We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“One of the best walks in the Picos de Europa”
Review of La Ruta del Cares

La Ruta del Cares
Ranked #7 of 388 things to do in Asturias
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
119 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“One of the best walks in the Picos de Europa”
Reviewed 16 September 2013

The Cares gorge cuts right through the central part of the Picos de Euopa range in northern Spain. It is made entirely of limstone so the stream has been able to cut an incredibly narrow and deep slot gorge, 12 km long and many hundreds of metres deep, between the village of Cain on the south side and Arena de Cabrales on the north side. It is not physically strenuous but is a long hike if you start from one end, go to the other and then walk back again. The path is wide and well maintained but not guarded and there can be 100 metre near-vertical drops on one side, so not for those who suffer from vertigo. Also avoid wet weather as the path can become slippery. On a warm day be sure to carry plenty of water because there is otherwise none available. I think a walking pole is essential. The scenery everywhere is fantastic. On two occasions we have part-walked the path from each end. Each time a great day out. You need a car to get to the start point at either end. Parking is free but of limited capacity, so start early on the popular days. On the norther 'terminus' is the Hostal de Poncebos, where you can get a great value meal in a nice ambience.

Visited September 2013
7 Thank ErnestoManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

467 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
104 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Well worth a walk, even in the heat”
Reviewed 7 September 2013

We walked the route from Poncebos to Cain. The route is easy to follow (you can't really turn off!) though the drops are very steep so be careful in wet weather. The signs suggest 3 hours to Cain, it took us 4.5 hours as it was 35 degrees C and too hot to be walking. There is nowhere on the route to get water so take plenty with you.
No information we found prior to the walk, even at tourist info in Arenas tells you the following:
- it only costs us 7 euros to get to Poncebos in a taxi - though there could be buses
- if you get to Cain before 4pm it is possible to get a bus to Cangas de Onis (and then to Arenas). It was far to hot for us to want to walk the 12km back along the route so we were glad to discover this when we got to Cain. Make sure you get there early as once the two little buses are full you've only got taxis and they could be very expensive as it is 1.5 hours on the bus to Cangas. The bus only cost us 7 euros 80 cents. And its worth it just to see the Picos from the South side, the bus drive is great. I don't know if this bus runs all year round.
- the free walk leaflet given at tourist info suggests that there is a steep ascent to the high point near the start, a steep descent and then a gradual ascent to Cain. In reality its more like a gradual descent to Cain which means that to walk back you're virtually going uphill most of the way.

If you can't walk the route one way from Poncebos to Cain which is 12km, then i would recommend getting to Cain as the best bit of the route is there. It is more lush, with trees and the famous bridges and tunnels, and you are closer to the river. The start at Poncebos has no vegetation, so it is totally rocky. And you're at least 200-300m from the river.

Nevertheless its a great route and worth the effort, even in the scorching sun.

Visited September 2013
9 Thank emily t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cartagena, Spain
Level Contributor
100 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Worth doing It!”
Reviewed 25 August 2013

After reading various reviews I had put myself off doing the walk!
Partly through fear of heights and danger, the heat of the sun and the thought of an overcrowded narrow walkway in August.

We did it on 23rd August from Poncebos to Cain. We started at 9:30am and it was quite overcast, so no direct heat or sun. It took about 3.5hrs with stops to look around and have a drink.
The path is fine, I'm quite scared of heights, but I didn't have any problem. Whilst you are walking, watch where you are walking. If you want to look at the scenery, stop and look. That worked for me. Most people were walking in the same direction, I wasn't overwhelmed by the number of people, in fact I found it quite reassuring seeing other people from time to time. As we got a bit nearer the other end, then we met some people walking the other way. If I was bothered by the edge, I'd just stop and let other people pass.
It's not a difficult walk. The most difficult part is the ascent/descent near Poncebos, but walking slowly and steadily it was fine.

When we got to Cain we had lunch there, and were then waiting for the 4pm bus which we'd bought tickets for.
In the end we decided to walk back and sold our tickets to people waiting for them! The bus was going to take 3 hrs to get back as well, so we thought we might as well do the walk again.
We set off back at 3:30pm and it took exactly 3 hrs. This time we were simply walking it not looking around so much. Now it was much hotter and we were tired. But we got back fine. In fact we were celebrating in the bar with a beer when the bus finally rolled in 1/2 an hour later!

Be prepared. Wear decent shoes for walking. Take a jacket in case of rain. Take sun protection a hat and cream. Take water.

Visited August 2013
11 Thank janestopforth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gijon, Spain
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“stunning stunning stunning scenery!”
Reviewed 7 May 2013

This is a "ruta" which in English means a trail. There are 2 ways to do this trail as previous contributors have said. We did it from the Cain side and only half way as we knew there was no way we could do the return trip in one day!

To get to Cain you need nerves of steel, the small winding mountain roads with few barriers makes for an interesting ride! I don't think I got over 4th gear the whole trip from Covadonga to Cain. I've been told that driving to Poncebos is easier and it's better to do the ruta from this side & walk to Cain rather than drive to Cain!
We stayed in Cordinanes, about 7km from Cain in a pension called El Tombo (which is an inn which has all the facilities of a hotel but is smaller) The pension was perfect with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. They also served a "menu" in the evening which was delicious and breakfast in the morning (which was just a hot drink and toast). The following day we drove to Cain for the ruta.
The ruta itself is spectacular to say the least. Huge mountains surround you on either side of the gorge while you snake your way along the path with the river. I wouldn't recommend this trail if you don't have a head for heights as at some points it can be quite high and there is no barrier, so those with young children or pets beware. (We did see some people with young kids tied onto them, just in case!)
The gorge can be a bit of a sun trap - we did it the first weekend in May & while there was still snow on the mountain tops, it was roasting down in the gorge, so make sure you wear long sleeves or wear lots of sun cream.
There are several places to stay in Cain and plenty of parking (the locals have it well sussed and if there's no on-street parking then there are plenty of little fields where you can leave your car for €3 for the day) There are also a few restaurants offering a "menu", which we availed of, but most people seemed to have brought a picnic & were sitting by the river enjoying the sunshine and the cool mountain water. If I did it again, this is what I'd do!

All in all this was one of my favourite walks I've ever done in my whole life! The scenery was spectacular, the locals delightful and all in all a fabulous day. Highly recommended!!

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Irishlaura1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Amazing - if you can handle heights...”
Reviewed 19 August 2012

The ruta del cares isn't so much a tour, but a marked trail you can follow from Poncebos to Caín. The route is12 km in length, with the expectation you will do the return. Everyone we spoke with suggested there was no way to do trip one way, so you will end up walking 24 km. we did it in a heat wave in August and managed 3 and 1/2 hours there, 3 hours back. The section closest to Poncebos is the most difficult, with jagged rocks, loose gravel and steep sections. The Caìn side is much easier to walk, and seemingly better maintaned. There are no public restrooms at the start of the trail, or anywhere along it. Therese however hotels with bar/restaurants at either end. Parking officials limit he number of cars driving into the Poncebos. If you don't make it into Poncebos early enough to beat the other tourists you are required to park 2 km out of town and wait for a sporadic bus that will drive you into town, or walk in. The info booths do not have detailed maps, and there are only 3 signs along the way to keep you updated on your progress. The people working in both inf booths told me the route was simple, but I think that was an understatement. The path is fairly wide, but there is no railing or fence a any point, and massive drops. If you aren't comfortable with heights, this walk could be very overwhelming.

Visited August 2012
2 Thank conchitalinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed La Ruta del Cares also viewed

Ribadesella, Asturias

Been to La Ruta del Cares? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing