Walking in Picos de Europa mountains
If you want to experience the magnificent Picos de Europa mountains first hand, then the best way to do so is to get out of the car and start walking.
There are a number of tourist offices in and around the Picos area and all offer lots of maps and booklets with suggestions of routes and paths. You do not need to be a hiker or regular walker to do this as many of the routes simply follow paths where the incline is gradual.
If you are a serious walker, or if you want something more challenging, then there are plenty of more exertive hikes to choose from.
Although many visitors to this part of Asturias only take a short walk in the lower regions of the mountains, a number of companies do offer walking trips around the Picos de Europa. Taking one of these organised excursions allows the benefits of a guide and the obvious advantages of safety in numbers. For anyone contemplating a route that is unfamiliar and of some duration, this may be a good and safety conscious idea.
If you do plan to do some walking in the Picos de Europa you should ensure that you have the right equipment.
If you visit in summer when the landscape is dry and the climate is warm, you may be tempted to make the mistake of neglecting to wear appropriate foot ware and clothing. Remember that it is easy to sprain an ankle, even on a dry and even path and that as you gain altitude the temperature does drop.
You should always wear walking shoes and take adequate warm and dry clothing with you – even on a very short walk in summer.
Other important things to remember are the location of your starting point or car. In unfamiliar territory it is easy to lose track of where you are and there may not be many people around to ask.
You should also take a snack and a drink. If you do not usually walk you will be surprised at how quickly you can feel hungry and thirsty.
Get the best from the Picos de Europa
If you plan to spend a few days around the mountains, it really is a good idea to sign up on a walking trip. These hikes are well organised, vary in levels of difficulty, and always take in the most spectacular scenery. There will be a knowledgeable guide, provision for refreshments and the walks vary in length from an hour or so upwards.
Many of the companies offering this service also drive up to the best starting points ensuring that you do not miss out on any of the spectacular views. Companies offering these services can be found on-line or booked in towns like Cangas de Onis and Arriondas once you are in Asturuas.
For holidays in July and August it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment.