Walking Holidays

Europe’s majestic mountains ~ with a genuine specialist
Organised & Self-guided Walking

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Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

There are 31 recommended walking routes in the Picos de Europa and they range from easy, moderate and hard. One particular route stands out in the ideas and information folder; with an ascent/descent of 1650m, a walking time of 8 hours and a distance of 20km, not forgetting the added 1hr drive each way, the Naranjo de Bulnes circular route is a super challenge for some of our guests. Three guests in particular were up for giving this hard walk a go this week which gave our eager walk organiser Jack an opportunity to explore the area for the first time.

Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Accommodation in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
The Picos de Europa
Accommodation in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Potes
Posada El Corcal, Tama, Potes - Picos de Europa
Posada El Corcal, Tama, Potes - Picos de Europa

As we reached the hidden village of Bulnes an hour into our walk, we looked back at the track we had just ascended in amazement. For us, it was a mere morning stroll which was enhanced by the towering rock and flowing waterfalls. For the small community (of no more than 50 people) this track used to be their only access into the isolated village until a funicular was opened in 2001, reducing 370m and a distance of 6km for the transportation of animals and food goods. With the boost and support of rural tourism, small tapas bars and restaurants now thrive which is more than can be said for the abandoned village of ….. which is set slightly higher up in the mountains. The dramatic limestone peak of Naranjo de Bulnes, or the Orange of Bulnes (deriving its name from the orange glow during sunset), could be seen from this point in the distance.

Our ascent to the top took us through woodland, across many brooks and amongst lush, open fields which were covered in wild flowers and abandoned farm buildings. Fresh running mountain water allowed us to re-fill our bottles as we found a beautiful spot for lunch. Guest Kate decided to head back down to Bulnes as the rest of the group persevered up towards the peak which still seemed quite far away at this point!

But we finally made it! The Alpine Choughs were quick to scavenge whatever they could but we had earned our biscuits and we weren’t sharing. The peak of Naranjo didn’t look quite as dominating from this perspective and as tempting as it was to enjoy the warmth of Refugio de Urriellu, we decided to begin the 4 hour descent.
A mix of scree slopes, patches of snow and basic scrambling over rocks kept us on our toes all the way back down to Bulnes. We had agreed that the Funicular ride to the car park was deserved by all but to our disappointment we had missed the last run by half an hour. Never mind, spirits still high we continued on down and absorbed the completely new view that we had turned our back to on the way up.

A relieved wave from Kate as we came into view reassured us that we were almost done. The added bonus of finding an open bar that sold cold beer and ice-cream helped us all wind down after such a big day. 9 hours after we had set off, we toasted our achievement and headed back to the Posada in time for a late dinner to tell everyone about the real mountain adventure we had just experienced together – an adventure that I can safely say will be remembered by all for a long time to come.

Collett’s Blogs

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk, wildflower walk or any day out with her you are sure to be included in her photographs and in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

There are certain locations which make walking holidays in the Picos de Europa special and memorable. The Fuente de cable car is the only one in the area and after only a 3 minute ride will drop you off high amongst the peaks, opening up terrific views as far as the eye can see. Today’s walk saw 11 guests joining both Jack and Beth, this summer’s walk organisers, for a day’s ramble at over 1,500m to see if this moderate/hard walk really did live up to its name.

Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa
Hiking in the Picos de Europa
Walking holidays in the Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa
Hiking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa
Self guided walking holidays in the Picos de Europa
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
Organised or Self Guided Walking Holiday in the Picos de Europa with Collett's Mountain Holidays
The Picos de Europa

Looking up at the cable disappearing into the cloud, we could only hope that our return ticket would get us above them and into the sunshine. And our positivity paid off! As we climbed higher everyone turned round to admire the stunning cloud inversion as we all ‘ahhhh’d’ in turn. It was only right to take time for photos at the top and he who dared stood on the see-through platform that hung over the edge of the rock face!

Once we reached the top of the track the views opened up over the Forgotten Mountain – an impressive rock formation protruding solo with its head sticking above the cloud. Our walk group fancied a bit of a challenge and decided to climb to the top of 3 small(ish) peaks which ran along the ridge of the massif. It was well worth the detour as a small herd of Chamois came to investigate and conveniently posed on the rocks for photographs. We stopped for a quick snack break but it was hard to choose a direction to face as the 360° view was continually breathtaking.

