Holidays and Tours for Butterflies and Moths in the Picos de Europa, Northern Spain
    Family natural history tours in the mountains of the Picos de Europa, Northern Spain
Blue-spot Hairstreak - Satyrium spini © Teresa FarinoPraying Mantis
Mantis religiosa
© Teresa Farino

A Family Wildlife Holiday in the
Picos de Europa

Introduce your children to insects and other wildlife in the mountains of northern Spain this summer

Leader: Teresa Farino
2017 Dates: Thurs. 3 August – Thurs. 10 August (8 days / 7 nights)
Prices: 1,350€ per adult; 1,010€ per child under 14, excluding flights (single-room supplement 150€).
  Click here for full details

Southern Chamois - Rupicapra pyrenaica parva © Teresa FarinoSouthern Chamois
Rupicapra pyrenaica parva
© Teresa Farino
During the week's tour we will be exploring the forests, haymeadows, waterways and high peaks of the valley of Liébana, situated on the southeastern flank of the Picos de Europa, from a friendly, family-run hotel in Pesaguero, which is equipped with an open-air swimming pool.

The spectacular mountain landscape of the Picos de Europa is farmed in a manner that has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. As a result, it is home to an enormous variety of wildflowers, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as an extraordinarily diverse invertebrate fauna. Griffon Vultures are seen almost every day, often at close quarters, Golden Eagles nest at the head of our valley, the meadows and forests are the haunt of all manner of small birds, and the alpine zone should turn up Alpine Accentors, Snow Finches and extremely sociable Alpine Choughs at this time of year.

Lizards of half a dozen different species are ten-a-penny in warm weather, while among the amphibians we might see are orange-bellied Alpine Newts, lime-green and black Marbled Newts and dumpy little Midwife Toads. We also hope to encounter the occasional mammal, with sightings of Red Squirrel, Southern Chamois, Roe Deer and Wildcat the most likely at this time of year. In addition, Pesaguero lies within the Spanish Brown Bear protection zone, and although we don't expect to see one of these magnificent mammals, we often find their tracks around the village in late summer.

Apollo - Parnassius apollo © Teresa FarinoApollo Parnassius apollo© Teresa Farino

The principal focus of the tour, however, is a series of close-up, hands-on encounters with the creepy-crawlies that children find so fascinating. To this end we will be looking at butterflies, moths, dragonflies, crickets and grasshoppers, beetles, spiders and, indeed, anything else that catches their attention, using butterfly nets and beating trays. We will also set up the moth trap every night on Teresa's terrace, and examine the contents first thing in the morning, and in this way we should encounter a number of the larger moths that so captivate children. Freshwater habitats will also be investigated, using fishing nets where necessary. Anyone who has an interest in close-up photography will be in their element here!

One highlight of the tour is the opportunity to swim in a small mountain lake, where dragonflies abound and White-clawed Crayfish lurk under stones. Another high point – literally – is a trip up in the cable car at Fuente Dé, which will enable us to take a close look at the flora and fauna of the alpine ecosystems of the Picos de Europa. There will also be the option of spending a day on one of the superb sandy beaches of the nearby Atlantic coast.

"I just want to thank you for giving us all a wonderful holiday. It turned out just as I had hoped it would; having a personal guided adventure with an expert was much better than I had dreamed of.” // “Thank you so much for a lovely week. You did a great job helping Imani get to know some of the nature around her and also with the photography."

John C. // Justin C.
Common Tree Frog - Hyla arborea © Teresa FarinoCommon Tree Frog Hyla arborea© Teresa Farino

A family wildlife holiday in the
Picos de Europa

Leader: Teresa Farino

2017 Dates: Thurs. 3 August – Thurs. 10 August
(8 days / 7 nights)

Price: 1,350€ per adult, 1,010€ per child under 14, including half-board, en suite accommodation at Posada El Hoyal, picnic lunches, minibus/4WD transport throughout, all entry fees and field equipment and the services of Teresa Farino as leader. A single-room supplement of 150€ is applicable.

Although the cost of the tour is given in euros, clients may pay in sterling, the exchange rate to be calculated at the time of payment using www.oanda.com

This is a land-based tour. Flights and travel insurance (obligatory) are the responsibility of the client.

Pick-up details: Teresa will be meeting the British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Bilbao, which gives us by far the most convenient flight times for these dates as well as giving us almost eight full days in the field. Details are as follows:

3 August BA0466
Departs London Heathrow at 08.25
Arrives Bilbao at 11.25

10 August BA0469
Departs Bilbao at 19.40
Arrives London Heathrow at 20.30

Male Rhinoceros Beetle - Oryctes nasicornis © Teresa FarinoMale Rhinoceros Beetle
Oryctes nasicornis
© Teresa Farino

Alternatively, those travelling to the Picos independently can arrange to meet the group at Posada El Hoyal on the first evening.

Group size: maximum 8 clients (all children must be accompanied by an adult).

Booking information: please contact Teresa Farino for further details and a booking form, or if you have any queries about these tours.

E-mail:
Office phone: (+34) 942 735154
Mobile phone: (+34) 656 337129
Address:  Apartado de Correos 59
39570 Potes
Cantabria
Spain


"We all had a truly memorable week with you in the Picos, which was in many respects due to your efforts. Not only did you take us to many beautiful places in search of more and more butterflies, but you looked after our every need perfectly, from when you first met us at the airport, until you dropped us off there a week later. Thank you so much. We will recommend you to all of our friends who we think would find your butterfly trips to their liking and hopefully you will meet some."

Barrie, Anita & Elliot S.   August 2006
  Butterfly Conservation donation ad Imani and Marbled Newt – Triturus marmoratus © Teresa FarinoImani and Marbled Newt
Triturus marmoratus
© Teresa Farino

Other tours in the Picos de Europa:

Spanish Festoon Special
Spring Butterflies & Moths of the Picos de Europa
Natural History of the Picos de Europa & Páramos of Northern Castile
Autumn Moth Weekend in the Picos de Europa
Daily wildlife excursions in the Picos de Europa

Reports from past trips to the Picos de Europa:

Picos de Europa trip report 2013
Picos and Páramos trip report 2012
Picos de Europa trip report 2011
Picos de Europa trip report 2010
A Feast of Flowers in the Picos de Europa - 2009 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2008 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2006 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2005 trip report
BSBI Botanical Tour of the Picos de Europa - 2004 trip report

Related information:

Picos de Europa - a naturalist's paradise
Complete list of butterflies for the Picos de Europa
Complete list of orchids for the Picos de Europa
Read about Teresa Farino
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