Picos de Europa, Spain. Photo: Shutterstock-2261345255
4.9
| 50 reviews

Hut-to-Hut Trekking in the Picos de Europa

6 nights
Challenging

A wild trek amongst the high peaks of this hidden gem of a mountain range in Northern Spain

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with expert, English-speaking mountain guides

All accommodation

4 nights in mountain refuges, 2 nights in rural guesthouses

Meals

6 breakfasts and 6 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

Hiking poles, if you need them

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.9
| 50 reviews
I attended this trip in June 2023 as a solo...
July 2023
James
I attended this trip in June 2023 as a solo...
July 2023
James
I attended this trip in June 2023 as a solo...
July 2023
James
I attended this trip in June 2023 as a solo...
July 2023
James
I attended this trip in June 2023 as a solo...
July 2023
James
An amazing trip to a less known mountain ra...
July 2023
Alex
An amazing trip to a less known mountain ra...
July 2023
Alex
An amazing trip to a less known mountain ra...
July 2023
Alex
An amazing trip to a less known mountain ra...
July 2023
Alex
An amazing trip to a less known mountain ra...
July 2023
Alex
Picos de Europa are beautiful, and challeng...
July 2023
Laura
Picos de Europa are beautiful, and challeng...
July 2023
Laura
Picos de Europa are beautiful, and challeng...
July 2023
Laura
Our hiking trip to Picos was amazing. Highl...
June 2023
Laura
Our hiking trip to Picos was amazing. Highl...
June 2023
Laura
Our hiking trip to Picos was amazing. Highl...
June 2023
Laura
Our hiking trip to Picos was amazing. Highl...
June 2023
Laura
Picos trip is amazing, scenery, local hosts...
November 2022
Shirley
Picos trip is amazing, scenery, local hosts...
November 2022
Shirley
Picos trip is amazing, scenery, local hosts...
November 2022
Shirley
Picos trip is amazing, scenery, local hosts...
November 2022
Shirley
Picos trip is amazing, scenery, local hosts...
November 2022
Shirley
A challenging but rewarding trip. Our guide...
October 2022
Alison
A challenging but rewarding trip. Our guide...
October 2022
Alison
A challenging but rewarding trip. Our guide...
October 2022
Alison
A challenging but rewarding trip. Our guide...
October 2022
Alison
A challenging but rewarding trip. Our guide...
October 2022
Alison
I can’t recommend this trip enough! So, so...
October 2022
Mary
I can’t recommend this trip enough! So, so...
October 2022
Mary
I can’t recommend this trip enough! So, so...
October 2022
Mary

Tackle an epic route through rugged limestone peaks and deep valleys in one of Europe's quietest mountainous corners

Bag the summits of Jario (1913m), Cotalba (2026m) and La Padiorna (2319m) as you go, with fun scrambles to reach epic vistas

Bunk down in mountain refuges deep in the Picos, sipping local sidre at sunset and fuelling up on delicious Spanish food

Soak up the good life in Asturias and Cantabria provinces, Spain's best kept secret far away from the crowds in the south

Key Information

Day 1

Arrival

Your host will meet you on arrival at Bilbao Airport and drive you to the picturesque town of Cangas de Onis. Meet up with your guides for a chat about the challenge ahead and tuck into a traditional meal.

Day 2

The trek begins

Hiking

6-7hrs · 13km · 950m up · 350m down

Head off early to the Covadonga Lakes to kick off the trek in the west of the Picos. Hit the trailhead at Pan de Carmen and after an hour or so of hiking, the towering peaks of the western massif reveal themselves. The trail gets a bit rockier and you might spot chamois as you approach the Mirador de Ordiales, an epic viewpoint with a 1000-metre drop to the Angon Valley below. This spot is the final resting place of the founder of the Picos de Europa National Park, Pedro Pidal. Trek up to the Cotalba peak at 2026m, enjoying a cool little scramble just before you hit the top. Once you're up there, the high peaks of the western massif seem so close, and you can spot the lakes in the distance, plus the stunning Ponga Mountains. Descend to the Vegarredonda Refuge for dinner and your first night in the Picos' network of welcoming mountain huts.

Day 3

Vegarredonda to Vegabaño

Hiking

8hrs · 16km · 1000m up · 1100m down

Today is the most challenging day of the trip, so fuel up at the refuge before kicking things of with an ascent to Collado Les Merines at 2100m, entering a huge limestone area through the Pozas Jou. Take a rest at the Prieta spring before continuing past the enormous peak of Vega Huerta and heading south down the Canal del Perro. Descend among the beech trees that surround the Vegabaño shelter, a welcome refuge after a killer day. Soak up this beautiful spot – next to the source of the Dobra River and by the thousand-year-old oak tree of Vegabaño – with sundowners, dinner and an overnight stay at the refuge.

