The Picos de Europa are a totally spectacular mountain range in the north of Spain. Famous for the hiking trails with ocean views, they are a must see for anyone traveling to the north of the country. The hiking trails vary in difficulty, and they are all beautiful. Here are three hikes you can do in the Picos de Europa, plus how to get there, and their difficulty.
Ruta del Cares
This one was the easiest walk we did in the Picos. It typically begins in Poncebos and the end point is Cain, although if you want to do it the other way, I don’t see why not. The path snakes along the gorge of the river Cares, and the hike has been dubbed “the garganta divina” or “the divine gorge.” It truly is divine. The first two kilometres of the walk are uphill, but the rest is relatively flat. But, just because there isn’t much elevation gain, doesn’t mean it isn’t a hike. It’s a 22km round trip from Poncebos to Cain. A lot of folks end up doing the hike one way and then taking the shuttle bus back. We thought about it, but it’s a two hour bus ride and I do not know how much it costs. We drove right up to the trailhead in Poncebos and left our van there. We did the hike in October, and we weren’t alone. I imagine if you are here in July or August, it would be WAY busier.
Hike up to Bulnes
Bulnes is a small village perched high on a mountain top. In 2001, a funicular was built up to the village, to the delight of the locals. You can take the funicular up and go for a nice day hike around the top, which was our original plan, until we arrived at the funicular and discovered it is a €23 round trip (a bit out of our budget)! Next to the funicular is the original path that locals took to and from the village before 2001. We decided to hike it. We decided this path should be called The Cheapskate Path, for it is used only by cheapskates who can’t, or don’t want to, afford the funicular. The hike is about an hour. You will pass many other cheapskates on the way. Bulnes is a very quaint little village. Most of the bars and restaurants offer a menu del dia, which is typically an appetizer, a main course, a dessert, a coffee or tea, and water or wine. They normally cost about €8-12, depending where you are. From Bulnes there are more day hikes you can do, up to different summits or refugio huts. We had our lunch and hiked back down.
Torre de los Horcados Rojos
Out of Fuente Dé is an impressive gondola that takes you up 753m in 3 minutes. A round trip costs €17. The gondola spits you out at the top and from there, you will find many different hiking trails. We chose the summit of the Torre de los Horcados Rojos, mostly because it is a four hour round trip hike with a decent elevation gain, but also because it is very fun to say. This is definitely a bit more difficult than the other hikes we did. The two hours up to the end of the marked trail is entirely uphill, and of course, the last 20 minutes is a scramble to the summit. The summit is magnificent, boasting views of the ocean picture framed in between peaks. One of the most beautiful hikes I have done in Europe (and I’ve done a few! You can read about Switzerland, Austria, and Germany).
Hiked out? If you want to try something different, read about how to do a via ferrata in the Picos here!