Back to top
You are in: HOME · POSADA DE VALDEÓN (LEÓN) · PICOS DE EUROPA NATIONAL PARK

Did you know that... the Picos de Europa National Park

 

Located in the Cantabrian Mountains, it has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA), a Site of Community Interest (SCI) and a Biosphere Reserve (Unesco). Its three massifs, the Eastern, the smallest and where you can visit the Morra de Lechugales, the Central, the highest with peaks such as Torrecerredo at 2648 metres, Peña Vieja or Naranjo de Bulnes and the Western Massif, called Peña Santa de Castilla, which is the largest and is home to the lakes of Covadonga, form a whole mountain front that extends through the provinces of Asturias, León and Cantabria. These massifs together with their valleys and the gorges that cross the park, the Hermida with the river Deva, the Beyos with the river Sella, the Garganta Divina with the Cares and the gorges of La India with the Duje, created by the rivers Sella, Cares and Deva, shape its characteristic and diverse landscape in which there are leafy wooded masses, large crags in its impressive limestone massifs and green mountain pastures, a small example of the many places we have to see in the Picos de Europa National Park. A topography that has been chiselled through more than three hundred million years. In this great biodiversity coexist the most characteristic species of the Cantabrian Mountains.

What to see in the Picos de Europa National Park

Advertisement

 

A little more history

 

The large number of Palaeolithic caves with expressions of cave art are faithful testimony to the presence of the human species in the Upper Palaeolithic in the area of the Picos de Europa National Park. It was in the Neolithic when the main human activity ceased to be hunting and they learned to cultivate the land and domesticated the first herbivorous animals, the first settlers of the Picos de Europa. In the 2nd and 1st centuries BC it was the Celts who populated these mountains, brave warriors worshipped "Mons Vindius" the "White Mountain", or the white limestone rocks of the Central and Western massifs. In these lush forests and steep rocky massifs, and in the famous battle of Covadonga, in the 8th century, Don Pelayo defeated the Muslim army, thus beginning the Reconquest, a process that was to last more than 600 years. In the Middle Ages the protagonists were the churches and monasteries, roads were built and small villages were founded. In July 1918, as part of the celebrations to mark the twelfth centenary of the historic battle of Covadonga, the Peña Santa massif was declared the "Montaña de Covadonga National Park", and it was in May 1995 that it became the Picos de Europa National Park.

What to do in the Picos de Europa National Park

What to see in the Picos de Europa National Park?

 

Visiting the Picos de Europa National Park means discovering places, nature and villages that have preserved since time immemorial an endless number of experiences, history and landscapes that, without a doubt, will not leave you indifferent. The Sanctuary of Covadonga and its lakes, undoubtedly the most visited, together with the famous Garganta Divina, the Cares route. Access the ports of Áliva with the Fuente Dé cable car. Sotres, the highest village in Asturias. Cabrales. Cangas de Onis and its emblematic roman bridge over the Sella, built in the 14th century. Bulnes, a beautiful little village that until recently could only be reached by a mountain path of about four kilometres that linked it with Poncebos. Today a fast funicular railway bridges this distance, making life a little easier for its people. Camaleño and its more than deservedly famous monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, in the heart of the Camino Lebaniego to Santiago. Oseja de Sajambre, Posada de Valdeón, with the Church of Santa Eulalia, dating from 1098. All the towns in the national park offer us the opportunity to discover a rich historical, artistic and ethnographic cultural heritage. As we travel through this magnificent park we can stop at the numerous viewpoints which, strategically placed, allow us to enjoy the indescribable landscape that the Picos de Europa National Park offers us. Viewpoints such as Chorco or Ordiales, in Amieva. In Cabrales, the Camarmeña viewpoint, the Pedro Udaondo viewpoint, the Pozo de la Oración viewpoint and, above all, the Urriellu viewpoint. In Cangas de Onís the Entrelagos, La Reina, Los Canónigos, El Príncipe and El Rey viewpoints. In León, the viewpoints of the municipality of Oseja de Sajambre and those of Posada de Valdeón. In Cantabria, in Camaleño, the Llesbao and Cable viewpoints. And in Tresviso there are the viewpoints of Santo Toribio, Balcón de Pilatos and Valle de Sobra. A varied and undoubtedly enriching visit to the Picos de Europa National Park.

What to visit in the Picos de Europa National Park

What to do in the Picos de Europa National Park?

 

There are numerous activities to do in the Picos de Europa National Park. Well-known and very popular hiking routes such as the one that runs through the Cares Gorge, and others that are less popular but no less interesting, such as the Senda del Arcediano, the Beyos Gorge, and the Hermida Gorge. The route through the Ports of Áliva which, after climbing the vertical limestone walls that separate us from these colossal mountains thanks to the spectacular Fuente Dé cable car and after climbing the vertiginous Cable Viewpoint, takes us through meadows, old mines and hidden hermitages, passing by the Chalet Real on the way back to Fuente Dé. A total of 30 approved Small Route (PR) trails await us. For the most experienced hikers, the GR 1 Historic Path, which links the towns of Ampurias in Gerona and Finisterre in La Coruña, covers some 63 km within the park. Mountaineers, climbers... will walk along the countless high mountain routes, and tread summits such as the Torrecerredo peak at 2650 m, the majestic Naranjo de Bulnes, and other peaks and mountains that exceed 2000 metres in altitude. A more than recommendable mountaineering experience for the most experienced climbers is to follow the high mountain circular route that links the three massifs of the national park, the Ring of Peaks. These are just some of the possibilities available in the Picos de Europa National Park. 

