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The peaks of Europe

The peaks of Europe

Off-road routes

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Off-road routes

The Picos de Europa, National Park, live up to its name and are one of the most beautiful landscapes of the continent. The landscape is overwhelmingly karstic, and includes gorges and gorges, immaculate rivers and valleys and large indigenous forest masses.

The Peaks, as they are commonly known, also harbor an unusual density of wildlife and flora, subalpine above the 1.600 meters. Below this level we find Beech forests and dreamy sheepfolds. In the middle is also the culture of the man of medium and high mountain, who lives small rural and hospital nuclei and who lives from the agro-livestock in perfect harmony with the environment.

This large limestone formation extends approximately 40 Km. Long (east-west) and about 20 Km. Wide (north-south). Her constitution forces her to continually submit to the demanding erosion of rain and snow, which take their toll on her constitution and excavate deep chasms that are very attractive in the world of speleology. Some reach 1.400 meters depth. Morphologically speaking we find in Los Picos de Europa three clearly differentiated beds.

The three massifs: Cornión, Urrieles and Andara

The western massif (El Cornión), the central massif (Los Urrieles), and the eastern massif (Andara). They are physically delimited by the gorges of the salmon rivers Sella, Cares, Duje and Deva. The western massif, with its highest point, Peña Santa de Castilla (2.596 m.), is the largest and most varied of the three, and it is particularly suitable for hiking. In this massif The lakes of Enol and Ercina are located, and very close to the Buferrera area, the environmental interpretation center of the Picos de Europa National Park. The easiest way to approach him is from the town of Covadonga, ascending a local and winding road to the famous lakes, 12 kilometers above, from where a good number of recommended routes for all audiences depart. It should be noted that the end of summer and early autumn, as well as spring are usually the best times for such a walk, since neither the heat nor the presence of hikers is excessive.

The central massif he is the most uninhabited, in him we find the highest point of the three massifs and northern Spain: Torre Cerredo (2,648m.) The boundary with the western massif is drawn by the famous and spectacular route that runs through the Cares gorge. Bulnes the last town of Asturias without external communication, is also found in this massif and was always a must for climbers on the way to Picu Urriellu or Naranjo de Bulnes (2.519m), one of the biggest challenges for national and international climbers due to its extreme vertical walls. The town that gives its name to the singular Naranjo was connected to the rest of the Cabrales council by a mule road, but a funicular train until the town, accompanied by a good number of controversies, that came to break drastically the isolation of the village. Access to the northern point of the Cares and Bulnes gorge is via Poncebos, a few kilometers from the town of Arenas de Cabrales.

The southern face of the Picos de Europa is reached from Potes, in Cantabria, and Posada de Valdeón, in León. From Potes you can go to Source of and take the cableway up to an altitude of 1.800 m. In the whole area this is the easiest way to gain altitude quickly for excursions of a more alpine character. Posada de Valdeón is located in the southern point of Cares Gorge, after the town of Cain.

The agency S-cape Travel located in Arenas de Cabrales offers in Picos de Europa self-guided hiking trips; 12 and 8 day trips, 3 day trips and trips for families.

More about Hiking and family packages in Picos de Europa


To get to Fuente Dé:
In the town of Unquera, just at the easternmost tip of the Principality, we will take the detour to Potes. Once in Potes we continue along the road that leads to Espinama and Fuente Dé. From the Santander bus station we can pay a ticket to the same Fuente Dé. Although this is only possible in summer, because in winter they end their journey in Potes.

To get to Sotres:
From Cantabria: Take the deviation to Panes in Unquera. Once in Panes deviate towards Arenas de Cabrales from where the road to Poncebos departs. From Poncebos we can take the road to Sotres.
From Asturias: From Cangas de Onís, taking the regional road that takes us to Benia and continues to Arenas de Cabrales. From there, as already said, to Poncebos and Sotres.
From Posada de Llanes: In the town of Llanisca de Posada, we take the road that leads to Alto de Ortiguero. There is a junction with the road that connects Cangas de Onís and Arenas de Cabrales. We take the address to Arenas-Poncebos-Sotres

To get to Los Lagos de Covadonga:
Go to Cangas de Onís, where the road leaves for the Shrine of Covadonga, less than 10 kilometers away. From Covadonga we take the road that goes up to the Lakes. Everything is perfectly indicated.

Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com

Total distance: 12766 m
Maximum height: 1952 m
Minimum height: 1048 m
Ascent slope: 1009 m
Descent slope: -925 m
Time spent: 06:40:17

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