12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek
12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

12 days

Cliff hikingCliff Picos Aliva smallVega de LlósCows in vega de llosMountain goats hikingDescent from San Carlos PeakLiordes revision rutasPandebano poncebosMountain wildflowersMountain villageWild flower fieldsHiking trails

An epic self-guided trekking adventure in Northern Spain’s Picos de Europa National Park

The Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek is an opportunity to spend 12 epic days exploring the Picos de Europa mountain range at your own pace, trekking all three mastiffs and exploring authentic towns and villages in Asturias, Cantabria, and Castile and León, all provinces in Northern Spain.

In the Picos de Europa National Park, a thrillseeker’s paradise awaits as you discover one of the most epic natural landscapes of northern Spain. Established in 1918, the Picos de Europa National Park holds the title of Spain’s first-ever national park and is a site of immense national importance for this reason.

Beginning your trek on the north side of the Picos, you’ll set out daily on exhilarating hikes through the park’s rushing rivers, plunging gorges, and towering peaks. Challenging yourself to the max, you’ll trek to high altitudes, finding unforgettable vistas sure to take your breath away.

Trek a glacier moraine down the Duje River Valley, leading you to the highest village in the Picos, where you’ll enjoy a remote overnight stay in this charming mountain village. Walk alongside expansive fields of heather and centuries-old oak woods, revelling in the tranquillity afforded by the park’s unspoiled remote landscapes. Delight in a vast array of locally produced artisan cheeses in the Picos, where there is never a shortage of regional delicacies to taste.

Discover the splendour and might of Spain’s most impressive mountain range on this epic trek through the Picos de Europa National Park!

Highlights of the 12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

Hike the rivers, meadows, woods, valleys, and peaks that form the majestic Picos de Europa National Park.
Explore all three massifs, traversing the Central, Eastern, and Western sections of the spectacular range.
Enjoy a unique overnight stay in a remote mountain refuge located in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park.
Reach soaring heights on foot as you ascend several mountains, finding incredible views of the surrounding summits.

Prices

From $775USD
12 days
Difficulty
Self-Guided
Hotels, Hostels, Mountain Lodges
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12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

Day 1 Arrive in Arenas

Your journey begins in Arenas de Cabrales, a town within northern Spain's province of Asturias.

Get settled into your accommodations in Arenas and take the opportunity to grab any last supplies you may need here.

Arenas is famous for its incredible blue cheeses and traditional apple cider. Perhaps kick back with some cheesy tapas and a cider this evening on one of the town's many outdoor terraces.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Arenas
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 2 Trek the Summer Meadows at Nava

A brief ascent will lead you to the summer meadows at Nava, perched 500m above the Cares River, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. This walk will be challenging, but the rewards are well worth the climb, especially in early summer when the meadow is painted with bright flowers in full bloom.

Today an option to walk to Vanu (Banu) instead is available for those looking to enjoy a shorter route through the shady countryside at a lower elevation.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Arenas
Distance: 5 hours, 11.5 km, 650m of ascent, 650m of descent
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Trek the Beautiful Cares Gorge

Today’s route is remarkably beautiful, and an immensely popular route with local outdoor enthusiasts and tourists alike, and for a good reason! A short private transfer will take you to today’s trailhead, where you’ll set out on an excellent footpath before towards steep ascent on a weaving trail before the path levels out again for the next 12 km.

The natural beauty of this stretch is spellbinding as you trace the River Cares, which has masterfully carved a spectacular gorge through the heart of the Picos. Dramatic views of jagged peaks rising in every direction surround you here as you continue your trek to the mountain village of Caín.

Once in Caín, you’ll have the option to continue an additional 8 km up the valley or to take a taxi to your accommodations in Posada de Valdeón.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Posada de Valdeón
Distance: Full route: 5 hours, 14 km, 650m of ascent, 650m of descent
Extended route: 6.5 hours, 18 km, 850m of ascent, 850m of descent
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 The Valley of Valdeón Nature Circuit

With two challenging (and rewarding) days of trekking just behind you, today’s route is a perfect cooldown, allowing you to enjoy a scenic nature walk on a circular route in the woods near Valdeón. The area is home to wolves and bears and is a nature lover’s paradise.

By midday, you’ll have reached a remote shepherd’s refuge, tucked away on the north side of the Picos’ western massif of Vega de Llos (1545m, 5068 ft). Enjoy a break here, enjoying the incredibly remote location before continuing the circuit back to Valdeón.

If the views from Vega de Llos (1545m, 5068 ft) have you wanting more, continue the trail up to the El Frade Pass (1785m, 5856 ft), from where you’ll find expansive views of the sea.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Posada de Valdeón
Distance: 4-4.5 hours, 8 km, 100m of ascent, 520m of descent
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Trek to Espinama by way of Liordes

This morning you’ll set out on the El Camín del Mercadillo, an ancient trader’s path steeped in history and legend, taking you from Posada de Valdeón to Liébana.

