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Active, self-guided cycling and walking holidays in unexplored Spain

Sustainable tourism watermarkDuraton Canyon panorama with san frutos chapel in the background

Walking holidaysWalking in Segovia's Natural Parks

Combine a visit to trendy Madrid with our walking tour in nearby Segovia. The city will surprise you as it is one of Europe´s greatest monumental cities and walking in the Guadarrama National Park and the Duraton Canyon will be an experience to remember.

From 630 € per person

Difficulty level gauge

Difficulty:Easy-Moderate

Details ...

Duration:7 nights, 8 days

Dates:April to 31st October

Start:Any day of the week

Location on map of Spain

Predominantly flat route with a few small ascents each day.

Average daily distance / climb:9 miles (14 km) / 1352 ft (413 m).

Description

Discover the beauty of the Guadarrama National Park, the enchanting UNESCO World Heritage City of Segovia and the magic of the Duraton Canyon.

  • Take a step back in time in the enchanting historic city of Segovia, World Heritage Site, with its remarkable Roman aqueduct and captivating castle and cathedral.
  • Delight your senses as you walk through the aromatic pine woodland of the Guadarrama National Park, home to the Iberian wolf, wild boar, deer and a host of birds of prey.
  • Immerse yourself in Castilian culture as you stroll through centuries-old ochre villages and towns anchored in an age long past.
  • Discover the timeless beauty of the hanging houses of Sepulveda, a Historic-Artistic site with its abundance of Romanesque monuments and elegant 11th century nobel houses.
  • Walk through the impressive canyon of the Duraton river as squadrons of magnificent griffon vultures spiral overhead.
  • Wander the cobbled streets of San Ildefonso with its resplendent royal palace nestled at the feet of the highest peak in the park, Peñalara at 2.428 m.
  • Drove roads, country lanes, riverside paths and quiet cobbled streets acompany you through this tailor-made walking route.
  • Enjoy the wonderful food of this region and the local white (Rueda) and red (Ribera del Duero) wines.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Segovia

Arrival at the ancient city of Segovia, situated in the heart of central Spain. Your hotel is situated in the very Plaza Mayor, the heart of the pedestrianised historic center.

Day 2: City tour in Segovia

Segovia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Today you have a chance to explore its many historic jewels like the towering Roman Aqueduct, a veritable marvel of ancient civil engineering. Take time to enjoy a chilled glass of wine in the exquisite 'Plaza Mayor' while contemplating the magnificent cathedral, then take a stroll to the fairytale, ornate Alcazar, where queen Isabel sent Christopher Columbus on his exploration of the Americas.

Day 3: Riverside walk to Valsain

Distance: 6-11 miles (10-17 km). Climb: 1280 ft (390 m).

A short free transfer takes you to the historic town of San Ildefonso from where you start a circular walk along the banks of the river Eresma as its meanders through the tranquil pineforest. You'll pass through the mountain village of Valsain where the local woodcutters, cow herders and horsemen maintain ancient traditions with a modern twist!

Day 4: Circular walk to 'El Chorro' waterfall

Distance: 7 miles (11 km). Climb: 1522 ft (464 m).

Today you will come upon the refreshing pools of the 'El Chorro' waterfall as you pass through the oak and pine woodland on the slopes of Peñalara. You can combine your walk with a visit to the magnificent palace of San Ildefonso, surrounded by grand gardens and ornate fountains, and the interesting glass-making exhibition and museum, well worth a visit.

Day 5: Walk along the foothills

Distance: 10 miles (16 km). Climb: 1378 ft (420 m).

Today's transfer takes you to Pradena to walk along ancient drover's tracks taking you through sweet-scented juniper forests to the traditional little mountain village of Gallegos.

Day 6: Walk amongst sunflower fields towards Sepulveda

Distance: 10 miles (16 km). Climb: 1378 ft (420 m).

From the mountains another short transfer takes you towards the plains of Castile, to follow a GR route through picturesque fields of cereals and sunflowers. You then descend into a gorge with towering limestone cliffs, home to a multitude of birds and other wildlife. You will spend the last two nights in the ancient hill-top town of Sepulveda.

Day 7: Circular walk in the Duratón Canyon

Distance: 10 miles (16 km). Climb: 1204 ft (367 m).

