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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Spain & its Islands > Other Regions > The Picos de Europa

The Picos de Europa

Asturias – where the mountains meet the sea
Starting point:

Hotel Picos de Europa, Arenas de Cabrales, where you stay two nights.

Day 1
Linear walk via Cares Gorge: up to 22km, 7.5hrs

After a short transfer (included) to Poncebos, you walk out and back along the spectacular Cares Gorge, also known as the ‘Divine Gorge’, surrounded by towering, craggy limestone peaks. Initially, the path remains high above the river, but as you walk along the gorge you gradually descend towards the water. As you approach the village of Caín (the turning back point), the gorge opens up to reveal an unrivalled view of jagged peaks. As this is a linear there-and-back walk, you can return from any point.
(We also offer several other routes following paths leading into the high mountains for views of the majestic peaks, including the famous orange-hued Naranjo de Bulnes. A head for heights is required for some of these routes).

Day 2
Arenas de Cabrales to Pandiello: 18km, 7hrs

Leaving Arenas, you head west, ascending the northern slopes of the beautiful Dobros Sierra along ancient paths though tiny hamlets and past the remains of grand ancestral homes and Roman bridges. You descend from the lofty limestone pastures to walk through a small river valley with several restored mills before a final ascent to the village of Pandiello and the charming Portiella del Llosu.

Day 3
Pandiello to Bobia via Buitres Pass: 18km, 6.5hrs
Covadonga Lakes to Bobia option: 14km, 5hrs (if adding extra night here)

This highly-praised route has three distinct parts. The first section leads along country lanes and tracks across the farming lowlands, rising steadily to reach the dramatic Buitres Pass where indigenous wild Asturcon ponies roam. The next remote section skirts the base of the impressive Gustaselvin Sierra. Finally, after climbing to a high pass, you descend along the edge of a beautiful, steeply cut valley. Your destination is Bobia and the Hotel Rexacu in the heart of the mountains.
If you add an extra night here, we highly recommend a lovely route that starts with a transfer (pay locally) up to the glacial lakes of Enol and Ercina above Covadonga. After exploring the area around the lakes and maybe visiting the Visitor Centre, you descend from the rocky higher reaches of the mountains along a mixture of tracks and paths through a stunning landscape of peaks and valleys and seemingly deserted farms and barns. These upper pastures are still worked, however, and you will encounter grazing animals.

Day 4
Bobia to Vibaño: 13.5km, 5hrs

Starting with a transfer to the mountain hamlet of Cuerres, the walk to Vibaño and the Montaña Mágica follows part of a centuries-old way, said to date from pre-Roman times and which in the Middle Ages linked Llanes on the coast with the monastery at Covadonga. You enjoy broad views of the Atlantic as you cross the ridge which separates the Picos from the coastal plain. A cobbled Roman road then descends into a secret valley, from where you rise once more into the hills on the other side.

Day 5
Vibaño to La Pereda, lower level route: 19km, 6hrs
Vibaño to La Pereda, mountain route: 19km, 6.5hrs

Today you have two options, the first is a long but relatively gentle route which hugs the edge of the mountain that backs the coastal plain and links a number of pretty villages.
The second, which is more demanding and requires good weather, heads up into the mountains for one final time along a secluded high valley, before the coast is finally revealed as you leave the peaks behind. Your destination is the Posada de Babel, near La Pereda, where you stay two nights. To take out some of the descent at the beginning of this walk, we recommend asking your hosts for a transfer down into Vibaño itself.

Day 6
Linear walk via Camino de Santiago: 15km, 5hrs; longer option: 17.5km, 5.5hrs
Linear walk to Llanes, return by taxi : 4.5km, 1.5hrs

For your final day there are two coastal walks to choose from, both using sections of the Camino de Santiago, approaching the picturesque fishing port of Llanes from opposite directions and linking pretty villages along the way.

Alternatively, stroll along country lanes from La Pereda to Llanes, from whose beaches or cliff-top path you can look back across the terrain you have covered on this splendid exploration of Asturias. Return by taxi (or on foot, retracing your route).


To extend your holiday, why not add on a couple of nights in intriguing Oviedo, or the historic port of Santander, if you are flying via one of these cities?

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 Grade 2-3 Walk
Local Map
 Walking Chart
Walking Chart:The Picos de Europa This is an approximation only. If comparing holidays, please note the scale of the chart as this can differ.
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