Hiking Ruta del Cares was part of our trip to Picos de Europa National Park, Spain. It is a very famous route, considered one of the most breathtaking trekking trails that can be done in Europe. The 12 km path is carved in the rocks of the mountains connecting Poncebos (Asturias) to Caín (Leon). It is a one-way path but since returning requires a car or someone to pick you (no public transports) a lot of people decide to return using the same path (24 km in total).
We started the route in Poncebos, 5 km from Arenas de Cabrales where we were based. Before reaching the starting point there is a small parking for cars where we left our car before starting the walk.
The first part of the hike (3km) is the most difficult, all climbing, but once we were in the top it was more or less flat (except for a relatively large descent in the middle of the path). In spite of that most of the path is flat but a bit vertiginous since it is narrow and in the middle of huge cliffs.
The views are amazing all the time with the river below and the mountains around full of beautiful colors and nature. We could also see several goats along the way. Since we stopped several times to take pictures and appreciate this beautiful landscape it took us around 4 hours to arrive to Caín, a tiny place with only one hotel and two coffees/restaurants. We enjoyed almost 2 hours resting and eating, first close to the river (we brought our own food and water) and then a beer in one of the coffees (the one closest to the trail).
After that we started our way back to Poncebos, but this time just stopping once to drink water and eat something. It was also interesting to appreciate the return walk since the views are a bit different. And since it was almost the end of the afternoon the colors gave a special beauty to the scene.
- Main costs: Apartamentos el Caxigu in Arenas de Cabrales (90€/night/2 bedroom apartment), breakfast (approx. 5€/person at Panaderia Cafeteria Cideres in Arenas de Cabrales)
- There are several goats around the path and people crossing by all the time so one have to be careful while doing this walk, specially with children
- Wear good shoes, comfortable clothes (including a rain coat) and a hat
- Bring water and some food (no places to get it during the path, only when arriving in Caín)
- Use sunscreen