Astoria airport Picos de Europa.

morgs2001
morgs2001 Posts: 159
edited May 2016 in Tour & expedition
Hello forum,
A couple of friends and I are travelling to the Picos de Europa in May this year via Asturias airport.
My question is,does anyone know where I could leave a bike bag whilst we are on our 5 day tour .
Also any tips or recommendations in relation to the Picos clothing/weather wise for that time of year.

regards
David.

Comments

  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    edited February 2016
    I can't help on the airport (we got the boat to the Picos when we went there a couple of years ago). But booking the same hotel the first night and last night has never let us down on any tour in the past!

    Firstly - just the best place for riding a bike! Beautiful with some fabulous climbs and the best people and food. Loved it and we intend to return.

    The Picos, and Asturias is general, is a fairly wet and green region compared to much of spain. So, you'd certainly want a bit of wet weather gear, but it should generally be warm and humid rain, so don't go overboard (but look ahead if you are climbing one of the big passes as even in May it can be cold up the top if the weather is against you). I think like many mountain regions, you are likely to see heavy, but short downpours more than persistent rain all day (though that is perfectly possible as well!). So, have a rain jacket etc., but also think about taking shelter in a bar and having a coffee or Asturian cider for an hour.

    Being fairly warm is the big difference in my mind. We've toured in really wet and humid conditions (Thailand) and did not have any wet weather gear there, as despite being drenched, as soon as the rain stops, you're dry in minutes. Asturias is not quite that crazy, but you are unlikely to take long to dry out once the rain stops.

    Enjoy it, it is a very beautiful region and the food is fabulous. Fabada is about the best cycling food ever (unless you are veggie!). Most bars/restaurants do very good menu of the day with 3 courses (and half a bottle of wine) for 10-14 Euros.
  • thanks Marcus, sounds great.
    Definitely not a veggie so i will be looking for the Fabada at the earliest opportunity.
    regards
  • hdow
    hdow Posts: 184
    Having been to the Picos a number of times in addition to several other visits to other parts of Asturias (and south into Leon) I can only second Marcus' comments about the excellence of cycling there.
    Cycling out of the airport is dad easy but keep of the A81 at the airport exit. There is no left luggage as you have no doubt found already. We bit the bullet & carried the bike bags.
    The weather can vary widely. One May it was 35C every day with only early morning clouds brushing the peaks. My last trip it struggled into the teens with alternating wet & dry days. OC in heavy rain ascending then descending Puerto de Piedraluengas was not fun.
    Asturian cider is an acquired taste so share a bottle first. Like in most of Spain there is a strong tradition of local cooking. Seafood along the coast is excellent and often something of a bargain compared with elsewhere. Pension Begona in Posada de Valdeon does very traditional local food (when we were there last) and is an excellent place to stay.
    There are plenty of places to stay but I would recommend booking in advance for weekends or remote spots like Valdeon as good weather brings out walkers, mountain bikes and others who love the area.
    You didn't say what route you are taking to & from the airport to the Picos. That part can be pretty good too.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Ha - we stayed in Pension Begona and agree the food was excellent. We were aiming for Camping El Cares, but had run out of legs for the day, so booked a room there instead. We carried on the few km to the El Cares camping the next day and that is a campsite we still talk about, just superb!

    Waking up to the views in the morning:

    DSC01933-WEB.jpeg

    The Cares Gorge walk is amazing, if you have a head for heights. The ride down to the start (and then the ride back up) is rather stern though! Glad we were on an unloaded tandem, not sure we'd have got back up if we were loaded.

    Fuente De cable car is also worth doing (and then walking up at the top) - again, a head for heights is needed!

    Both of these clearly involve not being on a bike, so may not be what you want to get up to, but both are spectacular and well worth doing if you have time.
  • Thanks everyone,some good stuff there.
    Thanks Hdow for the advice about riding from the airport.Looks like we will have to pack up the bikes in disposable packaging which is a shame .
    We are planning to do the Care gorge walk halfway through there tour and taking the bikes up the Fuente de cable car to bike down the track.Ive seen videos of this and it appears doable on a tour bike with 28c tyres with care,any thoughts?
    thanks again for the replies.
  • hdow
    hdow Posts: 184
    There was, and probably still is, a seasonal shuttle bus serving both ends of the Cares gorge so that you can walk the whole thing without having to retrace your steps.