As we wandered down into the glacial bowl, the clouds began to rise so that the sunshine could follow us. Young cattle showed an interest as we wandered by, chatting away to each other whilst identifying the flowers. We all agreed that flower enthusiast David Charlton would have appreciated the hundreds of deep blue Gentians dotted amongst the grass, but a photograph to show at office hour would have to do.

The Rifugio that had been in view most of the day had been in discussion all morning. Would it be open? Was there a cold beer waiting? After a hot zig-zag climb to its doors, a sigh of relief and big grins let the rest of the group know that it was open for service. Being the only group on the mountain, we enjoyed a cool drink along with our packed lunch and watched the Vultures soar above on the thermals.

It was no surprise to find some snow up at this level and on the way back to the cable car, a small snowball fight let loose – and not just between the staff!
The view we enjoyed earlier was now covered in cloud so our timing to head back down to the car park was perfect.
A massive well done to guest Ailie for overcoming her fear of heights and for getting up and down the cable car (without the aid of the Dutch courage she was carrying in her bag!)

Collett’s Blogs

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk, wildflower walk or any day out with her you are sure to be included in her photographs and in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

The start of a brand new summer season in the Picos de Europa has begun and David Charlton has joined the team for 3 weeks to share his extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for wild flowers in the area. Having spent the past few years wild flower walking in the Italian Dolomites and subsequently producing a book (Wild Flowers – The Dolomites) about the different species, David and his wife Judy know Collett’s well and they never fail to stir up some excitement before heading out into the mountains for the day. With a large interest in resort this week, guests went out in convoy to try and find as many orchids as possible; setting the challenge of 20 different species in one day.

Walking Holiday Ideas and Information
Walking holidays in the Pyrenees - Hotel Sabocos, Panticosa
Walking holidays in the Pyrenees - Panticosa
Swimming pool Panticosa
Walking in the Pyrenees - Foratata Peak
Hiking the GR11 in the Pyrenees
Walking in the Spanish Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees
Walking Holiday Accommodation, Hotels in the Pyrenees

The clouds were beginning to part as the three cars wound their way through the Hermida Gorge to the first orchid spotting place of the day. David brought with him a collection of reference books and between the group enough cameras hung around necks to ensure each and every find was captured. The first spot was an unlikely place to find beautiful orchids – in a lay-by at the side of a quiet road. However, putting all faith in the flower enthusiast it wasn’t long before we were all crouching down to have a look at the intricate Man orchid, quickly followed by the Bee Orchid.

At the next stop the group split up along the valley, staring intently at the ground as they walked along. Whilst some guests admired the Pink Pentrocoptis (a flower found only in the Picos) hanging from the rocky outcrops, others called over to David in hope that they had found another Orchid to add to the list. The small walk along the river was stunning and the large cave encouraged everyone to look up and admire the view every now and again.

We diverted onto a windy road in order to reach a wildflower meadow that was now flourishing and ticked off a number of Orchids including Heart Tongue, Pyramid, Fragrant, Woodcock, Early Spider and the Red Helleborine Orchid. With a proud total of 12 so far, we headed up to Pica de Laspuertas to enjoy the view and a well earned sandwich. But this lunchtime break did not go without entertainment and this time we were looking to the skies. Griffin and Egyptian vultures appeared in their numbers, with a total of 20 soaring above as at one time! They flew in from above, below and almost within arms reach which resulted in group neck ache by the end of the show. Lizards chased each other along the fence and one went in search of food in a guest’s rucksack when she wasn’t looking.

On our last stop we were given the challenge of finding the Fly Orchid. After 20 minutes of searching we were about to give up when a proud guest spotted it amongst the grass. This took our daily total to 15 which everybody was happy with; ensuring the day was left on a high we decided to end it by enjoying a refreshing drink in the sunshine. It was evident that sharing a day with interested guests, regardless of whether they knew their flowers or not, brought to life the enjoyment and passion that David holds for wildflower walking, spotting and identifying. It was a great day to be a part of.

For more information or to book our Organised Wildflower Walks click here.

Collett’s Blogs

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk, wildflower walk or any day out with her you are sure to be included in her photographs and in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

When thinking of a mountain holiday many of us may think that this activity is exclusive to professional climbers, sportsmen and adrenaline junkies alone. Here at Collett’s we aim to prove this notion wrong – with holidays in the mountains available for absolutely everyone. Seaside holidays are ten-a-penny, sightseeing getaways are typically too expensive, spa resort holidays can be boring and cruise ships allow no room for real adventure. So why not try something different? Try something unique, memorable and completely customisable to your own personal wishes.

