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Bestseller
Bestseller
Holidays

Traverse of the Picos de Europa

Spain, Picos
19 reviews
Available Departures: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

8 days from

US$1,505

without flights
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
CHALLENGING CHALLENGING

Complete a challenging west to east traverse through the massifs of Picos de Europa, one of Spain’s finest landscapes

Trip Code: SPE
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.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

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

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

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

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

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

Traverse of the Picos de Europa

Highlights
  • Follow our unique route specially devised by our expert tour leaders - Sergio and Rosana

  • Stunning views from the summit viewpoint of Torre de los Horcados Rojos (2500m)

  • Walk the dramatic carved path down the limestone Cares Gorge

  • Stay in remote, cosy, mountain refuges and quaint traditional villages


At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 6 Days trekking
  • Max altitude - 2500 metres
  • Join In Santander

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 4 nights Mountain Hut / Refuge
  • 3 nights Hotel
Overview

Close to Spain's northern coast, the Picos de Europa is a region of stunning steep-sided valleys, isolated villages and picturesque limestone peaks. Under the expert direction of our knowledable local guide, this fantastic walking holiday makes a continuous west to east traverse passing through the separate massifs that comprise this dramatic mountain range. From the pretty country town of Cangas de Onis, we hike by way of the Vegarredonda Refuge to our first objective, Pico Cotalba (2026m). We then descend the 1500 metre-deep Garganta del Cares, following a spectacular cliff-side path that is one of the great Picos walks. Climbing back up into the central massif, we overnight at a refuge beneath the awe-inspiring Naranjo de Bulnes and continue walking across a lunar landscape to the superb viewpoint summit of Torre de los Horcadas Rojos (2500m). A picturesque final day's hike to down into Espinama concludes this gem of a walking holiday. Don't settle for walks on the periphery; mountain lovers will adore the Picos, and by making use of the charming mountain refuges, we're really able to get out there and enjoy the very best of the region and complete a real mountain journey.

This is real walking mountain journey with significant amounts of ascent and descent on most days. The trails are predominantly good but there are large sections on scree, over bare rock and across boulder fields. We will be walking for between 5 and 8 hours each day, with over 800-1000m of ascent and/or descent each day and up to 2000m on some days! This holiday is suitable for experienced hillwalkers, looking for an excellent week's mountain walking holiday in a quiet region relatively untouched by tourism. Three of the refuges that we use during the holiday are not accessible by vehicle and this means that group members will need to carry minimal personal equipment for the first 5 days of the trek, with access to yourmain luggage at the hotel in Puente Poncebos after the first 3 days. In reality, since sleeping bags and camping mats are not needed, you should be able to keep the weight of your daysack down to no more than 7 or 8 kgs. The fact that this walking holiday is not vehicle supported does affect the overall difficulty.

Why KE?

Brendan Daly a journalist writing for the Irish Independent, recently joined us on this Traverse through the Picos: Take a look at his article.

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Itinerary

Meet at the group hotel in Soto de Onis, just outside Cangas de Onis. A single timed transfer from Bilbao airport is provided. The transfer will take around 2.5hrs. The small farming town of Cangas de Onis is our gateway to the Picos de Europa.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

D

We have breakfast at our hotel and pick up packed lunches, before making the transfer to Lago de Enol (1063m) and the start of the day's walk. We set off on a good trail through fertile meadows, passing shepherds' cabins, until a final short climb leads to Collado Gamonal. Here, we have our first view of the Vegarredonda Refugio (1460m), our overnight accommodation. Used as an explosives store during the Spanish Civil War, it was rebuilt as a mountain refuge in 1987 and occupies a unique position for those wishing to explore the high peaks of the Macizo Occidental (Western Massif of the Picos). Chamois (locally known as rebecos) are a common sight here. Reaching the refuge, we can leave our overnight gear before setting off on an afternoon walk to the Mirador de Ordiales, which offers breathtaking views. From here, we will be able to easily reach the nearby summit of Pico Cotalba (2026m), before returning to the refuge.

