Trekking the Picos de Europa

Three days in to our journey through Spain we made an amazing accidental discovery…

We’ve been in Spain for just under a week and so far it’s been full of brilliant places to stop the van.

We’re working our way down towards Portugal for NOS Alive festival on 7th July, so having a few weeks to fill we decided to take a look around the North of Spain first, stopping off at a few places recommended by a friend from Tui.

Apart from her recommendations we didn’t really have anywhere else in mind, we just thought we’ll see what happens! Crossing over the border from France we had no idea which direction to head in so we decided to have a look at some of the Wild Camping spots on ( a really really useful resource for anyone looking for free camping in Spain!)

We picked a few spots along our route towards Galicia at random, one of which just so happened to be on the edge of the Picos de Europa.

As we crept our way around the enormous rocks towards our free camping spot for the night we decided we had to find out more about this place!

After a bit of searching we found that we were only a few minutes drive from the start of one of the famous trails through the mountains, Ruta del Cares. We started our walk at Poncebos and followed the marked route to Caen.

The trail started steep but the incredible views kept us motivated. The vastness of the towering rock above your head, seemingly suspended in air makes you feel the incredible strength and power of nature. We walked to Caen and back which was about 14 miles, we truly loved every minute of it!

It’s not only the spectacular nature that makes this place so special but also the amazing feat of engineering to be seen – a network of canals weaving in and out of the rock, diverting the water for hydro-electric power, looking almost like they were naturally formed in to the mountain.

There are also ruins of buildings perched on impossible ledges that you just can’t imagine how anyone would have built. We had a quick look inside one and saw what looked like the remains of a kitchen with old pots and pans stood on the side – this is right up in the mountains, many kilometres from anything vaguely resembling a road.

There was so much to see we couldn’t resist taking loads of photos! Plus we had to humour the goats and sheep who clearly loved to pose…

Once we got back to the van everything we had on us was soaking wet, it literally hadn’t stopped raining all day but even so it was one of the most enjoyable days we’ve had so far.


We went for a more chilled out couple of days afterwards and visited As Catedrais beach where there’s even more stunning nature to see and another great place to park the van…


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3 thoughts on “Trekking the Picos de Europa

  • Jo Hodder

    Hi Dee and Simon
    This is your auntie Jo,Dee! Just spoken to dad and he told me about you trip and how to follow your blog. You are certainly living the dream. We accidentally came across the Pecos in 1981 and like you were stunned by the rugged beauty and lack of commercial spoil. I remember driving up a mountain pass (pretty hairy) towards a plateau and looking down into the valley below where there was a thunder and lighting storm. That was very strange looking down instead of up! If you were on your way to Portugal you would have been taking a different route out of the Pecos. I need to read more of your blogs to come up to date but just had to comment on the Pecos de Europa as the memories came flooding back. Hope you’re having a wonderful time. Will catch up soon. Lot’s of love Jo and family xxx

    • wildvan1 Post author

      Hi Jo! Thanks so much for your message, it’s lovely to hear from you! 🙂 Yea it was an amazing place to stumble upon! Did you visit many other places in that area? After the Picos we went West across Galicia and visited Santiago de Compostela then down in to Portugal from there. We loved that area, there was so much beautiful countryside and nature, it was really peaceful. We’ve kind of been off-grid the last couple of weeks so have lots of updating to do on the blog! Thanks for having a look 🙂 Hope you’re all well. Speak soon, take care. Lots of love xxxx