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Picos Family Explorer

Guided activities, freedom to explore | View photos »

Swim off a sandy beach in the middle of a meadow, stand on a high peak with a blanket of clouds at your feet or slide drop down a mountain stream. Discover the very best of the Picos de Europa with days of guided activities to complement independent days exploring as a family.

11 day trip described, guide price £1,290pp i

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Sample itinerary

Travel to Spain

Travel to northern Spain today and drive down to your first hotel, to the north of the impressive Picos massif. Collect your car at the airport and drive to your rural hotel. Settle in to your hotel with dinner included this evening in the restaurant. Your Pura Aventura guide will call to say hello and arrange meeting times for the following day’s activity.

Canyon down a mountain stream

Spend today with one of our guides as they lead you canyoning and canoeing. The activity is great fun in a rough and tumble sort of way, but it is expertly supervised and no experience is needed. Hike up a steep path into a narrow canyon. Drop down into the stream and make your way back down to the bottom by negotiating the river bed. This can include abseiling down a waterfall, jumping into pools, sliding down slippery rocks and swimming.

Walk the Cares Gorge path

Start the week by walking the most famous path in the Picos: the Cares Gorge. The walk starts you uphill on a winding, gravelly path before levelling out and leading into the gorge opening up ahead. The path runs along the wall of the gorge, cut into the rock, narrowing to just two metres in places. Your guide serves a deli picnic at a meadow in the heart of the gorge. Finish the day visiting a village to learn about traditional lifestyles here in the mountains.

Hike a Roman road for magnificent views

One of the most stunning walks is to a viewpoint from where you can see all three massifs of the Picos range. Walking up a steep initial section, you make it up to the top of a ridge from where you have views of the highest peaks to the south and the sea to your north.

Head south to the Liebana Valley

Drive to the south-east part of the Picos mountains today where you spend the next three nights in a comfortable hotel with its own pool, something of a rarity in these parts. Before you set off, you might like to saddle up for a morning on horseback - one of our guides has his own stables near to your hotel.

Explore medieval Potes

After several active days, perhaps you’d like to take it easy today. There are lots of options within striking distance. Potes, the medieval capital of the Liebana Valley is a short drive away and is the hub of activities. Equally, you have notes and maps for some lovely walks in the area. One of the options is a walk between very traditional villages, crossing meadows, streams and beech forests along the way.

Climb one of the highest peaks

You might like to climb a high peak today. Set off early to beat the queues as you ride the cable car into the high mountains. The cable car at Fuente Dé provides a spectacular three minute ride up 1,000m to the upper reaches of the mountains in the heart of the National Park. The contrast with the green valley floor is striking as you step out into a moon-like landscape of splintered rocks, jagged peaks and deep ravines.

Head to the coast

Having spent the best part of a week in the mountains, you drive a little further today, up to the coast. Here you have access to hidden coves and beaches, peaceful fishing villages, and more fun activities. You're also still within striking distance of the mountains if you like.

Mountain bike along the coast

Spend another day with your Pura Aventura guide, as they lead you on a bike ride along the coast. The coast of northern Spain is defined by rolling hills breaking off into the sea to reveal hidden sandy coves and beaches. Today’s ride takes you out along the edge of the coastal mountain range and then down to the sea to ride along the undulating cliff tops.

At the beach with kayaks and SUP

You might head to the seaside today and the calmer waters of Playa del Poo or Playa del Toro to spend the day out on the water in kayak or SUP. Although Stand Up Paddleboards look easy, we always manage to fall off. See how you get on with this fantastic, relatively new, watersport. As well as SUP, you could enjoy a paddle by sea kayak within the bay of the beach.

Travel home

Head back to the airport, port or railway station for your journey home.

Map of the area

"Superb guide"

"Superb guide"

All I can say is that Alex (our guide) was superb, enthusiastic, polite, funny and knowledgeable. He was great with the children, clearly loved and cared for the environment we were in, gave me total confidence when abseiling etc and was a pleasure to be with. He is a real ambassador for your company. Simon D & family

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About this trip

Summary

Based in simple but comfortable mountain inns, with a car at your disposal, the mountains are yours to discover as a family. We typically include several days with our guides to help you find the best activities and excursions. From walking to mountain biking, canyoning to kayaking and even stand up paddle boarding, this is a holiday to get you actively exploring the Picos de Europa at the pace that suits you best.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

The level of exertion on this trip is determined by you - you can make it as active or relaxed as you like. Included activities in the suggested version of this trip are: hiking, canyoning, canoeing and mountain biking. Other options include Stand Up Paddleboarding and sit-on sea kayaking. For more details of each, please refer to our detailed pdf itinerary.

Level of comfort

The accommodation on our Picos family self drive holiday is comfortable though not fancy. The hotels we use are traditional rustic stone buildings with thick walls and small windows. Expect a warm welcome, delicious food and very peaceful nights' sleep.

The weather in this part of Spain is notoriously fickle i.e. wet. This is 'green Spain' after all. You will almost certainly see some rain and cloudy days. The peak summer months of July and August are warmest though still daytime temperatures are unlikely to go much over 25°.

Level of culture

The Picos de Europa is rich in rural culture as well as having some fascinating historical sites. The way of life up in the mountains has changed remarkably little in the last 50 years, you will still see people scything the hay and leading there sheep out to graze in the high pastures.

Artisan food production is a major part of the economy here, cheeses in particular are famously good. The powerful blue Cabrales cheese is made up in the village of Tielve, the very, very special Gamoneu cheese just across the valley. Bread baked in wood-fired ovens (pan de lena) is still made in most parts of the mountains.

With time spent with our guides exploring the area, you will start to discover how people live in the Picos so we fully expect you to come away from this trip having had a great, fun adventure holiday in beautiful surroundings but also with an appreciation of the culture of the Picos.

Practicalities

There is a detailed itinerary for this trip. Please get in touch and we can email that to you.

In the form set out above, the holiday price assumes four people travelling, staying in two rooms. It includes mid-sized rental car and breakfasts. It also includes a selection of guided excursions - all equipment, entrances, etc are included.

Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.

Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to Santander (airport code: SDR), Asturias (airport code: OVD) or Bilbao (airport code: BIO) though transfer prices will vary according to which you choose. Rail connections are less good but possible.

Departs

Departs on a day to suit you.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Book Sign up for our newsletter » Family bike ride into the hills High in the central Picos de Europa massif Canyoning is great fun  for all the family! The spectacular pathway through the Cares Gorge in the Picos de Europa, Spain The Roman path of Caoru. Walking  uphill to a shrine with the Liebana Valley behind Potes historical center. Family on top of Horcados Rojos peak in the Picos de Europa Children enjoying the great surf along the Cantabrian coast Torimbio beach near Llanes, Asturias Stand up paddle in Asturias Hiking to the base of the Naranjo de Bulnes.