Join free daily organised walks or self guide – or do a mix of both
- Harder High Level Hikes & Moderate Easier Walks
- Tried and tested gems – off the beaten track, rich in flora, fauna and magnificent scenery
Walking in the Picos de Europa on a Collett's holiday
Whatever it is that brings you to the Picos, you are sure to thrive in the mountains that surround Potes, whether you self guide or join organised walks – whether you seek high level adventure or the easier itineraries in the idyllic terrain of the flower-strewn meadows, upland pastures and woodland. Either way, the extensive knowledge of our own hosts and walkers is available each evening at Office Hour so that you can enjoy a succession of memorable walks in these beautiful mountains.
Idyllic strolls, precarious rocky ridges and everything in between
Such is the geography of the Picos de Europa, walkers of all levels of fitness and ambition are sure to thrive here. There are rambles through oak and beech covered foothills, walks which weave along ancient 'caminos' between timeless mountain villages, high peaks to conquer and high mountain circuits to complete. And if you fancy something different, we are just 45 minutes from Spain’s dramatic Costa Verde with its beautiful beaches, coves and impressive cliffs.
Collett’s offers you the opportunity to explore these landscapes in good company on a series of organised walks, which are free of charge and totally optional. Or you can self-guide. Our organised walks also include the two unquestionable highlights of a walking holiday in the Picos de Europa, the Cares Gorge and Fuente Dé – see below.
Easier & Moderate Walking
People in search of easier and moderate walking can venture out on a superb selection of delightful walks, which unravel in the enchanting foothills beneath towering peaks. You will discover woodland, rich with fauna; idyllic upland pastures, profuse and vibrant with flowers; and picturesque hamlets, where time seemingly stands still. It is a pleasure to wander into an enchanting, sleepy hamlet and sit at the table of a rustic café, gazing at the seemingly unbroken rim of peaks that surround the valleys and provide the high level walker with an extensive variety of mouthwatering adventures. That said, there are several walks at high level – perhaps accessed by cable car - that are not too challenging and these routes allow the less ambitious walkers to enjoy days out at higher level.
High Level Walking
If you are a high level walker, we look forward to helping you explore the exhilarating trails that will comprise some breathtaking days out. Once any late lying snow has retreated, the more demanding of our two organised walks will regularly feature local classics, such as the mighty Peña Prieta (2539m), Horcados Rojos (2344m), Naranjo de Bulnes Circular and the great Vega de Liordes. Also, each week we offer two must-do itineraries for the more serious walker...
The Cares Gorge
Once a week our walk organisers offer you the most famous route in the Picos de Europa, the majestic path which follows the Cares Gorge (Garganta del Cares) in the deep narrow canyon that separates the western and central massifs. Not for the vertigo-prone, this track exists because of an amazing feat of engineering. It was carved out of the cliff faces of the western walls of the gorge with a series of bridges and tunnels during the 1920’s while building a 12km water canal for a hydro-electric station in Poncebos. It is a 90 minute drive to the start of the walk but this unique and fascinating gorge is well worth the trip.
Another weekly feature of our organised walks is Fuente Dé. A dramatic cable car ascent whisks walkers between Fuente Dé and El Cable, perched precariously at 1800m in the central massif with its expansive views south across the Cordillera Cantabrica. From here there are options for both medium and high level walkers and you cannot fail to be captivated at every turn by the awe-inspiring scenery. Our walks are likely to either climb towards the Horcada Rojos with its awesome views of the signature peak of Naranjo de Bulnes, or we will head towards the historic Chalet Real and the gentian-covered alpine meadows which surround Refugio Aliva, before meandering down to the idyllic mountain village of Mogrovejo.
Daily, Free & Optional - Unfailingly Breathtaking
Your stay will surely be enhanced by our own walkers. You can join them day to day on stunning walks – except Wednesdays, our local day-off. You simply choose the walk that takes your fancy – see below. All our walks take place in a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere. Armed with a packed lunch (available to all guests at €6 each), we generally set out at about 9am and, depending on the itinerary, return to the village in the mid or late afternoon, allowing you enough time to relax after the walk, maybe over a drink on the terrace or a stroll into the village. Here are the walks we offer on a daily basis:
A High Level or Harder Walk
Height Gain: 600m – 1200m, 5-7 hours
Venture into the massifs on high trails amidst awe-inspiring landscapes.
An Easier Moderate Walk
Height Gain: 300m – 600m, 4–6 hours
Upland flower pastures, woodland trails, riverside tracks, sleepy hamlets and some easier higher level paths.
Please see General Information in the left hand menu for notes concerning joining our organised walks at your own risk - and also for information on our weekly day off (Wednesday) and 'seasonality'.
Ideas, information and our extensive local knowledge
Some days - or every day even - you might prefer to walk independently or simply do your own thing. Our extensive knowledge is always at hand, notably every evening at Office Hour. This is usually held on the sun terrace of Posada el Corcal , where – over a sociable pre-dinner drink - you can browse maps with of our own walkers and create a succession of wonderful self guided walks to suit your ambitions.You can also browse our invaluable Ideas & Information Files, which feature many walks of all grades, from easy idyllic riverside or meadow strolls to challenging high trails. For each walk we give the duration, ascent, degree of difficulty and the relevant section of map. You can also borrow on a daily basis an easy-to-carry Route Laminate for each itinerary. The files also contain proposals for other days out, such as scenic drives, places of interest, bike rides, other locally-supplied activities and suggestions for a rainy day – as if!
Plan your days over a relaxed, pre-dinner drink
In the Picos, Office Hour takes place each early evening (except Wednesdays), usually on the sun terrace in the garden of the Posada el Corcal - weather permitting. Over maps and a relaxing, pre-dinner drink, you can chat with our own walkers about the following day’s organised walks. Together you can decide which walk might suit you best.
If you choose to self guide, you can get ideas and information on many walks of varying grades as well as one of our Route Laminates for your chosen walk. These walks are also documented in our Ideas & Information Files, which, along with other reference books are dotted around at Office Hour for you to browse at your leisure. We are also available to offer you help with planning other days out (places of interest etc.), should you fancy taking a break from the walking.
It's Office Hour that really makes the holiday...
Sarah & John Gilman, New Mills
Office Hour is nothing like as formal as its name suggests. Whilst it is a popular and effective feature of a Collett’s holiday, it is also entirely optional and many guests just drop in for a sociable drink with us and other guests. Either way, another memorable day in the mountains takes shape, leaving you to enjoy the evening with everything sorted.
In pictures – Your walking options & planning your days