Accommodation

Mountain Hut / Refuge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1100 M

Descent

700 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs walking

Distance

13 KM

We re-trace our approach route of yesterday for a little less than an hour, before turning north to Lago Ercina with its superb, often snow-capped backdrop of Peña de Santa Castilla. We'll pass some beautiful small hamlets, where some shepherds still spend the summer with their livestock. From here, a gently ascending path takes us to an excellent spring at the Vega las Bobias. Climbing more steeply now we have views of the Cuvicente (2014m) chain. Arriving at the collado and passing close by the third deepest cave system in Spain, we are rewarded with one of the most impressive views of the Macizo Central. We cross limestone boulders split by water and ice to our overnight accommodation at the Refugio Marques de Villaciciosa/Vega de Ario (1630m), which is perched in splendid isolation in an impressive mountain landscape with splendid views towards the Cares Gorge.

Accommodation

Mountain Hut / Refuge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

660 M

Descent

700 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs walking

Distance

14 KM

The next two days will be the most challenging of the holiday. Today we make a memorably steep descent of nearly 1200 metres taking the Shepherd 's Way and Canal de Culiembro into the Garganta del Cares. The first part of our descend follows an old shepherds' trail, winding through stony lapies formations, until we reach the hamlet and high pastures of Oston. From here, we start a steep but steady and impressive descent through Culiembro gully, surrounded by the impressive walls. The path becomes more defined as we head into woods of oak, walnut and beech, before finally arriving in the bed of the Cares Gorge, at the abandoned hamlet of Culiembro, where we continue our walk, now along the Gorge itself. In places the peaks soar precipitously almost 2000 metres above us and we will be amazed to be able to descend on a path cut through the outrageously difficult terrain. First built in the 1920's as part of a hydro-electric scheme, this path provides one of the most outstanding walks in the Picos de Europa. The gorge links the mountain town of Cain (in the province of Leon) with Puente Poncebos, where we will spend the night.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

300 M

Descent

1500 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs walking

Distance

14 KM

A day of ascent today as we head up to the base of El Naranjo de Bulnes, probably the most famous piece of rock in the Picos de Europa. Leaving our hotel, we descend to the Cares River and begin our ascent through the Canal del Tejo. This old stone path winds up through a gorge to Bulnes, a medieval village that until recently was only accessible by foot. The recent addition of a funicular railway has, in fact, changed very little here. After filling up with water from the village fountain, we leave on a lovely stone paved lane through a forest of walnut, linden and hazelnut trees to emerge in high pastures dotted with shepherds cabins. After stopping at a small hut with great views over the pasture land and the high peaks, we finally emerge into high mountain terrain and our first sighting of El Urelliu (Naranjo de Bulnes). Our refugio nestles beneath this imposing and dramatic wall of orange limestone.

Accommodation

Mountain Hut / Refuge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

2070 M

Descent

325 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs walking

Distance

13 KM

Our journey continues south through a wildly graphic landscape of towers, spires and sheer rock faces that were carved during the ice age and continue to be transformed by rain, ice and snow melt. Meandering gently uphill we will surely be looking over our shoulders in the hope of capturing a few more images of El Naranjo before it goes out of sight. Herds of Rebecco, tiny but nimble deer-like animals, eagles and Egyptian vultures are often sighted in this area. As the terrain steepens we will find ourselves concentrating on a scramble of 300 meters up to Collado Horcados Rojos (2344m). If the weather is good then we will walk the rest of the day to the peak of Torre de los Horcados Rojos (2506m), an outstanding viewpoint for the whole area and a fine place to linger for a while. Reluctantly, we will begin our descent through granite boulders down to an old miners' track, which winds its way past a pretty turquoise-green lake and through a col into high summer pastures, where our overnight accommodation is situated. The hotel / refugio, Aliva, has an unsurpassed mountain location with fine views of the eastern massif.

