Picos de Europa Spain: A Place of Inspiration and Adventure

Lago Enol nos Picos da Europa.
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Last Updated on 2023-01-30

Picos de Europa are a mountain range located in the autonomous community of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain.

These majestic peaks rise up from the surrounding landscape, offering breathtaking views and a sense of wonder to all who visit.

Picos de Europa are a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature lovers, with a variety of trails and routes that offer something for every level of ability.

Picos de Europa are also a cultural treasure, with a rich history and traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

From the charming villages and towns that dot the landscape, to the ancient monasteries and churches that stand as testament to the region’s spiritual heritage, the Picos de Europa are a place of great beauty and inspiration.

Whether you are seeking adventure, solitude, or simply the beauty of nature, the Picos de Europa have something to offer.

So why wait? Pack your bags and head to this stunning corner of the world, and let the mountains inspire you as you explore all that they have to offer.

The Picos de Europa National Park

Parque Nacional dos Picos de Europa.
Picos de Europa National Park.

The Picos de Europa National Park is a protected natural area located in the autonomous community of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain. It is home to the Picos de Europa mountain range, which is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity.

The national park covers an area of approximately 60,000 hectares and is a paradise for nature lovers.

It is the only Spanish natural park inhabited and extends across Asturias, Cantabria and León, that is, in the heart of the Cantabrian Mountains. Inside, you can discover 11 villages that live in complete harmony with the region’s wildlife.

It is, without a doubt, a special region that deserves to be explored, on foot, by bicycle, motorbike, car or motorhome!

How to choose accommodation in Picos de Europa Spain

Hotel & Spa Villa de Mestas.
Hotel & Spa Villa de Mestas.

When deciding where to stay in the Picos de Europa, you should keep some considerations in mind.

So, if you are planning a trip to the Picos de Europa National Park and are looking for accommodation, here are some tips to help you choose the best option for your needs:

Consider your location: The Picos de Europa National Park is a large area and there are many different locations to choose from. Consider where you will be spending most of your time and look for accommodation in that area. For example, if you plan to spend most of your time walking and climbing, you might want to stay in a location close to trails and routes.

Consider the type of accommodation: There are many different types of accommodation available in the Picos de Europa including hotels, guesthouses, holiday rentals and campsites. Consider which type of accommodation best suits your needs and preferences.

Read Reviews: Before booking your accommodation, it’s a good idea to read reviews from previous guests. This will give you an idea of the quality of the accommodation, as well as any potential issues or concerns you should be aware of.

So, my recommendation is that you stay in Cangas de Onis, Potes or Arenas de Cabrales.

We stayed at the Hotel & Spa Villa de Mestas, about 11 km from Cangas de Onis and we recommend it. It is a family hotel, located on a farm and with beautiful gardens. The fireplace in the living room is very pleasant.

By following these tips, you can find the perfect accommodation for your trip to Picos de Europa National Park.

What do see and do in Picos de Europa Spain

Basílica de Covadonga (Galiza).
Basilica of Covadonga.

The Basilica of Covadonga

The Basilica of Covadonga is a Roman Catholic basilica located in the municipality of Cangas de Onís in the province of Asturias, Spain. It’s located in the heart of the Picos de Europa, a mountain range in northern Spain, and is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists.

The Basilica of Covadonga is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is home to the shrine of the Virgin of Covadonga, which is believed to have miraculous powers.

It’s also home to the tomb of King Pelagius, who is considered the first Christian king of Asturias.

The Basilica of Covadonga is a Romanesque-style building that was constructed in the 10th century. It has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, and today it is a large and impressive structure with a number of chapels, altars, and works of art.

The Basilica of Covadonga is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists, who come to visit the shrine of the Virgin of Covadonga and to admire the beautiful architecture and art of the basilica.

The basilica is also a popular starting point for hikes and excursions into the surrounding mountains of the Picos de Europa.

Lakes of Enol and Ercina

Lago Enol nos Picos da Europa.
Lake Enol in Picos da Europa Spain.

Lagos de Enol and Lagos de Ercina are two lakes located in the Picos de Europa. Both lakes are located in the municipality of Cangas de Onís in the province of Asturias.

Lagos de Enol is the larger of the two lakes and is located in the central part of the Picos de Europa. The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains, and is a popular destination for hiking and climbing. There are several trails that lead to the lake, including the popular Cares Trail, which follows the Cares River through the mountains.

