A Self-Guided Trip – 7 Days & 6 Nights
This popular summer-only hiking trip in the Sierra de Gredos uses a single overnight base in a high northern valley at 1500 meters (4920 ft) and is designed for exploration of the cool alpine zone with daily opportunities for easy summit ascents. You’ll enjoy grassy meadows, spectacular but safe ridge walks and simple scrambles on beautiful granite, as well as lower-elevation riverside trails and opportunities for refreshing dips in natural river pools. A highlight is an excursion to the fantastic Gredos Cirque and glacial lake, with options for 1 or 2 overnight stays at the emblematic mountain hut there to allow better exploration of the cirque. For those who prefer to sleep in our valley-based hotel instead of staying at the hut, the cirque can also be visited as a day trip.
2 Price Options: transfers included or self-drive. Since this is not an inn-to-inn hiking trip, you will be based in 1 village for the entire trip. Most hikes require a transfer to and from the trailhead. We offer a “transfers-included” version in which we arrange all local transfers for hikes.
We also offer a “self-drive” version, for those who prefer to arrange a rental or hire car. Having your own vehicle gives you a little more flexibility in terms of which hikes to do
Remember, shorter custom itineraries can be easily arranged!
7 Days, 6 Nights. 5 days of hiking.
120 km from Madrid – several daily connections by rail or bus
B+ to D-
8 – 17 km / 5 – 10.5 miles
5 nights in a 3* family-run “character” hotel. 1 night in a mountain hut (shared bunks, shared toilets, etc.), with 2 options available: spend this night in your hotel instead, at a no additional expense OR spend a 2nd night at the hut at small additional expense (35€ per person).
June 1 – Sept 30. Start any day of the week except Fridays
Price per person in twin/double rooms: 1025€
Single room supplement: 150€
Price per person in twin/double rooms: 925€
Single room supplement: 150€
6 nights accommodation
6 breakfasts, 5 generous picnic lunch bags,
2 evening meals: 1 night at hotel (full course with good local wine & bottled water); 1 night at hut (full course – wine extra).
Detailed daily route notes, 1 high-quality topographic map (1:25,000) and color printed-out custom-made supplementary topographic maps with daily hiking routes marked. Hotel contact information, a city map of Avila, public transport information (for Madrid-Avila travel on transfers-included version). One set per room.
Telephone numbers for local English-speaking contact for help in event of emergencies, etc
NOTES ON OVERNIGHTS AT MOUNTAIN HUT
SCHEDULED DAY 4 OVERNIGHT AT THE ELOLA HUT: the Gredos cirque and surrounding area is best explored by using the Elola Hut as a base, BUT IF you prefer NOT to sleep in the hut but rather in your hotel—just let us know— and instead you can visit the cirque on day walks.
OPTIONAL DAY 5 EXTRA OVERNIGHT AT THE ELOLA HUT: we offer the option of staying a 2nd consecutive night at the hut, thus allowing the possibility of climbing to the summit of Almanzor or visiting the neighboring Cinco Lagunas Cirque. A supplemental charge of 35 euros per person will apply. This includes overnight, dinner, breakfast and a picnic bag. You can choose this option during the booking process.
From Avila to Hoyos on Day 2
3 return trips from Hoyos del Espino to La Plataforma (or en-route) for walking in high mountains on any day.
Additional transfers to or from La Plataforma cost 10 euros each way paid direct to driver. Prices for transfers to other local hiking locations provided in your route note information.
Transfer from Hoyos del Espino to Avila train station on Day 7.
Airport transfers or travel to and from tour start and end points are NOT included.
Optional transfers (not included in trip cost) at start & end of trip between Madrid (airport or city) and Avila: 125 euros
All included transfers are pre-arranged by us but can be modified by you via the hotel who will communicate with the driver.
Ávila – this walled medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great introduction to the Castile region
Traditional mountain villages – authentic rural Spain where locals harvest their orchards and olive groves and tend their livestock as in years gone by. You’ll likely to see them walking with their donkeys, or riding horseback down the main street of town!
Fauna & flora – ibex, multicoloured lizards and soaring birds of prey jostle for the walker’s attention with spectacular views, myriad lichens, wildflowers and butterflies.
Superb natural river pools – there are literally hundreds of amazing natural pools in the rivers of Gredos. Bathing in these pools is a big part of local summertime culture. Most of our hikes offer the opportunity to stop for a dip. The water is cold but the pleasure from warming up in the sun on the rocks is pure bliss!
A world-class mountain environment – within the Spanish mountaineering and climbing community, Gredos is considered one of the country’s prime locations, and is the setting for training courses run by top outdoor schools for ice climbing, alpine and ski mountaineering, traditional and sport rock climbing, parasailing, mountain biking, etc.
Easy access – just 90 minutes west of Madrid by train or car, the location of the Gredos is perfect for adding a day or more to your trip to visit other historic cities of Castile, such as Segovia (85 km from Ávila) or Salamanca, (100 km from Ávila) or Toledo(just 75 km from Madrid).
Individual arrival in Avila, Spain’s highest provincial capital (1130 m), with 11th – 12th C. walls and Spain’s earliest Gothic cathedral. Avila is also famous as the birthplace of Santa Teresa, the 16th century mystic and ascetic, and where she founded her order of nuns – the ‘Barefoot Carmelites’.
Overnight: 2 – 3* hotel or inn in Avila
Explore Avila in the morning if you like, then transfer to your hotel in Hoyos del Espino, at 1500m elevation – gateway to the alpine zone of Gredos. Check in, pick up your picnic lunch bag and head out the door to start walking. Your notes will include plenty of choices for each of next 5 days. Following is a suggested itinerary:
Begin with the Gredos Regional Park visitor centre, just a short walk from Hoyos, for an excellent visual presentation of the park and its fauna and flora. Then walk through pine forests on an age-old Royal Livestock Drover’s Trail to the a superb natural swimming spot in a sheer-sided chasm.
Overnight: 3* hotel or inn in Hoyos del Espino
Next day, your 1st walk in the high mountains, to the favourite hunting grounds of General Franco and Spanish kings! Ancient paths lead to a traditional pass used by smugglers over the centuries for superb views over the Tiétar Valley, 1500 m below. Ibex and griffon vultures are sure sightings here.
Overnight: 2 – 3* hotel or inn in Hoyos del Espino
The Gredos Cirque is the jewel of the range, an immense arête-ringed amphitheatre and glacial lake, dominated by Almanzor (2592m), the highest peak in central Spain. Get there via an easy ascent to the summit of Morezón (2340 m) for unparalleled views of the jagged panorama of the cirque, then a simple scramble down to Elola Hut.
Overnight: Elola Mountain Hut at 1950 metres elevation
Various return options exist but one we like is via the rarely-visited Gredos Gorge, spectacular terrain with numerous pools and waterfalls.
Overnight: 2 -3* hotel or inn in Hoyos del Espino
On your final day, either walk along the main ridge to the summit of La Mira (2341 metres) for unmatched 360º views into four Spanish provinces. A gentler alternative follows the meandering Tormes River to lovely slickrock pools.
Overnight: 2 -3* hotel or inn in Hoyos del Espino
From Hoyos del Espino you will be transferred back to Avila’s RENFE train station, where you can get trains to Madrid or other destinations. Alternatively we can arrange a taxi transfer all the way to Madrid.