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Picos de Europa • 8 day mini-trek
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Duration :
8 days
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May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Trekking Walking
price in double room from: € 451
Picos de Europa • 8 day mini-trek

Picos de Europa • 8 day mini-trek

Unspoiled natural beauty in northern Spain

  • The Picos de Europa National Park and its authentically rural territory of unspoiled natural beauty
  • An endless variety of ever-changing landscapes: idyllic pastures, wide glacier valleys, rushing streams and fantastic limestone mountains
  • Incredibly diverse flora adorning every square inch of the park
  • Welcoming accommodation in tiny villages & one mountain hut
ESSW038-Picos de Europa Mini Trek map
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Start: Arenas de Cabrales          Finish: Arenas de Cabrales

Day 1: Arrival in Arenas de Cabrales, optional walk (10 km)
Day 2: From Poncebos to Posada de Valdeón through the Cares Gorge (12 - 21 km)
Day 3: From Valdeón to Espinama (16 - 17 km)
Day 4: From Espinama to Sotres (max. 17 km)
Day 5: Circular walk in Ándara - Pico San Carlos (12 - 18,5 km)
Day 6: From Sotres to Vega de Urriellu (12 km)
Day 7: From Urriellu to Poncebos (9,5 km)
Day 8: End of program

Day 1:    Arrival in Arenas de Cabrales, optional walk (10 km)

Settle in at your cozy hotel situated in the village centre. If you have time, visit Santa Maria de Llas Church of Romanesque origin. For walking gear or special food items, Arenas is an excellent place to do your shopping. In the evening, try the local cider on an outdoor terrace. Overnight stay in 2* hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. If you arrive early, option of doing a walks in the surroundings of Arenas.

Challenge: 3,5-4 hrs, 10 km, 380 m ascent/descent

Day 2:    From Poncebos to Posada de Valdeón through the Cares Gorge (12 - 21 km)

An absolute classic from the local repertoire, this stunning route is walked by thousands each year and remains strikingly beautiful. You walk on a good footpath, used to maintain a 12km channel which feeds the hydroelectric station in Poncebos. Your day starts off with a 5min transfer to the start of the walk. After a short but steep ascent of 150m on a zig-zag trail, the path then levels off and you continue the rest of the way to Caín nearly “on the flat” (12km). From there, you have the choice of continuing another 8km up the valley or taking a taxi to your 3*hotel in Posada de Valdeón.

Challenge: 3,5-7 hrs, 12- 21 km, 300 m ascent and 50 m descent OR 800 m ascent and 125 m descent

Villages along the way: Poncebos, Caín, Posada de Valdeón

Day 3:    From Valdeón to Espinama (16 - 17 km)

Today’s route starts off with an ascent on the historic traders’ path, el Camín del Mercadillo, which leads from Posada de Valdeón to Liébana. After 7km walking with 800m in ascent, you reach the meadowlands at Caben Remoña, situated on the border between the provinces of León and Cantabria. Here you have the choice of walking straight on down to Espinama (9km with 900m in descent) or taking the spectacular high route via Vega de Liordes down to Fuente Dé (bus or taxi 3,5km to your 2*hotel). If you have booked luggage transport, there’s the option of riding for the first 5km with your bags (thus saving 500m in ascent).

Challenge: 6,5-8,5 hrs, 16-17 km, 800 m ascent and 900 m descent OR 1270 m ascent and 1120 m descent

Villages along the way: Pido or Fuente Dé, Espinama

Day 4:    From Espinama to Sotres (max. 17 km)

Today you either walk first to Fuente Dé and take the cable car high into the central massif, or you climb directly from Espinama along woodlands tracks to Áliva Pass (1645m). Then you follow a glacier moraine down the Duje River valley to reach Sotres. At 1050m, this is the highest village in the Picos making an ideal base for some excellent walking routes. After a long day, the end of your route is a stimulating 150m ascent to reach Sotres! A welcoming 2* family hotel awaits you.

Challenge: 6.5-7 hrs, max. 17 km, 700 m ascent and 560 m descent OR 925 m ascent and 750 m descent

Villages along the way: Sotres

Day 5:    Circular walk in Ándara - Pico San Carlos (12 - 18,5 km)

After a short transfer, you start a beautiful and extremely varied route in the Eastern Massif known as Andara. The first section follows a historic mining track, into the heart of the massif. You then continue on to reach an elevation of 2215m. Descent via cattle trails, back down to your hotel in Sotres.

