The Picos de Europa, or the Peaks of Europe are a mountain range in Northern Spain. Even though there are many mountains higher than the highest peaks of the Picos, it’s not even the highest in Spain itself, it still makes a statement with its summits that pierce the sky at over 2000m height. The range itself is so big that three different communities claim bits of it to themselves: Asturias on the left side, Cantabria on the right and Castilla y León on the bottom. Thanks to this the Picos are divided into three parts and all parts have routes that are very famous. We stayed in the Asturias side and for our first walk we did the popular Ruta de Cares.
This walk (and the Picos in general) is in fact so popular that we didn’t even have a chance to visit it during the summer months. We saved it for September when schoolsstart and there are less people around. The weekend we picked was gorgeous and after finding the town of Poncebos, the start of the walk, we started off on the 20km walk.
The Ruta de Cares is a 10km walk that connects the tiny village of Poncebo (Asturias) with the slightly bigger Caín (Castilla y León) along the crystal clear River of Cares. Even though in many places they call it a gorge walk the route is in fact literally carved into the mountains themselves. The result is a walk that is one of the most spectacular in Spain. (I know I always say this after every walk I do but here it’s actually official.) The path is as obvious as can be and even though it’s only 10km long, you have to do the walk back, too, as this is the only way to connect the two villages, there is no road for vehicles.
The route is just simply spectacular at every single step. It’s definitely not recommended for people with even the slightest bit of vertigo as next to the 1.5m wide path there is often a 10-15m plunge right into the river gorge. It is advisable to bring enough water for the road. In Caín there are many lovely places to refresh yourself with a cool drink before you head back. Bring sun cream when it’s sunny, although you probably won’t feel it as the gorge serves like a wind tunnel, there’s always a refreshing breeze in it.
After all this information let me show you the gorgeous Ruta de Cares.