Whilst holidaying with us in any of our fantastic destinations, you choose when you arrive, when you leave, where you wish to stay and what activities you’d like to take part in. In a nut shell – your holiday is tailored and designed totally by you. All of our organised walks are completely free and utilise our unrivalled knowledge of the Dolomites area; running every day apart from Wednesday. For self-guided walks, we are always happy to help with route planning, recommendations and advice.

Italian Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites is one of the most awe-inspiring valleys in the Alps and provides a picture-perfect environment for walking holidays. With such a wide range of different routes available to you, at various different grades, the Dolomites really are the envy of the rest of Europe. The area also includes two National Parks, a range of rare flowers and birds, old WWI sites and the magnificent Sella massif and Marmolada (3343m mountain). Collett’s exact location in the Dolomites is set in the neighbouring villages of Badia and Corvara within the Val Badia.


Moderate Walking in the Passo Gardena
Easy walking in the Val Badia

Accommodation: We have four fantastic chalet hotels available, all with en-suite bedrooms and excellent cuisine. You also have the choice between three mountain hotels, all of which come with spectacular views and incredible hospitality. Your options are full-board, half-board, self-catering and B&B – the choice is up to you. All accommodation provided is within easy walking distance from the village centres and the starting points of many of our walks.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in the Dolomites you have the option of participating in the following activities:

  • High level walks on rocky terrains
  • Moderate walks through stunning mountain scenery
  • Easy treks along woodland and riverside paths
  • Floral walks with a flower specialist throughout June & July
  • Painting strolls take you somewhere majestic armed with watercolours
  • Self-guided walks allow you to roam independently with the use of our expert knowledge

Extras: The Dolomites has a wealth of amazing extra activities for you to take part in, including tours of the famous Via Ferrata and World War walks that take place every Wednesday. There are also guided glacier tours and summit ascents available on the same day. We can help you hire a mountain bike for your adventures and can also put you in contact with local suppliers of alpine pursuits; including climbing walls, canyoning, white-water rafting, horse riding, tandem paragliding, golf and much more.

Picos de Europa

Located within the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Castile & León (20km from the north coast of Spain) the spectacular mountain range forms part of the Cordillera Cantabrica. The majority of rocks in the Picos are made up of limestone and some peaks can reach altitudes up to 2,600m. The area itself, famous for its cider and piquant blue cheese, is largely protected by the Picos de Europa National Park and as such can offer some absolutely remarkable views.

Accommodation: Our main hosted accommodation is the beautiful Posada El Corcal, located 2km away from the town of Potes. With en-suite bathrooms, modern interior design and rustic tradition – this is the idyllic setting to lay your head after a day’s walk. These rooms are available as full board, half board or B&B. Alternatively; you can stay in Tama near Potes or arrange your own self-catering apartments.

Activities: Whilst holidaying with us in Picos de Europa you can participate in the following activities:

  • Hard level walks along magnificent high trails
  • Moderate rambles through meadows and the beautiful Picos massifs
  • Easy walks following woodland tracks and riverside trails
  • Floral walks throughout May and June
  • Self-guided walks of all grades with local knowledge provided

Extras: Supplements in Picos de Europa include mountain biking, horse riding, canoeing, paragliding and canyoning. Also, if you’re visiting this remarkable area you won’t want to miss the Cares Gorge or the Fuente De, where you can take cable car rides to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and atmosphere.

Organised walks with Collett’s

High level walking in the Picos

Self guided walks with Collett’s

Pyrenees

This natural border between Spain and France spreads across approximately 491km of land and encompasses numerous National Parks along with the beautiful Valle de Tena. These magnificent assets make the Pyrenees a photographer’s heaven with beautiful wildflowers and charming scenery to revel in. Collett’s is based in Panticosa – an idyllic village placed amongst the beautiful scenery high up in the mountains.

Accommodation: The Hotel Sabocos is a wonderful 3 star hotel located in the Valle de Tena, right in the centre of the Pyrenees. With modern interior design, en-suite bathrooms and many balconies available to enjoy the view; rest assured your stay will be a comfortable and relaxing one. This hotel is available on half board or B&B basis. You also have the option of self-catering in apartments that sleep 2-6 people.

