Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, Spain

The road to Fuente Dé from Potes, wide and flat, Picos de Europa, Spain

The road to Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, from Potes, still wide and flat though a little heavy with local traffic at times.

Fuente Dé, Getting There

The road to Fuente Dé continued to surprise us, still in very good condition, wide, fast and not busy – apart from some 4HD (4 hoof drive) interference. We stopped along the way for information, a look at the Picos de Europa Museum, a stroll around Potes and simple early lunch.

We estimate that a direct drive from Santander would clock in at 1. 5 hours and from Bilbao an hour more, all on excellent roads.

By the way, North Spain eating places seem determined not to serve any cooked food before 1pm, the time when the kitchen staff arrive, so either plan to wait until then or grab a sandwich, a piece of tortilla and a drink.

Car parking at Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, Spain

A section of the huge free car park at Fuente Dé. If it’s full try further up near the teleféferico, the Spanish in this part of Spain seem very relaxed about random parking.

Fuente Dé cable car and restaurant, Picos de Europa, Spain

The magnificent view up to the Mirador del Cable, the Teleférico (cable car) terminal, from Fuente Dé cafe/restaurant.

The best time to take a teleférico ride up to the central massif of the Picos de Europa is in summertime when the cars run daily from July-September 9am to 8pm. (October-June 10am-6pm). Naturally these are the super-busy times and lengthy queues are inevitable.
Furthermore – and pay attention now – the best time of day to be at the top is probably during the warmest time around midday when clouds are less dominant.

How to avoid wasting time at Fuente Dé Teleférico

Drive more-or-less straight to Fuente Dé, without stopping for lunch at Potes. Go directly to the Taquilla(ticket) kiosk and buy your tickets, single (ida) or return (ida y vuelta, 16 euros in 2014). The guy will tell you approximate waiting time; in our case (at 2pm in July) it was 1. 5 hours. The tickets are numbered and clear announcements are made over a PA system in Spanish and English every 20 minutes stating which numbers should go to the cable car entrance to await departure.

Then you could head for the very nice, good value bar/café/restaurant – in the photo above – next to the lower cable car terminal and have a drink and/or a bite/lunch on the gorgeous terrace.

Behind the bar is a meter that counts off the teleférico departure numbers corresponding to your tickets, but the audio announcements are clear anywhere in the vicinity.

Combine lunch with a bit of a wander and one or two hours of waiting time will disappear and you can reach the summit at the best time, giving you a chance of grand views and decent warmth if you choose to do one of the longish walks.

Hiking and camping signs at Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, Spain

Nearby the Teleférico.

A stroll around the area shows grand views and signs indicating places to stay, or walks from this point, though we find it strange that the Vega de Liordes sign above states that the hike takes 3. 5 hours but the map below and online information clearly says it’s a 5. 5 hours stretch.

Online information about the Picos de Europa is generally in Spanish and not at all well organised, along with a half-assed attempt at other languages that fails more often than it succeeds

the cable car at Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, Spain

Whatever, it’s time to go 900 metres up to the Mirador, along with 20 others in the cable car.