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Three Faces of Green Spain

Asturias, Burgos & the Basque Country
 
Explore the majestic mountains, spectacular canyons and rugged coastal scenery of northern Spain on this self-guided, three-centre walking holiday, with hire car included. Enjoy a choice of walks through contrasting landscapes and stay in accommodation of great character and atmosphere.
Three Faces of Green Spain. 9 nights
Three Faces of Green Spain. 9 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in northern Spain

Northern Spain possesses a haunting beauty. Soft spring rains water the mountains, carving out steep-sided, tree-clad valleys which plummet to the sea. Your journey begins in Asturias, where apple orchards and alpine pastures lie sandwiched between the majestic Picos de Europa and a dramatic but easily accessible coastline. This is a region of natural bounty, of lush grasslands, deciduous woodland and rich rural traditions; of sharp ciders, piquant cheeses and of some of the freshest seafood that you will ever taste.
Further east, in the little-known Zamanzas Valley in Burgos Province, are the headwaters of the mighty Ebro which, as it begins its epic journey to the Mediterranean, cuts a maze of sheer, honey-coloured canyons through the plateau. The hidden valleys and villages are astonishingly tranquil, the only sounds the mellifluous birdsong and, of course, the river. Beyond this stretch the vibrant lands of the Basques, a proud and progressive people keen to share their unique culture and glorious food. A string of lively fishing ports line the rugged coast, supplying Europe’s highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants. Here, as in Asturias and the Zamanzas Valley, we have found some memorable and varied walking, as well as some truly special guesthouses, each reflecting the spirit of these three distinct corners.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    The proximity of mountains and sea means that the weather can change quite quickly. Sea mists are fairly common, particularly in the morning, but don't tend to linger long.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 11 13 13 16 19 22 25 24 24 20 15 12
    mm 123 102 95 121 90 63 52 81 71 107 142 129
  • Arrival in Collia
    Night 1: at Hotel Posada del Valle (the first of three nights here).

    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of walks from Collia: 5.5km to 22km
    The choice of walks is as wide as the scenery they explore – choose from cliff-top paths, walks around mountain lakes, or trails through the splendid beech forests of the Ponga Natural Park, many of which can be combined with visits to caves with prehistoric rock paintings, to pretty fishing villages, or to some of the pre-Romanesque churches which together have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Asturias village trail (moderate): 15km, 5hrs
    This is a stunning walk, direct from the door, taking you into the heart of rural Asturias – through working farms, along verdant river valleys, passing authentic villages with many examples of the Asturian raised granary or hórreo – and a short but pretty train ride in the middle, between the villages of Arriondas and Sevares (Sebares).

    Mirador del Fito (moderate): 10km, 3.5hrs; longer option: 14km, 6hrs
    This walk starts from the magnificent Fito Viewpoint, reached by taxi. Enjoy the panorama of coast and mountains before setting off across the flanks of three small peaks of the Sueve Sierra, enjoying views of the Picos de Europa and of the coast between Llanes and Gijón. You have the option of extending the route by climbing to the summit of Pico Pienzu (1,159 metres), a challenging ascent that is rewarded with another breathtaking panorama. If you are lucky, you may spot wild Asturcon ponies as you walk, but if not the sweeping views more than compensate.

    Lake Ercina to the Refugio de Ario (challenging): 15km, 6hrs
    This is an excellent walk which takes you into the heart of the Picos de Europa. The waymarked path takes you rapidly away from the touristy areas around the lakes into the isolated heart of the mountains. At first you climb up to a meadow dotted with stone cabins once used by shepherds during the transhumance to summer pastures. From here a more demanding ascent draws you into a lunar landscape of limestone crags and pavements to finally reach a mountain refuge nestling in an elevated rocky bowl.

    Around the lakes (easy): 5.5km, 2hrs
    This is an easy circuit underfoot that enters the heart of the Picos from where you explore the shores of two glacial lakes. The drive up to the lakes is spectacular, first passing the sanctuary of Our Lady of Covadonga, and then the lovely viewing point of the Mirador de Reina over the Picos. If you have arrived early in the season and there is still snow on the higher routes, you may be able to combine this circuit with the lower reaches of the walk below.

