On the Tapas Trail - Family Adventure

Active family adventure holiday on Spain`s Northern Coast







From $1,380 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Overnight in a mountain refuge in the Spanish Picos
  • Don your wetsuit for adrenaline-charged canyoning!
  • Enjoy kayaking and cycling on this family adventure in Spain
  • Option to rent a surf board and ride the waves

On Spain's quiet north-west coast, the region of Asturias is the perfect place for a family adventure holiday. The 'Costa Verde' or green coast is reminiscent of the Cornish coast, with its steep sided river valleys running into sandy bays. We start this active Spanish holiday with a splash as we paddle our kayaks along the River Deva. Our first 3 nights are from our hotel base with swimming pool, in the pretty area of Arenas de Cabrales, in the foothills of the Picos de Europa, just 1 hr drive from Santander. On our third day we are in the water again, canyoning down one the charming gorges. A  walk of then brings us to the mountain refuge where we stay overnight, a great introductory hike for the children, and very exciting! The second half of the week we spend at a hotel near the beach. Here, we have a day cycling and a day to just enjoy the sea, with the option to have a surfing lesson. Northern Spain is quick, easy and cheap to get to from the UK (and a whole world away from the overcrowded southern costas), making it altogether rather appealing for a family adventure holiday.

Is this holiday for you?

Suitable for children from 8yrs old

This family adventure holiday is a mix of sightseeing, activity and relaxation. No previous experience is required for the kayaking or canyoning and can be done by beginners. However all participants must be able to swim unaided for at least 25m. The 2 walks are not difficult and suitable for children. The cycling is along easy trails. All specialist and safety equipment is provided along with professional guiding. All 6 nights hotels have en-suite rooms and the hotel in Arenas de Cabrales has a swimming pool. The mountain refuge is dormitory sleeping arrangements. Overall the holiday is designed to provide a mix of activities suitable for a wide age range and offers an excellent family holiday.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. A single transfer from Santander Airport is provided.
  • A day of fun, easy, kayaking on the River Deva. Picnic lunch on shores. Return to Cabrales.
  • Canyoning today, suitable for all the family. Swim, jump and wade in the gorge. Return to Cabrales.
  • First day of mini trek, orienteering with map and compass to the mountain refuge.
  • Walking descent from refuge, transfer to Llanes on the coast.
  • Free day. Optional surf lesson, swimming, walk or horse-ride.
  • A full day of cycling along the coast. Stop for swim, picnic and cave exploring. Return to Llanes.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to Santander Airport is provided.
Sun 26 Jun - Sun 03 Jul Code FPE /01/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 24 Jul - Sun 31 Jul Code FPE /02/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 07 Aug - Sun 14 Aug Code FPE /03/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Guaranteed Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Santander. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK Ryanair will be the best low cost airline offering flights to Santander. Ryanair who have flights from London & Edinburgh. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. A single transfer from Santander Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. A complimentary single timed group transfer from Santander Airport is provided. If all the flights arrive in the morning then we visit the caves at El Soplao. We take the 'tourist visit' into the caves, which starts on a little mining train through the tunnels and into the cave. During the 1 hour visit we see all sorts of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and limestone formations all colourfully lit. We then continue onto Arenas de Cabrales to our accommodation for dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals ld

  • A day of fun, easy, kayaking on the River Deva. Picnic lunch on shores. Return to Cabrales.

    After breakfast we drive to the put-in point on the River Deva to begin our descent. No previous experience is needed for this as the kayaks are large and stable. We have chosen a section of the river perfect for youngsters, providing just the right amount of excitement and fun. This part of the holiday will be led by experienced, qualified river guides. All necessary safety equipment including buoyancy jackets is provided. We will stop for lunch en route and on reaching the take out point we meet our vehicle and return to the hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. We will have some free time to enjoy the swimming pool, or just relax, before gathering again for the evening meal. Overnight Hotel in Arenas de Cabrales.
    Swimming: In the hotel pool & the river.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Canyoning today, suitable for all the family. Swim, jump and wade in the gorge. Return to Cabrales.