Accommodation

Mountain Hut / Refuge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

900 M

Descent

1250 M

Time

8 hrs walking

Distance

12 KM

This morning we begin our descent into the valley, but not before we have explored the most southern part of the Central massif, culminating in the ascent of Pico Valdecoro (1841m) which has fantastic views. Our route down to the valley gradually changes from high mountain scenery to meander through meadows and forest, a delightful contrast to the terrain of the past two days. We arrive back in time for a dip in the small hotel pool and there will be time to explore the village before our last night celebratory dinner.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

380 M

Descent

1150 M

Time

5 hrs walking

Distance

10 KM

The holiday ends after breakfast. A single timed transfer to Bilbao Airport will be provided.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes

Essential Information

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

  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • Single timed group airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • All baggage transfers required by the itinerary

The group will meet at the group hotel in Soto de Cangas.

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 meet the arrival of flights from Gatwick with Easy Jet and will leave the airport in the late morning.

On the last day of the itinerary, there will be a single transfer back to Bilbao Airport timed for the check-in of flights leaving at 1000 at the earliest.

Anyone may join the group transfers by prior arrangement. Travelling as a group or on public transport saves energy. If your flight schedules do not fit with these airport transfers, you will need to make your own way to the group hotel/back to the airport. A one-way taxi from Santander airport to Soto de Cangas will take around 1.5hrs and cost about €150. A taxi from Bilbao Airport will take around 2.5hrs and will cost around €250.

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

All meals are included in the holiday price. A packed lunch will be provided for each day and you will need to allow space in your daypack for 2 picnic lunches.

Breakfasts are usually coffee, tea, cereals, bread or toast and jam with fruit or yogurt. Dinner tends to be served late at the refuges and usually involves soup and a hearty main meal such as bean stew, with or without sausage. Packed lunches are also provided, although you may choose to add to these with chocolate bars etc.. (which can be bought at the refuges).

For our nights in Cangas de Onis, Puente Poncebos and Espinama we will stay in small, comfortable, family-run hotels.

On the other 4 nights we will stay in comfortable mountain refuges, which offer restaurant facilities and dormitory style sleeping arrangements. Toilet and washing facilities are shared at these refuges and in some cases may be outside the main building. Sleeping bags are not required as bedding is supplied. However, you may choose to carry a cotton or silk sheet sleeping bag.

You do not have access to your baggage on days 2, 3, 5 and 6. You will have to carry your overnight things with you during these days as well as your lunches and a set of dry clothes.

Due to the size of the properties we use it is not possible to pre book single rooms, however if you wish to have a single room it may be possible to request and pay for this locally depending on availability.

The group will be led by a professional and qualified tour leader.

We estimate that €100-€150 should be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including bar bills and snack items, showers at refuges, chocolate bars etc. This will also allow you to pay reasonable tips to the local guide and driver. Money can be withdrawn from ATMs in Bilbao Airport. If you prefer to bring all your travel money with you, we recommend that you carry this in the form of euros cash. Card payments are not accepted at refuges. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). 

Since you will be carrying your personal equipment for several days during the holiday, you should make every effort to keep the weight of your gear to a minimum. We recommend that you have a trial walk with your packed rucksack. With careful planning and considering that you will not have to carry a sleeping bag or a camping mattress, it should be possible to keep the weight of your sack down to about 8 kgs / 18lbs. Your main luggage will be transferred to all overnight stops that are accessible by road. You will have access to this bag on the evening of Day 1, Day 4 and Day 7. 

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.

Europe

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.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

The currency for part or all of this holiday is the Euro.

Getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.

You should be aerobically fit and comfortable with walking 7 to 8 hours for consecutive days. Hill walking, with a good amount of ascent and descent, is the best training. Running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardiovascular fitness and stamina.

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 valley temperatures of between 20°C and 27°C in July and September, dropping to around 15°C overnight. Temperatures will be rather cooler than this at altitude, with daytime temperatures of between 15°C and 20°C above 1500 metres. At night the temperature could fall as low as 5°C. Conditions will generally be comfortable for trekking in shorts and short sleeved shirts (should you wish). As with any mountain area there is the risk of some poor weather, with rain and even fog.

