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Asturias to Cantabria: Drive & Explore Holiday

Green pastures to golden sands; scenic backroads to shepherd caves; rural villages to rushing rivers. Enjoy it all in this peaceful pocket of northern Spain.

All your questions answered

Helping you find the right holiday for you is important to us, so here's a few common questions about this trip to help. If there's anything you'd like to know that's not covered here, send us over a message or you can also give us a call on +44 1273 676 712 and we'd be only too pleased to help.

What flexibility will I get with any Covid-19 restrictions?


First thing to say is that throughout the pandemic we have frequently been praised by Which? as a tour operator to trust, so you're in good hands. Your safety is always our top priority and we want you to be able to fully look forward to and enjoy your holiday with peace of mind.

Even as restrictuons ease, our policy remains as it always has - we view quarantines as a travel restriction on a par with lockdown, in-country restrictions at your destination or FCDO advice against travel, and we will offer the same flexibility as in those situations; defer to new dates or a full refund at the point at which your trip is imminent. In these cases, we define imminent travel as a month prior to departure.

Read more: Covid-19 FAQs

What is the payment process and is my money completely safe?


We take a 15% deposit to secure your holiday, with the remainder due four weeks before your departure, rather than the usual eight weeks.

Your money is 100% protected through our ATOL licence if your trip includes a flight booked through us, or through our ABTOT bond if it does not. Either way, this protection provides a cast iron financial guarantee and helps you book with complete peace of mind. Because the contract between us exists here in the UK, you get this protection regardless of where you live

When is the best time to go?


This trip can start any day of the week from April through to late October. The weather in this part of Spain is mixed. If you travel in May or June you are likely to enjoy pleasant daytime temperatures of around 15°- 20°C and the most beautiful blossomed pastures, though you will almost certainly see some rain and cloudy days. The peak summer months of July and August are warmest though still daytime temperatures are unlikely to go much over 25°.

September is usually the driest month of the year, it will be pleasantly warm and the sea should still be good for a refreshing dip. October is going to be similar to May/June and as you get into later October the autumnal colours will be beautiful.

When is peak season?


Peak season is from mid July to end of August as the Spanish take their annual holidays. Easter is also usually busy.

How far ahead should I book?


If you have a limited travel window and specific dates we suggest you book around nine months ahead. If you are flexible with dates, then three – four months ahead should be fine.

How much carbon is produced on this trip and how is it mitigated?


Total carbon generated on this trip: 292kg per person
Carbon mitigated by us:
467kg per person

As Yvon Chouinard, of Patagonia, Inc. rightly declared: “To do good, you actually have to do something.”

Therefore, for every kilometre travelled by road, air and sea on your Pura Aventura holiday, we carbon balance it by a mile - i.e. by 160% of your trip's carbon, from your front door and back again, irrespective of whether we book your international travel or not.

This is one of the travel industry's most ambitious and innovative schemes and has recently been praised by Wanderlust, Condé Nast Traveller and The Independent.

If you prefer to travel by ferry, see below for more details on how this can cut the footprint of this trip.

Which airports are best for this holiday?


The best airports to begin and end this trip at are Bilbao and Santander. The latter closer to the Picos de Europa, but there are generally more options to fly into Bilbao. Both of these cities have major ferry ports which receive overnight ferries from the south of the UK. Please see below for more details on how you can enjoy this holiday from the UK without flying, if that's of interest.

Can I do this trip without flying?


Yes, this is a great option for a No Fly Holiday, taking your car with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth or Plymouth.

This 'No Fly' option would cut the carbon footprint for this trip by around 40-50%.

Because you wouldn't be paying for flights, luggage or seat selection, and are taking your own car (and, therefore, do not need the hire car included in the price of this trip), the cost is comparable with flying. That includes your own sleeping cabin too.

There are regular sailings between Portsmouth and Santander/Bilbao, and between Plymouth and Santander, and we will happily advise on your options. Both the start and end points of this trip are within an hour or two of the Spanish ports, so it's all very comfortable.

Timed right, in 2021 you will spend one night aboard the ferry in each direction. As of 2022, outbound sailings from Portsmouth will take around 30 hours and require two nights on board. The pay off for this is that the new ferries will cut carbon emissions by a further 25% compared to the current boats. The return journeys are usually then just one night. There are no planned changes for the Plymouth route, so it's one night both ways. You will usually have breakfasts and dinners included.

Receive Full Details & Ask About No Fly Options

Is this trip suitable for solo travellers?


Most of the costs of this holiday are fixed so going solo will usually mean you pay nearly the same for one person as you would for two. If you enjoy time to yourself then the experience itself will be absolutely lovely, and safe.

How active is this trip?


A major advantage of having your own car is overall you have complete control over how much or how little you do on any given day. We, or our local hosts, provide you with maps and walking routes for a variety of walks in each place from half-day strolls to more challenging routes.

We also include kayaking/canoeing and canyoning on this trip. If you want to be less active we can include more cultural options as well as food tours. Generally, it can be as active as you want it to be.

What if I get lost or need some help?


Although this is an independent self-drive holiday, we are always on hand to help and advise should you need us. You will be given a local support number before you travel - we are always on hand 24/7.

How comfortable will I be?


The accommodation on this journey is comfortable though not fancy. The hotels are often made from traditional stone with thick walls and small windows, but great balconies and garden areas. You will always have a warm welcome from the hosts.

Will I meet the locals?


For sure. The way of life up in the mountains has changed remarkably little in the last 50 years, you will still see people scything the hay and leading their sheep out to graze in the high pastures.

You have time with your own local guide exploring the area so we fully expect you to come away from this trip having had a great, fun adventure holiday in beautiful surroundings, but also with an appreciation of the local culture.

What type of vehicle can I expect?


The vehicle will be suitable for the destination, the distances you are expected to cover, roads, and number of people travelling. For two people travelling to Spain you can expect a medium-sized vehicle such as a VW Golf or Seat Ibiza. We can’t guarantee the make and model. Speak to us if you prefer a larger vehicle.

If you need an automatic car, that's no problem, though we do need to know in advance as most are manual transmission. Cost of automatic cars tends to be higher.

Generally the hire cars include one named driver. You can add drivers locally and pay locally. The charges do vary depending on the location but it is usually no more than Euro 10 per day.

Can I make changes to this trip?


Absolutely. This trip can be tailored to suit you so speak to us if you would like to include more activities or extend your stay to include other parts of Spain.

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