    I've heard of the cable car ride and fancy doing it sometime myself. I think you may need to get there early so that there is space for the bikes. No doubt the locals will be able to advise. Cannot comment on the actual track from the top of the cable car but have done Espinama to Sotres the on to La Hermida on a hybrid with I think 32 tyres without difficulty but taking a bit of care on some sections. To be honest I've done worse off road stuff on 28 Gatorskins. When I did it the climb out of Espinama was quite loose on the steeper bits. One reason to take care is that although there are plenty of mountain bike hire places in the Picos I couldn't track down a bike shop. The nearest I found was at Pesues on the coast and it was closed the day I needed it. Could always hire mountain bikes for the day which removes any worries.

    Looks like you're in for a great trip,
  • Hi David, I'm sure you'll have a great trip, our group were there in 2012 ( we finished in Gijon having travelled from Santiago de Compostella) and the weather, apart from some drizzle on the last day and some interesting cross-winds, was very good indeed (this also in mid-May), certainly never cold though our highest point was only about 2,000ft.

    We're also back again in May this year, flying in to Bilbao and back from Asturias, 18 to 22 May- happy to compare notes/suggestions etc. We've got a coach pick up arranged to take us west of Santander to start cycling closer to the Picos.

    Des.
  • Hello again,
    when I know some more,I will post the route details.
    As its quite a short trip we are B&Bing but the look of that campsite looks very tempting.
    thanks again folks very useful replies.
  • DAY1 Asturias airport to Campo de Caso(approx 68 miles)
    DAY2 Campo de Caso to Potes(80 miles)
    DAY3 Potes to Poncebos(35 miles) plus a walk to Bulnes possibly?
    DAY4 Walk the Cares gorge then cycle to Cangas de Onis(24 miles)
    DAY5 Cangas de Ovnis to airport(65 miles)

    This is the itinerary at the moment,anybody any thoughts?

    regards
    David
    ps tried to put a route map on but not sure how to attach it.
  • hdow
    hdow Posts: 184
    Looks like some long days in the hills.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    There are some big days in there, but if you're happy with the distances, looks a good few days, if not a little rushed for such a beautiful area.

    If you've still got legs and time on day 4, an evening raid up to Covadonga lakes (a classic climb that has been used in the Vuelta a number of times - we only got up to the cathedral as the road up to the lakes was closed off for some reason, so it's still there on the to do list!). It has around 1000m of height gain in the 20km from Cangas, so it's pretty serious stuff!
  • ...there are some busy roads around Oviedo and Gijon....we found ourselves heading into Gijon a few years back on a busy dual carriageway - bad planning on our part, I guess! Gijon itself has a lovely sea-front if you're route from the airport was taking you that way.
    I know it can be tedious but Google street view is a great tool for assessing road suitability...

    For our trip, we've kept the mileage down (we're a very mixed bunch!) with tougher option for those inclined .. here's a brief summary:
    Day 1..Comillas (on the coast, west of Santander) to Llanes...30 odd miles undulating coast road...(easy day, we'll have been up since 3.30am!)
    Day 2 Llanes inland to Congas de Onis, via the Lagos de Covadonga climb...40 miles and time for the hard core to do it twice. The real softies can just go straight to the hotel or maybe as far as Covadonga village.
    Day 3 Congas to Riano, south along the N625, which looks lovely, and Riano itself looks spectacular, sat on a lake/reservoir. This is 40 miles of gradual climbing and with an optional loop via Cazo.
    Day 4. 50 miles downhill (wheeeee!) along the AS117 (past Caso de Campo) to Pola de Laviana for lunch and our transport to our Oviedo hotel for a night on the town before flying back Sunday.
  • brilliant folks
    It looks like we may have changed the route a bit,going along the coast on the first day before heading inland ,
    means a slightly longer day on day 2.
    I am slightly worried by the distances ,especially as I have only done similar distances on a light bike before.
    Im probably the fittest of our group of three,but I suppose we do have all day to do them.
    Im sure it will be great fun,really looking forward to it and thanks for all the help and advice,really useful.
  • deswahriff
    deswahriff Posts: 310
    ...just an update for anyone interested. Our group are just back from a stunning 5 days in Asturias. If you're thinking about going - please do, its fantastic!!
    The scenery is jaw droppingly stunning, whether coast or mountain, there are plenty of tasty climbs, food and drink are cheap ( 3 course meal €11, incl wine!) and the people most welcoming as they don't (yet) get the mass tourism.
    The week before our visit, I happened to be in Palma on a city break and took the opportunity to hire a bike and do Sa Colobra - all lovely stuff but boy, was it busy! Asturias is the opposite - just no-one around, maybe the occasional vehicle but we had the Covadonga pretty much to ourselves (compare that to Mt Ventoux last year!!). I know its still early season, but apart from walkers doing the Camino, it doesn't get hugely busy in the summer, we were told. We were lucky with the weather...26c on the 2 big days, and just made our finishing point before an almighty thunder storm on our final day.
    Asturias/Northern Spain is now the only part of Spain I want to go back to...
    ..and to top it off, Oviedo is a cracking, kicking town for a final nights r and r after a hard cycle...! its full of students, cider bars, cool cocktail bars, traditional bars, and on the Sunday morning, we witnessed a 10k charity run which had all the razzamatazz of the London Marathon...

