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On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday

Spain, Picos
1 review
Available Departures: Jul, Aug

8 days from


without flights
Multi Activity

Fun-filled active family adventure holiday on Spain's Northern Coast, including canyoning, kayaking and mini treks

Trip Code: FPE
Minimum child age: 8
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.


Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday







Family Bike Rides

  • Walk to and overnight in a mountain refuge in the Spanish Picos de Europa
  • Don your wetsuit for adrenaline-charged canyoning
  • Enjoy kayaking and cycling on this family adventure holiday in Spain
  • Option to rent a surf board and ride the waves with the children

At a Glance
  • Group Size 6 to 16
  • 7 days multi active
  • Max altitude -1950m
  • SWIMMING: All nights except 1 in the sea or hotel pool.
  • Join In Bilbao

Accommodation & Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 5 Lunches
  • 5 Dinners
  • 3 nights Hotel
  • 3 nights Hotel with swimming pool
  • 1 nights Mountain Hut / Refuge

Spain's quiet northern coast is reminiscent of Cornwall, with its steep sided river valleys running into sandy bays. It is the perfect place for a family adventure. Our base for the first 3 nights is a hotel with pool in the pretty area of Arenas de Cabrales in the foothills of the Picos de Europa. We start our activities on this Spanish family adventure holiday with a splash as we paddle in kayaks along the River Deva and then canyon down one of the attractive gorges.

An easy walking day takes us to a mountain refuge in the Picos de Europa, where we stay overnight. This is a great introductory hike for the children, and very exciting to sleep here in the family dormitories. The second half of the week we spend at a hotel near the beach in a lovely Spanish town. Here, we have a day cycling and a day to enjoy the sea, with the option of a surf 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.

Suitable for children from 8yrs old

This family adventure holiday in Spain is a mix of multi-activities and relaxation. No previous experience is required for the kayaking or canyoning and can be done by beginners. All specialist and safety equipment is provided along with professional guiding. However all participants must be able to swim unaided for at least 25m. The 2 walks are not difficult and are suitable for children. The cycling is along easy flat trails. 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.

Why KE?

We get you away from the crowds on this unique family holiday and include most meals and all activities listed in the itinerary so you have no hidden costs for you and your family. Read the brilliant reviews from Mum's and Dad's who have been on this holiday with their families. 



Your holiday starts at the group hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. A single timed airport transfer is provided from Bilbao Airport. We arrive into Arenas de Cabrales and our accommodation. We have time to settle in, and before dinner we have a briefing by our guide about the week ahead.


Hotel with swimming pool



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.


Hotel with swimming pool



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, wading, jumping into pools and possibly short abseils. We end up at the vehicle where 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.


Hotel with swimming pool



We leave the Cabrales area today and drive into the foothills of the Picos de Europa. Tonight we'll be sleeping in a refuge in the mountains, so we'll need to bring an overnight pack, with a change of clothes, water, snacks and a sleeping bag liner. Our guide will lead the way, offering navigation tips as we go. Our guide has a few tricks up their sleeve to keep things interesting as we ascend into this incredible mountain range, including a nature search. This landscape is home to some fascinating, if sometimes elusive flora and fauna. Keep your eyes to the sky for wheeling buzzards and vultures, climbing high on the thermals above the rocky peaks and crags. On the lower grassier slopes you may spot deer or find traces of boar rootling in the undergrowth for insects and worms, and in their wake, orchids of many varieties spring up in the grubbed up turf. As we climb into the higher reaches of this route, you may be lucky enough to spot wallcreeper, and rock thrushes, both making this wild alpine region their home. We eventually arrive at the Vega Urriellu Refuge with time to unpack and settle down before dinner and sunset, the bright oranges of golden hour lighting up the giant cliff walls that surround this refuge.


Mountain Hut / Refuge




5 hours walking

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 in the town of San Vicente de la Barquera, which will be our base for the next three nights. This coastal town has a great medieval castle, some nice beaches and a great cafe culture.






2 - 3 hours walking

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 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. San Vincente has is quaint town to walk around and have some lunch before walking to a local beach. Any optional activity and transfers today are payable locally. Your guide will assist with booking any optional activities.
Swimming: In the sea.





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.
Swimming: In the sea






3 hrs cycling

Your holidays end after breakfast. A single timed airport transfer is provided. Depending on flight times we have the option to swim or enjoy a final coffee and cake in the town.


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The Route
Point Point
Airport Airport
Direction Direction

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport departure taxes if applicable
  • Tips for local staff
  • Surf lesson or hire of boards
  • Optional excursions on day 6
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - souvenirs and drinks etc


In some cases you may choose to take a ferry and/or train to your holiday start and end destination. Please see further information on Travelling by Train.

If flying from the UK there are low cost airlines available to the start and from the end of your holiday.

To benefit from full financial protection, ease your holiday planning, and avoid dealing with airlines, we can book scheduled flights from the UK as part of a flight inclusive package. Scheduled flights are usually more expensive that low cost alternatives, however potentially less stressful if your flight is cancelled or delayed. If you book flights through KE Adventure Travel we will offset the carbon of your flight.