    Cares Gorge (challenging): 22km, 6hrs
    The Cares Gorge (40mins by car) is another of the National Park’s ‘must-sees’. Also known as the Divine Gorge, it is surrounded by towering, craggy limestone peaks. A broad path has been carved out of the mountainside, an extraordinary feat of engineering. At first it remains high above the river, but the further you walk along the gorge, the closer you get to the water. If you walk all the way to Caín, the gorge opens up to reveal an unrivalled view of the jagged peaks at the heart of the Park. You return along the same route.

    Playa La Vega (moderate): 15km, 5hrs
    From the hotel you descend along good tracks across the shaded, forested slopes of the hills of the Sierra del Fito, enjoying good views to the sandy, unspoiled beach of Playa La Vega. Relax on the sand for a while before returning to the Posada by taxi.

    Arenal de Morris to Huerres – and back (moderate): 16km, 5hrs
    This is a very pleasant coastal walk, on grassy cliff-tops, taking in two interesting villages. The village at the end of the walk, Huerres, is very pretty and cider and tapas await you here!

    Abedules circuit (moderate): 7km, 2.5hrs
    The drive up to this circuit takes you through wonderful scenery of the jagged, often snow-clad, peaks of the Ponga Natural Park (1hr by car), one of Spain’s newest protected reserves and fully deserving of its status. There is a real feeling of escaping the everyday world as you explore the majestic beech woods, with splendid views of wild mountains. This is a pleasant walk which, with the scenic drive there and back, together with a visit to the remote mountain village of Viego, will fill your day.

     
    Around Collia
  • Collia to Barrio La Cuesta: 180km, 2.5hrs
    Today you drive east, to the little-known Zamanzas Valley in Burgos Province. We suggest a scenic route through the foothills of the Picos de Europa, with the option of visiting the Altamira Caves en route. Your base for the next three nights is the Molino del Canto, set on the banks of the Ebro.
  • Choice of walks from Barrio La Cuesta: 10km to 17km
    The mill’s restful atmosphere could easily lull you into inactivity, but it is well worth venturing out of the gorge to explore. We suggest a number of great walking routes during your stay here, accessed either from the door or by a short drive.

    Guided bird-watching walks
    Your host Xavier is a very enthusiastic and and experienced birdwatcher and we thoroughly recommend joining him on a bird-watching excursion, on which you may get to see dipper, kingfisher, golden eagle, chough and griffon and Egyptian vultures. He knows the English names of hundreds of bird species and can identify most by their song. With supplied binoculars or monoscope, Xavier will guarantee you see a good cross-section of the birds that live in these hills and valleys.

    Hills & Villages (grade 2): 10km, 4hrs
    This pleasant introductory walk takes you from the door of El Molino on a wander through the local villages, initially up the hill to Aylanes, via a ruined chapel, which sits below cliffs inhabited by Egyptian and Griffon vultures. From the village, you head down through woodland to Gallejones, and along the valley to Villanueva-Rampalay. After admiring the high-arching medieval bridge, you follow the river all the way back to the hotel, with plenty of birdwatching opportunities en route.

    Orbaneja loop (grade 2): 16km, 5hrs (grade 2); shorter option (grade 1-2): 4.5km, 1.5hrs
    This walk begins in the superbly pretty village of Orbaneja del Castillo, with a spectacular waterfall cascading through the centre of the village, and fantastic tall castle-like rock formations all around (hence its name). Take ancient drovers’ trails to climb from the village up to high, flat pastures and moorland, where you encounter unique chozos, or shepherds’ huts, and threshing floors. From here, there are great views over the winding River Ebro. While a short walk drops back down to the village again, our recommended longer option takes you through woods and pastures to descend to the nearby village of Villaescusa, from where you follow the wooded slopes of the River Ebro back to Orbaneja.

