Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self guided Picos to the Coast walking holiday
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Highlights

  • Easy mountain walks in the Picos de Europa
  • Two days of walking along the rugged coast of "Green Spain" in Asturias
  • Take the famous Fuente de cable car to a height of 1835m for amazing views
  • The famous "Ruta del Cares", one of the finest walks in the Picos
  • Dine on tasty region cuisine such as Cabrales cheese and Asturias cider

Starting in the fantastic Picos de Europa National Park, straddling Asturias and Cantabria, enjoy four days of easy walking in the mountains before heading to the rugged coast of “green spain” for a couple of days of relaxed walking between seaside fishing villages and quiet beaches.

So named because its jagged limestone peaks were through to be the first sight of Europe for ships arriving from Amercia the Picos offers a huge variety of landscapes including lush meadows, tranquil woodlands and deep gorges and it is no wonder it is a big draw to keen walkers! Take a cable car from Fuente De and walk through lunar-like landscapes to Sotres, deep in the heart of the Picos. Enjoy a choice of easy routes around Sotres perhaps sampling some of the mouth watering Cabrales cheese. And walk the “Ruta del Cares” on a path through the dramatic Cares gorge.

A short transfer brings you to a rural hamlet from where you walk past rugged coves and beaches to the coastal town of Nueva de Llanes. A final walk along the sea cliffs passes colourful villages and tapas bars, and the natural geisers called “bufonas” of Llanes de Pria.

Day 1: Arrive Tama

Flying into either Santander or Bilbao Airport, travel by bus to Unquera (2hrs or 3hrs respectively), from where an included transfer (45min) brings you to the charming village of Tama close to the foot of the Picos de Europa.


Check in and enjoy wonderful views of the Picos mountains from your room. The medieval town of Potes, gateway to the Picos, is just 2km away and worth a visit today if time allows.


Dinner & Overnight: Tama


Day 2: Walk to Cabañes & Potes

A short transfer (10min) this morning to Allende where you join a pilgrims path the “Camino Lebaniego” which leads to the Monastery Santo Toribia de Liebana. Walk steeply uphill to the small hamlet of Cabañes with wonderful views over the lush Liebana valley. Continue through an old chestnut wood back to Tama. Your afternoon is free to walk to the nearby National Park Visitor Centre or to visit Potes.
Potes is a lively town with cobbled streets and a lovely place to spend the afternoon having a stroll around.


Walk: 9km, 4-5hrs, 425m ascent, 485m descent (optional 3km to Potes, 1hr, 100m ascent/descent)


Dinner & Overnight: Tama


Day 3: Transfer to Fuente Dé, walk to Sotres

Start the day with a 30min transfer to Fuente Dé located high in the mountains at 1100m. Take the famous cable car right up to a height of 1835m and the edge of the Central Massif of the Picos de Europa mountain range. The limestone landscape up here is almost lunar-like and home to some amazing wildlife such as chamois, vultures and alpine birds like the Snowfinch and Rock Thrush.
Walk through pastures filled with mountain chalets, cross a glacier valley and finally the wonderfully scenic Aliva Pass to arrive in Sotres, the highest village in the Asturian side of the Picos.


Walk: 13km, 250m Ascent, 1050m Descent, 5-6 hours.


Dinner & Overnight: Sotres


Day 4: Choice of circular walks from Sotres

You have a choice of circular walks today, all starting and/or ending near Sotres. Take an easy but incredibly scenic walk to the authentic village of Tielve via Valfriu, home to the tasty local blue cheese, Queso de Cabrales. Another option is an easy loop walk around the village of Sotres via quiet woodland tracks and footpaths.
If you prefer a day off walking, another option is a 2hr visit to a local cheese factory and natural maturing cave with tasting session (on request, arranged locally).


Circular walk via Tielve: 14km, 480m ascent/descent, 6-7 hours


Circular walk around Sotres : 5.7km, 300m ascent/descent, 2.5 hours


Dinner & Overnight: Sotres


Day 5: Walk along the Cares gorge, transfer to Arenas de Cabrales

One of the finest walks in the Picos—and possibly in Spain— awaits you today, following the “Ruta del Cares” through the Cares gorge. Transfer to the start (15min) and then head along this spectacular route on pathways sculpted into the rock passing caves and tunnels, walking as far as Cain before returning.
Whilst you follow good wide paths throughout on this walk, there is a steep drop to one side most of the way so for anybody with vertigo issues it is possible to take a lift with your luggage to Arenas de Cabrales and do a short circular walk there.


Walk: Up to 23km, 600m ascent/descent, 7 hours


Alternative walk around Arenas: 10km, 3.5 hours


Overnight: Arenas de Cabrales


Day 6: Transfer to Vibaño , walk to Nueva de Llanes

Leave the mountains behind and head to the rugged Asturian coast or as it is otherwise known the “Green Coast”. A short transfer (30min) drops you off at the small rural hamlet of Vibaño and you continue towards the coast through typical Asturian countryside. Reach the banks of the Rio Purron  which lead to the beautiful surfers beach of San Antolin. Continue on fishermen’s trails backed by rolling green hills, and on clifftop paths to Nueva de Llanes, your home for the next couple of days.