  • Walks and Climbs in Picos de Europa. Cicerone.

  • Northern Spain - Picos de Europa. Sunflower Books.

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 bold 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. Further information on the reverse is in Spanish only.

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:

  • Hiking boots

  • Walking socks (2 or 3 pairs)

  • Trekking trousers

  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Shorts

  • Thermal baselayer shirts

  • Casual shirts and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket

  • Sunglasses

  • Sun cream (including for lips)

  • Antibacterial hand wash

  • Water bottles 1 Litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets
  • Backpack c.40 litres

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Warm hat

  • Gloves

  • Sunhat
  • Dry bags(s) for daypack/luggage contents (to ensure they keep dry)
  • Sheet sleeping bag (for use in the huts)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: headache tablets, treatment for upset stomach (e.g. Imodium or Pepto Bismol), antiseptic cream, plasters (Band aids) and blister treatment.

The following items are optional:

  • Spare laces

  • Ear plugs (especially if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Trainers/sandals for use in refuges (crocs are provided in most)
  • Swimwear
  • Small towel / travel towel (towels are not provided at the refuges)

  • Camera

  • Penkife (remember to pack all sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Trekking poles

  • Insect repellent

  • Travel clothes

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

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

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 from 19 reviews

Beautiful area, but group size was a major drawback ★★

The Picos are beautiful and definitely worth visiting. The gorge that you visit on Day 4 was really amazing. Days 5 and 6 involve some great above-tree line hiking and scrambling. Our local guides were very good. But the reason I'm giving this trip only 2 stars is the group size. We had 16 people in our group. Yes, I should have noticed this was a possibility before I booked, but I've travelled with KE a lot and have never had a group this big, so I didn't pay enough attention. I enjoyed everyon e in my group, but hiking with 16 people was a huge negative for me. The group was so big it was extremely difficult to develop any sense of team work or cohesiveness, it was difficult to get to know everyone (people didn't even know everyone's name by the end of the week), and extremely difficult to find any solitude when you needed some peace and quiet. The group size also made it incredibly inefficient and slow to travel through the mountains, especially through all the scrambling sections. There was a lot of waiting around. The local guides did their best with the group size, but there was only so much they could do, and told us they thought it was too big. I will never go on a KE trip with a max size of 16 again, and if KE doesn't reconsider their approach and reduce the max number on this trip, I strongly encourage anyone thinking about this trip to consider whether you really want to hike with that many people. Again, the people themselves were great, there were just way too many of us. I was really disappointed that KE thought this size was appropriate.
By Leslie Telluride | 01 October 2023

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We are sorry that you found the group size too big. Our maximum group size is 16, but will be lower for some of our trips - for example treks over technical terrain. There were 2 guides for your group, so a guide/client ratio of 8-to-1. For future reference, the maximum group size can be found in the ‘At a Glance’ section on the right-hand side of the individual trip page on our website.


A great week in a stunning landscape ★★★★★

The traverse of the Picos is a great way to fully experience the stunning scenery and the mountain huts without which it would be impossible to access the more inaccessible parts of the national park. Some other holidays are hotel based and there is no way you could reach some of the places we got to on day walks. The trek has been well thought out and visits most, if not all, the highlights of the area. Don't be fooled by the apparent short distances (as I was), there is some serious climbing a nd descents which are time consuming - the days are full on! There are one or two exposed sections on the penultimate day to get the heart racing a bit. The weather can be a bit unpredictable - rather like our Lake District but the cloud formations and stunning peaks make for some great photo opportunities. Its not necessarily wall to wall sunshine as I expected! The huts are rather basic to say the least but they are warm and the food is excellent and plentiful . You will certainly not go hungry on this trek - and what's even more impressive is the beer is cheap even in the middle of nowhere! Our guides (Chris and Bruno) were wonderful, taking great care of us and made the whole holiday run like clockwork.
By William Darwen | 07 October 2022

A wonderful week (mostly) above the clouds ★★★★★

A wonderful area, very dramatic and beautiful. Our guide Rosana was excellent - knowledgeable, extremely professional and fantastic company. We were lucky to spend several days above the clouds, which only added to the sense of peace and isolation you feel in the high Picos. Highly recommended.