The group will meet at the hotel in Arenas de Cabrales.

A single timed transfer from Bilbao Airport to the group hotel is provided on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary. This transfer is timed to leave the airport in the morning, to meet the arrival of flights from Gatwick with Easy Jet. On the last day of the itinerary, there will be a single transfer back to Bilbao Airport to check in to the morning return flight.

The current flight schedules these transfers also work with the Bristol Easy Jet flights. There is also an option with Vueling Airlines.
Many families also choose to take their car on the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander - this can sometimes be a more cost effective option. And it certainly is a better option for CO2 emissions.

Anyone may join the group transfers by prior arrangement. Travelling as a group or on public transport saves energy. If this is not practical, we can provide private transfers at an additional cost.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners are included in the holiday price.

Water is drinkable from the taps on this holiday. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Breakfasts are typically continental - a combination of orange juice, tea, coffee, yoghurt, fresh fruit, freshly baked local bread and jam. Lunches will usually be picnic-style, made up from bread, cheese, cold meats, tomatoes, salads and fruit. Some lunches are at cafes. Dinners are taken either in the hotel or in local restaurants which serve a range of dishes including traditional Spanish options, including paella and a locally famous 'farmer's stew'. There will also be a more international range of foods available. Vegetarians can be catered for.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

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 San Vicente de la Barquera. The hotel in Arenas de Cabrales has a swimming pool. The hotel in San Vicente de la Barquera is well located in this typical Spanish fishing town within walking distance to the beach.

In the hotels, families of 3 or less will usually share rooms with their grownups in a twin, triple or a double with an extra bed. For families of 4 or more you will be in multiple rooms depending on the number of family members. Interconnecting rooms are not available, and we will do our best to have rooms next to each other. These are small friendly hotels which are great for families.

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.

Please talk to us about your requirements and we will do everything to ensure that you are happy with your rooming allocation.

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

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.

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

Approximately €150 per family member should easily be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including non included meals and snacks. 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

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.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack. Luggage with wheels is useful for this holiday. 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 something to sleep in. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

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.


Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

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.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: 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 FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

We welcome all family dynamics and we will try to accommodate you in the roomings of your choice. The only stipulation for joining a family group holiday is that 1 party member is 17yrs or under, and they are accompanied by an adult. An average group size is around 10 members in total. Further general information and FAQ's are available here: KE Family Adventure Holidays general information.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please try to keep the weight of your baggage to a minimum. See the ‘baggage allowance’ section for further details.

You should bring the following items:

  • Walking shoes or boots for the hike
  • Old trainers/shoes for canoeing & canyoning (not crocs or sandals as they are not good enough to protect your feet)
  • Sandals
  • Lightweight walking trousers / shorts / skirt
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt with collar (for sun protection)
  • Socks & Underwear
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket & overtrousers
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight thermal or fleece gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Sunhat
  • 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 (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small towel
  • Swimwear
  • Daypack 20 - 30 litres (depending on how much of the children’s stuff you will be carrying)
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep backpack contents dry when walking to the hut)
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Basic First Aid Kit including the following: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles
  • Beach towel
  • Rash vest for the water activities
  • Goggles for swimming
  • Camera
  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)


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.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more


5 out of 5 from 1 review

Superb adventure holiday ★★★★★

What a fantastic week! From jumping into whirlpools to hikes up stunning rocky passes to swims in beautiful sandy coves... Rosanna our guide has completely converted us to the delights of Northern Spain. The only thing she didn't arrange brilliantly was the weather, but a bit of drizzle every now and then never hurt anyone! We have an 8 yr old and a 14 yr old and they both loved it too.

By Verity Bristol | 20 August 2017

Traveller Reviews
5 out of 5 from 1 review

Superb adventure holiday
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

What a fantastic week! From jumping into whirlpools to hikes up stunning rocky passes to swims in beautiful sandy coves... Rosanna our guide has completely converted us to the delights of Northern Spain. The only thing she didn't arrange brilliantly was the weather, but a bit of drizzle every now and then never hurt anyone! We have an 8 yr old and a 14 yr old and they both loved it too.

By Verity Bristol | 20 August 2017


Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.



Prices From



More Information

  • On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: FPE /02/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 4 Aug and ends on Sun 11 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: FPE /03/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 11 Aug and ends on Sun 18 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Download Trip Notes



Prices From



More Information

  • On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: FPE /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Sun 27 Jul and ends on Sun 3 Aug
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: FPE /02/25/
  • This trip begins on Sun 3 Aug and ends on Sun 10 Aug
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • On the Tapas Trail - Family Active Holiday
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: FPE /03/25/
  • This trip begins on Sun 10 Aug and ends on Sun 17 Aug
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. The holiday starts at the hotel in Arenas de Cabrales and a single timed transfer is provided from Bilbao Airport.


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

Private Family Groups

If you've found the perfect adventure for your family but want to travel on dates that suit you, then please contact our friendly Family Adventure Team who will be happy to discuss the possibility of arranging a private departure for you and your family.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)

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