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Picos de Europa - which way?

Tel Aviv, Israel
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for Tel Aviv
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Picos de Europa - which way?

As we are making progress with our September trip plan, we need some advice.

After 4 days in San Sebastian, we want to spend 4 days in Picos de Europa, then we have to drive south to Segovia.

We want to stay 3 nights somewhere between Potes and Fuente De and one night near Cangas de Onis, so that we can drive along the scenic routes LE 244 and N 625 (a drive recommended by the Michelin guide). Does that make sense?

We consider 2 options for the long drive to Segovia:

1 Stay first in Potes, then drive from Cangas de Onis to Segovia via Leon.

2 If we stay first in Cangas and drive from Potes to segovia via Valladolid.

What is your opinion?

Also - any recommended hotels/B&B in the 2 areas? Hote del Oso looks very nice, but it is a bit expensive.

Thank you all for your advice

MB

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Picos de Europa - which way?

I'd do Potes first. The road south from Potes isn't the easiest route to drive.

I was going to recommend the Hotel del Oso, excellent place to stay and outstanding restaurant, but if the price is too high, then you can try www.booking.com/ to see what's available in and around Potes. But the del Oso would be my first choice.

London, England
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2. Re: Picos de Europa - which way?

Hope this reply's not too late- just logged on as we're visiting Hotel del Oso (again- after many past trips over 20 years), so unsurprisingly we recommend you try to bust the budget and stay there- not the cheapest, but a wonderful family hotel, in a peaceful location. You can save money in theer restuarant by ordering less than you think you need- portions are so big that we order for one and share- they are cool about this. And if you do go, ask for an upstairs room, with balcony, in the original building of the two hotel blocks, overlooking the pool and the mountains to the east for wonderful views.

If really unaffordable, do eat there at least once, and try searching other hotels on www.viamichelin.com This is also good for route-finding and journey times, but if you bring up their maps and click the hotels button, lots appear. Sorry to say, when you search hotels on Tripadvisor under Potes, only 4 come up.

Note also that Potes is in Cantabria, whereas Canga is in Asturias- so try both Forums.

And finally, as regards routes, I can't really comment as I've only driven about 50km on the eastern of your two options, south from Potes, but as all Picos routes are amazingly scenic, I suspect there's little in it for view. As regards your bigger plan, is Canga an essential stop-over? You could reduce overall drive times by going straight from San Sebastian to Potes? Unless of course you want to explore the West side of the Picos, up from Canga or east to Puente Poncebos, to walk a little of the Cares Gorge, in which case it makes sense to visit Canga first, then Potes (and Fuente De).

One final consideration- we, like you generally visit thr Pico off season, and have found wetter weather on the western (Canga) side; Potes in the east is in the sheltered, drier 'rain shadow'side.

And if you plan to do any walking around Potes/Fuente de, PM me. Have a great time

Tel Aviv, Israel
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3. Re: Picos de Europa - which way?

Thank you Alex for your answer.

We have decided to stay at la Barcena - a rural apartment complex between potes and Cosagaya, because we like the comfort of an apartment. We'll make sure to eat at least once at Hotel del Oso.

Our plan is as follows: drive from San Sebastian to Potes, stay 3 nights at la Barcena. Then we want to drive to the western side, along the Michelin recomended route (southern part). We'll stay the night at Covadonga before driving south to Segovia.

London, England
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4. Re: Picos de Europa - which way?

Great itinerary-

Two points- try to do some walking from the top of the cable cat at Fuente De- an hour from the sation and you're in most remote high valleys between peaks. Maps in Potes shops.

And secondly- if you're intersted here's a copy of what 'BennyMalaga', another TA spainhead posted in 2008- so good, it's worth repeating (tthanks to Benny)

a 'Little History of Asturias' focussing on Covadonga:

'The Moors invaded Spain in 711 A.D. They met little resistance until they reached Asturias several years later. In 722 the Moors sent an army to subdue the Cantabrian mountaineers. This army was defeated by the Asturian chieftain Don Pelayo in the vale of Covadonga. This Spanish victory was celebrated in song and story and Don Pelayo became the first Asturian king. The heir apparent to the Spanish throne has always been called the Prince of Asturias because of Don Pelayo's victory against the Moors.

Before the Battle at Covadonga, Don Pelayo and his men had taken refuge in a cave. It is said that he had only 300 men. Because of the mountains and the terrain, Don Pelayo was able to defeat the Moors. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary breathed on Don Pelayo and he carried a wooden cross during the battle, which later was called the Cross of Victory. After the battle, other Asturians killed many of the fleeing Moors. This was the start of the Reconquest and the Kingdom of Asturias became a stronghold for the Christians.

The Moorish historians dismissed what happened in Covadonga as an insignificant skirmish, but the fact is that they were not able to get rid of the Christians in Asturias, always losing when they sent more men to fight Don Pelayo. Finally the Moors decided to leave Asturias alone.

The Asturians today are very aware of their history. Everywhere in Asturias you will find statues and monuments to Don Pelayo and the kings who followed in his wake. They are very proud of their history. In the Asturias airport, at the waiting lounge beside Gate 3 on the ground floor, there is a set of 6 big carved wooden panels, each panel depicting one of their kings. This is a beautiful modern piece of art which also reminds the Asturians of their proud history.

The Virgin of Covandonga is the most revered religious icon of Asturias and the victory at Covandonga was attributed to her help. She is called "La Santina". The deceased Nobel literature prize winner was the Spanish Camilo Jose Cela, and he once made some very crude remarks about this Virgin. The public outcry in Asturias was so great that the authorities had to declare him persona non grata in Asturias. He was unwelcome to Asturias. In other words, this very insensitive and very crude man got his just rewards!

(Benny posts a better class of TA article)

5. Re: Picos de Europa - which way?

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