By Keith London | 01 September 2022

A great week in the Picos de Europa ★★★★★

What a surprisingly beautiful area to visit. The Picos de Europa really are a sight to behold. The mountains are majestic with stunning views and cloud inversions. Our accommodation was very good and the plentiful supply of hearty food was just what was required after a hard day on the hill. Our group was very international, a group of very friendly people who all liked to walk at a healthy pace......no stragglers with this lot ! Apart from the above what really made this trip a success was our excellent guide Rosana. She was extremely capable and easily managed a large group. Her local knowledge was always on tap and she made sure every detail was followed and every need seen to. I really can’t praise her enough. If you are doing this trip you should be prepared for long days with plenty of big hills to climb. The only place we saw people in numbers was at the obviously popular Cares Gorge. This didn’t detract from an excellent walk along it. Summiting Torre de los Horcados Rojos (2500m), via Collado Horcadas Rojos was for me the highlight of the trip. The scrambling is straight forward but with a fair degree of exposure. All in all a great trip with great people and an excellent guide.
By Stuart Glasgow | 24 September 2019

A richly rewarding Journey through contrasting Landscapes ★★★★★

Our Journey through The Picos De Europa proved a deeply satisfying and varied experience. Each day of the Traverse brought new vistas and trekking challenges. Right from the outset the trail led through verdant upland pastures dotted with Limestone erratics through to starker, rockier terrain in the upper levels. Similarly the tinkling cattle and inquisitive donkeys contrasted with the furtive chamois and soaring vultures against the pinnacled cliffs. The sinuous shepards path leading steeply do wn to the Cares Gorge and the long but well graded ascent to Naranjo de Bulnes, were definite highlights. The hotels, guesthouses and refugios were clean and characterful and provided excellent food and libation aside from perhaps the highest refuge, which was rather austere and impersonal. Rosana, our local guide was quite outstanding, going far beyond her professional duties with a friendly, supportive approach which inspired confidence within the party. Just a couple of tips; carry a pair of flip flops or sandals for the last refuge as they have no hut shoes for guests and be prepared for a lengthy scramble with good hand/foot holds with brief bits of exposure on penultimate days trekking. Overall a wonderful trip and unreservedly recommended.
By Edward Llandeilo | 23 September 2019

Traveller Reviews
4.8 out of 5 from 19 reviews

Beautiful area, but group size was a major drawback
★ ★
The Picos are beautiful and definitely worth visiting. The gorge that you visit on Day 4 was really amazing. Days 5 and 6 involve some great above-tree line hiking and scrambling. Our local guides were very good. But the reason I'm giving this trip only 2 stars is the group size. We had 16 people in our group. Yes, I should have noticed this was a possibility before I booked, but I've travelled with KE a lot and have never had a group this big, so I didn't pay enough attention. I enjoyed everyon e in my group, but hiking with 16 people was a huge negative for me. The group was so big it was extremely difficult to develop any sense of team work or cohesiveness, it was difficult to get to know everyone (people didn't even know everyone's name by the end of the week), and extremely difficult to find any solitude when you needed some peace and quiet. The group size also made it incredibly inefficient and slow to travel through the mountains, especially through all the scrambling sections. There was a lot of waiting around. The local guides did their best with the group size, but there was only so much they could do, and told us they thought it was too big. I will never go on a KE trip with a max size of 16 again, and if KE doesn't reconsider their approach and reduce the max number on this trip, I strongly encourage anyone thinking about this trip to consider whether you really want to hike with that many people. Again, the people themselves were great, there were just way too many of us. I was really disappointed that KE thought this size was appropriate.
By Leslie Telluride | 01 October 2023

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We are sorry that you found the group size too big. Our maximum group size is 16, but will be lower for some of our trips - for example treks over technical terrain. There were 2 guides for your group, so a guide/client ratio of 8-to-1. For future reference, the maximum group size can be found in the ‘At a Glance’ section on the right-hand side of the individual trip page on our website.


