Try the Picos for your walking holiday in Spain

Serious climbers head for the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada. For a more relaxing walking holiday in Spain though, it's worth considering the Picos de Europa in the north of the country. With spectacular gorges and mountain vistas, it's ideal for family walks and serious hikers alike. You are also never too far away from the beach.

Travel light and enjoy the mountain air

The Picos De Europa are an ideal destination for those travellers looking for a walking holiday in Spain that will not be overrun with crowds in the high season. It's still a relatively undiscovered region of the country,stretching across the provinces of Asturias and Cantabria.

From the UK, the best routes are budget flights to Asturias or Santander airports or the ferry from Plymouth to Santander across the Bay of Biscay.

A hire car is useful but not essential as there is a limited amount of public transport to the Picos. One of the most enjoyable options is to pack a light rucksack, and walk from village to village in the Picos, staying at cheap hotels and hostels.

One essential introductory walk is the path along the Cares Gorge, where an old maintenance path takes walkers above and around a spectacular chasm. This will attract crowds at weekends, but it's an invigorating and unforgettable two hour stroll.

More ambitious is the long walk up from the quaint village of Bulnes across the high meadows of the Vega De Urriello, east towards Sotres. This is an endlessly spectacular hike, with the occasional flock of sheep for company. Make a point of stopping at the lonely shepherd's hut to buy some of the powerful blue Cabrales cheese.

After the sky, the sea

There are innumerable small trails, gentle hikes, or demanding all-day expeditions in the Picos, making it one of the most rewarding locations for a walking holiday in Spain. An hour's drive north lie the beautiful beaches of Spain's Costa Verde. The Bay of Biscay may be a little colder than the Mediterranean, but the broad beaches are less crowded and more beautiful.

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