Lagos de Ercina is a smaller lake located at the foot of the Naranjo de Bulnes, a popular peak for climbers. The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains, and is a popular destination for hiking and climbing. There are several trails that lead to the lake, including the popular Coriscao Trail, which follows the Coriscao River through the mountains.

Both Lagos de Enol and Lagos de Ercina are beautiful and peaceful places to visit, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.

Visit Potes and Bulnes

Funicular de Bulnes.
Bulnes Funicular.

Potes is a town located in the province of Cantabria, in northern Spain. It is located in the heart of the Picos de Europa, a mountain range in the region, and is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Potes is a charming town with a rich history and a number of interesting landmarks to visit. The town is home to the Church of San Vicente, a Romanesque-style church that was built in the 12th century, and the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, which is home to a number of important manuscripts.

Potes is also a popular starting point for hikes and excursions into the surrounding mountains of the Picos de Europa. The region is home to a number of popular peaks for climbers, including the Naranjo de Bulnes, which stands at an elevation of 2,519 meters.

Bulnes is a village located in the municipality of Potes, in the province of Cantabria, in northern Spain. It is located in the heart of the Picos de Europa, a mountain range in the region, and is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Bulnes is a small village with a number of interesting landmarks to visit, including the Church of San Esteban, which was built in the 12th century, and the Mirador de Bulnes, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Overall, Potes and Bulnes are two towns located in the province of Cantabria, in northern Spain. They are located in the heart of the Picos de Europa, a mountain range in the region, and are popular destinations for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Cangas de Onis

Ponte de Cangas de Onis.
Roman bridge in Cangas de Onis.

Cangas de Onís is a small town located in the heart of the Picos de Europa mountain range in northern Spain. It is located in the province of Asturias, in the autonomous community of Asturias. The town is known for its picturesque setting, with the mountains serving as a backdrop and the Sella River running through it.

Cangas de Onís is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with a range of activities available including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

The area is also home to a number of cultural and historical attractions, such as the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge), which dates back to the 1st century AD and is one of the oldest bridges in Spain, and the Monasterio de San Pedro de Villanueva, a 10th-century monastery that is now a museum.

The town is also home to a range of restaurants, shops, and other amenities, making it a convenient base for exploring the surrounding region. Cangas de Onís is a great destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Picos de Europa.

Best things to see and do in Picos de Europa Spain

Montanhas nos Picos de Europa.
Mountains in the Picos de Europa.

The mountain ranges: The Picos de Europa are home to a variety of mountain ranges, including the Cordillera Central, the Cordillera Oriental, and the Cordillera Occidental. These ranges offer a variety of trails and routes for hikers and climbers, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The caves: The Picos de Europa are home to a number of beautiful and interesting caves, including the Cova del Xitu and the Cova del Requeixo. These caves offer a unique opportunity to explore the underground world of the mountains, and are a popular destination for cavers and adventurers.

The wildlife: The Picos de Europa are home to a variety of plant and animal species, including many that are found nowhere else in the world. You can spot a variety of birds, such as eagles and vultures, as well as mammals such as deer and chamois.

The charming villages and towns: The Picos de Europa are home to a number of charming villages and towns, including Arenas de Cabrales, Cangas de Onis, and Potes. These towns offer a glimpse into the traditional culture and way of life of the region, and are a great place to experience the local food, music, and traditions.

The cultural heritage: The Picos de Europa are home to a rich cultural heritage, with a number of ancient monasteries and churches scattered throughout the region.

Trails in the Picos de Europa Spain

Cascata e Lago nos Picos da Europa.
Waterfall and Lake in the Picos de Europa.

Here are a few examples of the trails that you can find in the Picos de Europa:

The Ruta del Cares: This is a popular trail that follows the Cares River through the Cordillera Occidental range. It is a challenging hike, but offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The Ruta de los Lagos: This trail takes you through the Cordillera Central range, and passes by a number of beautiful lakes, including the Lago del Valle and the Lago Enol.

The Senda del Oso: This trail follows the route of an old railway line, and is named after the brown bears that can sometimes be seen along the way. It is a relatively easy hike and is suitable for all levels of ability.

The Senda de los Santos: This trail takes you through the Cordillera Oriental range, and passes by a number of monasteries and churches, including the Monastery of San Xusto de Toxosoutos and the Monastery of San Juan Bautista de Corias.

These are just a few examples of the many trails that can be found in the Picos de Europa. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a beginner, there is a trail that will suit your needs and abilities.