A great week in a stunning landscape
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The traverse of the Picos is a great way to fully experience the stunning scenery and the mountain huts without which it would be impossible to access the more inaccessible parts of the national park. Some other holidays are hotel based and there is no way you could reach some of the places we got to on day walks. The trek has been well thought out and visits most, if not all, the highlights of the area. Don't be fooled by the apparent short distances (as I was), there is some serious climbing a nd descents which are time consuming - the days are full on! There are one or two exposed sections on the penultimate day to get the heart racing a bit. The weather can be a bit unpredictable - rather like our Lake District but the cloud formations and stunning peaks make for some great photo opportunities. Its not necessarily wall to wall sunshine as I expected! The huts are rather basic to say the least but they are warm and the food is excellent and plentiful . You will certainly not go hungry on this trek - and what's even more impressive is the beer is cheap even in the middle of nowhere! Our guides (Chris and Bruno) were wonderful, taking great care of us and made the whole holiday run like clockwork.
By William Darwen | 07 October 2022

A wonderful week (mostly) above the clouds
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A wonderful area, very dramatic and beautiful. Our guide Rosana was excellent - knowledgeable, extremely professional and fantastic company. We were lucky to spend several days above the clouds, which only added to the sense of peace and isolation you feel in the high Picos. Highly recommended.

By Keith London | 01 September 2022

A great week in the Picos de Europa
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What a surprisingly beautiful area to visit. The Picos de Europa really are a sight to behold. The mountains are majestic with stunning views and cloud inversions. Our accommodation was very good and the plentiful supply of hearty food was just what was required after a hard day on the hill. Our group was very international, a group of very friendly people who all liked to walk at a healthy pace......no stragglers with this lot ! Apart from the above what really made this trip a success was our excellent guide Rosana. She was extremely capable and easily managed a large group. Her local knowledge was always on tap and she made sure every detail was followed and every need seen to. I really can’t praise her enough. If you are doing this trip you should be prepared for long days with plenty of big hills to climb. The only place we saw people in numbers was at the obviously popular Cares Gorge. This didn’t detract from an excellent walk along it. Summiting Torre de los Horcados Rojos (2500m), via Collado Horcadas Rojos was for me the highlight of the trip. The scrambling is straight forward but with a fair degree of exposure. All in all a great trip with great people and an excellent guide.
By Stuart Glasgow | 24 September 2019

A richly rewarding Journey through contrasting Landscapes
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Our Journey through The Picos De Europa proved a deeply satisfying and varied experience. Each day of the Traverse brought new vistas and trekking challenges. Right from the outset the trail led through verdant upland pastures dotted with Limestone erratics through to starker, rockier terrain in the upper levels. Similarly the tinkling cattle and inquisitive donkeys contrasted with the furtive chamois and soaring vultures against the pinnacled cliffs. The sinuous shepards path leading steeply do wn to the Cares Gorge and the long but well graded ascent to Naranjo de Bulnes, were definite highlights. The hotels, guesthouses and refugios were clean and characterful and provided excellent food and libation aside from perhaps the highest refuge, which was rather austere and impersonal. Rosana, our local guide was quite outstanding, going far beyond her professional duties with a friendly, supportive approach which inspired confidence within the party. Just a couple of tips; carry a pair of flip flops or sandals for the last refuge as they have no hut shoes for guests and be prepared for a lengthy scramble with good hand/foot holds with brief bits of exposure on penultimate days trekking. Overall a wonderful trip and unreservedly recommended.
By Edward Llandeilo | 23 September 2019