Walk: 14.7km, 325m ascent/300m descent, 4.5-5 hours.


Overnight: Nueva de Llanes


Day 7: Coastal Loop Walk from Nueva de Llanes

Enjoy a superb day of coastal walking along  the cliffs and the Camino del Norte pilgrim route, going from one colourful village to the next, passing rugged beaches, coves and fantastic “bufones” (natural geisers produced by the tides).


Stop for a refreshing Asturias cider at the little beach bar of Cuevos del mar before returning to Nueva de Llanes.


Walk: 17km, 400m Ascent/ Descent, 5-5-6 Hours


Overnight: Nueva de Llanes


Day 8: Onward Travel

Check out after breakfast and make your way by one of the regular buses back to Llanes where there are good connections to Santander, Bilbao or Oviedo Airports. Santander and Bilbao are also great places to extend your stay—ask us for prices of additional nights at either of these cities if required.

Accommodation

We specifically select your accommodation to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


The hotels we normally use are detailed below. We may sometimes have to use alternative hotels subject to availability but if this is the case we will always let you know when confirming your booking.


Solo Walkers

This holiday is available for solo walkers but we would recommend that you are experienced in walking and navigating alone. If you are travelling solo the holiday is slightly more expensive as some costs are not shared.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Meals

A delicious breakfast is included each morning and 4 dinners whilst at the Tama and Sotres Hotels. The accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch - this should be requested on arrival. Or you can pick up lunch in the village or stop along the trail. Your route notes have details for each day.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.



 

 

 



La Posada El Corcal - Tama



La Posada El Corcal - Tama

The El Corcal de Liebana located in the valley of Liebana, just 2km from Potes and the foot of the Picos is a traditional Cantabrian mountain hotel with modern facilities including a spa area with sauna and jacuzzi. Enjoy wonderful views of the Picos de Europa from the balconies and windows of the rooms.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Sotres - Sotres



Hotel Sotres - Sotres

Hotel Sotres is a simple mountain hotel in tranquil surroundings offering great traditional cuisine. In the evening head down to the restaurant and enjoy some wholesome stew, freshly prepared from local ingredients or wander to the local inn for a refreshment..


 

 

 


 

 

 



La Rivera Hotel - Arenas de Cabrales



La Rivera Hotel - Arenas de Cabrales

A cosy welcoming hotel, close to the Cares gorge in the picturesque village of Arenas de Cabrales, the Hotel Rivera is the perfect place to stay after the “Ruta del Cares” walk.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Don Tomas - Nueva de Llanes



Hotel Don Tomas - Nueva de Llanes

Hotel Don Tomas is a quaint little hotel which was originally built as an Indiano house. It offers a warm welcome and has a lovely garden out the back in which to relax.


 

 

 

Availability and Time of Year

This holiday is available to start any day of the week between the beginning of May and end of October, subject to availability.


Please note that 2018 departures are only available from the 7th September 2018.



The weather in this part of Spain is most comfortable for mountain walking at this time of year, and whilst sudden mists are common they usually burn off by mid-day. As with all mountainous areas and particularly because of the proximity of the mountains to the coast in this area, the weather can also change suddenly and there can be sudden rain-showers, or even snow at any time of year so you should be prepared for all weather conditions with waterproof gear and plenty of sunscreen!  We also recommend checking daily weather forecasts whilst you are out there and taking care when crossing streams which may fill up during the spring and autumn.


Grade & Fitness

This walking tour is graded Easy-Moderate. Walks are between 4-7 hours and there is an ascent/descent of between 250m to 600m each day. We have chosen some of the easier walks in the Picos so that anybody with a relatively good level of fitness should be able to enjoy this tour. However as you are in a mountainous area you should expect some rocky terrain which can become slippy when wet and there will be some steep drop-offs. The only more difficult walk is the Cares gorge walk which is 23km long in total and involves a fair bit of ascent (600m). However, it is possible to return from part way and not do the full walk and all of the ascent is near the start of the walk. As this walk also involves walking alongside a steep drop for most of the way, we provide an option for anybody with vertigo issues to travel with their luggage to Arenas de Cabrales and do an optional loop walk from there instead.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The routes on this trip are generally way-marked but can be unclear at times so you will need to follow the route notes and maps provided. We can also provide you with GPX tracks for this tour so using this combined with the provided route notes and maps means you should have no problems finding your way.