Itinerary in Picos de Europa for three days

Santuário da Virgem de Covadonga.
Sanctuary of the Virgin of Covadonga.

Here is an example of a three-day itinerary for visiting the main tourist attractions in the Picos de Europa National Park, located in the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain:

Day 1: Start the day by exploring the charming town of Cangas de Onis, which is located in the Cordillera Occidental range. This town is home to a number of historic sites, including the Roman Bridge.

After exploring Cangas de Onis, take a hike along the Ruta del Cares, which follows the Cares River through the Cordillera Occidental range.

In the evening, head back to Cangas de Onis and enjoy a traditional Galician dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Day 2: Start the day by exploring the town of Arenas de Cabrales. This town is home to a number of interesting sites.

After exploring Arenas de Cabrales, take a hike along the Ruta de los Lagos, which takes you through the Cordillera Central range and passes by a number of beautiful lakes, including the Lago del Valle and the Lago Enol.

In the evening, head back to Arenas de Cabrales and enjoy a traditional Asturian meal at one of the local restaurants.

Day 3: Start the day by exploring the town of Potes. This town is home to a number of interesting sites, including the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva and the Church of Santa Maria de Lebeña.

After exploring Potes, take a hike along the Senda de los Santos, which takes you through the Cordillera Oriental range and passes by a number of monasteries and churches, including the Monastery of San Xusto de Toxosoutos and the Monastery of San Juan Bautista de Corias.

In the evening, head back to Potes and enjoy a traditional Cantabrian meal at one of the local restaurants.

What to take to Picos de Europa Spain?

Cavalos nos Picos da Europa.
Horses in the Picos de Europa.

If you are planning a trip to the Picos de Europa, a mountain located in northern Spain, it is important to come prepared with the necessary equipment and supplies. Here are some suggestions for what to bring:

Clothing: Pack layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed as the weather changes. Be sure to bring waterproof jackets, pants, and shoes, as well as warm layers for cooler temperatures. I usually buy hiking shoes and clothing at Decathlon.

Food and water: It is important to bring enough food and water for the duration of your trip, as well as a water filter or purification tablets in case you need to refill from natural sources.

First aid kit: A basic first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, over-the-counter pain medication, and any prescription medications you may need.

Navigation tools: Bring a map and a compass, as well as a GPS device if you have one.

Other equipment: Depending on your plans, you may also want to bring a tent, sleeping bag, stove, and cooking supplies if you plan to camp. If you will be doing any hiking or climbing, you may need additional equipment such as a helmet, harness, and climbing shoes.

It is also a good idea to let someone know your itinerary and leave a copy of your route with a trusted person. This will allow someone to alert authorities in case of an emergency.

Tours and excursions to Picos de Europa

Escadaria para a Virgem de Covadonga.
Stairway to the Virgin of Covadonga.

When is the best time to visit Picos de Europa?

Lago Ercina no inverno.
Lago Ercina in winter.

If you are planning a trip to the Picos de Europa during the summer months (June to September), you can expect generally mild weather, i.e. with temperatures between 22°C and 10°C.

There is usually less rain during the summer months, so you can expect clear, sunny skies for much of your trip.

Summer is a popular time to visit the Picos de Europa as the weather is ideal for activities such as hiking, climbing and mountain biking. The longer hours of the day also give you more time to enjoy these activities. However, it’s important to come prepared with sunscreen, hats and plenty of water to stay hydrated in the heat.

On the other hand, in the spring or autumn months (April to May or September to October), you can expect cooler temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer tourist season.

Expect temperatures during spring and autumn between 18°C and 5°C. Rain is more common during these months, so it’s important to come prepared with waterproof clothing and gear.

In winter (November to March), you can expect cold and humid weather with the possibility of snow and ice on the ground, with average temperatures between 8°C and -2°C, i.e. negative temperatures. Rain is common during the winter months, and there is also the possibility of snow and ice, especially at higher elevations.

Winter is a good time to visit the Picos de Europa if you enjoy skiing or snowshoeing, as the region offers several ski resorts. However, it is important to come prepared with warm, waterproof clothing and gear, as well as traction devices for your shoes to help prevent slipping on icy surfaces.

Tips for visiting Picos de Europa by bicycle, motorbike and motorhome

Estradas nos Picos da Europa.
Roads in Picos da Europa Spain.