Continuing as you ascend, you’ll reach the beautiful meadowlands at Caben Remoña, an area that straddles the border between the two provinces of León and Cantabria. From this area, there are two hiking options.

Option 1: Walk to Espinama
This option involves a 9 km walk and 900m of descent to your accommodations in Espinama.

Option 2: Vega de Liordes down to Fuente Dé
This option involves walking a spectacular high route via Vega de Liordes down to Fuente Dé, and then taking a bus or taxi 3.5 km to your accommodations in Espinama.
Overnight Location: Hostel in Espinama
Distance: Option 1: 6.5 hours, 16 km, 850m of ascent, 900m of descent
Option 2: 8.5 hours, 17 km, 1270m of ascent, 1120m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 6 Free Day to Discover Potes or Fuente Dé

Today you’ll have the option to rest up or keep on hiking. If you’d like a rest day, enjoy relaxing by the hostel pool or garden and find a nice restaurant patio for lunch.

Alternatively, you can set out on a day trip to nearby Potes, a lovely medieval village excellent for exploring on foot.

Another option for those looking for more of an adventure today is to take a bus to Fuente Dé (1100m, 3608 ft), from where you can ride a cable car up to a sensational viewpoint (1835m, 6020 ft).

And lastly, a shorter walk through rural woodlands is available in the Espinama Valley.
Overnight Location: Hostel in Espinama
Distance: Flexible
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 7 Trek the Áliva Pass to Sotres

Back on the route, you’ll embark on a lengthy but pleasant hike this morning. Setting out along footpaths through charming woods near Pembes, you’ll join the farming tracks to reach the Áliva Pass (1645m, 5396 ft).

Then, following a magnificent glacier moraine, you’ll descend the Duje River Valley before a short ascent to arrive in Sotres.

Sotres (1050m, 3444 ft) sits as the highest village in the Picos, making it an advantageous base for exploring the surrounding mountains.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sotres
Distance: 7-7.5 hours, 17 km, 925m of ascent, 775m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 8 Explore the Eastern Massif of Andara

This morning, a short transfer will take you to the trailhead of a spectacular route on the eastern massif known as Andara.

The trail sets out following a historic mining track as you trek into the heart of Andara. With breathtaking scenery all around you, you’ll reach an elevation of 2215m (7267 ft), enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and epic landscapes.

A descent via cattle tracks will take you back to your accommodations in Sotres.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sotres
Distance: 5.5 hours, 12 km, 550m of ascent, 840m of decent
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 9 Trek to Tresviso with Views of the Urdón Gorge

Today, a short transfer will lead you to the trailhead at the edge of enchanting woods of heather and ancient oak. You’ll follow the scenic trail through the woods until you reach the village of Tresviso. There are two different routes you can follow, both along the gorge but one longer than the other. Feel free to tailor the distance as you prefer.

Spectacular views of the Urdón Gorge grace the trail to Tresviso. Enjoy this shorter walk today amid the stunning scenery.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sotres
Distance: 2.5-5.5 hours, 6-14 km, 300m of ascent, 300m of descent or 500m of ascent, 700m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 10 Trek the Legendary Picu Urriellu (Naranjo de Bulnes)

Today, a major highlight of the tour awaits as you ascend the legendary Picu Urriellu (2519m, 8264 ft), a spectacular peak known worldwide for its first-class rock climbing.

Tracing farmer's tracks from Sotres to Pandébano Col, you'll continue a footpath up into the moonlike landscapes in the heart of the central massif.

A unique stay at a remote mountain refuge here will allow you to immerse yourself in the majestic landscape and experience a good night's rest in the very heart of the Picos de Europa National Park.
Overnight Location: Lodge at Picu Urriellu
Distance: 5.5 hours, 12 km, 1085m of ascent, 180m of decent
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 11 Trek the Camburero Gorge to the Village of Bulnes

Your final day of hiking invites you to explore yet another new corner of the Picos as you set out on a scenic footpath down through the Camburero Gorge, making your way to the remote village of Bulnes.

Continuing your descent, you’ll traverse the Teju Gorge to reach Poncebos, bringing you full circle to the start point of the trek.
A short transfer will then take you to your accommodations in Arenas.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Arenas
Distance: 5-6 hours, 9.5 km, 50m of ascent, 1900m of decent
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Depart Arenas

This morning after breakfast, you’ll head to the airport to depart. You’ll leave this place with a true sense of accomplishment, having traversed the Picos de Europa on foot!
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek Price and Dates

This self-guided hiking tour of Picos de Europa National Park is run as a custom tour for your group and the price per person depends on the number of people staying in one room, as well as the season.

The best time to visit Picos de Europa for a hiking tour is the summer (June-September) when the weather is warmest at high elevations. If you’d like to enjoy the wildflower bloom, try to book in mid-June.