    This morning we have an exciting adventure - canyoning down the river. It is a beginners activity, and suitable for all the family. We have the option of 2 gorges, and the one we take will depend on water levels. The canyoning is led by highly experienced and qualified guides and all safety equipment (wetsuits, helmets etc) is provided (except for shoes – see equipment list). We have a short walk to the start of the gorge section before jumping into the water. The descent will involve a series of swimming sections, wadding, jumping into pools and possibly short abseils. We end up at the vehicle were we get dry. We have lunch and then transfer back to the hotel. We have some free time before dinner.
    Swimming: In the hotel pool & the river.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • First day of mini trek, orienteering with map and compass to the mountain refuge.

    We leave the Cabrales area today and drive into the mountains. We leave the vehicle and start our walk, with our overnight belongings in our small rucksacks (only sleeping bag liner required). Our guide will show us how to use the map and compass, and we will set off for the hut (with some clues to help thrown in!). We will follow good trails through alpine meadows and spectacular limestone scenery. After a couple of hours we will stop at a view point for our picnic lunch. We then get our maps out again for the rest of the walk to the mountain hut. Along the way we will also try to solve the ‘Nature Quiz’. The walk will be spread over the whole day. On arrival at the hut we settle in and have some time to explore, and maybe play a game of cards. We have our dinner and stay overnight in this basic but comfortable mountain hut, set in a very dramatic location in the heart of the Picos mountains. Depending on the group and weather conditions we will follow different routes, and overnight either at the Vega Urriellu Refuge or the Terenosa Hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours walking

  • Walking descent from refuge, transfer to Llanes on the coast.

    After breakfast, we pack our little rucksack and stay goodbye to the mountain hut and descend. We finish at a small hamlet where we have some lunch. Our vehicle will meet us here and we leave the mountains and we head for the seaside and the Costa Verde. We check into our hotel near Llanes, next to the beach, which will be our base for the next three nights.
    Swimming: In the sea.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 2 - 3 hours walkings

  • Free day. Optional surf lesson, swimming, walk or horse-ride.

    The Costa Verde is a very attractive, rugged coastline with chiselled deep ravines, beautiful river valleys, tiny fishing villages, and small sandy bays offering good swimming. There is a good surfing beach near to our hotel and it is possible to hire body and/or surf boards locally, and maybe take a lesson. Otherwise we can visit the dinosaur museum and search for the fossilised dinosaur footprints on the beach. There is also an option for horse-riding along the coastal paths. The nearby town of Llanes is lovely to walk around and have lunch. Any optional activity today is payable locally. Your guide will assist with booking any optional activities.
    Swimming: In the sea.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • A full day of cycling along the coast. Stop for swim, picnic and cave exploring. Return to Llanes.

    This morning we firstly visit the bicycle stores and find a suitable sized bike and helmet for the day cycling along the coast. The route will follow the small coast towns and some of the old ‘Camino de Santiago’ Pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela. The majority of the day we will be on quiet country roads and paths, and the cycling is not of a difficult level. We stop frequently for a swim in the sea at some of the lovely beaches and for lunch. We end up at the pretty beach of Cuevas del Mar, and if the tide is out then we can explore the caves along the beach. We ride our bikes back to the rental shop and return to the hotel on foot through the town, a short walk of around 10 minutes.
    Swimming: In the sea.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A single transfer to Santander Airport is provided.

    After an early breakfast (or a packed breakfast) we drive (1 hrs) to the airport in Santander where KE Land Only package services end. Depending on flight times we have the option to swim or enjoy a final coffee and cake in the town.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English speaking local guide
  • Single timed transfer from/to Santander airport
  • All accommodation as detailed in the dossier
  • All meals
  • All land transfers as required by the itinerary
  • All activities and equipment as detailed

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Tips for local staff
  • Surf lesson or hire of boards
  • Miscellaneous expenses - souvenirs and drinks etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

We rendezvous at the group hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. A single timed transfer is provided from Santander Airport to Arenas de Cabrales on day 1 of the land only itinerary. This transfer is timed to meet the arrival of flights at approximately 1030. At the ends of the holiday the group will reach Santander Airport first thing on the morning of day 8 of the land only itinerary.

If the flights that you book do not allow you to take advantage of these transfers, then you will need to make your own airport transfer arrangements. Independent airport transfers and extra hotel nights can be provided at additional cost. Please contact the KE office for information. Alternatively it is possible to travel to Arenas de Cabrrales by public transport. All clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

During this holiday the group will spend 3 nights in a pleasant and comfortable hotel in Arenas de Cabrales, and 3 nights in a similar establishment in Cue, Llanes. The hotel in Arenas de Cabrales has a swimming pool. The hotel in Cue, Llanes is a 5 mins walk from the beach. There will also be 1 night in a mountain refuge which has restaurant facilities and dormitory style sleeping arrangements. Toilet and washing facilities are shared at this refuge, and are outside the main building. Sleeping bags are not required as blankets are supplied. However, we recommend you carry a cotton or silk sheet sleeping bag.

