The Central Massif of the Picos de Europa contains a mix of steep-sided canyons and ravines, green pastures, limestone peaks, and rocky, barren landscapes. To start our hiking in the Picos de Europa, we went for a three-day, two-night tour of the Central Massif. From Fuente Dé, we hiked to Refugio de Urriellu below the spectacular Naranjo de Bulnes, then to Refugio Collado Jermoso, and finally back to Fuente Dé. Despite encountering thunderstorms, rain, and snow, we loved the spectacular scenery.
Bilbao made for a great stopover on the way to the Picos de Europa. We could recover from jet lag while wandering the riverside, exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao, and eating excellent food. Rental car pick up at the train station made it easy to head out toward the Picos the next day.
In June and July 2017, we spent a week hiking in Spain’s spectacular Picos de Europa. The jagged limestone peaks, verdant green pastures, delicious food, and a pleasant stop in Bilbao made for a fantastic trip.
Read below for our notes on planning a trip, getting around, and where to stay, or jump right into our description of the trip:
- Bilbao and the drive to Espinama
- A three-day, two-night hike on the Central Massif
- A rainy stop in Covadonga and Arenas de Cabrales
- Hikes from Camarmeña, including the Cares Gorge, back up to the Central Massif, and a bit of the Western Massif
Friends are visiting Seattle from late June to early July. They recently asked:
I was wondering if there were a few places that you could recommend for some epic hiking. Your flickr account is filled with gorgeous photos of spots that are easy to get to from Seattle, so deciding based on photos seems daunting. We’re thinking of doing three days of hiking (and we’d stay in a cabin overnight) in one or two locations. We’ll have a rental car also. We’re just looking for gorgeous scenery, and up to a moderate level of hiking difficulty. Are there 4 or 5 favorite hikes that fit this that you’d recommend?
This is a challenging time for planning a hiking trip. Some years, the northwest will have warmed up months earlier and the snow will be gone. Other years, many of our favorite trails may still be covered in snow. So, unless you are prepared to deal with snow, you need a base with some different options. There are a few that should fit that bill. Read on for some suggestions of where to stay and corresponding hikes, in both the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.
In February 2017, we spent a long weekend on Kauai, splitting our time between Princeville and Poipu, with hikes along the Nā Pali coast, near Princeville, and in Waimea Canyon State Park, a visit to Kilauea Point, and lots of good food.
We picked Kauai as our February break from Seattle’s rain and grey. Kyle had never been and I had not visited since I was a kid.
We made a last-minute decision to visit Budapest on a winter weekend in February, to enjoy some of the city sights without the crowds (or in some cases, entrance fees) of high season. (This strategy also works quite well for Paris.) Low season apparently began that weekend, if you use the “hop-on-hop-off” tourist bus schedule as a metric. This a brief overview of our 34 hours in Budapest.
Paris can be crisp in January, and Paris can be dreary in January. Regardless, it’s wonderful in January. The city is quiet yet alive. Christmas crowds have gone, but lights and decorations remain. It’s a perfect time to go, bundle up, and walk, and walk, and walk, stopping in at sights or for un chocolat chaud.
Rather than summarize any one trip, I’ll mention a few of my favorite highlights, both in the city and day trips, across a few trips.
After the previous year’s enjoyable fall escape to Zion, we decided to escape the onset of Seattle’s rainy fall with a trip Moab, Utah. (We saved Bryce for a future visit.) Moab offered the chance to explore Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and could be reached by an easy, direct flight to Salt Lake City followed by a four hour drive.
Our visit included two days of hiking in Canyonlands–one in the Island in the Sky and one in the Needles District–and two days exploring Arches, including the Fiery Furnace, Devil’s Garden, Delicate Arch and Windows Arch. We also enjoyed three breathtaking sunrises at Mesa Arch, Delicate Arch, and the Windows.
Visiting in the fall meant that we got to see the most popular spots without the high-season crowds. We also got to do some hikes that the Park Service and others recommend against doing in the hot summer, including Druid Arch and Syncline Loop.
In March 2017, we hiked the Rota Vicentina along the southwestern Portugal coast from Porto Covo to Carrapateira, via sections of the Fisherman’s Trail and Historical Way. This series of posts covers our travel and explorations between the starting point of Lisbon, and our endpoint of Lagos. The Rota Vicentina is a network of official trails that connect the historic fishing villages of the southwest Alentejo region and Vicentina Coast Natural Park.
This post covers the resources we found helpful for trip planning, while subsequent posts describe our travels.
Part 2 of our walking trek down the southwestern Portugal coast on sections of the Fisherman’s Trail and Historical Way. This post covers our time after leaving Zambujeira do Mar for Odeceixe, and onward to our final destination, Carrapateira.