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.



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 Ribadesella
    Night 1: at Villa Rosario (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 & visits from Ribadesella: 5.5km to 22km
    The choice of walks is as wide as the scenery they explore – choose from lakeside paths, walks via authentic Asturian villages or trails through lunar landscapes of limestone crags. Many of the routes 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.

    Covadonga Lakes circuit (grade 1): 5.5km, 2hrs; ascent/descent 200m
    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.

    The Cares Gorge (grade 2): up to 22km, 7.5hrs; ascent/descent 815m
    The Cares Gorge (1hr by car) is one 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.

    Asturias village trail (grade 2): 15km, 5hrs; ascent 430m/descent 490m
    This is a stunning walk, taking you into the heart of rural Asturias – through working farms, along verdant river valleys, and past authentic villages with many examples of the Asturian raised granary or hórreo. The walk is accessed by car and ends with a short but pretty train ride between the villages of Arriondas and Sevares.

    Lake Ercina to the Refugio de Ario (grade 3): 13km, 6hrs; ascent/descent 800m
    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.

    Mirador del Fito
    For a change from walking, why not pay a visit to the magnificent Fito Viewpoint? Reached by car, this gorgeous spot promises a fabulous panorama of coast and mountains.
    Explore the Picos
  • Ribadesella to Barrio La Cuesta: 180km, 2.5hrs
    Today you head east, to the little-known Zamanzas Valley in Burgos Province. We suggest a scenic driving 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: 4.5km to 15.5km
    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 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.

    Orbaneja loop - shorter option (grade 1-2): 4.5km, 1.5hrs; ascent/descent 170m; longer option (grade 2): 15.5km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 370m
    This walk begins in the wonderfully 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 (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.

    Hills & Villages (grade 2): 11km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 315m
    From the door of El Molino, this pleasant walk meanders 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.
    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 14.5km
    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 90° through tectonic activity, and are now visible as long parallel lines of rock running down sheer cliffs and straight out to sea. The Getaria-to-Zumaia walk starts from the door, but the others are accessed by hire car.

    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.

    Elorriaga circuit (grade 1-2): 11.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 330m
    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 refreshments 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 (below) in reverse.

    Getaria to Zumaia (grade 1-2): 12km, 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 395m
    This out-and-back walk to the west, directly from 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.

    Zumaia to Deba (grade 2): 14.5km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 620m
    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).
    Around Getaria - Flysch cliffs at Sakoneta
    Looking down on Getaria


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.

In Ribadesella, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. Both are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.

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. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 9 nights: 01 April 2024 - 31 October 2024

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 Apr - 25 May 2024 £1320 £420
    26 May - 16 Jun 2024 £1390 £480
    17 Jun - 31 Aug 2024 £1565 £560
    1 - 22 Sep 2024 £1400 £490
    23 - 30 Sep 2024 £1360 £445
    1 - 22 Oct 2024 £1320 £430
    3rd & 4th person discount -£120 to -£170
    Single traveller supplement £120 to £170

    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 2h15/home 1h, Asturias (Oviedo) out 1h05/home 4h, Santander out 1h15/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)

    Hotel Saiaz Getaria, Getaria
    Junior suite with sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £60
    Sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £16
    Superior with sea view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £42

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

    Extra night prices include an extra day's car hire
    Villa Rosario, Ribadesella (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £60 £120
    01 May - 31 May 2024 £66 £138
    01 Jun - 30 Jun 2024 £82 £185
    01 Jul - 22 Jul 2024 £103 £248
    23 Jul - 31 Aug 2024 £121 £303
    01 Sep - 23 Sep 2024 £82 £185
    24 Sep - 14 Oct 2024 £69 £147
    15 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £60 £120
    Molino del Canto, Barriolacuesta (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2024 £141 £188
    Hotel Saiaz Getaria, Getaria (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 17 Apr 2024 £93 £159
    18 Apr - 01 May 2024 £110 £187
    02 May - 31 May 2024 £93 £159
    01 Jun - 30 Sep 2024 £110 £187
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £93 £159
    Bilbao, Asturias (Oviedo) or Santander
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange ferry travel from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander

    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 (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Bilbao (via Barcelona) Vueling 
    Edinburgh - Santander Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Bilbao (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Asturias (Oviedo) Vueling 
    Gatwick - Asturias (Oviedo) (via Barcelona) Iberia 
    Gatwick - Bilbao British Airways,  easyJet,  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 - Santander Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Asturias (Oviedo) (via Barcelona) Vueling 
    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 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Bilbao (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    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 for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. 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
  • 3 dinners
    9 breakfasts
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • 9 days’ category B car hire

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 >



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 A to B, 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.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. 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. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). 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 us to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to 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.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • 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 incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • 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 (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). 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 for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • (Castilian) Spanish is one of several official languages; Catalan, Basque and Gallego have equal status in Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, respectively. The currency is the Euro. Spanish time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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.
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