Usually, in the hotels children of 11yrs and under will share with parents in a triple for a family of 3, and for a family of 4 you will be in two rooms. Interconnecting rooms are not available, and we will do our best to have rooms next to each other. Rooming will depend on availability at the time of booking. If you have specific requests please do let us know. We will do everything to ensure that you are happy with your rooming allocation. These are small friendly hotels which are great for families.

Additional hotel nights are available pre and post the holiday. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The food in Northern Spain is of excellent quality and there will be a variety of regional and international dishes available At the Vega Redonda Refuge, breakfast will consist of coffee, tea, cereals, toast and jam with fruit juice. Here, dinner tends to be served late and usually consists of soup followed by a hearty main meal such as bean stew with or without sausage. You may wish to supplement your packed lunches with your favourite snacks or chocolate bars.

All meals included from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 8.

Approximately €100-150 per family member should easily be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including bar bills and snack items, chocolate bars etc. This will also allow you to pay reasonable tips to the local guide and driver. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of euros cash. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly. It is also possible to withdraw money from ATMs using your debit or credit card. Carrying a credit card is a good idea in case of emergencies. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES (correct at time of writing, but subject to change) Surf lesson: €25 per person

The group will be led by an experienced local leader and there will also be appropriate qualified local instructors for the various activities. You will also have a driver on various sections of the holiday.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group.

There is no weight restriction as such on this holiday other than that imposed by your international carrier. We do ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag plus a small daypack per family member. On the night that you walk to the hut you will be required to carry your overnight belongings. You should keep this as light as possible, and reality should only be your sheet sleeping bag, toothbrush and maybe something to sleep in.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist is a guideline and should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots for the walk
  • Old trainers for canoeing and canyoning (not crocs or sandals as they are not good enough to protect your feet)
  • Sandals
  • Lightweight thermal or fleece gloves
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts (short sleeve & long sleeve)
  • Shirts or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof over-trousers / rain-pants
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat (for chilly evenings)
  • Eyewear - Sunglasses
  • Sleeping bag liner (for the night in the mountain hut. Blankets are provided)
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 1 quart (x2)
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small towel
  • Swimwear
  • Small padlock (to lock your bag)
  • Daypack, 20 - 30 litres (Depending on how much of the kids stuff you will be carrying, although the children should also carry a a small rucksack to feel part of the group)
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)
  • Headtorch / headlamp with spare batteries
  • Basic First Aid Kit including the following: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles
  • Shorts
  • Beach towel
  • Rash vests (T-shirts) for the water activities 
  • Wetwipes
  • Camera, film / memory cards, spare batteries
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Travel clothes
  • Toys / games / books / kit etc


  • All specialist equipment required for the activities provided on the holiday is included
  • If you wear glasses please bring a band to hold them on during the water activities


A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

This region is known for its changeable weather associated with its mountains and its coastal location. Although most of the region's precipitation occurs between November and February, it can rain at any time of the year. From July to September the weather is generally very good, with clear and sunny days predominating. We can expect daytime temperatures at the coast between 20°C and 27°C in July and September, dropping to around 15°C overnight. Temperatures will be rather cooler than this in the mountains, with daytime temperatures of between 15°C and 20°C above 1500m. At the mountain hut, the temperature could fall as low as 5°C. As with any mountain area there is the risk of some poor weather, with rain and fog.

Walks and Climbs in Picos de Europa. Cicerone. Northern Spain - Picos de Europa. Sunflower Books. Travel With Children. Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet). Your Child’s Health Abroad. Matthew Ellis & Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).

Picos de Europa 1:25,000. Adrados (2 sheets)

The Picos on two detailed maps, each available either on paper or in a waterproof and tear-resistant edition. Contour interval is 10m (50m for cliff faces), and shading and graphic relief, provide an excellent representation of the terrain. Overlay shows hiking routes, mountain huts and refuges. The map legend is in Spanish and English.

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