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Hiking in the Picos de Europa: a circumnavigation
a 12-day adventure: outline itinerary

This hiking trip - a circumnavigation of the Picos range - takes us through the best of the Picos, giving 12 days of N. Spanish culture and cuisine in spectacular scenery.

The Picos de Europa forms the apex of the Cordillera Cantabrica, which runs the entire length of Spain's northern coast. The plateau is at 2000m and the highest point, the summit of the Torrecerredo (2648m), crowns these spectacular limestone peaks.

The lower reaches live up to their local name, Green Spain, with the lush valleys providing excellent pastures and the higher meadows bedecked with wildflowers in the spring.

The high ground above 1800m is a rocky moonscape devoid of vegetation.

There are still villages in the mountains that have no access by road; this inaccessibility and
wild landscape provide a safe haven for some of Europe's more exotic wildlife.

Bears, wolves and boars still survive here, rebeccos (like chamois) are often seen across the range, and due to a total hunting ban are not at all shy, allowing us to approach well within camera range.

The scenery, walking, hotels, food, climate and wildlife make this a great walking adventure.

It was both the wild terrain and the Celtic inhabitants that prevented both the Romans and the Moors from conquering this part of Spain. Today there is still much evidence of these early settlers: bagpipes accompany local folk dances, parched throats are quenched with cider and their mythology speaks of enchanted forests.

September is the driest period so an ideal hiking time.

And of course the mini-bus follows us around with the luggage, making our days more enjoyable with only a light day pack to carry.
And we'll see rebecco and eagles, and lammergeier, griffon and other vultures.

Outline itinerary

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click here for the equipment list

Hiking in the Picos, in N. Spain - Our hotels

The great walking and scenery is enhanced by our very friendly, local accomodations in small villages;
and the wide range of traditional food that we will sample.
All these hotels have rooms with en-suite facilities; and free wi-fi in the hotel if not in your actual room.

In PotesThe Casa Cuyo (4 nights)

Is right in the central cobbled street of Potes - one of the most attractive villages in the northern Spanish region of Cantabria. The village is in the centre of the Liébana region. The old part of the village where we stay is full of narrow streets and stately houses, witnesses to its former splendour.

In Posada de Valdéon – The Cumbres de Valdeon (3 nights)

This friendly one-star hotel was built in 1996 and completely renovated in 2004. The owners and staff are very friendly and will work hard to make your stay memorable. It is by far the nicest hotel in the valley.

In Arenas de Cabrales - The Hotel Torrecerredo (4 nights)

Is a small family-run one-star hotel, and the only hotel in Arenas with views of the highest peaks. It has a very pleasant garden terrace attached to the café bar and the panoramic restaurant gives views right up to the mountains.
The hotel is in a rural setting, a five-minute walk from the centre of the village with its banks, cafes and shops.

Where are these hotels ?

View Adventure Treks - Picos de Europa, Spain in a larger map
Altamira Caves - the "Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art"
Why not stay on in Bilbao for a few extra days to visit the
Guggenheim Museum
We can help you plan this.

A visit to the Altamira Caves - the "Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art" - is included in our program.

Of the 40+ caves of N. Spain Altamira, with its painted bison, is one of the most dramatic. They are presumed to have been painted by the Magdalenian people around 16,000-9,000 BC

Details of all the caves can be found here >>click<<.

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