Your final walk is along the peaceful riverside of the Duraton Canyon Natural Park. Spiraling above you, you will see circling birds of prey which nest on the limestone cliffs either side of the river. A special permit will give you privileged access to this protected area.

Day 8: Return home

Or why not enjoy an extra night or two in Segovia or Madrid?

Travel

Frequent questions:

Which airport should I fly to?
Madrid International Airport.
How do I get to the Starting Point?
Catch an AVE, high speed train, from Madrid to Segovia (takes approx 25mins).
How do I get back?
By bus from Sepulveda to Madrid or book our private transfer from Sepulveda to Segovia (1 hour) and catch an AVE back into Madrid.

Useful links:

Hotels

Two nights in historic and very centrally located 3 star city hotel. Two nights in comfortable hotel at the historic gates of town and 3 nights in high quality, small rural hotels (3 or 4 stars equivalent).

Hotel in Segovia

Nights 1 and 7: Segovia

Situated in the very heart of Segovia, next to the Main Square and the Cathedral, this 15th century building was turned into a hotel and spa in 2005, incorporating many arqueological remains to up-to-date comfort.

Bedroom in La Granja hotel

Nights 2 and 3: La Granja de San Ildefonso

Comfortable hotel at the historic gates of the town, a brief walk from the royal palace and gardens.

Hotel in Gallegos

Night 4: Gallegos

Small family-run rural hotel full of character. Excellent hospitable host. Small outdoor swimming pool in a rustic garden with splendid views of the mountains.

Hotel in Sepúlveda

Nights 5 and 6: Sepúlveda

One of our favourite hotels!!! A protected building and one of the oldest in Sepulveda, with a XIIth century Romanesque front and XVth century inner courtyard. It consists of eight carefully decorated bedrooms around an exquisite inner courtyard.

Prices

Basic price:

Per person in double room630 €

This includes:

  • 7 nights' accommodation. 7 breakfasts.
  • Transfer Segovia to San Ildefonso on day 3.
  • Transfer San Ildefonso to Pradena on day 5.
  • Transfer Gallegos to Castilnovo on day 6.
  • Luggage transfers between hotels.
  • Detailed maps with your trail clearly marked.
  • Itinerary description, full of recommendations for things to do and places to visit, advice and suggestions and information about your accommodation, etc.
  • Emergency support.
  • Activity insurance.

Supplements:

Single room supplementHelp button200 €

For those travelling with others, but wanting a room to themselves each night.

Solo traveller supplementHelp button273 €

For those travelling by themselves. Do not choose the "Single room supplement" as well in this case.

Extras:

Half board (dinners)132 €

Transfers:

Taxi Madrid to Segovia (1-6 persons)Info button130 €

Price per taxi, not per person.

Taxi Sepulveda to Segovia (1-4 persons)Info button70 €

Price per taxi, not per person.

Taxi Sepulveda to Madrid (1-4 persons)Info button135 €

Price per taxi, not per person.

Other options:(Prices on request)

Extra night(s) in Madrid 

Extra night(s) in Segovia 

If interested, please contact us with your plans, requirements and queries,

or simply use the "Get a quote" section, which we would recommend.

Get a quote

Calculator

Basic price:

Per person in double room
630 €plusminus

Supplements:

Single room supplement
200 €plusminus
Solo traveller supplement
273 €plusminus

Extras:

Half board (dinners)
132 €plusminus

Transfers:

Taxi Madrid to Segovia (1-6 persons)
130 €plusminus
Taxi Sepulveda to Segovia (1-4 persons)
70 €plusminus
Taxi Sepulveda to Madrid (1-4 persons)
135 €plusminus
 
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 Extra night(s) in Madrid
 Extra night(s) in Segovia

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Reviews

impressed by the quality

We really enjoyed our holiday. It was helped very much by the weather being so good. We were especially impressed by the quality of the hotels. All were lovely and with the exception of the Parador, unmistakenly Spanish. Although the Parador is a very good hotel, it is not as typically Spanish as the others although the staff were very happy to let us try our poor Spanish conversation on them.

The taxi transports worked perfectly and our drivers were, without exception, delightful.

