Picos inn to inn walking vacation

“A tailor made, self-guided walking vacation from inn to inn through the Picos de Europa mountains, Spain’s biggest and best kept secret.”

Highlights

Picos de Europa National Park | Potes | Liebana Valley | Cable car ride into mountain peaks | High mountain pass walk from Liebana to Valdeon | Cares Gorge

Departure information

May to October departures
Our top tip:
Brush up your Spanish – you are heading into truly magnificent rural Spain. So, “tu país es asombroso” is a good start.
Trip type:
Self-guided, tailor made.
Activity level:
Definitely not a walk in the park but pretty strenuous with 12-20km/day.
Accomm:
Small rural hotels and B&Bs.
Included:
Accommodation, most meals, luggage transfers, walking notes, maps and airport transfers.
Solos:
Solos welcome. Surcharge for single room.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Picos inn to inn walking vacation

Part of what makes the Picos so special is the preservation of a simple rural way of life in remote villages. During this vacation you walk from small village to small village on a unique route. Indeed, our guide Diego Martin, has to go out with his machete to clear the path from time to time. All restaurants and hotels are small and locally owned. We book directly, ensuring maximum benefit for local communities.

You walk independently but you are met by a guide at the airport who talks to you about the area on your arrival day. We send you lots of information about your destination before you leave – guidebooks, maps, local information, etc. Because you travel as an informed tourist, you get more from your vacation and you will know how to minimise the environmental impact of your visit.

Reviews of Picos inn to inn walking vacation

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 21 Sep 2016 by

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


The Picos mountains are wonderful, we enjoyed every aspect of the trip. The hotels were varied and all excellent as was the food.
The heat!!!! 34c at 3500m.

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


Follow the route notes and you will not have a problem.

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


The vacation benefited local people, from the taxi drivers moving our bags to the local people working in the small hotels and bars.

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


Very good experience. Looking at the Portugal trip Alex mentioned when he collected us from Santander

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Dorothy,

Many thanks for taking the time to write a review of your vacation to the Picos with us.

I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time in the mountains. Working directly with all the people involved in the vacation is something we're particularly proud of, so it's lovely to hear that this was evident. As the Picos is so close to our hearts, we're always delighted when we can help clients experience them and the people who live there.

I hope we can welcome you on another trip in the near future.

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2013 by

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


We went on a self-guided vacation to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, with notes and maps from the tour company and our bags transported ahead of us each day. For the most part, we stayed in small hotels and guest houses (some you would have called B&B). We spoke to no-one who had any English for 4 of our 7 days. It felt as if we were in a very remote corner of the world! Our most interesting night was in a rural farm which has been in the same family for 400 years.
The mountains and alpine meadows are wonderful.

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


Learn a bit of Spanish! As with everywhere in the world, people are really pleased when you have a go.

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


Pretty much everything we ate and drank was grown locally. Most places we spent money were owned by the person running them. I don't suppose having your cases transported ahead is ecologically correct, but we're too old now to carry our own stuff!

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


We couldn't fault it. As an introduction to a new area, it was faultless. We're encouraged to return, and next time go under our own steam.

Reviewed on 29 May 2013 by

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


Cares gorge walk

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


Take a GPS device

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


No

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


As expected. A good vacation with some hard days walking - very fulfilling

Read the operator's response here:

Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to post your review, we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your vacation to the Picos. Since your return, we've spoken to several of the people in Spain who were involved in putting your vacation together, and they too are very happy you had such a good time.

I would just like to reassure you that your vacation, while perhaps not very overtly, really did benefit the local people. As you stayed in seven different, family-owned hotels and inns, all booked directly by us, your stay had a very real impact locally.

As you will know, the economy in Spain is currently not in a great way, so every night's accommodation, or meal in a local restaurant, is very happily received.

One other comment - again while not an obvious component in your own vacation - you might be interested to hear that one of our founders, Diego, (who I think you met?) is heavily involved in a local foundation which promotes conservation and rural development in the area. By choosing your walking vacation in the beautiful Picos, you have contributed, albeit indirectly, to this conservation effort, for which we are very grateful!

Thank you again for choosing to travel with us to the Picos, and I hope we can welcome you to another part of Spain very soon.

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 04 May 2009 by

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


The incredible landscapes and views on the walks! The amazing flora and fauna, saw at least 10 species of Butterfly, some of which I've never seen before in UK at least. Considering what to do about a pack of 8 mountain dogs emerging from a gate approx 500 yrds away, whilst passing their Goat farm! they'd seen us and were moving towards us across the field which was accessible to the road! However they calmed down halfway across the field and merely barked!

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


Take a Spanish phrase book as there is very little (often no) English spoken by all generations. Learn some basic phrases well! Be prepared for the lack of 'los servicios' on the walks (girl thing!). Pack a few cereal bars / oat cakes as back - up's to what’s basically a meat and carbs diet! Salad is available but see what happens when you ask for it for a picnic lunch! Take a compass. Learn to read a Spanish map before you go, they are not as good a UK ones for clarity of orientation and landmark indicators. If you don’t eat red meat, be prepared for Ham being treated as Not Red Meat! Take a set of walking sticks.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We hope so. No idea about the arrangements the operator have made with the Inns we stayed at. Was wonderful not having a vehicle and a local friendly taxi driver (Yesus) as a back-up. So yes - not driving around may have counteracted the damage of the flight! We definitely spent money on local food and goods as well!

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


We had a fabulous week, the scenery was amazing. It was our first time on mainland Spain & thus took us a while to get into the flow. We arrived on average between 4pm & 5pm at our accommodation & it seemed expected that we disappear until 8/9 when a hearty meal would be served. We got bolder asking for a hot drink on arrival when there was nowhere to go and buy one. We weren't generally shown round the inn/ hotel or given any major indicators where things were like dining room or toilets etc when going to hotels etc. Fabulous experience all round - we had snow (end April / begin May) which is unusual and resulted in adapting a couple of walks. This was ok due to our familiarity with their maps by then. The notes with the self guided walk were rather vague and misleading at times, the phrase 'lone tree' has become an anecdotal saying with us, in that on the walk in particular we spotted at least 4 trees that could be classed as "unusual and lone"! Still in general the notes were ok and paths were basically forestry commission style single track roads which it's hard to get lost on.

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2008 by

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


Fantastic scenery, great Posadas, well planned walks. The food was good everywhere and the wine is excellent value - just have the House Red every night, you can't go wrong! All the Posada owners were very helpful and generous. Everything was just about perfect. I have already recommended it to several colleagues at work (1 day back).

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


Make sure you are walking fit - the walks were fairly demanding for a late 50s reasonably fit person. If you are doing it in high summer be prepared for heat and wear a hat and take plenty of water in the day. The local water is a bit chalky but perfectly drinkable, even from the village fountains. Walking pole essential and 2 would be beneficial on some routes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It supplied some income and certainly was minimal impact.

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


Excellent.

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