Picos de Europa - Spain's Best Kept Secret

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

"Of all the paths you take in life,

make sure a few of them are dirt."

--John Muir

Today I wanted to talk to you about the ultimate Spanish road trip we took recently!

We drove from Barcelona, with a quick stay in Andorra, then continued West to the Asturias region of Spain where we would hike the Picos de Europa!

Being a nature lover currently living in Barcelona, something about the jagged peaks of the Carpathian mountains just romanced the Hell out of me. I could already smell the fresh air and feel myself walking barefoot across rivers and meadows before we even loaded the car. Needless to say, my favorite range in the world is the Chilean Patagonia in the Torres del Paine area; the Picos became a close second :)

Our goal was to leave from Barcelona and stay a day or so in Andorra la Vella before we set out for the 9-hour drive to the Picos. There we would stay in Alles, a small town fewer than 200 people, and venture out to the Picos daily.

Aside from a few hiccups, we did just that.

I realized, very quickly, that Picos de Europa is seriously Spains best-kept secret!!! From the endless rivers and peaceful cows to the several unmarked trails with views in every direction.

I love Barcelona, but I am far from a "city girl", so many of our folks were surprised we weren't moving to a place liek this rather than bustling Barcelona. However, we are seriously considering moving to this area sometime next year but, que sera sera. The trouble we have with really living off the grid, (which is my ultimate goal) is that we need a car. Not too sure how I feel about that yet, considering living in the city the ease of walking everywhere and not spending that extra money on a vehicle is also appealing


The clouds blanketed all visible peaks but I found it beautiful. The weather wound up like this most of our time there, often times worse. Even so, I really enjoyed smelling rain throughout our hikes and trying to hurry the trek before the daily storm hit!

This was a beautiful trail that went STRAIGHT UP. So many beautiful drop offs and dangerous spots, which I really love! Ollie enjoyed exploring the mountains off leash, but wasn't exactly sure what to make of the cows!

Afterward, once we made it back to the room, we shared quite a bit of cider together until we got drunk and ate our weight in pasta. ¡SALUD!


Our second day was spent in town (Panes) hurrying from cafe to cafe waiting on the weather to let up. We wound up exploring the Rio Cares, a beautiful river running all through Asturias and Leon, that we found by following an unmarked trail through a valley. Amazing! Ollie was terrified of the suspension bridge so Momma had to carry him(I'm the only one he will allow :D ) There are some days where he really enjoys being held and I don't mind a bit. :)


Day three was probably one of my favorites. When we drove to hike Tornes de Liordes on the first day, we noticed there were so many unmarked paths while driving through the mountains! If I had to guess, I would say there are at least 100 trails between Alles and Fuente De in Picos de Europa National Park. Of these 100, 75 of them are only found by a small sign on the side of the road and oftentimes nothing but a small foot path.

We decided to stop at as many of these hidden spots as possible and would hike as long as we could before it would start raining at which point we would hurry back to the car and drive until the rain stopped and we found another trail.

Along these trails, we found amazing lookouts, hidden caves and waterfalls and so much more.


Ancient Roman ruins dating back to the 12th century and charming mountain towns under moody skies. Since the rain was in a constant state of downpour and then stopping, we decided to stop at some more hidden trails.

We found another great spot leading to a different side of Rio Cares where we got some great exploring in! Afterward, we spent most of the day hiking through the tiny, picturesque city of Alles to a Roman church.


Day 5, was PURE MAGIC! I have no earthly idea how, but the sky was set for a perfect summer day with the nicest breeze all afternoon. We decided to make our way back out toward Fuente De and give Tornes de Liordes another whirl since our first attempt was cut short due to the terrible weather.

This time, we took an alternate route that loops up toward the Fuente De peak and enjoyed a picnic along the way where I was able to walk around barefoot and lay in the grass.

Good for the soul. :)

I also came prepared with oats for the cows. Of course. I came upon my two good friends, Diego and Fioana. (AKA two cows I had met and named when we were there just a few days earlier) Fiona is the beautiful fire coated one, and Diego is the angel white calf.

Afterward, we were so amped up by how beautiful the day still was, we drove up a near mountain side to see the Picos range from a different angle and WOW! (last picture)


We packed our bags and set out for our 8 hour drive back home to Barcelona. On our way out, we made one last stop in town for these "paninis" that we would usually grab on our way to a hike. Pretty much a french bread sandwich with garlic, herbs and at least 4 kinds of Asturian cheese on top! *cue drool* I wish I'd taken a picture; they were delicious!

If we don't wind up making the Picos our temporary home someday, I definitely plan on visiting again. There were so many more things I wanted to do, like explore the Fuente De area. As you can see, every day except the last we had incliment weather that ended in very bad thunderstorms that ultimately cut our hikes short. July is still considered one of the best times of year to go, I think we just had some bad luck.

Either way, this was an amazing experience for my little family and I.


If you'd like to shop my camera gear with a bargain, you can do so here!

If you'd like to shop my camera gear, you can do so here!


#hiking #Spain