Day 4

Vegabaño to Santa Marina de Valdeon, via Jario peak

Picos de Europa, Spain
GETTY - Western massif of the Picos de Europa National park and the village of Santa Marina placed in the Valdeon valley at sunrise, Leon, Spain. Photo: Getty # 1557607794

Hiking

5-6hrs · 12km · 600m up · 1000m down

Bid farewell to the Vegabaño shelter and enter a beech grove, going up a gentle slope and passing the habitat of capercaillie birds. Time for another summit: hike steadily up to the peak of Jario at 1913m. Separated from the rest of the massif by large meadows, you'll find an extraordinary viewpoint here, from which you'll see the summits of the Picos de Europa. Continue through the virgin woodland up to Dobres Rock, before starting your descent into the Valdeon Valley all the way to the village of Caldevilla. Follow the course of the Cares River to the village of Posada de Valdeón for a late lunch back in civilisation, before carrying on to the small village of Santa Marina de Valdeon to settle into the auberge here for dinner and another well-earned sleep.

Day 5

Valcavao to Collado Jermoso refuge

Collado Jermoso, Spain. Photo: Host/Rumbo a Picos

Hiking

4-5hrs · 9km · 800m up · 400m down

Soak up the views from one of the Picos' most stunningly situated refuges this morning with a coffee and breakfast before taking a short transfer to the Pandetrave mountain pass and on by farm track to Valcavao. Today's section is a wonderful route from Valcabao to Collado Jermoso mountain hut via the Canal de Pedabejo, trekking through the spectacular Vega de Liordes and along the cliffs of Colladinas until arriving at Collado Jermoso. The refuge here is blessed with sweeping views of the Valdeón valley and the Western Massif, and sunsets here are often spectacular.

Day 6

Collado Jermoso to Fuente Dé

Hiking

5-6hrs · 11km · 600m up · 900m down

One last epic day of trekking in the Picos awaits today as you head towards the finish line. Set off from Collado Jermoso mountain hut and retrace your steps until Las Colladinas, which marks the start point of an ascent to the fabulous summit of La Padiorna (2319m) with stunning views of the whole Central Massif and Liebana Valley. Descend via the Canal de San Luis traversing a lunar landscape in this high part of the massif, all the way to the cable car station. Hop in the cable car and enjoy a brisk 750m descent in a matter of minutes down to Fuente Dé at the foot of the mountain range. Take a short drive to Espinama to settle into your guesthouse back in civilisation after a wild week in the mountains. Late in the afternoon, you can visit the picturesque medieval town of Potes before heading back to Espinama for a farewell dinner and some drinks to toast the culmination of an epic trek in the north of Spain.

Day 7

Adios Asturias

The adventure comes to an end today as your host drives you back to Bilbao Airport in time for your onward flight home. If you are lingering longer in Spain, the Asturian coastline has some incredible beaches, good surf and laid back bars and cafes to discover.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Mountain refuge · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Village refuge · Multi share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Mountain refuge · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

For the first and final day of the trip, your evening meals will be local specialities in restaurants selected by your guide. You'll enjoy a variety of tapas and 'pinchos' (small traditional snacks popular across northern Spain), a main course usually with fish or meat, dessert and local wines. In the mountain huts, you'll keep fuelled up with dinners that typically consist of pasta, lentils, chickpeas, soups and meat-based dishes. Lunches are not included, you can buy your own each morning before the day's trekking either from local bakeries and shops in Arenas de Cabrales (for Day 2) and Espinama (for Day 6), or from the mountain refuges for the other days. You should budget around €15-20 per day for your lunches and any snacks.

Asturias is famous for its milk, so there are plenty of cheeses to sample throughout the trip. Another local Asturian speciality is cider; your final meal of the trip is at a local cider factory where you can toast the climax of the trek in style and attempt the traditional pouring method - raising the bottle above your head and pouring into the glass from a height, so as to carbonate the cider while holding the glass low in your other hand. This becomes more challenging after your 3rd, 4th and 5th glass!

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Cangas de Onis

Your first night of the trip is spent at Hotel Los Lagos Nature in the centre of the picturesque town of Cangas de Onis, which sits at the foot of the Picos and on the banks of the Sella River. Housed in a historic building with a characterful bar and restaurant, you'll stay in twin-share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

Mountain and Village Refuges

You'll spend three nights at different mountain refuges within the Picos de Europa National Park, namely Refugios Vegarredonda, Collado Jermoso and Vegabaño. In these you'll stay in mixed dorm-style bunk rooms. Since Covid, the refuges have stopped providing bedding and pillows, so you'll need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag and travel pillow. The refuges will serve your evening meal and breakfast, and you'll also be able to buy your lunch for each day from the refuges before setting off. There are shared toilet facilities and showers available to use. You'll also spend one night in a village refuge at the Refugio La Ardilla Real in Santa Marina de Valdeón. This refuge is of a higher comfort level, more like a B&B with smaller dorms and a cute restaurant and bar. Your host will try to arrange same-sex share basis for this night depending on availability.

Espinama

After the more rustic stays at the mountain refuges, you'll stay at Hostal Remoña in Espinama, a charming guesthouse in a quaint village nestled beneath the Picos - not far from where the road comes to end, as it meets the impassable mountains. The guesthouse is well known for its homemade, traditional Cantabrian food and extensive wine list, which you'll enjoy while taking in the views of the Picos. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with private bathrooms.

Upgrades

A limited number of optional solo room upgrades are available on some nights of the tour (not available in the mountain refuges) - please see Optional Extras for Prices.

If you would like to book extra nights' accommodation in Cangas de Onis before the tour or in Espinama after the tour, please contact your host for availability and prices. We are not able to list prices as they tend to vary throughout the season.

This trip has been rated as Challenging

This is a significant trek, comparable to the famous trails like the Tour du Mont Blanc in terms of distance and elevation gain and the general level of fitness needed. You'll be doing five consecutive days of hiking between 6-9 hours hours per day with up to 1100m elevation gain and loss to achieve each day, so you'll need to be comfortable with doing this on a mixture of terrain from easygoing dirt trails and pastures, to the tougher-going limestone rock areas in the higher mountain areas. You won't need any technical mountaineering knowledge but some experience of multi-day trekking will be useful, however as long as you are fit and determined with good hiking boots and a comfortable pack to trek with, this trip can be done by anyone just with some experience of long day hikes. There are some light scrambles to reach the summits long the route, no experience is needed for these and an expert guide is there to help if there are any sections where you feel you need a hand. You will be carrying your belongings in a backpack - see FAQ.

What will I need to carry?

From Day 2 to Day 6 you will need to carry all of your necessary gear for five trekking days and four overnights in the mountain and village refuges. In addition to clothes and toiletries, you should factor in having to carry drinking water and a packed lunch each day.

The weather in the Picos can be very changeable, so be sure to pack for all weathers. Mainly it tends to be dry and sunny on the south face of the Picos and at high altitudes over 1,500m. Lower altitudes and on the north face of the Picos is more humid and sometimes rainy. The maximum temperature is around 20 degrees and the minimum around 8-12 degrees. Perfect trekking temperatures!

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Bilbao Airport

12:30

Ends

Bilbao Airport

12:00

Transfers

Please arrive at Bilbao airport by 12:30 on Day 1 in order to join the group transfer to Cangas de Onis for your first night. On Day 7, your host will provide a group transfer from Espinama back to Bilbao airport, dropping you off at approximately midday.

If you are arriving/departing at different times, on different days or flying to/from alternative airports (Asturias Airport or Santander Airport) your host can arrange private airport transfers for an additional charge, subject to availability. Please see Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

Bilbao Airport is accessible via various direct flights from the UK and mainland Europe. Flights from outside of Europe are typically indirect. If you're looking to make your own way to Cangas de Onis and not use the group transfer at Bilbao Airport, you may wish to look into combining flight options into/out of Asturias, Santander & Bilbao airports, all of which are only an hour or two's drive away from Cangas de Onis, with public transport options between them.

Rail travellers can get to the start of this trip via Bilbao's main railway station - Bilbao Abando - which is well connected to various major cities in Spain and France if you are travelling by train from the UK. From Bilbao you can get as far as Arriondas by train, and from there it's a short bus ride to Cangas de Onis.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Hiking poles (optional)

What do I need to bring?

BAGS
Trekking backpack (approx. 40-60 litres) for carrying all belongings during trek on Days 2-6 Waterproof liner or drybag for backpack

CLOTHES
Lightweight down or synthetic jacket
Lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket
Breathable wicking layers
Fleece jacket or similar
Buff or neck scarf
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts for hiking
T-shirts
Underwear and socks
Swimwear for hotel
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Gloves
Something to sleep in
Hiking boots (worn-in)
Lightweight shoes for refuges

SLEEPING
Sleeping bag (2/3 season)
Pillowcase

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel insurance documents
High factor suncream and lip salve
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
Quick-dry towel
Alcohol hand-gel
Face mask
Headtorch or torch
1 litre reusable water bottles x 2, or at least 1 x 1.5 Litre bottle

OPTIONAL
Earplugs
Energy bars and snacks
Trekking poles (your host can provide these if desired)

