Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

“This vacation teams Spanish for beginners with coastal village walks and visits to historical towns where you can test out you new conversational skills: it's fun, not full-on.”

Highlights

Beginners Spanish course | Camino de Santiago | Picos de Europa | Panes | Mier | Pico Penamellera | Comillas | Basilica of Santa Maria | Los Lagos | Llanes

Map

Check dates

2017: 5 Mar, 12 Mar, 19 Mar, 26 Mar, 2 Apr, 9 Apr, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 7 May, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 2 Jul, 9 Jul, 16 Jul, 23 Jul, 30 Jul, 6 Aug, 13 Aug, 20 Aug, 27 Aug, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct, 15 Oct, 22 Oct, 29 Oct, 5 Nov, 12 Nov, 19 Nov, 26 Nov
Our top tip:
Trekking poles can be useful if you feel you’d like to climb higher mountain passes.
Trip type:
Small group vacation. Max. 6 people.
Activity level:
Leisurely. More coastal walks than mountains.
Accomm:
Local hotels selected to your taste and budget.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available.
Meals:
Not included. Lots of local cafes, restaurants and shops nearby.
Included:
Spanish course, guided walks, transport and map.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Environment

Sustainability: We recycle, take energy use seriously and take steps to ensure we keep the environmental impact of our activity to a minimum.

We are lucky that there is great food grown here, we source locally.

We like to pick up and drop off our visitors as a group to minimise travel.

We promote local environmental projects and initiatives, and use these as a point of interest in our walks. This improves knowledge, awareness and allows a positive transfer of ideas.

We take litter home with us (whether it’s ours or not).

We walk responsibly minimising soil erosion and disruption to animals. We use lesser known routes to minimise over exploitation and damage.

We are knowledgeable about the environment we live in and it's rich history. One of our passions is supporting people who respect their environment by taking an active interest and helping out with work when things are busy, for example at our friends traditional farm.

The national park is our greatest resource and we respect it, its traditions and its people

Community

We want our business to have a socially positive impact locally and beyond. We visit local businesses and promote traditional practices that do not abuse the environment.

We are active in our local community, for example we organise cinema nights in the school and conversation exchange opportunities (such our "Menage a three" nights where Spanish, English and French are spoken over a glass of wine). We also work with local businesses to promote sustainable development.

One of the great things about the area is that everybody helps each other when needed and money is never mentioned. We really like this and support these values. We treat the traditional ways of life and the local people with respect. We make a point of showing these to our groups as a way of promoting the area and creating interesting points of discussion.

We use a local taxi minibus service for our trips to the National Park, allowing us to be dropped off and picked up in different locations. This also minimises pollution and creates employment locally.

The Picos have some very old and traditional villages high in the mountains, these often have combined bar/shops which we use whenever we visit, helping keep them alive for the local people. This is really important as many of these villages are remote and inaccessible during winter.

We use local produce and workforce whenever possible

Reviews of Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole week was fabulous. The friendliness and professionalism of everyone I met was outstanding. Νρigo,Celina, and Ana. The afternoon walks with Diego and Jesus were wonderful. It is one of the most enjoyable vacations I have had.

My utter ineptitude at foreign languages did not phase the tutors at all. I'm not entirely sure why not. They were incredibly patient.



2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Buy some good phrase books. Lonely Planet do some excellent little ones. Google Translate and Sapnish Dict are very useful apps. Take waterproofs, the weather is very unpredictable.

I booked Rural Villa Elena, family run, by a delightful couple, I loved it. Two minutes from the school.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes , I used all the local facilities daily.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent .. I didn't want to leave Panes.

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The stunning views and unspoilt peace of the Picos de Europa.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you hire a car, beware of hidden costs such as advice to take out extra insurance and bear in mind you might queue for an hour to collect your car.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It definitely benefitted local people in terms of bringing in income to local businesses and grocers and bars.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was an amazing experience. I went with my 15 year old son in order to practise Spanish for his GCSE exam. We were looked after by a local mountain guide in the mornings who knew the mountains like the back of his hand and took us on some strenuous hiking through beautiful, unspoilt and mostly deserted terrain whilst speaking to us in Spanish. We had 4 hours language tuition in the late afternoon/evenings at the local language school. The teachers were well trained, well equipped and flexible. They adapted to meet our needs and the lessons were really worthwhile. The 4 hours just whizzed by! They also helped us to feel welcome and experience a taste of Spanish village life.

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The beautiful views and stunning walks in the mountains and on the coast.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I think that the joining instructions were very comprehensive. I would advise to bring good walking boots and all the other kit recommended, as the terrain
and weather are variable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think that the vacation supported local people involved in the language tuition, catering and also outdoor activities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the school. The combination of language learning and outdoor activities was just what I was looking for. I particularly
appreciated the kind and careful attention offered by the tutors and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in Panes. I would say that this vacation
completely lived up to expectation.