Solo Walkers

This holiday is not available to solo walkers due to the fact that some of the routes pass through remote terrain.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Meals

A delicious breakfast is included each morning and 4 dinners whilst at the Tamas and Sotres hotels. The accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch - this should be requested on arrival. Or you can pick up lunch in the village or stop along the trail.Your route notes have details for each day.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Tama

From Bilbao Airport - Take a bus or taxi (Approx 25€) to the centre of Bilbao. From Bilbao bus station take a bus to Unquera (2.5 to 3hrs). From Unquera an included transfer will take you to Tama.


From Santander Airport - Take a bus or taxi to the centre of Santander (15mins). From Santander bus station take the bus to Unquera (1hr 20mins). From Unquera an included transfer will take you to Tama.


Airlines flying to Bilbao include Easyjet and Vueling from the UK, and you can fly via European hubs with airlines such as KLM, Lufthansa, and Air France.


For Santander, fly from the UK with low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Vueling. Or you can also fly with Iberia or British Airways.


Getting back from Nueva de Llanes

Take one of the regular buses to nearby Llanes (20 min). From here there are regular buses to Santander (2hrs), Asturias (3hrs) or Bilbao Airports (4h15).

Included

  • 5 Nights in 2* mountain hotels
  • 2 Nights in a small rural hotel
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 4 Dinners
  • Luggage transfers on days 3, 5 and 6
  • Transfers as mentioned in itinerary
  • Detailed route notes, maps and pre-departure information pack
  • GPX tracks
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Unquera and from Nueva de Llanes
  • Dinners on days 5-7
  • Cable car on Day 4
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Cheese factory visit and tasting session (arranged and payable locally)
  • Single room supplement if required
  • Solo walker supplement if required

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Picos are very popular. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

This walking tour is graded Easy-Moderate. Walks are between 4-7 hours and there is an ascent/descent of between 250m to 600m each day. We have chosen some of the easier walks in the Picos so that anybody with a relatively good level of fitness should be able to enjoy this tour. The only more difficult walk is the Cares gorge walk which is 23km long in total and involves a fair bit of ascent (600m). However, it is possible to return from part way and not do the full walk and all of the ascent is near the start of the walk. As this walk also involves walking alongside a steep drop for most of the way, we provide an option for anybody with vertigo issues to travel with their luggage to Arenas de Cabrales and do an optional loop walk from there instead.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warmer clothing for the evening and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. 

Great introduction to northern Spain

5

Friends recommended Macs Adventures and we were very impressed with their attention to detail and the well organised and comprehensive package. The App is a must-have and was so easy to use. The scenery is stunning and varied, from towering mountains to crashing seas and lush green pastures. A highlight for us was the Cares Gorge. The walks varied in length but were easily achievable.

John

Newbury

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Enjoyed every minute

5

We had a fabulous week in the Picos. The trip was so well organised. Our drivers were prompt every day and the trip notes were very easy to follow. I had expected other people to being doing the same holiday alongside us but it was only us which was brilliant. Each walk was so beautiful and varied. We were surprised at how quiet it was and on some days we hardly saw another person. Our favourite days were walking in the Liébana Valley and the walk from Fuente De to Sotres was simply breathtaking. Just us, the mountains, the sound of cow bells and vultures circling. We enjoyed the contrast of the coastal days and found empty beaches where we could swim. The accommodation was good particularly in Tama where we had a fabulous mountain view and Neuve de Llanes which was a very interesting house and a lovely host. No downsides to the trip really. I found the walks too long but it was easy enough to arrange an alternative drop off with the driver so we shortened them on the last two days and this gave us more time on the beaches. The local food is not that exciting. Cured meat, cheese and potatoes. We will definitely be doing another trip.

Sharon

Wiltshire

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Fabulous trip!

5

This was our 4th or 5th trip with Macs Adventure and we were reminded once again of why we love this company. The accommodations were good throughout, the hosts friendly and helpful, and the baggage transfer was very reliable. The hikes were all different one from the other and were challenging though very doable. The Picos hike was rated 2-3 in level of difficulty, and we felt that was quite accurate. Also, the Cares Gorge was a real highlight, provide amazing views throughout the exhausting but exhilarating 14 mile adventure. The new piece this year for us was using the mobile APP with GPS tracking that followed our every step and helping us figure out when we were off track and how to get back on track. Jess Cohen, our travel specialist at Macs, urged us to consider using not only the paper maps and trip notes provided but to download the mobile APP and assured us of ease of use. It proved to be invaluable advice for which we are very grateful!

Devorah and Margaret

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

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Great time

5

We had a fabulous time on this well organised tour. We were lucky to encounter only two hours of light rain in the whole eight days. We added an extra day at the end and enjoyed a day on the beach.

ALJ

Hereford

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Varied,enjoyable and not overdemanding

5

Excellent undemanding self guided holiday with varied scenic and occasionally spectacular walking routes providing an introduction to a region of Spain wholly different to the holiday meccas in the south of the country. Overall good quality accommodation in traditional hotels providing culturally stimulating locations.

markj8

Liverpool

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Picos de Europa to the Coast

5.0 5

100.0

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