very well planned week. The walks were selected for their interest and were of an appropriate level for our fitness. We were shown some varied and wonderful parts of the Picos de Europa. The Spanish course was designed so that we learned whilst enjoying ourselves; the materials were well researched, always held our attention for the 4 hours of lessons and progressed our Spanish to the next level.

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

Be prepared for a very full week. Embrace it.

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

We stayed with a local family and this enhanced our week considerably. The family was both welcoming and encouraging and shared many of the local sayings and customs with us. The meals we shared with them were excellent.

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

Superb. We have been back for two weeks and are still talking to others about how wonderful it was. It was well organised from beginning to end and we were given a lot of advice / help by the owners / staff before we arrived.

review 3 Oct 2016

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

Excellent small group Spanish tuition in the mornings, followed by walking and other explorations in the afternoons, with a local guide - a really good combination, all located in a village on the northern edge of the Picos de Europa, between the mountains and the coast - equally scenic in their different ways.

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

A nice combination of Spanish classes (carefully tailored to the level of the guests) and holiday activities during the day, followed by good Spanish food and wine in the evening.

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

In our small group, three people stayed in village hotels, one was brave enough to stay with a local family, and we had local tutors and a local guide, so we were helping the village economy right at the end of the tourist season.

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

A long bus ride from Bilbao, but 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.

review 30 Aug 2016

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

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.

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

It helps if you are in good physical condition to get the most out of the hiking trips.

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

Yes, in as much as one can these days.

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

We were very satisfied with our stay in Panas and the surrounding area. However, it would be good if it stays out of the limelight in order not to be overrun with tourists.

review 17 Jul 2016

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

The beautiful surroundings, meeting interesting new people

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

Its warm in July but be prepared for cloudy, drizzly weather most of the time. Can be a little depressing. We only saw blue sky briefly on the day we left.

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

Definitely benefited locals, not sure on other counts

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

An interesting experience in a beautiful part of Spain

review 20 Jun 2016

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

The fantastic scenery, plus the new friends made.

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

No need to buy a dictionary. Do ask about smoking in the house if you plan to stay with a family. I recommend Hotel Covadonga---where you feel part of the local community--but take earplugs so you are not woken up by the noisy plumbing. You need to be a confident walker to take full advantage of the walks.

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

We used local resturants for dinner and bought local souvenirs so money going into the economy.

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

9 out of 10. It provided just what it said on the tin---great language teaching, and good exercise with the guided walks. I made enormous progress on the language front but the walks could have been a bit more demanding---one of the group didn't cope well with the walks so held us back.

review 12 Jun 2016

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

This holiday had two parts to it: learning Spanish in the mornings and walking in the afternoons. Both of these were equally excellent. The lessons were extremely professional, pitched at the right level and took account of the different learning styles within the group of four attendees. The trainers were engaging and stimulating. I shall go away to pursue this language further. The walking was absolutely wonderful, which means that the location was superb. We walked from 3.30 to 6.30 pm each day with a break on the middle day to give our legs a rest. The Guide chose walks that were varied in location and degree of difficulty. He was a trained mountain rescue man so we felt extremely safe. We walked high, and low along the coast, and through valleys and gorges. By the end of the week we were famous in the village - we enjoyed a Vino Tinto or beer in the evenings. A beautiful place.

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

Come prepared for walking - and do walk when you get there. You'll be fit after two days, but make sure you bring walking poles. In fact make sure you read everything the company forwards to you in the information package. I am 70 and none of the walks was too difficult for me. The scenery was amazing and we walked a small part of the Northern coastal Camino walk. It has certainly whet my appetite to visit that area again.

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

We brought increased custom to the local restaurants, the Hotels and the small supermarket in Panes. The walking was certainly within the context of preserving the environment - we walked in the National Park as well as through farmland and villages and our guide was eager to explain how the environment is being protected, or not in some instances.