    ... some words of warning, one of our group was fined €100 for using his phone while cycling, and pedestrians always seem to wait for the "green man" before crossing, so I suspect J walking incurs a fine too. Not so many English speakers either, so brush up on your Spanish...
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    deswahriff wrote:
    ...just an update for anyone interested. Our group are just back from a stunning 5 days in Asturias. If you're thinking about going - please do, its fantastic!!
    The scenery is jaw droppingly stunning, whether coast or mountain, there are plenty of tasty climbs, food and drink are cheap ( 3 course meal €11, incl wine!) and the people most welcoming as they don't (yet) get the mass tourism.
    The week before our visit, I happened to be in Palma on a city break and took the opportunity to hire a bike and do Sa Colobra - all lovely stuff but boy, was it busy! Asturias is the opposite - just no-one around, maybe the occasional vehicle but we had the Covadonga pretty much to ourselves (compare that to Mt Ventoux last year!!). I know its still early season, but apart from walkers doing the Camino, it doesn't get hugely busy in the summer, we were told. We were lucky with the weather...26c on the 2 big days, and just made our finishing point before an almighty thunder storm on our final day.
    Asturias/Northern Spain is now the only part of Spain I want to go back to...
    ..and to top it off, Oviedo is a cracking, kicking town for a final nights r and r after a hard cycle...! its full of students, cider bars, cool cocktail bars, traditional bars, and on the Sunday morning, we witnessed a 10k charity run which had all the razzamatazz of the London Marathon...

    ... some words of warning, one of our group was fined €100 for using his phone while cycling, and pedestrians always seem to wait for the "green man" before crossing, so I suspect J walking incurs a fine too. Not so many English speakers either, so brush up on your Spanish...

    Sounds great, it's on my to go list... 8)
    left the forum March 2023
  • whoof
    whoof Posts: 756
    We rode from Bilbao inland and on to St John Pied de Port in the Pyrenees a few years ago (13) and had the roads to ourselves. I've been meaning to go back, possibly from Porto north and then East to San Sebastian or Bilbao. This year it's missed out to a trip from Vienna to Venice but your write-up sounds really good* so I might start making plans for next year.

    *Except the bit below, I'm getting to an age where I prefer a place to be full of pensioners and shops selling sticky buns.


    deswahriff wrote:
    ...
    its full of students, cider bars, cool cocktail bars,
  • deswahriff
    deswahriff Posts: 310
    whoof wrote:
    *Except the bit below, I'm getting to an age where I prefer a place to be full of pensioners and shops selling sticky buns.
    deswahriff wrote:
    ...
    its full of students, cider bars, cool cocktail bars,

    ..haha...honestly, it was fine - none of us are spring chickens ( 1or 2 like to think they are) but the atmosphere was really nice - unlike your average town centre here.
    In fact, a few of us broke away from the peloton (in the cool cocktail bar) to find the "old man" bar we often try to seek out but ended up instead in a buzzing sideraria watching the bar staff pouring cider from a great height for a bunch of cheery student types... :-)