    The Pesquero del Ebro canyon (grade 2): 17km, 5.5hrs
    One of our favourite walks, this shows you almost everything that the canyons offer beginning with a lovely drive to the nearby village of Pesquera and the start of the walk. The outbound walk takes you through the quiet villages, small fields and atmospheric woodland of the high plateau, with regular views down into the spectacular canyon winding below. After refreshments in the riverside village of Valdelateja, you follow the river in the heart of the canyon all the way back to Pesquera, while vultures soar above.
    Around Barrio La Cuesta - bridge at Valdeteja
    Around Barrio La Cuesta - Orbaneja loop walk
  • Barrio La Cuesta to Getaria: 185km, 3hrs
    Leaving El Molino del Canto, you drive north-east, to the coastal village of Getaria and the Hotel Saiaz Getaria in the Basque Country. The quickest route is to take the motorway from Bilbao, but you may prefer to drive along the north coast instead (6hrs).
  • Choice of walks from Getaria: 7km to 15km
    Our suggested walks give you a taste of the region’s high green hills and vineyards, but the real drama is on the coast, where grassy slopes rise up to meet multi-coloured cliffs that plunge precipitously to the sea. The coast here is characterised by 'flysch' lines – layers of coloured sedimentary rock, sandstone and shale dating from the mid-cretaceous period (c.145 to 66 million years ago) which have then been turned 90o through tectonic activity, and are now visible as long parallel lines of rock running down sheer cliffs and straight out to sea. The first walk starts from the door, but the others are accesed by hire car.

    Zumaia to Deba (grade 2): 15km, 6hrs
    This is a truly wonderful walk, full of extraordinary coastal scenery, secluded farms and a remote hermitage. You drive to Zumaia railway station, then set out along clifftops with flysch lines on the beach below, ascending then descending from one dramatic bay to the next. The highlight comes with your arrival at Sakoneta Bay, a truly remarkable place and well worth time spent lingering over your picnic and simply taking in the views – the flysch lines here are fabulous. Walking partly on the Camino de Santiago you reach the town of Deba, dropping down from a hill-top hermitage which boasts views in both directions along the coast, in time for a well-earned drink before catching the train back to Zumaia (pay locally).

    Elorriaga circuit (grade 1-2): 10.5km, 3.5hrs
    This walk explores the open green countryside inland from Zumaia, with good views over the port and town, as you make your way to the remote village of Elorriaga, where you can enjoy refreshemnts in the small taverna (closed Wednesdays). Here, you swing back along the coast via a number of fabulous viewpoints of the unique rock formations, following part of the Zumaia to Deba walk (above) in reverse.

    Getaria to Zumaia circuit (grade 1-2): 11km, 4hrs
    This circuit to the west, directly out of the hotel, takes you through a hamlet with a hermitage and an abandoned pilgrims' inn, which were used for centuries on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrims’ route. Spend time exploring the delightful harbour of Zumaia and having lunch – or even enjoying a boat trip, perhaps – before returning through hillside vineyards and farmland.

    San Sebastián 'Town Trail' & walk to San Pedro (grade 1): 7km, 2hrs
    Take the train to San Sebastián (pay locally) and follow our 'Town Trail', taking in the port, riverside, old town and pintxos bars. You can also enjoy a walk over the headland past a lighthouse on your way to the nearby fishing village of San Pedro.

     
    Around Getaria - Flysch cliffs at Sakoneta
    Looking down on Getaria
 

Accommodation

Such is the charm of the accommodation that it is as important a feature of the holiday as the scenery and the walking. Indeed, these are very special places where you can be sure of a welcoming atmosphere and excellent service.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 9 nights: 13 April 2019 - 26 October 2019 & 01 April 2020 - 31 October 2020