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

Overall this holiday was much better than I had expected. Staying in one place for a week was sublime and gave us a chance to develop our Spanish through interacting with the local people who spoke no English. It was also helped by the fact that our group of 4 women got along extremely well. I'm not reborn but this holiday comes equal first with another I had this year - both were intent on giving us a genuine experience of village life.

review 24 Aug 2015

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

The whole holiday was memorable. The language school was situated in a lovely small town. The school was light and airy and the lessons flew by! The teaching was excellent. Great games! Four varied hikes in the afternoons with great views. Lovely group of people doing the lessons and hikes.

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

We enjoyed staying in a self catering apartment at Las Bardenillas. This was a 10-15 minute walk from the language school. We bought our bread and supplies in the local shops each day and then headed back to our spacious apartment for a couple of hours before we headed out hiking! We liked the restaurant at the end of our road, La Cortina. (This was just over the main bridge on the opposite side of the river to Panes.) Canoeing on our final afternoon was great fun....very peaceful and great views. (We were driven up river and then canoed back to Panes.)

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

Certainly. We walked everywhere (!) and supported the local economy.

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

Excellent. Without any narrative, we would have given the holiday 5 stars. With the narrative, ie great memories and would not hesitate to recommend to friends, we give it 4 stars.

review 17 Aug 2015

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

After the course finished, we all agreed to go on a canoe river descent together. This was arranged through the guide for the walking part of the holiday. It was an excellent enjoyable experience and a good way to finish.

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

It is very much as described, no unpleasant surprises in the walking so long as you're fairly fit and mobile. Look at the kit list you'll be sent.

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

Yes, local shops, museum, cave, activity provider and many restaurants benefitted from our custom.

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

A first class combination of fun and informative Spanish lessons, with exploring a beautiful part of Spain. Well organised by the operator.

review 5 Aug 2015

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

Fun classes and beautiful views

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

Very relaxing for solo travellers - once you are there all you have to do is study, eat and walk!

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

Yes, small towns need business

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

Good fun

review 17 Jul 2015

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

Meeting new friends

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

Because this holiday is based in a rural part of Spain that is not an area where you will encounter many non Spanish tourists, you are unlikely to meet any English speaking people in the bars and hotels. If you are travelling alone and, as yet, have no Spanish, your arrival may be a little daunting. This also applies to the locals when they meet you for the first time. Do not be put off! Your eagerness to learn a new language is appreciated and by the end of your holiday even if your communication level is still difficult, your enthusiasm for learning the language will have been given a real shot in the arm!

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

It benefitted local people as any tourist income would.

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

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 holidays

review 14 Jul 2015

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

The locals seemed to warm to us as we had a go with our gradually improving Spanish. The beautiful challenging walks.The friendliness of everyone. The holiday provider staff, their local associates and the small holiday group I was in.

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

V easy to get train from Santander to Torrelavaga where Rafa's taxi will pick you up (included).

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

Yes

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

V. enjoyable. Would consider returning to see the area at a different time of year.

review 23 Jun 2015

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

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.

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

Be prepared to take things as you find them, relax and enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere of the town. The people here are so friendly, and you should try and engage with them as much as possible to add to your experience. It is also important to bring the proper basics for walking, boots, pole, rainproof jacket etc. as per Ana's list.

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

The area around Panes is beautiful and unspoilt. Small scale holidays such as this are an ideal compromise as they do not have an adverse effect on the environment, while benefitting the local economy. Everyone, the school, walking guides, hotel, restaurants, taxis, shops, do their utmost to ensure visitors have a pleasant stay.

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

All in all, it was a very good experience, and we would be pleased to return at any time, and indeed hope to do so in the future.

review 11 Jun 2015

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

Picos scenery is really stunning. Panes village is very traditional. The tutors and walking guide all friendly, very competent and helpful. Hotel Covadonga clean and friendly with enormous and lovely traditional breakfast.

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

In Panes virtually no one speaks any English. Meals are huge, biased towards meat choices and menus are mostly only in Spanish, some places don't offer a menu. Dinner starts at 8pm, not before. Potes, 25km away, has a lot more choice, menus and English so it's easier to find something to eat, especially if, like me, you're there alone. Hire a car. It gives you so much more flexibility to explore this stunning area.

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

Yes, everyone I dealt with was local.