We enjoyed the walks very much, especially the variety of habitats and therefore also the variety of birds we saw. One day we saw many pied flycatchers while another many woodchat shrikes for example. Of course we saw vultures every day.

The email you sent with the files for a GPS was extremely useful and we used them every day. Of course, you provided us with a GPS machine for use at La Granja but we used our own too just in case we had a problem. Your GPS files ensured that we did not.

Thank you again for arranging such a lovely holiday.

Best regards,

John & Liz Knowles, UK

wonderful meals

We enjoyed ourselves very much

All the hotels were very comfortable and everyone working in them were very friendly and hospitable. They were a joy to meet.

We would also like to commend the food as well, but reserve special thanks for the wonderful meals we had at the hotel in Segovia, the Posada De Gallegos, and at the Restaurante Cristobal in Sepulveda.

You asked for anecdotes. I'm not sure we have those, but we will always remember the walk along the Rio Duraton (despite it being ""there and back"") not just because of the beauty, but with our encounters with the wildlife. It was like a ""Disney movie"" with dozens of blue butterflies hovering around our feet, and a red squirrel (with an almond nut in its mouth) posing for its picture to be taken.

Keith Weymouth, UK.

fantastic experience

Hi there ,

we began our holiday in Segovia for 2 days sightseeing in this amazing (world heritage) town. Hubby and I were then transported to Navafria , to complete a circular walk connecting rustic villages . This was a great challenge , we averaged 15 Km a day for three days.

We were then transported to Sepulveda for a couple of days to see the vultures and walked in the amazing Duraton Canyon.

It was a fantastic experience, made easy thanks to Jaime's organisation with amazing accommodation, good maps and directions, great eating (and drinking) places.

We were so lucky with the weather, a very dry period, not too hot but plenty of wild blackberries, almonds and walnuts to keep us going! The wildlife did not disappoint with lots of close up views of vultures,also booted eagles, kites, choughs, shrikes etc.

We managed una poco Espaniole but this has inspired us to learn more, would love to do another trip with "Away from the Crowds"!

Mel and Gus Spirit, Scotland.

it was good value, well organised

We really enjoyed our walk with your company, we thought it was good value, well organised, and covered interesting countryside. We felt the benefits of local knowledge in the planning of this trip.

Throughout the planning booking and actual trip communication with your team was excellent.

Accommodation was generally good, Infanta Isabella, wonderful location, great room overlooking the square but breakfast not so good; The Hotel Roma, good location, attentive landlord, good simple breakfast, closed for dinner on the second evening and raining cats and dogs so very difficult to go out and find food, but not as appealing as the other places we stayed; accommodation in Gallegos was suprisingly good, although the outside apperance was a bit haphazard, but the room was great and the food was some of the best we had anywhere, and the landlord was very helpful (we spread our packed lunch over 2 days as it was huge); hotel poseda san milan, a bit of a walk from the main square but was amazing, wonderful old building, fantastic room, warm friendlly and very obiliging staff.

Our only disappointment came in Sepulveda, where the Duraton Canyon walk was closed (due to bird breeding) and also the interpretive centre did not open on the Sunday or the Monday.

We also had a very wet and miserable day in San Ildefonso, but I guess we cant hold you responsible for the Spanish weather. (We did make our way up to the waterfall and then retired to the palace for the afternoon.)

Our taxi transfers were excellent, also we really enjoyed meeting you and your boss for the other transfers and learning about the countryside as we were being transferred.

The tracknotes were excellent (apart from the couple of errors we told you about during our transfer).

I hope you find this feedback helpful

Warm regards

Helen Thorne (and Rupert), UK.

Thanks for your feedback. So sorry to hear you did not get to enjoy the Cannyon. Actually, it would have been open, but with restricted access and we had requested the permit for you and your husband. It´s a pity you did not realise.

Jaime, AFTC.

CO₂ footprint offsetting

This holiday produces a carbon footprint of 0,3612 tonnes of CO₂. This includes taxis, luggage transfers and accommodation for every traveller.

We will compensate the CO₂ footprint for each booking through tropical reforestation projects in collaboration with the CeroCO₂ platform.

Additionally, you can also offset your own flight emissions by visiting myclimate. See the link below.

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