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Ewan
Ewan

Adventure of the Week: Picos de Europa to the Coast

If you love to be surrounded by mountains, then the Alps is a natural destination to head to, but what if you want something a little different?  The Dolomites are a popular alternative, and the Julian Alps in Slovenia have also become popular, but nestled in the north of Spain there is an area oft overlooked that is bursting with joyous mountainous scenery.  It is quiet, has an incredibly strong culture and cuisine and will provide you with one of the greatest walking experiences of your life.  Add to this a trip to the most unexplored, but beautiful coastlines in Spain and you have Picos de Europa to the Coast.

Cable car to Fuente de

Cable car to Fuente de

In a Nutshell

Distance: You can go up to 85km on this trip, but we have a few days where there is a choice of walks, so if you are not feeling up to it, you can take it a bit easier.

Grading: We have created this trip to be Easy to Moderate.  While you can go wild in the Picos and go all out on back to back mountains, we wanted people to be able to experience this glorious region without feeling like they have to be an experienced hill-walker.  The routes we have picked out mean that you will be immersed in the wonder of the area, taking in the best scenery without tiring you out too much.

Sea carved rocks on the Asturian Coast

Sea carved rocks on the Asturian Coast

Where is it?

The trip is in the Asturias region in the north of Spain. This region boasts some of the most beautiful coast and delightful towns in all of Spain, and you will get to sample a bit of this towards the end of the trip.  The bulk of the focus is around 50km inland, where the mountains erupt from the land to form the Picos de Europa.  The tour starts here, exploring the heart of the Picos Massif, taking some circular walks around Potes and Sotres before edging ever closer to the beautiful Asturian coast.  Transfers will be provided to take you from walk to walk, ensuring you have time to explore every facet of this part of the world.

Why walk it?

The Picos is one of those places that define the term hidden gem.  While they are well known amongst mountaineers and walkers, not many people gravitate towards them, nor indeed the north coast of Spain in general and this is a massive oversight.  The north of Spain is one of the most fantastically welcoming and exciting parts of Europe.  There is an easy-going charm that is ingrained in every little village and town you come across, with people who are not entirely used to seeing tourists from outside of Spain.  This is a part of the world that just feels right, and there is no doubt that after you glimpse a little of its magic on this trip, you will be back to explore more of it in the future. The landscapes of the Picos de Europa are outstanding and easily rival the Dolomites.  Jagged limestone cliffs give way to deep, enchanting gorges. Vast open grassy plains, painted rich green are framed by zigzag peaks.  Crystal clear lakes, mirror the blue skies and surrounding mountains and give such a deep sense of peace that you can feel it right through you.  This is a walking wonderland and one of these unique enclaves where everyone is there for one reason, to walk. The evenings will be spent in bars with walkers, talking over their day's conquests, recommending where to go the next day and merrily chatting over local beverages.

Cares Gorge

The dramatic Cares Gorge

This being the general vibe, the more specifics are spectacular.  You will visit ancient monasteries nestled in the hills, take the cable car up to Fuente Dé and stand on the edge of the Central Massif, giving you unbelievable views of the whole area.  Then, there is the "Ruta del Cares” through the Cares Gorge. This is the best walk in the Picos and arguably the best in all of Spain. Follow the path through this incredible steep-walled gorge, through tunnels carved from the hillside and along wide paths with steep drops on one side.  It truly is a breathtaking experience. Then there is the coast.  Walking along the 'Green Coast' of Asturias will give you the urge to return again and again.  The quiet beaches are beautiful, often tucked into little idyllic coves and the towns are laid back little havens, always with great architecture and charm, but overpoweringly welcoming and filled with lovely restaurants and bars. You will spend two nights in Nueva de Llanes while you explore the fisherman's trails that pepper the coast and spend a day walking along the Camino del Norte.

Planning and preparation

Picos de Europa to the Coast is easy to get to and easy to get around.  Santander is the closest airport and is now serviced by many low-cost carriers from around Europe, and it is also a lovely city to spend a few nights in.  Bilbao is another alternative, but a little further away.  From either of those, you simply take a bus to Unquera, and we will collect you from there, taking you into the Picos to start your trip. If you have any questions about exploring the Picos, get in touch with our team on info@macsadventure.com, and they will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

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