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

Excellent holiday!

review 28 Apr 2015

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

1. The walks were good and varied. Some amazing scenery. 2. Finally managed to speak a bit of Spanish (not really part of my OU Spanish course) and found the lessons useful; friendly & good teachers. It was sunny every day, so I was very lucky.

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

The walks can be adapted to your wishes and abilities, as can the Spanish of course. Take a travel kettle if you need cups of tea!

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

Yes, supported the school, walking guide, taxi company and local shops/hotel & restaurants.

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

Good holiday. I took the language lessons quite seriously and spent a extra few hours each day 'revising'. All balanced by some great walks (and a pilates lesson). My hotel was perfectly adequate but the staff weren't friendly, but there is a choice of hotels. This is a good choice if you want to combine some learning and some activity in a lovely part of Spain.

review 8 Apr 2015

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

Walking the Ruta del Cares. This 1000m high ravine with the river flowing through the bottom is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. Not easy to photograph as the scale is so vast! The guides were brilliant - very knowledgeable and helpful.

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

The walking is spectacular but if, like me, you are only used to relatively level walks it would probably be a good idea to get some practice on hills beforehand! The Spanish tuition was great - tailored exactly to our level.

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

Panes has lost many of its generation of young people. Those remaining are working very hard to sustain local traditions and preserve their lovely old environment for the future. Tourism provides a major source of income and therefore greatly benefits local people. It also encourages maintenance of the many local items of historical interest (e.g. a church dating back to 1100AD), the local Arboretum and the propagation of knowledge through information boards and the Internet. Walking facilities are improving all the time with gradual opening up of new, spectacular routes.

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

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. It was nice to have a couple of more relaxing days there at the end as well.

review 10 Jul 2014

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

It was a really well-balanced mixture of lessons in the morning and walking in the afternoon. I loved all of the walks - each very different to the other. The lessons were worked around us and our needs. Nothing was too much trouble and everybody wanted us to have a great holiday - everybody went above and beyond to help us.

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

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! If you want the city atmosphere or you are a 100% sun seeker, then keep looking!

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

Yes, everybody who worked directly at the school was locally hired. We were in a small village, so every time we went to a restaurant or shops etc. we benefitted the local economy. The walks were well planned and environmentally conscious.

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

Fantastic - just what I needed!

review 27 Oct 2014

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

Gaining confidence in using Spanish and finding that people actually understood what I was saying.

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

Be prepared to work hard at Spanish learning and walking but get a great sense of achievement at the end.

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

Yes. 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.

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

We came back mentally and physically tired, but feeling that we had done something positive.

review 22 Jul 2014

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

Everyone was super friendly and hospitable. The area around the Picos de Europa National Park is stunning. Ana at the school made the experience extremely positive and nothing was too much trouble.

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

Be prepared to put a 100% effort and concentration into the Spanish lessons . If your brain is cluttered it will be really challenging. Bring all weather clothes as it can change quickly. If you plan on doing the hikes; bring sturdy boots and poles.

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

In terms of spend in the shops and restaurants in the town of Panes then this holiday has a very positive impact .

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

A challenging and rewarding week spent learning new skills and meeting warm, friendly people.

review 12 Jul 2014

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

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 life. Made an intensive course fun by changing the learning medium (eg written, discussions, videos , games) regularly and paced it to individual requirements. The best language course I have ever taken. Huge amounts of effort and thought are applied and in no way is it formulaic. It was great on the last evening to join Ana and her partner for a picnic prepared for us by the river - a nice touch.

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

Be prepared to push yourself both mentally and physically to get the best out of it. Whilst the pace will be adjusted to your needs it was more rewarding for me to do this - not least because one realizes one has hidden reserves. If walking come with a decent pair of shoes and a stick. Don't expect too much from Panes itself as whilst perfectly acceptable, it's not what one would classify as lively.

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

Certainly brings tourist cash to the area, although some locals are somewhat reserved in contrast to other parts of Spain where they welcome tourism more overtly.

