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The Picos de Europa 10 days walking
Walking in Spain, a circumnavigation of the Picos.

difficulty grade B ( height gains of up to 600m, 2,000 ft a day )
    Option B: difficulty grade C ( height gains of up to 1200m, 4,000 ft a day )

Day 1:

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Meet in Bilbao:
Pick-up is arranged late morning in Bilbao.
Transfer to our hotel in POTES (2.5hr transfer), visiting a cave with paleolithic cave art en route.

Time to visit the quaint market town of Potes, with lots of typical shops.
Our hotel base for 4 nights is the lively Hotel Casa Cuyo, Potes.

Day 2:

The abandoned village of Porcieda
Walking out of our hotel we climb gently through pine and oak forests to arrive at the quaint abandoned village of Porcieda with it's magnificent cork oaks forests. +500m. 5hrs.

Option B: From the abandoned village of Porcieda with its magnificent cork oaks forests we return on foot to our hotel by a circular route. +800m. 6Hrs

Day 3:

Mirador del Cable and the Mines of Manforas
Our first glimpse of the wild interior of the Picos range.
We take the cable car for an awesome ride, up the sheer cliff from Fuente Dé to the Mirador del Cable 1800 metres above. Once at the top we continue via the Manforas mines to the Refugio de Aliva where we can have refreshments before taking the path down to our minibus. +200m, -500m. 5hrs

Option B: Once at the top we enter into the rocky wilderness, following a rough route to the pass of Horcados Rojos and then the summit of the Torre de Horcados Rojos (2508m).
Descent to the Refugio de Aliva where we can have refreshments before taking the path down to our minibus. +800m. 7hrs.

Day 4:


Ruta de los pueblos
Arguébanes, Lon and Brez: a lovely hike through traditional villages and farmland of the Liebana valley. We are often above the field-line and we'll meet cattle, horses, sheep and goats all grazing freely on the mountainside; and often their shepherds with their huge mountain dogs which guard the animals from bears and wolves. +300m. 6Hrs

Option B: Arriving at the village of Brez we take the “Canal de las Arredondas” to climb up on an old mining track to the high pastures under the walls of the Picos. We descend through oak and beech woods and pastures to the next village of Tannario where our minibus awaits. +700m. 6Hrs

Aperitif:-Tasting of local meats and salamis at our hotel.

Day 5:

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East-West traverse of the Picos
We follow old mule-tracks from the Fuente Dé cable car west over open moorland and through beech forests to the village of Posada de Valdeon, where we spend 3 nights. +650m. 5hrs

Our hotel base for 3 nights is the friendly
Cumbres de Valdeon

Day 6:

Mountain pasture hike, the Vega de Llos
From our hotel we hike through 2 traditional villages of the Valdeon valley before climbing through higher pastures to reach the summer grazing grounds of Vega de Llos where we'll meet a range of grazing animals. We return by a circular route, giving lovely views of our village and the higher summits of the Picos range. +550m. 5Hrs

Option B: From the Vega de Llos we climb to the ridge and then the summit of El Abdedular (1600m). We descend the valley of the Rio Argoya, back to our hotel. +750m. 7Hrs.

Day 7:


Traverse of Monte Redondo
This lovely 8-mile hike starts from the pass above our village – the Puerto de Panderruedas – and winds down gently through mixed woodland and forest to arrive back at our hotel. -530m. 4Hrs

Option B: The opposite - We start from our hotel and climb up to arrive at the pass above our village – the Puerto de Panderruedas – where our minibus is waiting. +530m. 4Hrs

Day 8:

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Cares Gorge – a South-North traverse of the Picos
The classic Cares Gorge has been described as the jewel in the crown of walking in Spain. For 12km the engineered path has been blasted into the rock face. Originally built in the 1940s as part of a hydroelectric scheme, it has now become one of the most popular walks in Spain.
In places, the surrounding peaks rise over two thousand metres above the path and if we’re lucky, we may catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful wall creeper. Our path starts in the village of Cain and we follow this narrow gorge to Puente Poncebos where transport will be waiting to take us to our hotel in Arenas de Cabralles. Nearly a rest day ! +150m. 3Hrs

Option B: Arriving at the village of Cain we climb up to the village of Cain Arriba and then continue up through rough terrain to visit to the cave of “Cueva de Santibañas”.
Once back at Cain we follow the classic Cares Gorge to Puente Poncebos, +650m, 6Hrs

Wine tasting at our new hotel -
Our hotel base for 4 nights is the friendly Hotel Torrecerredo in the village of Arenas de Cabralles.

Day 9:

The re-conquest of Spain - Pandebano Col
In 722 the Moslem army lost its first battle - we follow the route their retreating army took – high across the Picos range. We climb up to the roadless village of Bulness - with fantastic
views of the monolithic peak of Naranjo de Bulnes - and from there traverse Pandebano Col and the high plateau to arrive at the isolated village of Sotres. +600m, -300m. 5Hrs

Option B: From the Pandebano Col we climb to the summit of Cabeza La Mesa (1600m) to give even better views of the surrounding wild country. +1100m, 7Hrs
Day 10:

Mancondiu Peak, 2000m (6,600ft)
From yesterday's end-point we continue our traverse and climb up through old mine works – lead and zinc mining was an important industry here – to finish with a circumnavigation and/or ascent of this rocky peak and stunning views. +550m, (summit +700m in total). 5Hrs

Option B: once back at the minibus we continue our walk, going deep into the isolated valley of Cuesta les Cuerres, to arrive near Tresviso village where we join the rest of the group for a cheese-tasting. +900m. 7Hrs

Cheese tasting in the (very) isolated mountain village of Tresviso, with their gold medal goat's cheese.
Day 11: The Lakes of the Picos
Market day in Arenas – a tour of the local market is a must.
Then a drive of less than 1hr takes us to the beautiful church and Sanctuary of Covadonga where we can take photos. Then a tour of the Lakes of Enol and Encina, the site of the actual battle and the route the retreating Moslem army took in 722, offer a lovely end to our tour of the Picos. +300m, 5Hrs

Option B: We continue with a hike into the remote Vallé de las Llampazas. +600m, 7Hrs
Day 12: Transfer day: after a relaxed breakfast we leave you in Santander and/or Bilbao for your onward flights.
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Based on:
2 people sharing a twin room in 1-3* hotels.
A single-room supplement is readily available if you prefer.

What is included:
Inclusive of airport transfers, bed and breakfast (nights 1-11 inc), big picnic lunches (days 2-11), 6 evening meals, all cable cars and lifts, minibus transport and 2 guides.

What is NOT included:
Insurance, 5 evening meals (to give you the chance to test local food on your own), alcoholic drinks and your postcards and obvious personal spending, including medical supplies. Lunches on travel days (days 1 and 12).

Key points:
* Everything listed is in the price. There are no hidden extras.
* We have time to enjoy the scenery, in comfort, with very good quality accomodations and food.
* We have minibus support, and 2 GUIDES, throughout the trip.

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Trip Facts:
Average height gain per day - 400m (Option B: 750m)
Highest height gain in a day - 650m (Option B: 1100m)
Languages Spoken - Spanish (+ Basque language - Euskara - in Bilbao)
Difficulty Rating - Easy (Option B: Moderate)

The terrain:
The walking here is varied and spectacular, with superb scenery at all levels. Most of the walking is on shepherds paths or disused mining paths although the ascents of peaks can be quite rough underfoot.

As in all mountain ranges the weather is unpredictable and this may affect walks. With changeable weather it should be expected that on some rare occasions lower level walks may be suggested.

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