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8 days
  • self guided walk
  • 6 nights in 2-3 star hotels
  • 1 night in a mountain hut
  • 5 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts





Trip Code: PDE

Trip highlights

  • Exploring the unique countryside with its mysterious woods, wide glacier valleys and limestone rock formations, including the famous Picu Urriellu
  • Staying at friendly, family run hotels in authentic Spanish villages
  • Sampling delicious Cabrales blue cheese, sparkling Asturian apple cider and regional specialities

Rising from the ocean, the Picos de Europa is one of the most striking mountain ranges on the Iberian Peninsula. Just 40km long and 20km wide, the jagged limestone peaks rise to 2600m and contrast sharply with the lush valleys dotted with small hamlets far below. Rich in wildlife such as chamois, hedgehogs and wild boar and an abundance of wildflowers, the national park is a delight. Perhaps the most striking feature of the Picos is the deep gorges and rivers which divide the range into three distinct massifs. The focus of this walk is between the central massif (Macizo Central), home to the highest peak Torre de Cerredo (2648m) and the eastern massif (Macizo Oriental). Highlights include walking in the wide glacier valleys overlooked by the limestone peaks, the authentic villages and the ascent to the base of Naranjo de Bulnes' west face, considered to be the signature peak of the region. At night stay in small family run hotels in Arenas and Sotres with opportunities to sample local specialties such as the famous blue cheese, Queso de Cabrales.

Trip Grading


More info about grading system

Traveller Rating


On arrival in Arenas de Cabrales, make your way to your hotel located in the centre of the village. We recommend you try the local cider on one of the terraces, visit the parish church with its Romanesque portal and paintings or head to the “Cueva del Queso” Museum, where you get a brief explanation of how the local blue cheese is made. Dinner tonight is in a highly regarded local restaurant, served from 8pm in typical Spanish style.

Meals:  D

For a marvellous start to the week, enjoy a quiet walk along farming tracks between Arenas and Poo de Cabrales. If you want to extend your route until Humones Col, you can follow the EXT route and, if you feel up to it, walk a bit further for amazing views of the valley of Cabrales at your feet. Overnight in Arenas with dinner at leisure. Walking: 9.5-12km/5.9-7.5mi, 380-560m/1246-1837ft ascent and descent

Meals:  B

After a short morning transfer, you will start a lovely mountain walk from Tielve, one of the most authentic villages in this part of the Picos. First you ascend to the summer meadows and cabins above Tielve, enjoying magnificent views over the Picos. You then climb steadily through a fairytale landscape of heather, old beech trees and streams to the pass at La Caballar (1240m), then down to Sotres (1050m), one of the highest villages in the Picos de Europa. Today's route also includes a walk to Valfríu, where the local famous blue cheese, Queso de Cabrales, is produced. Overnight in Sotres. Walking: 4hrs, 9km/5.6mi, 575m/1886ft ascent, 250m/820ft descent

Meals:  B,D

Today there is a circular walk of the eastern Andara massif of the Picos, an area exploited by mining industries in the 19th century. After a short transfer to Hitu Escarandi, the walk begins through surprisingly varied terrain. Initially there is a steep ascent along a former mining track and along some rocky paths. You then walk around an impressive limestone peak in the heart of the massif, later following cattle trails through woods, fields of heather and pastures back to Sotres. You can enjoy exploring the strange moon-like landscape of karst, with views to the Cantabrian Sea on a clear day and spot a variety of alpine flora. There is a good chance of seeing chamois, vultures and different species of eagles. There are several options to shorten or extend the walk. Overnight in Sotres. Walking: 5.5hrs option: 12km/7.5mi, 550m/1804ft ascent, 840m/2755ft descent or 8.5hrs option: 18.5km/11.5mi, 1045m/3428ft ascent, 1335m/4379ft descent

Meals:  B,D

Today you can choose from three walks depending on the weather and your personal preference. There's a 20 minute transfer (included) before a 6.5 hour walk through the meadows and beech woods of the neighbouring village of Tresviso, where the rare Urugallo, or local Capercaille, lives. A technically easy but long option (also 6.5 hours) starts with a short transfer (included) then it's up and down to the summer meadows of Áliva to 1650m through an interesting glacial valley in the shadow of the impressive limestone walls of the central and oriental massifs. Half way you can take a rest at the Hotel Refugio de Áliva, which has extraordinary views from the terrace. Or there's a quiet 2.5hrs walk through woods and fields enjoying the quiet surrounds of Sotres village. Overnight in Sotres. Walking: 2.5 to 6.5hrs, 6 to 18.5km/3.7 to 11.2mi, 300 to 755m/984 to 2477ft ascent/descent