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

Memorable says it all. It's 5 star as a learning experience but because it is a tiring and stretching experience would not classify it for me as an holiday in the way I see an holiday. I should not forget to mention that the walking guide was also fantastic - cheery and encouraging, but able to gauge what one could and should do. A really professional group of people.

review 29 Jun 2014

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

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.

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

Do it and come home on a high!

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

I felt that our being in this small village of 400 people did indeed benefit the local people and they engaged very much with us all the rime. Also the fact that they spoke no English was a huge plus for our Spanish. And on the walks I was very involved in the local plants and trees which I discussed with the wonderful walking guide each day.

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

Superb and great value.

review 11 Aug 2014

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

Combination of language classes and hiking is a very good idea. In other language schools the cultural activities are almost alike and not that exiting. This is a good chance for people who like to walk in the nature. The region is enchanting, offering many outdoor activities.

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

The school is almost new and not many students will be attending. There may or may not not be other students in your class and not exactly your level. This may be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the situation. Excursions are guided by a local guide who gives information about the region and makes sure that everyone in the group has his share of conversation. The area, as implies the names of the Picos of Europe is hilly so participants should be ready for climbing though difficulty level is not high.

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

Yes. The school is run by a local and the accommodation I chose was a homestay. Although eating out, shopping though small may be of some benefit to the locals.

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

I enjoyed the holiday though the routes of hiking was a bit steep. Still I did it all and I must not overlook that the guide was considerate with respect to my age. I very much appreciate the scenery and natural beauty of the region in which i found some resemblance with that of my home country, the Black Sea region of Turkey.

review 10 Oct 2013

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

It was all good but one particularly unusual feature of the language teaching was that the conversation classes sometimes involved going out and talking to the locals - Panes is a very small town so the teacher knows everyone there. The local cider was also memorable.

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?

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

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. Now I just need to go back next year and maybe tackle the subjunctive...

review 5 Oct 2013

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

The mountains and the cave opening to the see. My Spanish also improved greatly and I hope I will have a chance to return.

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

Just look at the information and advice provided by 'PeakMe' which includes all the tips you need. And you will be well looked after by the staff so don't hesitate to ask them.

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

Yes. Could have benefited some local businesses even more if they hadn't closed because the tourist season was over. The staff at the school and the walk leader do everything possible to benefit the local people and care for the environment.

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

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.

review 13 Jun 2013

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

Not sure I can narrow it down to one thing! For starters, the area was incredible. Think spectacular limestone mountains, lush green countryside, wild coastline and fresh air...so much fresh air! Jamie was great at choosing walks that were tailored to the weather and the abilities of our group. And I'm really not into birds, but even I was excited to see a rare vulture cruising overhead. And school was fun. Yes, really! My teacher, Sonia, was fantastic and tailored classes to us. I actually learnt stuff and yet still came home feeling like I'd had a relaxing holiday.

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

I stayed in Hotel Covadonga which I'd recommend. It was really clean and the staff were friendly. However it's worth taking ear plugs - the church is next door and while the church bells only ring during daylight hours, it can interfere with siesta-ing :-)

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

Definitely e.g. everything you purchase in Panes or in the little mountainside villages directly benefits locals.

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

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!

review 27 Oct 2013

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

The holiday was a great combination of both fantastic walks in the mountains and learning Spanish, I learnt far more than I expected to! I also established friendships with fellow students that are continuing beyond the end of the holiday.

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

Just go for it.

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

It was clearly benefitting local people as all the staff at the school were local. They were also very friendly and accommodating. To minimise environmental impact it is worth co-ordinating your trip with Jamie and Anna if you can.

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

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.

review 22 Oct 2013

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

Walking in the mountains with great landscapes, and interesting fauna, flora and birds.

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

Be prepared to work hard and walk hard. Get your brain and body fit before you go. Take appropriate gear. Then enjoy Asturia's delights.

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

I travelled by bus, shopped and ate locally, and had a home stay, so I guess it did.

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

Very worthwhile and enjoyable.

review 31 Jul 2013

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

The people, the school and scenery - everything !

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

Being a vegetarian in Norhern Spain is not easy !

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

Yes, I was very much in the place - eating, studying, etc.

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

4 stars plus

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