What to see in the Picos de Europa National Park

Traditions

 

In a habitat such as the Picos de Europa National Park, where its geographical isolation, until relatively recently, has been responsible for maintaining its landscapes and traditions unchanged, it is easy to enjoy festivals that recall a whole way of life. Each part of the park has its own traditions and festivities, each one more endearing than the last, such as the Fiesta del Pastor (Shepherd's Festival) which, declared to be of Tourist Interest, brings together the shepherds of the area every 25 July in the meadows of lakes Enol and Ercina. After a mass in the chapel of the Buen Pastor, they hold a council meeting in which they share out the use of the pastures for the following year. The events begin with a pilgrimage from Cangas de Onis and are completed with different sporting activities and folkloric exhibitions. The night before is the only night of the year when camping by the lakes is permitted.

 

Advertisement

 

Curiosities

 

The first peg to be used in a climb in Spain was driven into the Naranjo de Bulnes, impregnable for centuries, by the German Gustav Schulze, who was the third mountaineer to crown it, as the first to reach its summit were Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, and his guide, Gregorio Pérez, El Cainejo, in 1904. 

 

Useful information for visiting the Picos de Europa National Park

 

The Picos de Europa National Park offers its visitors a visitor reception centre in each of its three regional areas, Asturias, Cantabria and León.

  • The "Pedro Pidal" Visitor Centre, located in the Buferrera service area in the Covadonga Lakes, Asturias, telephone: 985 848 614.
  • In Liébana, Cantabria, the visitor centre of Sotama. Open all year round except 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 and 6 January, telephone 942 738 109.
  • In León, the Information Office in Posada de Valdeón, whose telephone number for further information is 987 740 549, and also the La Fonseya Information Centre in the town of Oseja de Sajambre, telephone: 696 137 464.
  • During the summer, Easter and long weekends, more information points are set up at the different entrances to the park.
  • Like all national parks, it is subject to a set of rules:
    • It is forbidden to light fires without authorisation.
    • Free camping is not allowed in the National Park.
    • Bivouacking is permitted in areas above 1600 m. Tents may be pitched one hour before sunset and must be taken down one hour after departure.
    • Bathing in lakes and waterways is generally prohibited.

What to do in the Picos de Europa National Park

The Legend

 

It is said that until well into the 19th century, the Picos de Europa were known as "the Peñas de Europa" (Crags of Europe). This name was given to them because, from their ships, they were the first thing that sailors returning from America or from whaling in Newfoundland could see of the European continent.                                

 

 

MAYBE YOU'RE LOOKING FOR...

Sponsored Content

These recommendations are offered for information purposes only, trying to provide useful information to users, in no case imply that Senditur recommends or discourages a particular service, restaurant or accommodation, take a look at our  Legal Conditions.Sponsored Content, when you make any reservation through these links you contribute to the maintenance and improvement of this website, in no case will it mean an extra price in the reservation you make. Thank you very much for your contribution.

 

Advertisement

Get to the Picos de Europa National Park by car

 

The Picos de Europa National Park has several access routes: National Road 625 from Riaño via León. From Cangas de Onís, towards Covadonga on the AS-114 and AS-262. From Potes, towards Cosgaya, Espinama, Pido and Fuente De on the CA-185. Via the AS-264 to the villages of Tielve, Sotres and Tresviso, from where you can access the Central and Eastern massifs from the North.​

 

 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to

Share your experience

Maximum size 2MB

*.gpx, *.kmz, *.kml, *.plt

List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
MOUNTAIN PATHS
1
Difficulty-Moderate

4:05 h.13.4 km.

Route Ports of Áliva
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding courses, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
PATHS IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
0
Difficulty-Moderate

6:30 h.24 km.

Route of the Cares the Divine Gorge
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, have a greater gradient or present a specific difficulty.
PATHS IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
0
Difficulty-Medium

2:50 h.7 km.

Circular route of the Covadonga Lakes
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and gradient, not exceeding large distances or gradients.
MOUNTAIN
0
Difficulty-Moderate

4:15 h.7.7 km.

Ascent of Gilbo Peak from Riaño
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, have a greater slope or present a specific difficulty.
PATHS IN FAMILY
0
Difficulty-Medium

4:00 h.14 km.

The River Path of the Nansa
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding long distances or steep slopes.
Cable Car of Fuente Dé
Camaleño, Cantabria
Cable Car of Fuente Dé

From civilization to the mountains of the central massif of the Picos de Europa

Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana
Camaleño, Cantabria
Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana

Guardian and custodian of the Lignum Crucis

Cave of Tito Bustillo
Ribadesella, Principado de Asturias
Cave of Tito Bustillo

One of the world's largest cave collections of Palaeolithic art.

Muja Jurassic Museum of Asturias
Colunga, Principado de Asturias
Muja Jurassic Museum of Asturias

Model in the field of research and museology

Continue watching …

Copyright © 2022 SENDITUR