Reviewed on 29 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The entire week was good fun and well organised. I was a complete beginner in Spanish and was surprised at how much ground we managed to cover. The teachers and walking guide were all very friendly and accommodating. It's a really pretty area and we saw a variety of local villages, sites and landscapes on the walks. Panes is small but we had surprisingly little free time to fill and there are enough local bars and restaurants to keep things interesting for a week - all our meals out were excellent! I stayed at the Villa Elena which was charming and the staff were lovely, like everywhere else in the village they spoke virtually zero English but we managed to communicate just fine.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack lots of layers outside of summer. We were there in late March and although it only rained properly on one day it generally felt colder in the village than the temperature indicated as it was quite damp.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, insofar as we used entirely local services

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very good indeed, really happy with it :-)

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I met some wonderful people and it felt like we had shared an adventure.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure that you are clear about the week's itinerary and dont be shy about putting forward your own views.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It absolutely benefits the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I had a great time in ways I didn't expect. The area is stunning and I loved the local food.

Reviewed on 09 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It was all wonderful. I loved the town where the Spanish lessons were held, and the teachers were fantastic. The hikes each day were beautiful and "not too hard, not too easy." Several days we hiked in the rain, but it was soft and still fun.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be sure to pack a notebook and pen for your class notes. Plan on a daily siesta. Know that you will be in a very small town so nightlife is limited. I found the vacation to be ideal.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No question that the money coming into the community was important to both the individual suppliers and the town as a whole. I was pleased that the hikes were very conscientious about being low impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was fantastic, and I would do it again tomorrow if I could!

Reviewed on 25 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Glorious mountain scenery and wonderful walks, combined with well-constructed and fun language course run by patient and interesting tutors. Enjoyed the company of great co-students/travelers.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Good bus service from airports to Unquera (ALSA).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The hotel felt very much part of the local community, as did the many restaurants and cafes which provided excellent choice and quality of local food. The entire environment felt calm, pristine and unspoilt by the hustle and bustle of modern life.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Wonderful, educational, invigorating yet calm. Has generated enthusiasm for more language tuition and to repeat a similar trip in the future. I wish there was an opportunity for 4.5 stars!

Reviewed on 02 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking up the mountains - amazingly beautiful. Excellent, entertaining and fun guide - Javier.
The course - well organised, very kind and friendly teachers. Very welcoming.
The village - there was one family restaurant we booked twice for - most excellent food, the cook/manager is a smart woman indeed. Ask Ana - she'll tell you where to go. Highly recommended.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared to learn more than you expect - you will certainly be able to understand what people are saying to you by the end of the week.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - the school was environmentally aware - things like recycling etc in place.
The village was small but clean and perfectly functioning. People were very nice.
I stayed at a family run hotel, Elena I think it was called. Really warm people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Just to say how much I enjoyed this trip. Amazing how much you can learn in
15hours beginners course. Caring, responsible and responsive team of
teachers and walking guides. Great mountain views, coastal paths...
unforgetable visit to the caves to see prehistoric painting - sofisticated.

Reviewed on 25 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Both the language teaching and the walks were excellently guided by really friendly experts. It was great to have both elements to the vacation. Small group size- five in total also a bonus.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Book hotel accommodation but on b& b basis not half board as this gives maximum flexibility but close proximity to language school.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Benefitted local people through use of local bars, restaurants, hotels etc but not a vacation with conservation aims.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent opportunity to learn Spanish while having very enjoyable vacation. Would thoroughly recommend it. Have given four stars not five because the tour company still needing to fine tune a few elements. Feed back on these given direct.

Reviewed on 25 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The walks and the Spanish learning

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get hotel accommodation, not staying with a family. Be clear about your level of Spanish and your level of waling ability

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, in all three ways

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Good

Reviewed on 30 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The Spanish lessons were really enjoyable and I could hardly believe the progress we made in the few short days we were there. The village of Panes was an ideal place to practice our beginners' Spanish and the Picos de Europa are stunning. The afternoon walks along the coast(Camino del Norte) were well organised and brilliant fun. The idea of a small group worked really well and spending time with Ana, our teacher was a brilliant introduction to Spanish life and culture. She even made some "Tortos" for us to sample.
I am a language teacher myself(French and German) but I was really impressed by this course, the Camino Taster, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. It's difficult to pick a highlight, but just outside the school is the most gorgeous view of those mountains, I think I could have sat there all day except there was so much else to do.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I was doing a beginner's course but you will have more fun and get more out of your stay if you learn a few of the basics before you go. It's not essential but it's nice to chat in the shops and cafes.
I brought trekking poles for the first time on a walk and found them useful when we climbed one of the Picos. They were invaluable when we climbed La Ruta del Careas.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All of the group shopped and dined in the village. It's not tourist Spain but I would imagine these small little groups coming on a regular basis do contribute to the local economy. We were all fairly conscious of the environment, it's beautiful there, but this type of tourism has no negative effect on the environment as far as I could see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I loved everything about this trip. Excellent teacher, varied and interesting lessons, lovely peaceful rural village, stunning scenery, great excursions, good fun, good introduction to culture and gastronomy of Spain.

Reviewed on 13 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The hiking was gorgeous

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get to Panes early enough to walk around the town and have a lay of the land before starting the week.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. The local economy is able to support this kind of tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We greatly enjoyed this unique adventure in learning the language and experiencing a culture and having an action-oriented vacation. And we are in our 60's.

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