We departed Comillas around 10.30am. Life on the road is not conducive to early departures as we initially planned to leave much earlier! I took a shower and half way through washing my hair the water ran out. Great. To add to that it was a freezing cold night as Terry had left the front door locked but ajar. Very disappointed in his security measures, especially as we stayed at Comillas beach car park! Either way we were safe, but I was left with half shampooed hair, wrapped in a towel. Luckily there was fresh water available at the car park so we filled up the tank and whilst doing so, Terry got pretty wet!
After all three of us showered (one of the perks of going for a motorhome over a campervan), we eventually took off along the ocean road to seek out the mountains. We were heading to the stunning Picos de Europa National Park. A must do in Northern Spain. We followed the road from Unquera to Potes and admired the beauty along the way. It was truly mesmerising, if not a little hairy now and again with the motorhome. Every twist and turn we were treated to views of snow capped mountains and in part, through an insanely beautiful gorges with overhanging rocks. We were headed for Fuente De up in the mountains at 1100 metres, a cable car that takes you directly to the top of some mountains of Pico De Europa (Terry just loves mountains, so was really excited by this). We decided this was probably the easiest way to discover the national park with our one year old in tow.
This is our first look at the mountains greeting us on our journey to climb to the top!
Luckily for us it was open (as its out of season we are finding many attractions closed) so we were ready to explore as it sounded like it would be well worth the trip. It took us around 2 hours with picture stops to get from Comillas to Fuente De. When you arrive, you usually purchase your ticket in the little office and wait for your number to be called. This is a great way of letting you relax before you take the journey, rather than queuing for an hour. Plus a genius idea of the attraction as it meant you had to sit in the café and no doubt have coffee and cake! As it was very quiet (literally 6 people in the cable car that takes 20), we went straight through and up we went.
Yes it travels ALL the way to the viewing platform at the top! We were fortunate enough to have a stunning day. No wind, just pure sunshine. However we made the terrible error of forgetting Ethan’s sunglasses. We would have stayed up there for hours if it wasn’t for Ethan’s streaming eyes! The cable car itself is really new and clean, it’s a smooth ride to the top and takes around 3 minutes to climb up 753 metres to the top of the mountain (and we were already at 1100 metres!).
Once on the top you have plenty of time to look around the top of the mountains and it truly is mesmerising. Absolutely breath-taking. Pure snowy vistas as far as your eye can see and birds of prey flying overhead. There was no time limit to staying on the mountain, the last ride down is 18:30 and there’s no camping up there (just in case you wondered!). We saw a few people sledding in the distance, great idea we thought!
Theres a really good little visitor centre at the top explaining how it was made and the history behind it, well worth a read as it was fascinating to see the original pictures from 1967. All in all, a top attraction in Northern Spain. A beautiful drive full of rolling hills, local traditional villages and snow capped mountains, and with just a few minutes walk at the top if you’re lucky, you wont see anyone else around, just you and your family on the top of a snowy mountain. It’s great if you don’t have time to hike to the top, or you can’t venture that far with a little one. And at 17 euros per adult to climb to the top of the mountain range, it truly is worth every penny. To top it off you can overnight in your motorhome in the car park, so free camping too!
When researching the Picos de Europa, I found it quite hard to find out any information on the best things to do with children, short walks and attractions that are appropriate. So I’ve put together a little guide for you!
Location: If coming from the east, turn off the motorway at Unquera and follow the road to Potes, here you can turn off for Fuente De. It’s a beautiful drive and if nothing else, worth the venture. There are many treks you can do from Potes, so ask at the local tourist information for a trek that suits you. If you like hiking up towards the top of mountains, this is your place. It’s not for flat, easy hiking by any means so no go for a pushchair.
Overnight: You can stay for free at the Fuente De car park. The mountains are pretty much year round covered in snow so it can get pretty cold up there. Make sure you have enough warm bedding! There is also fresh water available, however not drinkable.
Random tips: Take sunglasses for your little ones, and suncream of course. There is a small café at Fuente De if you are stuck for food and the nearest supermarket is back in Potes, around a 30 minute drive. There’s a small play park just down from the carpark so at least an hours entertainment if you need to pass some time!
All in all, a very worthwhile trip!