Meals:  B,D

This spectacular route takes you up to the mountain hut at Vega de Urriellu (2000m), at the foot of the impressive Picu Urriellu, also known as the Naranjo de Bulnes. You start from the hotel and first walk quietly along tracks and footpaths through the meadows to the wide saddle Collado Pandebano at 1240m. From here the climbing gets serious. A stone footpath takes you up in 2.5-3 hours to a lunar landscape of outstanding beauty in the heart of the Picos de Europa, home of chamois, vultures and choughs. Overnight in mountain hut. Walking: 5.5-6hrs, 11.8km/7.3mi, 1085m/3559ft ascent, 180m/590ft descent **Note: there is no luggage transfer today so you will need to carry your overnight items including a sleeping sheet in your backpack.** Note: in spring and autumn it may not be possible to ascend to the refuge due to snow. In this case, you will be booked to stay another night in Sotres with walking options as per day 5. At other times you can choose to stay in Sotres tonight and do a day walk to/from the refuge (subject to weather) - 7hrs, 19km/11.8mi. A supplement applies to stay in Sotres. It is also possible to stay one less night in Sotres (becomes a 7 day trip) - discount applies.

Meals:  B,D

Your last walking day will be spent on a long descent along various paths. A very beautiful but rather strenuous walk, especially for your knees, will lead you via Pandébano Col to Bulnes, an authentic mountain village with no road access. On arrival in Bulnes (650m) after approx. 4.5hrs of walking, you can either take the funicular (ticket not included), or continue on foot for another 1.5 to 2 hrs down and along the spectacular Texu gorge, to Poncebos. In the afternoon, return to Arenas de Cabrales by public bus (payable locally in cash, allow EUR2, or a transfer is included only when there are no bus services). Overnight Arenas. Walking: 5hrs: 12km/7.7mi, 335m/1099ft ascent, 950m/3117ft descent Another option that can be arranged locally for today is to book transfers and spend the day walking the Cares Gorge (Ruta del Cares), a long but mainly flat return walk. If you've stayed overnight in Sotres you leave town follow farming tracks up to Pandebano Pass (1245m), before descending along an ancient footpath through natural meadows and low vegetation to Bulnes, and continue as above (5-7hrs, 13 or 23km).

Meals:  B

The arrangements conclude after breakfast.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners. Included dinners are usually a set menu. Breakfast is generally served between 8.30 and 10.00am. It normally includes coffee, tea, milk or hot chocolate, bread and/or toast, cake, butter, marmalade and cheese or ham. A drink is included at Sotres, in Urriellu only water is included. Please note in Spain dinners are generally served between 8.30pm – 10.00pm
  • 6 nights in 2-3 star hotels on a twin share basis, 1 night in a mountain hut (or extra night in hotel - small supplement applies)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps per room booked, GPS Tracks available
  • Luggage transfers Arenas-Sotres-Arenas - max one piece, max weight 20kgs (supplements apply to excess luggage) *note on day 6 you need to carry your overnight requirements including a sleeping sheet to stay at the mountain refuge
  • Transfers as described
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Arenas de Cabrales
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks not noted as included
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Storage of luggage & excess luggage
  • Entrance Fees not listed as included
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Optional funicular ticket from Bulnes to Poncebos on day 7 (allow EUR20 pp)
  • Bus from Poncebos to Arenas on day 7 (allow EUR2 pp - or a transfer is included only when there are no bus services)
  • Items of a personal nature

Trail Surface



MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a self guided walk with average daily stages of 4 to 5.5 hours, sometimes longer. The trip is graded moderate as it is mainly on well defined mountain trails, with a few off path sections only. At times you will walk through areas of low vegetation (heather and gorse, which might make leg protection necessary). You will also be doing some steep ascents or descents (paths may be muddy and slippery). The use of a walking stick(s) is recommended. For those who suffer from vertigo there are some walks which may not be suitable, and we have provided alternative routes where necessary. A reasonable level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.

Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 25 Oct


Mid Season
High Season
Mid season is 25 Jun to 11 Jul and 1 to 30 Sep, High season is from 12 Jul to 31 Aug, supplement applies
Departures before mid June may not be able to ascend to the mountain refuge due to snow conditions and an alternative route will be suggested. Sotres hotel supplement applies.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Sotres hotel supplement on Day 6 twin share ppUSD$60
  • Sotres hotel supplement on Day 6 single / soloUSD$80
  • Single supplementUSD$280
  • Single supplement - mid seasonUSD$320
  • Solo traveller supplementUSD$340
  • Single supplement - high seasonUSD$350
  • Solo traveller supplement - mid seasonUSD$390
  • Solo traveller supplement - high seasonUSD$420
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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