An excellent and challenging traverse of the Picos
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Donna and I really enjoyed the Traverse of the Picos de Europa. It was a brilliant trip. The walking was suitably challenging. The scenery we passed through was nothing short of spectacular. Rosanna our guide was really great, she was very caring great fun to be with. Our group were all well matched in fitness though Rosanna set a pace considering us all. Daisy from the K.E. office was a pleasure to be with, she was bubbly and very easy company. I am sure she will go a long way with K.E. The acc ommodation and food on the trip was exceptional the hut food particularly good. With the exception of the final night poor shop bought fish and chips served cold and ordinary pork loine. Not really Spanish at all. Overall a trip I can heartily recommend to any fit walker.
By John Stoke-on-Trent | 04 August 2019

A stunning holiday in fabulous company
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Thank you so much for an amazing trek over the Picos de Europa. Rosana was the best guide I have come across - bringing a diverse group together with patience and kindness. She was an a real font of knowledge about the area and its flora and fauna but also a really good guide and both she and Sergio were amazing hosts. I would highly recommend this trip.

By Amerjit Cardiff | 31 July 2019

Quiet and beautiful trekking region
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This trek explores a real variety of landscapes, starting and finishing in beautiful green pastures, with meadows of wild flowers and reaching the higher, boulder strewn reaches of the mountains in the middle. The walk along the Cares Gorge, though more busy with other walkers, was stunning and a real highlight of the trip. Definitely worth extending this days distance to include this walk, if the weather allows. Our guide Rosana was excellent; very friendly, super efficient and knowledgeable ab out the region, while taking care to accommodate the large groups range of fitness and experience. Having one night in a hotel in the middle of the holiday, with access to our kit bags, was an excellent opportunity to replace dirty clothes and save on a bit of weight in our trekking bags throughout
By Charlotte Didcot | 28 July 2019

A hidden gem with an awesome adventure
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I loved the Picos de Europa trip. It was a last minute booking for me after other plans didn't work out. Having experienced the amazing High Peaks of the Balkans trip last year I went straight to the KE website and this looked like the right kind of trip on the right date. The Balkans set a very high bar and this one definitely lived up to it. The Picos are not that well known in the UK and are a bit quieter than other walking locations. This gives it an extra bit of charm. Its an amazing place with a wide variety of different walking terrain and types of accommodation. Our local Guide was one of the best I've experienced with a great balance of professionalism, friendliness and local knowledge. I highly recommend this trip.
By Richard Slough | 28 July 2019

Challenging walks with fantastic scenery
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is a challenging walk within the capabilities of regular hill walkers. There is a scrambling day but the excellent guide judged the groups capabilites and managed this well. The scenery was outstanding even when misty. The huts are friendly and provide good food. Access to luggage is once during the trip, so I would suggest no more than 8 k in the carried bag. The wildflower meadows are beautiful so a small guide book would be useful.

By Wendy Southampton | 22 July 2019

Fantastic Week
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

We had a fun ,challenging and memorable week that I will always remember . Our Guide Anna was friendly , supportive and above all extremly knowagable on routes , tips and the area and steered us over great terrain and gave us insight into the area we would never have got on our own . Above all, we had fun. The accomodation and travel was all clearly planned leaving us to enjoy the trek , the views and the whole experience . Not been with KE before but plan to do more Dave Mountford

By Dave Berkhamsted | 22 July 2019

Picos de Europa are Underrated
★ ★ ★ ★

Wonderful traverse of the western and central massifs. Culture and food of Asturias and Cantabria are an added bonus.

By Marek Christchurch | 22 July 2019

A Brilliant 'Wee'Holiday
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a really good guided treking holiday with the huts and hotels nicely complementing each other. The food was really good throughout, despite the remoteness of the huts they provided fine fare. The walking was very varied through lush pasture up into high bleak limestone tops. This variety was also supplemented by the varied animal life from vultures to chamoix not forgetting the wild flowers and spectacular alpine meadows. Another KE holiday not to be forgotten.