Activities: When staying with us in the Pyrenees why not take part in the following activities:

  • High level walks along the peaks of the frontier ridge and Ordesa canyon
  • Moderate strolls through wonderful wilderness areas
  • Self-guided walks of moderate and harder levels with expert advice and direction
  • Walk 5 stages of the famous GR11 footpath, involving 700-1000m ascent and 11-20km of walking

Extras: Third party suppliers also have a range of extra activities to offer, including mountain biking, horse riding, canyoning, high ropes, swimming, tennis and much more. The Mediterranean and Costa Verde are also within easy reach for something a little different.

Organised walks with Collett’s

Hike the Valle de Tena, Pyrenees

On the Pic du Midi circuit

Yorkshire Dales

You do not necessarily need to leave the country to enjoy some of the greatest views nature has to offer; here in the UK we display some of the most spectacular scenery available to man. Our base in Yorkshire is perfect for those wanting a quick and easy trip, or maybe a quiet weekend away with family and friends. Leyburn, close to Dales National Park, is where we are based; but there are many options of different walks available to you in this magnificent setting.

Accommodation: Eastfield Lodge in Leyburn is a beautiful guest house just 300 yards away from the village market square. This lodge consists of 8 en-suite bedrooms which are furnished to great taste and individuality. Each room comes with Wi-Fi, flat screen television, DVD players and unmatchable comfort. Awarded four stars by Visit England, you won’t be disappointed with your time spent here!

Activities: Yorkshire has a wealth of activities to offer, some of which include:

  • Pennhill circuit covering 11 miles, taking you through Coverdale, Bishopdale and Wensleydale
  • Fremington Edge encompasses 500m of ascent across 10 miles, providing an immaculate view of Arkengarthdale
  • Gunnerside Gill and Swinner Gill stretch across 11 miles and takes in amazing woodland and limestone scars.

Extras: There are countless other things to enjoy around the Yorkshire Dales, such as visiting nearby Middleham, Richmond, Kettleworth and Reeth. You can also see the Dales National Park Visitor Centre, the Wensleydale Railway, Aysgarth Falls and the beautiful Bolton Abbey. Wherever you choose to visit, you will not be too far away from the lodge and transport is readily accessible at most times of the day.

Another bedroom at Eastfield Lodge
One of our bedrooms in Eastfield Lodge, Leyburn
Walking in Wensleydale

Winter in the Italian Dolomites

As well as offering fantastic summertime walks in the Italian Dolomites, we also cater for winter holidays in the same stunning surroundings. When the snow falls on these mountains the landscape turns into a magical winter wonderland, perfect for winter walkers and skiers alike. Here at Collett’s we organise walks, cater for downhill skiing and also offer snowshoeing as an alternative activity. Don’t let the cold put you off – come and experience something different this winter!


Skiing the Val Mesdi
high in the Dolomites

Snowshoeing on the Pralongià Plateau above Corvara

Santa Croce above Badia

Due to a recent high level of interest from our guests, organisers from Chalet Haus Valentin made sure that a walk through the WW1 tunnels was on offer this week.

Upon arrival to the car park, the 30 minute zig-zag route alongside Lagazuoi, which leads to the entrance of the tunnels, could be seen. We made our way up the gravel track as views opened up over the Marmolada and surrounding mountain peaks. Getting geared up for the adventure ahead sent excitement through the group as everybody checked that torches were working and helmets were on sturdy. Ready and raring to go, organiser Alice lead the guests into the tunnels where the cooling air made for a nice break from the 20⁰+ temperatures outside.


Start of the Lagazuoi tunnels

Evacuation points offer fantastic views of surrounding mountains and provide sufficient natural light inside the tunnel system.

Almost instantly the conditions of WW1 came to life as we carefully walked through what was once home to many soldiers. Sections of Via Ferrata cable are still being used to guide your way around open ledges leading to look-out posts and ammunition stations. After a quick look, we headed back inside to begin climbing the many steps that reach some 600m to the top of Lagazuoi.

During our ascent, guests enjoyed sticking their heads out of the ‘evacuation’ points (for disposal of rubble and rock during construction) which could be found every 50m or so. Information plaques have been placed periodically at points of interest, many of which have been quoted from soldiers’ diaries; this was made more dramatic as our guests took it in turns to read them aloud to the group.