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Optional Private Room Upgrade (July & August trips)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (July & August trips)

Per Person

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Jun, Sept & Oct trips)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (Jun, Sept & Oct trips)

Per Person

Private Transfer Asturias or Santander Airport to Llanes (1-8 people) from

Payable Before Departure

Private Transfer Asturias or Santander Airport to Llanes (1-8 people) from

Private Transfer Bilbao Airport to Cangas de Onis (1-8 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private Transfer Bilbao Airport to Cangas de Onis (1-8 people)

Private Transfer Espinama to Bilbao Airport (1-8 people)

Payable Before Departure

Private Transfer Espinama to Bilbao Airport (1-8 people)

Sean L.(July 2024)
An incredible week

A fantastic week with some great people, and 2 brilliant guides (Ernesto and Sergio).

The scenery was beautiful and the mountain refuges were great rest spots. Days tended to be between 10-15km, and were walked at a manageable pace. If anything, I’d have liked the walks to have been slightly longer but they were certainly challenging enough!

This was my first MBA holiday and I’m already planning my next one, highly recommend this route to anyone thinking about it.

John I.(June 2024)
Superb!

Hiking through the Picos was spectacular with Irene and Alejandro as guides. We joined the trek as a family of four (ages 18-50) and loved the group dynamic with our other hikers. The difficulty level (challenging) was accurate, but all finished the trek thanks to our patient guides. Even on the more difficult days, there was ample time to relax and unwind at the refugios, which were each unique and charming, even when creature comforts were lacking. The experience overall was wonderful: the scenery is spectacular, Irene and Alejandro made the trek smooth even when we had to contend with bad weather or slow hikers, and the dinners were always a highlight. Would definitely recommend this Picos trek for an active vacation in a less visited corner of Spain!

Klaus R.(June 2024)
Picos Review

Irene and Alejandro were pretty dope. Would do again if i can manage to get the same or just as fun guides in a just as beautiful location.

Stephen W.(June 2024)
A challenging but deeply rewarding trip made special by the people.

The Picos de Europa are exceedingly beautiful in June, this could be anticipated, as could both the highly efficient organisation by MBA (and the local provider) and the challenge of the walking. What could not have been known was just how wonderful the mountain guides would be, not just in the technical sense, but as interesting, caring and charming people. The forecast was for bad weather on the middle days of our trip, and they expertly managed the route and our expectation so we remained safe and largely dry whilst missing as little as possible from the original itinerary. Similarly they accommodated the varying strength of the walkers in our group expertly so the extensions were available for the stronger walkers yet the cohesiveness of the group was always maintained. This was my first experience of Hut to Hut Trekking and initially I found sleeping a little tricky, however by the end of the trip this had been overcome. It was a great experience

Helen(November 2023)
A great holiday! Excellent guides,

A great holiday! Excellent guides, great scenery & tasty food. I would book again with muchbetteradventures!

Rachel(November 2023)

This hike was a fab time :)

Catherine(October 2023)

Would highly recommend this trip - The guides were excellent, really knowledgeable and friendly :) Great hikes, plenty of local food to try and a variety of stops along the way One of the best weeks ever!

Bruce(October 2023)

The organisation and communications were all good. The plan to hike in and out of the mountains between hotels in towns and mountain huts worked really well. It gave us a walk through a variety of landscapes. The guides set a comfortable pace for the whole group. They explained the geographical, historical and biological features of what we saw. Their leadership made a huge difference to the success of the whole holiday. The weather was far better that I expected for early October. Not a drop of rain or blast of wind. Health and safety seemed good and the recycling in the huts explained. If anything could be improved it would be making sure the windows in the huts were left open as it got quite hot on the top bunks. Our group had a very wide age range (25 to 75) but still gelled and had fun.

Sarah(October 2023)

The Picos de Europa is a beautiful area of varied terrain with amazing views at every turn. This trip provides an opportunity to explore the mountains and stay in two different huts - watching the sun set and rise in the mountains and enjoying great food. We enjoyed getting to know our fellow travellers and felt very well looked after by our three lovely guides

Yevhen(October 2023)

The trip was awesome! Very beatifull locations, stanning views. Huts are placed in amazing locations. Very good, delicious food in each place. And I want to highlight the hosts - they were awesome! They know everything about that place, they were really kind, hospitable, intelligent and funny! They created a really positive friendly vibes within our group! Irene and Midori you are awesome! I really enjoyed being the part of the group in this adventure! Love!

Stephen(October 2023)

Fabulous trip.

Dan(October 2023)

Our guides, Midori and Irene, saw to it that we were well cared for and kept us laughing throughout the trip!

Katie(August 2023)