By Elizabeth Glasgow | 21 July 2019

Beautiful wild area and a great guide
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really loved this area of mountains - much less busy and commercialised than the Alps or Dolomites but just as beautiful; fantastic wildlife and flora; and great to see Spanish people enjoying their own landscape. The huts were friendly and the food good, and the route varied and just challenging enough. Our guide, the lovely Rosana, was simply the best guide I've had in dozens of holidays. She was excellent in every way - very knowledgeable about the environment, great social and organisation al skills, very skilful with those nervous of heights, kind, fit, and above all good fun! She passed on her obvious love of these mountains.
By Clare NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE | 08 September 2017

A secret mountain paradise in Europe
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

it felt sometimes when hiring on the pastures towards the Peaks that I was in a paradise with cows, wild mountain goats, vultures and sheep. a couple of days we were completely alone up in the high pastures and mountains and it felt a real adventure. the pace was challenging enough but it still gave us plenty of time to take in the beauty of the landscape.

By Bostjan Brussels | 24 July 2017

Fantastic walking in the Picos
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This holiday is great if you want to make use of the mountain huts in the Picos but still have a guided trip. The itinerary is perfect in that its hotel, 2 nights in refuge, hotel, night in refuge, night in mountain hotel, then the final night back down in a hotel, so you don't have to carry a huge amount each day. My rucksack is 30 litres and it was adequate. The guide was really good and knowledgeable, and speaking to those who had used KE before, the guide was up there as one of the best. At all accommodation the food was plentiful and filled you up. This part of Spain is very cheap if you need to buy any extras, and its proximity to Bilbao and other cities on the north coast makes it easy to add a few days onto this trip.
By Shaun Kendal | 14 October 2016

Great hike through the "Picos"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Great scenery, good challenge every day, great companions and great guild, Rosanna. The hotels were great but the refugios were less then desirable but the hiking was worth it. Overall, Loved the trip!

By John Avondale | 01 October 2016

Super traverse of Picos de Europa
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Well planned itinerary. Excellent leadership. Group was a good mixture of British & American walkers who gelled very well from day 1. Day 5 was a long climb with full packs, so three of us cut the climb by taking the funicular to Bulnes. This was a good decision & perhaps should be highlighted as an option for those who do not want a 2000 metre climb.

By Martin Twickenham | 26 September 2016

Brilliant well organized walking holiday.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was our first hut to hut organized holiday Grade 7, so the experience was new to us. The friendly greeting and full organization from a very experienced guide from start to finish give us a very enjoyable holiday of the Picos which would be hard to experience otherwise. The days were full and exhilarating and breathtaking. I would recommend it to anyone who has good physical fitness with stamina to walk full days at a good pace for this grade as it is a challenge. The food that was provided was well thought out and wholesome and very satisfying after a steady hike. I would recommend hiking poles for this terrain as it can be hard on the knees and ankle joints with the heights and descents that are expected. Also thin light layers of clothes which can be added and taken off quickly as the days warm up and also can cool down with heavy mist, the lighter in weight the better as two days of clothes and sufficient water is need to be carried on a daily basis. We were lucky with the weather as it was perfect. I would also recommend earplugs as communal snoring can be expected. The Picos is a must for hikers who enjoy breathtaking scenery and to share it with a fantastic group of hikers makes it a very memorable experience. We will be keeping our eyes open for another holiday with KE Adventure next year.
By Janet WIGTON | 29 September 2015

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  • Traverse of the Picos de Europa
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SPE /01/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 23 Jun and ends on Sun 30 Jun
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Contact us for single room pricing
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Traverse of the Picos de Europa
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SPE /02/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 7 Jul and ends on Sun 14 Jul
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Contact us for single room pricing
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Traverse of the Picos de Europa
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SPE /2A/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 21 Jul and ends on Sun 28 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Contact us for single room pricing
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Traverse of the Picos de Europa
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SPE /03/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 25 Aug and ends on Sun 1 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Contact us for single room pricing
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Traverse of the Picos de Europa
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: SPE /04/24/
  • This trip begins on Sun 8 Sep and ends on Sun 15 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Contact us for single room pricing
  • Download Trip Notes

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