The last ten minute stretch took us through original trenches, accentuated by the presence of barbed wire.

A much appreciated break from the many steps to the top

A sense of dissapointment radiated through everybody as we made our way out of the tunnel. A dramatic back drop of peaks against Rifugio Lagazuoi created a perfect spot for a snack as comments were passed back and forth about how fantastic it is to enjoy such an important part of history for free.


Investigating the tunnels on Lagazuoi
The Lagazuoi Cable Car at Passo Falzarego

Plenty of people gathered at the Rifugio as our guests found a nice, quiet spot overlooking the beautiful landscape to enjoy their lunch. With some more time to spare we meandered over to the cross which sits at the official highest point of the mountain and is a fantastic spot to take some time to absorb the surroundings. With only one thing left to do, we all hopped on to what has to be one of the steepest cable cars in the Dolomite Mountain range, practically dropping us to the door of the car – a wonderful end to such a pleasant day walking and exploring with our wonderful guests.

Rifugio Lagazuoi on the Falzarego Pass
Cinque Torre open air museum opposite Passo Falzarego & Lagazuoi

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.

Organised & Self Guided Walking
Arrive & Depart Any day

Our winter staff have all returned home safely, after an amazing season of heavy snow, great skiing, super snowshoeing and some wonderful winter walks. We are already booking up fast for next winter so make sure you have a look at our new Chalet in Corvara and what we have to offer next winter here.

Our summer season is nearly with us and as we look forward to the spring in the UK, we look await the first crocuses poking through the remaining snow in the Dolomites, Pyrenees and Picos de Europa.

Organised and Self Guided walking holidays with Collett’s offer so much by means of enjoyment and camaraderie, relaxation and downtime from the stresses and strains of your day to day life. With Collett’s you can do as much or as little as you like, arriving and departing on days that suit you!* Each evening we hold ‘Office Hour’ where you can discuss the following day’s walks, sign up to come along with us or get first hand information, maps and route laminates to allow you to self guide.

Collett’s walking holidays appeal to so many, walkers, climbers, botanists, painters and historians alike (friends, families or couples), who all have one thing in common, the love of the outdoors. You can pursue your hobby in the glorious mountain surroundings that we have made our home, coming back to one of our homely chalets or hotels for ‘Office Hour’ and a good meal with the chance to discuss the day’s events, sharing photographs of your walk, flowers or maybe even a via ferrata.

Collett’s Mountain Holidays have been successfully looking after our guests for 14 years. All of our holidays can be tailiored to suit you – from the type of accommodation, your travel and transport, your dietary requirements and most importantly your walking requirements. Whatever you need, we can accommodate any specific personal preferences to make sure your holiday is one to remember, even a holiday of a lifetime! We pride ourselves on our customer satisfaction, you can see our excellent reviews and thank you letter from the recent winter season here. You will take away so many happy memories if you choose Collett’s walking holidays whether you join us in the Dolomites, Pyrenees and Picos de Europa.

*Subject to availability.

Beaches, Bears and Brave Pioneers!!

Since last we blogged the weather in the Picos De Europa, it has lived up to its reputation with conditions ranging from late night thunderstorms to clear hot days.

If you find that the heat is becoming too much or, like most do, find that you need a rest day in between walking days then there are plenty of places to explore, including a visit to the beautiful northern coast of Spain, which is littered with both popular tourist beaches as well as more peaceful secluded coves. If you fancy something more active then there is also the option of canoeing, canyoning or climbing, plus numerous other activities all provided locally.

Although we are well over half way through our summer season here in the Picos de Europa, we are still out and about, finding new walks to add to our collection of great routes. Last week Benn led a brave group of pioneers on an exploration of the Fuente De Mines. They discovered it to be a place of great interest, especially for those with an interest in geology and history.

We are forever indebted to the wildlife of the Picos, all of which seems to turn up just when required!! Chamoix are frequently seen, often in the Aliva Valley which separates the Central and Eastern massifs of the Picos De Europa. Also popular are Wallcreepers, as well as a variety of Eagles. Exciting news this week – the first spotting of a Bear in the Picos de Europa by a member of the Colletts team!!! Some claim that the sighting does not count as it may have been in the centre of the Parque de la Naturaleza Cabarceno in Santander, a coastal Safari Park well worth a visit!!