Summer in the Cantabrian Mountains

€ 1,575 / per person
  • 7 Days
  • From June 17 to June 23, 2024
  • Tour Limit 7
  • € 325 SINGLE SUP.

Some key species of this tour

Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, White-winged Snowfinch, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Lammergeier, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Egyptian Vulture, Golden Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Black Woodpecker, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Citril Finch, Water Pipit, Common Redstart, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Citril Finch, Bullfinch...

The price includes

  • Ground transport from Bilbao airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicle
  • 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom near Potes
  • All meals inc breakfast, fantastic “tapas-raciones” lunches and evening meals + red wine in a moderate consumption
  • Services of professional birding guide
  • Cable car return tickets
  • Basic travel insurance
  • Bird checklist
  • All taxes

Price doesn’t include

  • Air fare (Easyjet, Ryanair & other companies operate daily flights from several UK airports) 
  • Extra drinks and other items of a personal nature

A detailed itinerary of this tour

Day 1 / June 17: Bilbao airport - La Hermida - Potes (Picos de Europa)

Meet and welcome at Bilbao airport before heading to the picturesque town of Potes via the impressive La Hermida gorges. Depending on flight schedules we may do some birding in a near our hotel which still has excellent old oaks and Chesnut trees. In the holes of these ancient trees a few pairs of Common Redstart breed while Yellowhammer, Tree Pipit, Wryneck and European Serin are also well present. Dinner and accommodation near Potes.

Day 2 / June 18: Potes - San Glorio  

Today we will visit the San Glorio mountain pass. There are several interesting sites to enjoy birds and butterflies on the journey up, so we will certainly make a few stops before reaching the top. Here Tree Pipit, Citril Finch, Northern Wheatear and Common Linnet are all present. This area is still good for the elusive Grey Partridge, a hard-to-find species which behaves very like a mountain bird in Northern Spain. This is as well a great location to look for the scarce and endemic Chapman’s Ringlet, the largest of all the ringlet butterflies present in Europe. Dinner and accommodation near Potes.

Day 3 / June 19: Potes - Fuente De (Cable car day) 

This is definitely the most exciting day for all tours to the Picos de Europa. Taking the cable car from Fuente Dé to the top of the mountain and so accessing mountain habitat of over 1,800 m.a.s.l will provide us with excellent opportunities for seeing some of the special birds present in this corner of Spain. Wallcreeper, White-winged Snowfinch , Alpine Accentor, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and Alpine Chough will be our main targets while we should also find Northern Wheatear, Water Pipit and Egyptian Vulture. There is no better place in the country which gives the chance to see all these birds without strenuous hiking being involved! We will explore the rocky cliffs and glacial pools, where we hope to find the rare Alpine Newt. Lammergeiers are also here thanks to a succesful reintroduction plan which is taking place in these mountains. Before returning to our hotel in Potes we will walk into the woods next to a charming mountain village where Middle-spotted Woodpeckers breed and where we have previously seen Black Woodpecker. Dinner and accommodation near Potes.

Day 4 / June 20: Potes - Local birding near our hotel 

There are plenty roads and hiking itineraries starting near Potes. On our fourth day of tour we will spend part of the day exploring some woods under a more Mediterranean influence. We will try to find Firecrest, Cirl Bunting, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, European Honey Buzzard and Red-backed Shrike. Amongst the butterflies we should also see the showy Cleopatra, Brimstone and Spanish Swallowtail. Orchids, with particularly abundant Pink Butterfly and Lizards are specially attractive due to its variety.

Day 5 / June 21: Potes - Piedrasluengas - San Salvador (Romanesque church) 

The popular Piedrasluengas mountain pass is one of the best sites for Black Woodpecker (although still very tough!) but there are also other interesting birds that might be seen here like Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Golden Eagle and Yellow-billed Chough. Anyway the views of the impressive mountain chain of Picos is just breathtaking! Not far from there and crossing the border into the Castilla y León region there are a couple of sites where Brown Bears are being occasionally reported. These are also good places for Rock Bunting and Eurasian Bullfinch. A quick visit to the beautiful Romanesque church of San Salvador de Cantamuda and its surrounding fields will make all a very special day.

Day 6 / June 22: Potes - Vega de Liebana (and surroundings) 

The little villages in the area known as the Valle de Liébana all provide good chances to see Common Redstarts breeding in the old buildings and tree holes. Various common birds are also present in their surrounding orchards as well as these being good places to look for Wryneck and Great Spotted Woodpecker. However, our main target today will be the very localized Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper and Red-backed Shrikes should be also seen today.

Day 7 / June 23: Potes - Bilbao airport 

If time allows we will make a couple of stops along the coastline to look for a few new species for our tour including waders and gulls. Transfer to Bibao airport where the trip ends.


The status of some bird species nesting in the Picos de Europa doesn't recommend to publish locations where we will be trying to find them. So this itinerary is just a basic idea of what we could do and what we might see during the week. Your guide will provide precise details about daily plans during the trip.

This is the map of PICOS DE EUROPA