Private Self-Guided Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

Have your own private tour with just your group! Prices below are per person:

Departures on May 15th - June 30th:

  • Price per person staying in single room (min 1 traveler): $1,150 USD
  • Price per person staying in single room (min 2 travelers): $1,125 USD
  • Price per person staying in double room (min 2 travelers): $775 USD
  • Price per person staying in triple room (min 3 travelers): $775 USD

Departures on July 1st - July 31st:

  • Price per person staying in single room (min 1 traveler): $1,225 USD
  • Price per person staying in single room (min 2 travelers): $1,195 USD
  • Price per person staying in double room (min 2 travelers): $825 USD
  • Price per person staying in triple room (min 3 travelers): $825 USD

Departures on August 1st - August 25th:

  • Price per person staying in single room (min 1 traveler): $1,325 USD
  • Price per person staying in single room (min 2 travelers): $1,275 USD
  • Price per person staying in double room (min 2 travelers): $850 USD
  • Price per person staying in triple room (min 3 travelers): $850 USD

Departures on August 26th - September 12th:

  • Price per person staying in single room (min 1 traveler): $1,225 USD
  • Price per person staying in single room (min 2 travelers): $1,195 USD
  • Price per person staying in double room (min 2 travelers): $825 USD
  • Price per person staying in triple room (min 3 travelers): $825 USD

Departures on September 13th - October 20th:

  • Price per person staying in single room (min 1 traveler): $1,150 USD
  • Price per person staying in single room (min 2 travelers): $1,125 USD
  • Price per person staying in double room (min 2 travelers): $775 USD
  • Price per person staying in triple room (min 3 travelers): $775 USD
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Accommodation on the Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

This tour is based in 2-star and 3-star hotels, hostels, and a mountain refuge. The hotels and hostels offer private rooms and basic amenities. The mountain lodge offers shared dorms in a spectacularly unique and remote setting.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travellers
See pricing details for pricing if you are a solo traveller, or require single rooms in your group.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hotel La Rivera in Arenas de Cabrales ★★

Enjoy this stay on the edge of Picos de Europa National Park in a scenic, remote setting. A warm atmosphere welcomes guests to this pleasant property that boasts lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

Hotel Rural Picos de Europa in Arenas de Cabrales ★★★

This tranquil hotel is a haven in the mountains, located on the outskirts of the Posada de Valdeon. An ideal place to unwind and enjoy nature, guests can enjoy the hotel swimming pool and amenities like free wifi, flatscreen televisions, and a bar and lounge.

Hostal Nevandi in Espinama ★★

This charming hostel is located in the picturesque town of Espinama, which is one of the main access points to the central massif of Picos de Europa.

Hotel Sotres in Sotres ★★

Enjoy a cozy stay at this family-run hotel that offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy traditional specialties at the hotel’s authentic restaurant and take advantage of the amenities offered here.

Refugio Veg Uriellu in Arenas de Cabrales ★★

This unique stay at this rustic mountain refuge will charm you with its authenticity and proximity to the natural landscapes. Guests will enjoy a comfortable stay in a dormitory with shared washrooms.

Hotel La Rivera in Arenas de Cabrales ★★

Enjoy this stay on the edge of Picos de Europa National Park in a scenic, remote setting. A warm atmosphere welcomes guests to this pleasant property that boasts lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

What’s Included in the Full Picos de Europa Mountain Trek?

Meals

11 breakfasts and 6 dinners are included.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 11 nights are included.

Transportation during the Tour

Private transfers on Days 3, 8, 9, and 11 are included on this tour. Luggage transportation during the tour and airport transfers are not included, but both can be booked in advance as a supplement (please see Optional Extras for the pricing).

Also Included

  • Detailed route maps and notes
  • 24-hour phone assistance

Not included

  • Flights to and from Spain
  • Cable car ticket on day 6
  • Bus ticket on day 5
  • Optional taxi transfers
  • Visas if required
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist taxes if applicable
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks not previously mentioned
  • Fees not mentioned as 'included'
  • Guide services

Optional Extras

  • Activities and excursions unless otherwise mentioned as included
  • Luggage transfers: $595 USD per person
  • Airport transfers
  • Any additional nights before or after the tour

Frequently Asked Questions about 12-day Picos de Europa Mountain Trek

Explore the hidden corners of Europe by bike or on foot with S-Cape. Their self-guided trips have been hand-crafted by local experts to highlight every detail of your destination. S-Cape designs tours that allow you to explore without restrictive timetables and immerse yourself in the diverse culture and natural beauty of Europe at your own pace.

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour a 4/5. Hikers should expect challenging day hikes in mountainous areas. Hikes range from 5-7 hours per day with 500m to 1000m of elevation gain a day. Fit hikers will be able to get the most out of this tour.

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