Recommendations for the Picos de Europa.
May 9, 2023 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about going to Spain for a week in June and I would like to do some hiking. I really don't know much about the area so I would like some recommendations about where to stay and what routes are good to hike.

I am an experienced hiker and have enough equipment for inclement weather. I am thinking of hiring a car so I am fairly flexible about where I stay. My tent has degraded to the point where it is no longer usable so am not going to do any camping.

Also, what else should I see in the area that isn't hiking related?
posted by antiwiggle to Travel & Transportation around Cabrales, Spain (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I were doing this, I would look for a section of the Camino del Norte that looked interesting and hike/walk it. Unlike some other Camino routes in Spain, the Norte is rugged, and would be awesome for some day hikes, and could be easily done without a car. Baggage transfers are readily available (see for one option). The only problem is that this is a very, very busy year on the Camino, so you would want to book your accommodations as soon as possible.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

OrangeDisk, why is this a very, very busy year on the Camino?
posted by jouke at 10:34 AM on May 9, 2023

Best answer: Just got back from being in Pico de Europa last week. We flew into Bilbao.We got a rental car and drove to Fuente De'. It is about an hour and a half from Santander. We stayed at the Parador hotel and took the teleferico (cable car) to the top. From there the views are breathtaking and your hiking options limitless. There appear to be at least six Refugios in Pico de Europa on Google maps. Not sure exactly when the refugios open.

The Refugio Aliva is about 3 km from the teleferico. If it is open, it would be a great place for day trips in all directions or as a starting point for a circuit of some kind. When you are finished you can hike 14 km back to your car. We only were there for three days. I'm sure one could easily spend a week there and not be bored.
posted by Xurando at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here is someone who did a 4 day Picos trip and lists her itinerary. She seems to hit most of the high points. She even went to Santillana del Mar at the end of her trip, which I can recommend as well (despite its popularity with tourists.) I can also endorse her enthusiasm for the hard cider you find in that part of Spain.
posted by gudrun at 8:14 PM on May 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ms Fabius has done two walking holidays in the Picos:

* 2019: Exodus’ Walking the Picos de Europa
* 2022: El Anillo de Picos

She says:

The Exodus trip was a series of day hikes, with Arenas de Cabrales as the base.

Details here:

My write up here:

I’d recommend all / any of them as a day hike. Not all are circular though. The most popular is the Ruta del Cares: Poncebos - Cares Gorge - Cain, and back. Short drive from Cabrales, good parking near the Puente de la Jaya bridge, just out of Poncebos (if you’re there early; 2 parking areas), well signposted, good trail underfoot, good views. And if you’ve still for 3 hours or so to spare after that you can visit Bulnes too (funicular up for speed, hike down) from the same car park.

If you stay in Cabrales, visit the Quesería artesanal El Cabriteru: (short walk along the AS-345 road).

In Cabrales we stayed at the Hotel Torrecerredo. The couple who run it are very knowledgeable about hiking in the area and could provide suggestions if you're staying with them.

The Fuente De suggestion looks good.

There are plenty more on Wikiloc:

El Anillo de Picos was an 8 day hut-to-hut circular hike with an experienced mountain guide (and GPS). There’s plenty of info about routes and refugios on the offical website:

My write up here:

Whilst most of the popular / lower routes are well signposted, higher up the trails are hard to find / follow. There are some technical sections too - scrambling, rope descents, ferrata ascents. Feel free to MeMail me (via fabius) if you want ideas.
posted by fabius at 6:24 AM on May 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

My PC desktop background is a panorama taken on a walk from Fuenta De several years ago that ranks as one of the best I've ever done. Sadly, I don't have a full record of the walk, but it involved taking the slightly hair-raising cable car ride to the top and then walking back down over the course of a full day.

IMO, Northern Spain is one of the best and most underrated places in Europe to vacation. Definitely check out some of the towns like Santillana del Mar, Comillas, and San Vicente along the coast; the food is some of the very best in the world.

Be aware that English is not widely spoken outside of major tourist centres (or at least it wasn't when we were there) - having a basic grasp of Spanish will be a huge help, especially if you're planning on doing longer walks or anticipate needing to ask for directions. The towns and beaches can get (very) busy with (local) tourists in peak season.
posted by parm at 7:18 AM on May 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, these are great. I hadn't heard about this area until about two weeks ago when a friend (who hasn't been there) told me about it. I will go through the links and try to come up with some kind of plan.
posted by antiwiggle at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2023

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