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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.

Small group holiday for 8 days » i

Price £860 per person


Read our 7-part Expert Guide to Spain Get the guide

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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Sample itinerary

Travel to Spain

Travel to northern Spain today and drive down to your small 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 drop in to say hello, introduce you to other families who may be staying, and arrange meeting times for the following day’s activity - if you want to join in.

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.

Mountain bike along the coast

Spend another day with your Pura Aventura guide, if you want to, 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.

Day to relax or explore as a family

Today is a break from guided activities. You might like to climb a high peak today. Set off early to beat the queues today 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.

Canyon down a mountain stream

Spend this morning with one of our guides as they lead you canyoning. 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.

At the beach with kayaks and SUP

Return 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, we provide sea kayaks for families to use within the bay of the beach.

Free day to explore

Having spent the best part of a week in the mountains, you are bound to have places you want to go or activities to revisit. This evening, dinner is included at the hotel again so you can say goodbye to the other families who have been on your adventure.

Travel home

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

About this trip


Based in a simple but comfortable mountain inn, with a car at your disposal, the mountains are yours to discover as a family. But if you prefer, on four days our guides lead 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?

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Best time to go i

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Level of activity

The level of exertion on this trip is determined by you - you can do it all or you can do none of it though obviously we prefer if you join in on at least a few days! Note that we expect families to take part in activities together, getting to the start point of activities will be done by each family in their rental car. We cannot take children on any activity without at least one parent present with a maximum ratio of one adult to each two children.

We will shuffle the running order or change plans entirely if weather conditions don’t allow us to safely undertake any given activity.

Included activities are: hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, 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 hotel we use is a very traditional rustic stone building with thick walls and small windows. Expect a warm welcome, delicious food and very peaceful nights' sleep.

You have two choices on this trip. There are 12 en suite hotel rooms as well as several self-contained houses which allow self-catering and a greater degree of privacy and independence. For a family of four you can choose either to stay in two of the rooms or take a self-catering unit. The price is the same, breakfast is included at the hotel in both instances.

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.


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 or one two-bedroom self-catering unit. It includes mid-sized rental car and breakfasts. Each weekday you can join guided excursions - all equipment, entrances, etc are included though you are expected to drive to and from activities as a family.

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 on Sundays. Children under 12 enjoy reduced price of £810. We can run private versions of this trip for as few as two families or tailor family adventure holidays to suit you.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

or ask us a question »

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 Send me exclusive content » Family bike ride into the hills Paddling through the Picos de Europa, Spain The spectacular pathway through the Cares Gorge in the Picos de Europa, Spain Torimbio beach near Llanes, Asturias Family on top of Horcados Rojos peak in the Picos de Europa Canyoning is great fun  for all the family! Stand up paddle in Asturias Children enjoying the great surf along the Cantabrian coast Hiking to the base of the Naranjo de Bulnes.