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Picos de Europa 12-day mountain trek
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Duration :
12 days
Comfort :
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Trekking Walking
price in double room from: € 669
Picos de Europa 12-day mountain trek

Picos de Europa 12-day mountain trek

Hiking in Picos de Europa: 12 days journey

  • The Picos de Europa National Park with its stunning variety of landscapes: rivers, fields, woods, valleys and peaks
  • A trek which traverses all 3 massifs
  • Exploring an authentically rural area of unspoilt natural beauty
  • Welcoming accommodation situated in tiny villages
  • Delicious regional gastronomy and a vast array of artisan cheeses from the Picos
Map walking routes in Picos de Europa
View map

Start: Arenas de Cabrales       Finish: Arenas de Cabrales 

Day 1: Arrival in Arenas de Cabrales
Day 2: Circular walk from Arenas (10 - 11,5 km)
Day 3: Poncebos to Posada de Valdeón through the Cares Gorge (12 - 22 km)
Day 4: Circular walk from Valdeón (14 km)
Day 5: Valdeón to Espinama via Liordes (16 - 17 km)
Day 6: Horcados Rojos or Visit Potes (10 - 18 km)
Day 7: From Espinama to Sotres (max. 17 km)
Day 8: Circular walk in Ándara - Pico San Carlos (12 - 18,5 km)
Day 9: Circular walk via Tresviso (5,6 - 14 km)
Day 10: Sotres to Vega de Urriellu (12 km)
Day 11: Urriellu to Poncebos via Bulnes (9,5 km)
Day 12: End of arrangement

Day 1:    Arrival in Arenas de Cabrales

Arrival in Asturias, on the north side of the Picos, at your hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. Shop for some last-minute trekking supplies or sample the local blue cheese and traditional apple cider on one of the outdoor terraces.

Challenge: Arrival in the Picos de Europa.

Villages along the way: Arenas de Cabrales

Day 2:    Circular walk from Arenas (10 - 11,5 km)

Ascent to the summer meadows at Nava, situated 500m above the Cares River, with excellent views of the Picos. A strenuous but very rewarding walk, especially in early summer when the meadows display a multitude of brightly coloured flowers. Option of doing an alternative shorter walk to Vanu (Banu), through shady countryside at a lower elevation. 

Challenge: 5 hrs, 11,5 km, 650 m ascent/descent.

Villages along the way: Arenas, Nava

Day 3:    Poncebos to Posada de Valdeón through the Cares Gorge (12 - 22 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 hotel in Posada de Valdeón. 

Challenge: 3,5-7 hrs, 12- 22 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 4:    Circular walk from Valdeón (14 km)

After 2 tougher routes, today you do a circular nature walk in wooded surroundings near Valdeón, an area inhabited by wolves and bears. At mid-day you reach a shepherd’s refuge on the north side of the Picos’ western massif: Vega de Llos (1545m), an excellent place to stop for a rest. If you’re aching for an even better panorama, option of continuing on up to El Frade pass (1785m), for sweeping views all the way to the sea.

Challenge: 5 hrs, 14 km, 650 m ascent/descent. To reach El Frade pass add: 1,5hrs, 4km, 200 m ascent/descent.

Villages along the way: Posada de Valdeón

Day 5:    Valdeón to Espinama via Liordes (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 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, 850 m ascent and 900 m descent OR 1270 m ascent and 1120m descent.

Villages along the way: Posada de Valdeón, Liordes, Espinama

Day 6:    Horcados Rojos or Visit Potes (10 - 18 km)

Option of taking a rest day today, to relax in the hotel garden by the pool, or doing a day-trip to nearby Potes, a lovely village with historic Medieval centre. If you prefer to walk, you first take the bus to Fuente Dé (1100m) and ride the cable car up to 1835m. There you begin a spectacular route up to Horcados Rojos, an impressive vista point with splendid views of the Picos and far beyond. You also have the option of a shorter walk, on rural tracks and footpaths through woodlands in Espinama Valley. 

Challenge: 4,5-6 hrs, 10-18 km, 500 m ascent/descent OR 550 m ascent 725 m descent.  

Villages along the way: Espinama, Fuente Dé OR Potes

Day 7:    From Espinama to Sotres (max. 17 km)

A long but technically easy walk, first along footpaths through woodlands near Pembes, then on farming tracks to Áliva Pass (1645m). You then 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!

Challenge: 7-7,5 hrs, 17 km, 925 m ascent and 775 m descent.

Villages along the way: Espinama, Áliva, Sotres

Day 8:    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 km, 500 m ascent/descent.

Villages along the way: Sotres

Day 9:    Circular walk via Tresviso (5,6 - 14 km)

Today's is a shorter route beginning with a transfer. Then you walk into a landscape with fields of heather and ancient oakwoods to reach the nearby village of Tresviso. Along the way, stunning views down into the Urdón Gorge and a chance of hearing the characteristic laughing call of the rare capercaillie.

Challenge: 2,5- 5,5 hrs, 5,6-14 km, 300 m ascent/descent OR 500 m ascent and 700 m descent.

Villages along the way: Sotres, Tresviso

Day 10:    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, 12km, 1085 m ascent and 180 m descent.

Villages along the way: Sotres, Pandébano, Vega de Urriellu

Day 11:    Urriellu to Poncebos via Bulnes (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 remote village of Bulnes (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 hotel in Arenas de Cabrales. 

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

Villages along the way: Vega de Urriellu, Bulnes, Poncebos, Arenas

Day 12:    End of arrangement

Your trek comes to an end today, after breakfast. Taxi transfers can be arranged to the airport (Oviedo, Santander or Bilbao).

Villages along the way: Arenas de Cabrales

'standard' hotels

Welcoming rural accommodations situated in peaceful mountain villages. They 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

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 Rural Picos de Europa

This hotel is located at the outskirts of 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 without television to ensure that this hotel is a peace haven.


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

You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between June 1st 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 www.alsa.es).

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 www.alsa.es 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 11 nights
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners
  • Transfers on days 3, 8, 9 and 11
  • Trip notes with detailed route descriptions and maps

Not Included

  • Lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • Bus ticket on day 5
  • Cable car ticket on day 6
  • Luggage transfers
  • Optional taxi transfers 
  • Transport to first and from last accommodation


  • Luggage transfer
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Arrival/departure transfers to the airport
  • Single Room Supplement(s)
  • Solo Traveller Supplement


We had a great hiking trip. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The people are friendly and helpful. Our dinners were excellent, rating above expectation. We highly recommend this trip.


"We had an excellent holiday which was very well organised. The walks were well mapped and described in the booklets and your staff were easy to contact and helpful whenever we rang. . We will certainly think about using S-Cape next year for our holidays"

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