5 Days, 6 Nights
This self-guided route starts from Espinama, below the cable car at Fuente De, where the route ends on day 5, and takes you through high mountain terrain, deep valleys and hillside trails through leafy woods.
You will pass through jaw-dropping scenery as well as the three autonomous communities that share the honour of having the Picos de Europa national park within their boundaries.
Highlights include the Cares gorge and the ancient village of Bulnes. You can be provided with packed lunches from each overnight stay and your bags will be transferred each day to be at your next hotel waiting for you.
- Espinama - Sotres
- Sotres - Poncebos
- Poncebos - Caín
- Caín- Santa Marina de Valdeón
- Santa Marina de Valdeón - Espinama
- Your first night will be spent in a friendly, family-run village hotel in Espinama, just below the cable car, where you are assured of a great evening meal to set you up for the first day's walking and perhaps a dip in their pool.
- Day 1 - After breakfast enjoy the luxury of being transported 1,800m up to the top of the Fuente De cable car in the Cantabrian central massif and walk through high alpine pastures to Sotres in Asturias where a comfortable bed and more local dishes (fabada anyone?) await you in the highest altitude hotel of the trip.
- Day 2 - From Sotres to Poncebos the descent is gradual and passes through the only roadless village in the Picos, Bulnes. Buy some of the local blue cheese made here, queso picón, if you dare. The path twists down the side of a stream and if you cheat and catch the cog railway down you'll miss the chance of a refreshing dip in it! Arrive at your hotel for the night next to the crystal clear waters of the Cares river.
- Day 3 - Walk the famous Cares Gorge and marvel at the towering limestone walls around you and the construction of the canal built to feed the hydro-electric power station. The river divides the western and central massifs and the path finishes at Cain in Castilla León at the southern end of the gorge. Your hotel is one of a few modern ones in this old village nestled among the peaks.
- Day 4 - Walking south from Cain walk to the charming village of Santa Marina de Valdeón via Posada de Valdeón. Don't miss the horreos (grain stores on stilts) in the villages and the conserved and no longer used wolf trap in the woods on the side of the valley gorge.
- Day 5 - Traversing up through the wooded hillside of the Valdeón valley, your efforts are rewarded by the views from the Pandetrave col; behind you the western massif and before you the central massif that you will skirt to arrive back at Espinama via the bottom of the Fuente De cable car.
Our basic package includes:
6 nights in en-suite rooms booked for you - leaving you free to choose where to eat in the evenings
Detailed trip notes and maps
Daily bag transfers
Price -490€ pp. based on 2 people sharing. Single supplements may apply.
A good level of fitness and map-reading ability is required for part of this route.
N.B. The price does not include transfers to and from Espinama, packed lunches, breakfasts or evening meals. These can be booked separately.