A CONSERVATION JOURNEY
FUNDACIÓN OSO PARDO
This trip will take you to the wild heart of Spain; the most extensive, unspoilt and intact forest eco-system in western Europe.
Upon arrival you will be greeted by our professional guides and friends at Fundación Oso Pardo.
You will spend your time exploring several natural areas including Riaño, Picos de Europa, Somiedo and Cangas del Narcea.
Early mornings and evenings are spent exploring hidden valleys and traversing remote tracks by 4×4 and on foot, looking out for the incredible array of wild nature.
WHEN TO GO May, June, August and September
GROUP SIZE 8 to 12 people
Book your place
The trip price includes a £500 donation to Fundación Oso Pardo to support their work. Funds go towards programmes including conservation and restoration of high-interest habitats, monitoring of the bear population, research, the fight against poaching, training and environmental education, and the prevention of conflicts between bears and humans. Find out more.
DAY 1 | TO THE MOUNTAINS
Fly to Santander, Bilbao or Oviedo and transfer to the Riaño mountain range and your hotel for the evening.
Before dinner learn about local conservation initiatives from a talk and presentation with the local guides and Fundación Oso Pardo.
Settle into the spectacular surroundings and enjoy some local Spanish wine before turning in, ahead of the days that lie in wait.
DAYS 2 & 3 | WOLF WATCHING
The Riaño mountain range on the southern slopes of Picos de Europa is one of the best places in the world for observing family groups of Iberian wolves and wildcats.
Wolf watching in the Iberian Peninsula is a very exciting and intense experience requiring patience, but delivering fabulous rewards as these iconic creatures astonish you with their sharp eyes fixed on the lenses of your telescopes.
During your excursions within Riaño Natural Park you will also search for Iberian ibex, Cantabrian chamois, Roe and red deer, wild boar and other mammals.
After your third evening’s viewing, transfer to the western Cantabrian Mountains, to the beautiful village of Robles de Laciana, and your next night’s accommodation.
DAYS 4 & 5 | BEAR WATCHING
The next two days will be spent in the stunning natural areas of Alto Sil, Somiedo and Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias, searching for Cantabrian brown bears.
Watch as they emerge from the dense heart of the forest to feed in the woodland fringe, eating cranberries, blackberries and hazelnuts, available in abundance in the sub-alpine meadows and scrub. This gives you a great chance of viewing one of the most elusive mammals in Spain, particularly during the first and last hours of the day.
To give you the best possible experience, we will position ourselves at strategic points, moving around the mountain range’s best spots, always drawing on our local knowledge and experience.
DAY 6 – DEPARTURE
If you wish, rise early to take a final walk through the hills or enjoy some early morning bird watching.
After breakfast, transfer back to the airport for your flight home.
THIS MOUNTAINOUS AREA OF SPAIN IS BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL WITH WILDFLOWER MEADOWS AND CRYSTAL CLEAR RIVERS AND STREAMS. WE WERE GUIDED BY EXPERTS IN THE FIELD OF BEAR PROTECTION AND HABITAT CONSERVATION WHO SHARED WITH US NOT ONLY THEIR WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE BUT THEIR WONDERFUL COMPANY AND INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING CONVERSATION. FOR A NATURE LOVER LIKE MYSELF, IT WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE TREAT IN EVERY SINGLE RESPECT.
MAXINE DAVIES – 2019
TAILOR YOUR TRIP
Explore the Cantabrian coast – this hidden gem of Spain offers great surfing, fantastic seafood and many delightful coastal villages to discover.
Take a tour of the region’s best secret local lunch spots and enjoy a special dinner party at the two Michelin star Casa Marcial, hosted by our friend Nacho Manzano himself.
Extend the trip for a day or two and discover the wonderful city of Bilbao – the famous Guggenheim museum awaits!
FUNDACIÓN OSO PARDO
Fundación Oso Pardo was founded in 1992 with the aim of contributing to the study and conservation of the endangered brown bear in Spain, its habitat and the cultural surroundings in which this endangered species lives.
The Foundation consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists and experts in biodiversity conservation, environmental educators, communicators and rangers. The team has been integral to the protection and restoration of the brown bear population and its habitat in Asturias.
Its work includes the conservation and restoration of high interest habitats, monitoring the bear population, research, the fight against poaching, training and environmental education and the prevention of conflicts between bears and humans.
The European Nature Trust has been supporting the work of FOP since 2017. We believe the benefits of their work extend far beyond the unique biodiversity of the environment – to the surrounding local communities and to the entirety of Europe, and, ultimately, the rest of the world.
Visiting FOP with us directly contributes to their conservation, wildlife and educational projects on the ground.
WE TRAVELLED WITH TENT TO THE ASTURIAS IN LATE MAY IN SEARCH OF BEARS. IT WAS 5-STAR IN EVERY RESPECT. OUR HOSTS, JUAN CARLOS AND THE TEAM FROM FOP WERE FANTASTIC. OUR FELLOW TRAVELLERS WERE FRIENDLY AND FUN. OUR LOCAL EXPERTS WERE WELL INFORMED AND KIND. THE FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION WERE ALWAYS GOOD. BUT MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, WE SAW THREE BEARS AND THAT WAS JUST AMAZING!
RORY CONWELL – 2019