Start: Arenas de Cabrales Finish: Arenas de Cabrales
Settle in at your hotel situated at the very start of the cares Gorge in Poncebos. If you arrive early, you can walk up in aprox 20 min. to Camarmeña and enjoy your first views of the Picu Urriellu. Just before dinner time the S-cape team will present itself and explain all details of the tour, when you will do self-guided walk, when you will meet the guide, how the luggage transport is organized etc.etc. After that you will have dinner on your own (not inc.)
Challenge: 45 min. 150 m ascent and descent
The Cares Gorge is an absolute classic from the localhiking repertoire; a stunning route walked by thousands each year, along a 12 km channel which feeds the hydroelectric station in Poncebos. After your lunchpack for today has been delivered by S-cape and the luggage has been put into the support vehicle, you start the self-guided walk with a short but steep ascent of 150 m on a zig-zag trail. After 45 min, the path levels off and you continue the rest of the way to Caín nearly “on the flat” (12 km). From Caín a 4x4 taxi will take you to the next accommodation in Espinama, a beautiful drive of aprox. 1.5 hours across the mountain pass Pandetrave.
Challenge: 3.5 - 4 hrs, 12 km, 300 m ascent, 50 m descent
Villages along the way: Poncebos, Caín, Posada de Valdeón, Espinama
Today you first walk in 1 hr to Fuente Dé in order to take the pre-booked cable car high into the central massif. After a short climb, you'll descend gradually to the Áliva Pass (1645 m) and follow a glacier moraine down the Duje River valley to the bucolic Vegas de Sotres from where taxis will drive you in 10 min to Sotres (1050 m altitude). In this highest village of the Picos, a very tasting blue cheese is made that you will have to try.
Challenge: max. 13 km, 380 m ascent and 900 m descent, 5 hrs
Villages along the way: Espinama, Sotres
The highlight of this trek of highlights, takes you up to the legendary Picu Urriellu – also called Naranjo de Bulnes – a stunning peak and mecca for world-class rock climbers.
Because we will traverse an alpine area, today a mountain guide will acompany you. He or she will meet you in the morning at the hostal and can help you to decide what to take up exactly to the hut, as luggage transfer is NOT incuded today. You will have to pack some items in your rugsack, including at least sheets, some extra warm cloths, a tooth brush and slippers. The bulk of your luggage stays behind in Sotres, safely stored in a private garage.
When everyone is ready to go, a 4x4 taxi will drive you all to the start of the walk at Collado Pandébano. Here the apline adventure starts as you follow a footpath up into the lunar landscapes at the heart of the central massif, home to chamoix and alpine choughs. The last zigzags up to the hut are very demanding, but you will forget about the effort as soon as you reach it and enjoy the views all the way to the ocean! There might be snow to play with still!
Today dinner at the hut is included so you will only have to carry the lunchpack for today.
Challenge: 4 hrs, 7 km, 950 m ascent, 125 m descent
After a typical mountain-hut breakfast we descent along the same path to Pandébano (how easy it is now!!) where the S-cape Team awaits with the lunch in the shade. Finally you say goodby to the guide and get into the 4x4 taxi for a last drive to Poncebos or Arenas de cabrales, depening on how you travel on. Extra Taxi transfers can be arranged to nearby airport (Oviedo,Santander or Bilbao).
Challenge: 2.5 hrs, 7 km, 125 m ascent, 950 m descent.
At the very beginning of the Cares Gorge, you can find this friendly family hotel which several terraces a lounge and restaurant. It also ahs a tiny car park but if you want to park your during the rest of the tour, you are kindly requested to move it to the public car park nearby.
This familyrun hostel has 5 diferent rooms with bunk beds for 4 to 10 persons and clean shared bathing facilities in between. It is located at the edge of the village but with several restaurants nearby. Upgrade to 2-star hotel in the village is possible (depending on availability)
Another family run hostal,very well located at the edge of the higest village of the Picos de Europa with great views. In this hostel we will use a dormitory divided into compartiments of 4 bunk beds, but with shared bathing facilities. Possibility of upgrading to a familyroom with private bathroom (on request). Upgrade to 2-star hotel in the village is possible (depending on availability)
Urriellu mountain refuge is located in the very heart of the National Park of Picos de Europa, just at the base of the iconic "Picu Urriellu", also known as "Naranjo de Bulnes". It has a total of 96 beds, grouped in 4 dormitories of 24 beds, distributed in 4 large bunk bed rows.
This tour can be booked between the 3rd of July and the 16th of October starting on a SUNDAY, and bookings are always ON REQUEST hence subject to availability at the standard accommodation
The tour is guaranteed with a minimum of 4 partipants and we will never take more then 16 persons in total at the same time.
Please be aware that this is a self-guided tour with some logistic support. The inscription of children of 17 years or younger is only possible if they are accompanied by an adult who takes FULL responsability for their behaviour and safety, including during the 1.5 day that a mountain guide accompanies the group, although your are obliged to accept any instructions by this guide .
If your party is smaller then 4 persons, do ask if other people have already inscribed so that the minimum occupancy has been reached.
If your party is 6 persons or more, we can try to book the same tour with different starting dates but in this case also the price is subject to availability of the standard accommodation
Arrival in Poncebos
From the airports there are good bus connections to city centre bus stations, where you can catch a connecting bus to your destination (ALSA bus company, see time tables at www.alsa.es).
From Oviedo centre there are direct buses to Arenas de Cabrales, though these services cannot be booked in advance. For the last 6 km between Arenas and Poncebos you can use a public bus during high season; the rest of the year we can arrange a taxi.
From Santander and Bilbao, you take a direct bus to Unquera and then continue by taxi ivia Arenas de Cabrales to Poncebos.
NOTE: It is wise to book your bus tickets and taxi transfer in advance, especially for arrivals and when travelling in summer or on Friday afternoons. You can buy your bus tickets through the ALSA website www.alsa.es or through your S-cape office in Spain, also responsible for booking your taxi from Unquera to Arenas.
Departure from Poncebos or Arenas de Cabrales
Your trek ends ith a taxi transfer from pandebano to either Poncebos or Arenas de Cabrales. Bus tickets to airports from Arenas can be booked in advance through S-cape Travel.
Airport transfers for arrival / departure can be booked in advance through S-cape Travel. Costs will depend on number of passengers, airport used and time of pick up.
If you arrive by (rental) car, you can park it during the length of the tour in the surroundings of the first hotel for free.
GPS tracks are available on request.
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