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    13 Apr - 23 May 2019 £998 £350
    24 May - 30 Jun 2019 £1095 £455
    1 Jul - 23 Aug 2019 £1150 £455
    24 Aug - 13 Sep 2019 £1115 £455
    14 - 23 Sep 2019 £1095 £455
    24 - 30 Sep 2019 £1055 £375
    1 - 17 Oct 2019 £998 £350
    1 Apr - 23 May 2020 £1045 £380
    24 May - 30 Jun 2020 £1150 £425
    1 Jul - 23 Aug 2020 £1195 £430
    24 Aug - 22 Sep 2020 £1150 £425
    23 - 30 Sep 2020 £1120 £395
    1 - 22 Oct 2020 £1045 £380
    3rd & 4th person discount -£75
    Single traveller supplement £75

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Price includes: 9 days' category B car hire (eg Seat Ibiza or similar with manual transmission)

    Drive time between the airport and the hotel: Bilbao out 2h30/home 1h, Asturias (Oviedo) out 1h20/home 4h, Santander out 1h45/home 2h

    We can also offer a self-drive option featuring Brittany Ferries from the UK; please contact us for details and prices

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    La Posada del Valle, Collia
    Larger: 13 Apr - 26 Oct 2019 £6
    Larger: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £8
    Hotel Saiaz Getaria, Getaria
    Junior suite with sea view: 13 Apr - 26 Oct 2019 £40
    Junior suite with sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £45
    Sea view: 13 Apr - 26 Oct 2019 £13
    Sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £12
    Superior with sea view: 13 Apr - 26 Oct 2019 £30
    Superior with sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £32

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Extra night prices include an extra day's car hire
    La Posada del Valle, Collia (with dinner) Double room Single room
    13 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £92 £115
    18 Apr - 21 Apr 2019 £100 £128
    22 Apr - 15 May 2019 £92 £115
    16 May - 30 Jun 2019 £96 £124
    01 Jul - 15 Sep 2019 £100 £128
    16 Sep - 30 Sep 2019 £96 £124
    01 Oct - 26 Oct 2019 £92 £115
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2020 £100 £128
    01 Jul - 15 Sep 2020 £112 £142
    16 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £100 £128
    Molino del Canto, Barriolacuesta (with dinner) Double room Single room
    13 Apr - 26 Oct 2019 £104 £140
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2020 £110 £146
    Hotel Saiaz Getaria, Getaria (B&B) Double room Single room
    13 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £70 £118
    18 Apr - 01 May 2019 £82 £152
    02 May - 31 May 2019 £70 £118
    01 Jun - 30 Jun 2019 £82 £152
    01 Jul - 23 Aug 2019 £86 £156
    24 Aug - 30 Sep 2019 £82 £152
    01 Oct - 10 Oct 2019 £70 £118
    11 Oct - 13 Oct 2019 £82 £152
    14 Oct - 26 Oct 2019 £70 £118
    01 Apr - 17 Apr 2020 £72 £122
    18 Apr - 01 May 2020 £85 £145
    02 May - 31 May 2020 £72 £122
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2020 £85 £145
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2020 £72 £122
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Bilbao, Asturias (Oviedo), Santander
    Latest flight arrival time/earliest flight departure time: flexible

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Bilbao easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Bilbao easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Santander Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Asturias (Oviedo) Vueling 
    Gatwick - Bilbao British Airways,  Vueling 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Asturias (Oviedo) via Madrid Iberia 
    Heathrow - Bilbao British Airways,  Iberia,  Vueling 
    Heathrow - Bilbao (via Madrid) Iberia 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Bilbao easyJet 
    Stansted - Santander Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Asturias (Oviedo) (via Madrid) Iberia 
    Manchester - Bilbao easyJet 
    Manchester - Bilbao (via Barcelona) Iberia 
    Manchester - Bilbao (via Heathrow) Iberia 
    Manchester - Oviedo (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

What is included
  • 9 nights
  • 6 dinners
    9 breakfasts
  • 9 days’ category B car hire
  • route notes and maps
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Spain, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • (Castilian) Spanish is one of several official languages; in Catalonia, for example, Catalan has equal status. The currency is the Euro. Spanish time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 11/14/2019 12:37:44 AM