Challenge: 5,5 hrs, 12 km, 550 m ascent, 840 m descent. To reach 'Pico San Carlos' add: 3 hrs, 6,5 km, 500 m ascent

Villages along the way: Sotres

Day 6:    From Sotres to Vega de Urriellu (12 km)

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. You first take farming tracks from Sotres up to Pandébano Col. Then you follow a footpath up into the lunar landscapes at the heart of the central massif, home to chamoix and alpine choughs. For your overnight stay here at the refuge, you’ll carry just the things you need for the day, while your luggage in transported to the next hotel. Early in the season, snow can be a factor. If the event the hut cannot be reached, the alternate program includes a circular walk to nearby Tielve and overnight stay in Sotres.

Challenge: 5,5 hrs, 12 km, 1085 m ascent, 180 m descent.

Villages along the way: Sotres

Day 7:    From Urriellu to Poncebos (9,5 km)

Your last day of walking explores yet another facet of the Picos as you traverse a steep footpath down Camburero Gorge to reach the remotevillageofBulnes(no road access). You then continue in descent through the Teju Gorge to reach Poncebos, coming full circle back to the start of your trek. Early in the season, today’s descent may be impracticable due to water level from snow run-off. The alternate route goes by way of Pandébano. Short transfer to your 3*hotel in Arenas de Cabrales.

Challenge: 5-6 hrs, 9,5 km, 50 m ascent, 1900 m descent.

Villages along the way: Bulnes, Poncebos, Arenas de Cabrales

Day 8:    End of program

Your arrangement comes to an end today after breakfast. Taxi transfers can be arranged to the airport (Oviedo,SantanderorBilbao).

'standard' hotels

The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Some of the hotels we work with appear here. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked. 

Extra nights:

Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.

Hotel La Rivera (Arenas de Cabrales)

Welcoming rural accommodation, located in the limit of the National Park of Picos de Europa, no too far from the well-known "Cares Gorge" route. Warm atmosphere and traditional decoration, with good quality services that will make your stay a very nice experience.

Hotel Cumbres de Valdeón

This hotel is located in Posada de Valdeón. Surrounded by the impressive summits of Picos de Europa and on the Cares riverbank. An ideal place to relax and enjoy nature. Comfortable rooms

Hostal Nevandi

This hostel is set in the picturesque town of Espinama, one of the main entries to the central massif of Picos de Europa. It has 9 comfortable and welcoming rooms, as wel as a nice restaurant with a magnificent gastronomic offer that includes homemade specialities from the area. It also has a private outdoor swimming pool.

Hotel Sotres

Family-run hotel, inaugurated in 2005. The rooms and terraces offer spectacular views to the Picos de Europa. They have a restaurant that offers the traditional gastronomy of the area.

Refugio Vega Urriellu

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.

practical info

NOTE: This trip is also offered as a 12-day option (See trip "Picos de Europa Mountain Trek")

You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between May 15th and October 15th 

The nearest airports to the Picos de Europa are Oviedo (OVD), also known as Asturias airport, Santander (SDR) and Bilbao (BIO).

Arrive in Arenas de Cabrales

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

From Oviedo centre there are direct buses to Arenas de Cabrales, though these services cannot be booked in advance. From Santander and Bilbao, you take a direct bus to Unquera and then continue by taxi to Arenas de Cabrales.

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 or through your S-cape office in Spain, also responsible for booking your taxi from Unquera to Arenas.

Departure from Arenas de Cabrales

Your trek ends in Arenas de Cabrales. Bus tickets 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.

GPS tracks are available on request.



  • Accommodation for 6 nights at good family-run 2*  hotels, 1 of them with a swimmimg pool (rooms with private bath room)
  • 1 overnight stay at mountain hut in dormitories with simple bathing facilities (toilet & sink)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners
  • Transfers on days 2 (to the beginning of walk in Poncebos, luggage continues to Sotres, where it will be kept until day 4), 5 (to the beginning of walk) and 7 (Poncebos - Arenas, except optional cable car and funicular railway)
  • Luggage transport on days 2 (Arenas - Sotres) & 7 (Sotres – Arenas)
  • 24-hour telephone assistance, just a phone call away
  • Detailed route description and maps

Not included

  • Transport to first / from last accommodation
  • Dinners not mentioned in the "included" section
  • Lunches (provisions can be bought in villages along the way, pack lunches may be ordered at some of the accommodations)
  • Luggage transfers on day 2,3 and 4  (Poncebos-Valdeon-Espinama-Sotres) 
  • Bus and cable car ticket on day 4 and funicular ticket on day 7
  • Optional taxi transfers  
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.


  • Single Room Supplement(s)
  • Solo Traveller Supplement
  • Luggage transport on days 2, 3, 4 (Poncebos-Valdeon-Espinama-Sotres) can be booked as an optional service at the cost of 430,- euros per booking
  • Transfers from / to airports on arrival /departure can be arranged
  • Extra nights can be booked at any of the standard accommodations, at city hotels in Oviedo, Gijón or Bilbao or at charming rural accommodations on the Asturian coast


This trip is also offered as a 12-day option


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