The Picos de Europa of Spain

Adventurer’s Picos de Europa

Found at the Spanish state of Cantabria, Picos de Europa is a national park that boasts a variety of unique flora and fauna. Basically, the Picos de Europa National Park consists of three mountain masses – Andara (eastern), El Cornion (western), and Los Urrielles (central). These massifs are divided by the Duje and Cares rivers. This is the perfect destination for adventure-seekers because of the area’s collection of spectacular cave systems, crags, steep gorges, deep craters, and big walls.

Hiking along Picos de Europa

When looking for an exhilarating hike, this national park may just be the perfect European destination. Arenas de Cabrales can serve as a starting point and from there, a 15-minute travel leads to Poncebos. The charming village of Bulnes can be reached after a short trek from Poncebos. Age-old stone paths provide a rustic backdrop as the hiking trip continues. Hiking along the slopes of Sotres, the highest village in the city of Picos, can be good way of acclimatizing to higher altitudes. Whatever route or trail is chosen, these highlights should not be missed:

Vega de Urriellu

Located at a height of 2000 meters, this mountain refuge is found at the base of the majestic Picu Urriellu – one of the most popular climbing sites in Spain.

Central Massif route to Espinama

This hiking route requires a trek to the heart of the central massif – Jou sin Tierra. One of the widest and deepest dolines in the area. Passing through a moon-like landscape is one of the spectacular parts of the trail to Espinama.

Llanaves de la Reina

For a more relaxing experience, walk through the peaceful meadows until the trail reaches Collado de Llesba. From this, the Picos Coriscoa with a height of 2234 meters may be climbed up and down. After enjoying the panoramic view, climb down over grassy slopes and continue the hike to Llanaves de la Reina.

Senda del Arcediano

According to Walking Europe, this is an ancient footpath created by an archdeacon during the 17th century. A walk through this hiking path involves plenty of stunning beech woods and captivating summer meadows. Other hiking trails that should not be missed include the Vega de Liordes valley and the Garganta del Cares gorge.

Hiking Tips

Expect a lot of crowd during summer months. For a more solitary hike, continue the trip uplands since the crowd slims down as the trail goes up. Before hitting the trail, acclimatization exercises can greatly help especially if planning to tackle challenging heights.

Unique Wildlife

While hiking along the park’s spectacular trails, experience the region’s wildlife and marvel at the unique species of fauna. As the country’s oldest national park, Picos de Europa is home to a variety of animal species such as wolves, bears, snow voles, and vultures. Nature lovers will surely enjoy the park’s dense forests and meadows brimming with wildflowers that add to the majestic beauty of Picos de Europa.

Accommodation in Picos de Europa

After a long hike, charming villages scattered throughout the valleys provide sources of comfort and good food. Inns, guest houses, and quaint hostels offer an array of services ranging from simple cottage-like accommodations to modern villas with Internet connection. For more information about accommodation options within Picos de Europa, simply visit reliable hiking websites that offer comprehensive listings of lodges and hotels within the area.

Accommodation example: Casa Gustavo, Aliezo, Potes, Picos de Europa Cantabria, Spain

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How to get to Picos de Europa

Travel by plane to Santander or Bilbao airports and look for transfer services to Arenas. From UK, ferry trips to Santander or Bilbao are available. Getting around the park is not that hard since Picos de Europa also offers car cable services and pedestrian-friendly walkways. For more information, visit the park’s official website.

Picos Europa
Trip Ideas
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