Located only 15 km from the Atlantic coast in the north of Spain, the bizarre and jagged cliffs of the “Picos de Europa” rise to the summits of Europe. The national park “Picos de Europa” covers about 650 km2 and extends over the three provinces: Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León. If you are planning a visit, you should choose the early or late summer. During midsummer the usually quiet national park is very well visited. However, it is quieter in the winter months, but snow and cold are to be expected.
The Picos are a rugged mountain massif with little water. Especially in the warmer months it is important to have enough drinking water with you. Therefore a minimum quantity of 3 litres per person and day is recommended. The weather changes very fast. For this reason, good and suitable clothing, as well as ankle-high hiking shoes can decide about life and death. Because many visitors have not informed themselves beforehand, casualties have been frequent in recent years. The harsh conditions of the mountains are often are often recklessly disregarded.
The approach from Panes to Potes is already breathtaking. The narrow road leads through the gorge “Desfiladero de la Hermida”. The river Deva has dug its way deep into the Andara massif. The rock walls rise threateningly steep. The sky is only visible as a narrow blue stripe. In midsummer it happens that a strong wind blows through the gorge, which feels like a hot hair dryer.
From Potes the road leads towards Fuente Dé to Espinama. In Fuente Dé there is a cable car that goes up to the Picos.
From Espinama, the paved road becomes a dirt road over boulders and rocks. The ascent to the entrance of the national park is steep with hairpin bends. For this reason an off-road vehicle or an all-wheel drive with sufficient ground clearance is necessary here. By the way, a trip with an offroader can also be booked. For more information, click here.
The national park is home to wolves, brown bears, bearded vultures and various eagle species. Equipped with strong binoculars, a lot of patience and a good portion of luck, nothing stands in the way of observation.
From Espinama to Sotres, an offroad track leads through the park. This path is also used by mountain bikers and hikers, so be careful and considerate. A detour to the Refugio Hotel de Alvia pays off. From this point, there are various hiking routes in the direction of Fuente Dé and Sotres. The whole trip lasts approximately 3 to 5 hours, especially if there are repeated breaks for photo stops.
The video shows you the beauty of the beautiful route better than any words could:
From Sotres the route follows tarred roads west to Cangas. From Cangas we continue south through another breathtaking gorge, “Desfiladero de los Beyos”, to Riaño.
The small town is situated at the edge of the Picos de Europa on a plateau at a reservoir. The view from the panoramic point high above the city is mystical. The majestic mountains with the rock walls rise steeply from the lake towards the sky. This enchanted lake offers itself as a filming location for Narnia or Lord of the Rings. But see for yourself on the pictures.
The Picos de Europa are definitely worth several trips. I am still missing the Lago de Enol, Lago de Ercina and Covadonga, as well as the hike across the Picos on the Ruta del Cares. Furthermore I would like to experience the Picos once in winter.
What did you experience in the Picos de Europa? What else can you recommend? Leave your suggestions in the comment field below.
Read more in my travel diary