7 reasons to visit Spain's Picos de Europa with Pura Aventura
With flights from England to Spain resuming next week (with the rest of the UK hopefully soon following suit), we thought we'd share seven of the best ways that we can share our beloved Picos de Europa with you. So if you're thinking about an autumn escape, or something for spring 2021, you're in the right place.
#1. Tranquil trails, shifting scenery
"The Picos de Europa is a place where, in one day of walking, you'll tie your boots up in front of wildflower meadows at the bottom of a valley, cross a sparkling river, traverse dense forests, stop for a picnic in an Alpine pasture and then kick your boots off again up in the craggy limestone highlands, where the peaks might still blanketed in winter snow. For somewhere of such varied beauty, it continues to confound us just how little-known Spain's joint-oldest national park remains."
Read more: #1. Tranquil trails, shifting scenery
#2. A Picos pace
"A perfect day in the Picos is pretty close to the perfect formula of happiness; a hearty breakfast and coffee, followed by a five-hour walk through beautiful scenery that becomes eight hours as you stop along the way to watch the birds, soak in the views and enjoy an extended picnic in the hills. Make it back to your village inn around 5pm to put your feet up, sip a well-earned drink and chat with your hosts before a delicious homemade dinner, served at the Spanish hour."
Read more: #2. A Picos pace
#3. A different kind of luxury
"Luxury in the Picos is not related to thread count, and there isn’t a spa in sight: what’s luxurious about a holiday here is the opportunity to disconnect from your everyday and to reconnect with yourself or with each other; to switch off the media and switch on the simple pleasures of walking through gorgeous scenery, listening to the sound of cowbells echo around the valley and staying in family-run village inns, where pink geraniums spill over the dark wooden balconies."
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#4. The wild things
"From the green valleys which sweep away from your feet, the pockets of terracotta-roofed houses far below and the channels of snow which tumble down the contoured limestone walls of far-off mountains, your gaze is instead directed to the intricate textures of a messy sandstone mantle, blending into coffee-coloured feathers stacked together on the wing, the extremes of which fan out like daggers in the wind."
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#5. Sand and summits
"One of the joys of northern Spain is that you can eat a midday picnic on a mountain summit, take a late afternoon swim in the ocean and sit down for a slow seafood dinner within shouting distance of a bustling fishing harbour.
You need only stand on the golden sands of the Costa Verde and draw your gaze upwards to the high mountain peaks, some up to 2,600m, to share the vision. But you need to rush. There’s time for the hills and time aplenty for the beach."
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#6. Cheese from caves, cider from the heavens
"Most prized of all the cheeses is Gamoneu - a slightly blue, nutty cheese made with the mix of milks from the cows, sheep and goats that roam in the summer pastures. The cheese is smoked in the huts before being put to mature in the natural caves of the Picos for at least two months before it can be enjoyed. It's a slow labour of love, and these days there are only five families still producing it in the mountains. Just five. We’d love to introduce you to Covadonga, one of those still toiling away in the art of cheesemaking."
#7. Tales from the dawn of Spain
"As you take a moment to soak in the all-pervading sense of peace and quiet of the mountains, it seems quite implausible to think that there was a moment in time when the first roar of the great Reconquest was first heard in these mountains, when the Picos de Europa were the last redoubt of Catholic Spain.
The seeds of a united Spain germinated from here. The peaceful foothills were the first battlegrounds of a Holy war that would spread across the peninsula and would not finish for another 750 years."
Read more: #7. Tales from the dawn of Spain