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Family exploring Picos de Europa

We will have about 3 days to explore Picos de Europa this July, along with our 5 year old. Looking to see some beautiful scenery and do some light hiking.
What are the must-see spots that would also be interesting for kids?
We would definitely like to see the Lagos de Cavadonga, but I am unsure where else to spend our time.
Also, where would be the best base town to stay, or does it make more sense to stay in multiple towns to experience more?
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
25620 posts

I really have no idea what appeals to a 5-year-old, but I found the old stone town of Potes really lovely. It does get a lot of tourists.

Come to think of it, the aerial lift at Fuente De would probably be a hit as long as your child isn't afraid of heights. And there's a chance there will be at least patchy snow at the top (likelier earlier in the month, I'd guess). You'd want an extra layer of clothes if you planned to stay at the top for long. I don't remember whether there are easy hiking opportunities at the top. Others will know.

Posted by
860 posts

We stayed two nights in Llanes a couple of weeks ago. It's a lovely town with great views of the Picos de Europa and a couple of really nice beaches.

Our plans to see the mountains were foiled by forest fires, apparently mostly due to arson.

Posted by
5821 posts

Where you stay might depend on which direction you’re coming from. Cangas de Onis is a nice town. In the park, the Sanctuary of Covadonga was worth visiting. That entire area is beautiful scenery. Assuming you’re driving, the mountain roads twist and turn, so don’t expect to drive more than about 35-40mph, at least on the northern side of the park.

When I looked at street view on Google maps, the road leading to Lagos de Covadonga (CO-4) is two lanes without centerline markings for part of it and no shoulders. Driving will be slow.

Posted by
2630 posts

We stayed for three nights in an apartment outside Cangas de Onis and loved the area. The hiking at Lagos de Covadonga is excellent with beautiful views. It lends itself well to short hikes as well as longer ones.

We would have liked to see the eastern part of the park, but felt it was just too far to drive — it’s an hour and a half from Cangas de Onis to Potes. The driving in the park was not defgict, but it was slow.

Posted by
6408 posts

When I looked at street view on Google maps, the road leading to Lagos de Covadonga (CO-4) is two lanes without centerline markings for part of it and no shoulders. Driving will be slow.

At Covadonga in summer, there is a mandatory shuttle from the Sanctuary to the Lakes. It is fairly time-consuming, but it helps with traffic.

Posted by
3742 posts

Of course it is very difficult to predict what will be interesting for a 5 year old, especially one we have not met!! These are just guesses LOL, but I think the Fuente De Cable Car may be a good choice. Maybe Bufones de Pria blowholes just on the coastline is also worth a look.

However, if you are looking for a place to stay in, I can confidently recommend Hotel del Oso (http://hoteldeloso.es/en/home/), a family-run hotel located in the heart of the Picos de Europa. It's ideally situated for exploring the Picos de Europa, with easy access to popular attractions such as Fuente Dé Cable Car, Santo Toribio de Liebana Monastery, and the charming town of Potes as mentioned above. Hotel del Oso has an excellent on-site restaurant, which serves traditional Cantabrian mountain cuisine. I recall there is also an outdoor swimming pool and a playground for children, making it an excellent choice for the summer time I think.

Posted by
1210 posts

Have you considered farm stays? They are fun for kids. Make sure you choose one that is a working farm and not a converted inn.

Posted by
1210 posts

The term is Agroturismo.

There were tons of results when I typed "farm stays in Spain" in Google search.

Posted by
3742 posts

The term is Agroturismo. There were tons of results when I typed "farm stays in Spain" in Google search.

A government supported program like the Agriturismo system in Italy does not exist in Spain. The closest you can get is what we call "Casas Rurales", which may or may not be on a real farm, just means a house in the countryside, there is no government denomination for authenticity.

In Spain we do have the Paradores system, which are state run luxury hotels set in historic buildings. The idea behind the Paradores system is to preserve these historic buildings and offer travelers a unique experience in Spanish culture and history. The two Paradores near the Picos de Europa that I know of are:

Parador de Cangas de Onis - a former monastery and offers views of the surrounding mountains.

Parador de Fuente De - located at the base of the Fuente De cable car, the hotel offers stunning views of the mountains and is a great starting point for hiking and other outdoor activities. I've stayed here a few times.

Posted by
5821 posts

I give a thumbs up to Paradors. We’ve stayed at 19 so far, and while they are generally upscale, most of the prices are very reasonable and in line with other hotels in the area they are in. Most are in historic buildings, but not all of them. If you decide to consider staying at one, check out its free Amigos program. It has special rates for Amigos and those over 55. One plus of the program is a free drink (beer, wine, or soda) each time you check into one.