Picos de Europa is a beautiful region with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including cycling, motorbiking, and motorhome travel. Here are a few tips for visiting the Picos de Europa by each mode of transportation:

Bicycle: If you are planning to visit the Picos de Europa by bicycle, it is important to come prepared with the necessary equipment and supplies. Be sure to bring a helmet, spare inner tubes, a puncture repair kit, and a pump. It is also a good idea to bring a map and a GPS device, as well as a first aid kit and any necessary medications. When cycling in the region, be sure to stay on marked trails and be respectful of other users and the natural environment.

Motorbike: If you are planning to visit the Picos de Europa by motorbike, be sure to come prepared with the necessary gear and equipment. This includes a helmet, gloves, and protective clothing. It is also a good idea to bring a map and a GPS device, as well as a first aid kit and any necessary medications. When motorbiking in the region, be sure to stay on marked trails and roads and be mindful of other users.

Motorhome: If you are planning to visit the Picos de Europa in a motorhome, be sure to come prepared with the necessary supplies and equipment. This includes food, water, and any necessary medications. It is also a good idea to bring a map and a GPS device, as well as a first aid kit. When driving a motorhome in the region, be mindful of narrow roads and low bridges, and be sure to park in designated areas.

Are there campsites in Picos de Europa?

Yes, there are several campsites located in Picos de Europa, a mountain range located in northern Spain. The campsites in the region range from small, basic sites to larger, more modern facilities with a range of amenities. Some campsites are located within national parks or protected areas, while others are located in towns or villages in the region.

Campsites in the Picos de Europa may offer facilities such as toilets, showers, and electricity, as well as additional amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, and recreation areas. Many campsites also offer rental accommodations such as tents, caravans, or bungalows.

Here are a few examples of campsites located in the Picos de Europa, a mountain range located in northern Spain:

  1. Camping El Ensueño: Located in the town of Arenas de Cabrales, Camping El Ensueño offers basic facilities such as toilets, showers, and a playground. The campsite is located near several hiking trails and is a good base for exploring the region.
  2. Camping La playa: Located in the town of Cangas de Onís, Camping La playa offers a range of amenities including toilets, showers, electricity, and a swimming pool. The campsite is located near several hiking and cycling trails, as well as the town center.

How to get to Picos da Europa?

Paisagens nos Picos da Europa.
Landscapes in the Picos de Europa Spain.

Leaving Porto towards the Picos de Europa, you can head north on the A3 motorway towards Vila do Conde and continue on the A3 until you reach the border with Spain.

After crossing the border, continue along the A3 until you reach the city of Ourense, following the N540 towards Ponferrada. Continue along the N621 towards Villafranca del Bierzo and San Isidro de la Sierra, following the N621 towards Cangas de Onís.

From Cangas de Onís, take the N625 towards Arenas de Cabrales, in the heart of the Picos de Europa.

It’s a good idea to bring a map and GPS device, as well as plan your route in advance to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

How many days to visit Picos de Europa?

Usually tourists usually spend between three and five nights in Picos de Europa Spain, but this number depends on the type of activity they intend to do.

Thus, hikers who go on trails need more days in the region compared to those visiting the national park by car.

In addition, in summer and winter it is normal to take longer, either because of the number of visitors in summer, or because of the snow in winter, which makes circulation difficult.

Therefore, I believe that for a first trip to the Picos de Europa three nights are enough, and if you like the region, you can return again and explore different areas.

Where are Picos de Europa located?

Estradas de acesso aos Picos da Europa.
Access roads to the Picos de Europa.

The Picos de Europa are a mountain range located in northern Spain, more specifically in the autonomous community of Cantabria, covering territories of the provinces of Asturias and León.

They are located in the western part of the Cantabrian Mountains, which stretch along the Atlantic coast of Spain.

The Picos de Europa are approximately 250 kilometers long, and the range has several peaks over 2,500 meters, including Torrecerredo, which is the highest peak in the range at 2,648 meters.

What is the highest point in Picos de Europa Spain?

Mapa de Picos da Europa.
Picos da Europa Spain map.

The highest point in the Picos de Europa, a mountain range located in northern Spain, is Torrecerredo, which stands at an elevation of 2,648 meters.

Torrecerredo is located in the central part of the range and is one of the most popular peaks for climbers.

The Picos de Europa are home to a number of other peaks over 2,500 meters, including the Naranjo de Bulnes, the Peña Santa, and the Pico Almanzor. These peaks offer a range of climbing routes for all levels of experience, and offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

Visit the Picos de Europa or the Pyrenees?

Both the Picos de Europa, a mountain range located in northern Spain, and the Pyrenees, a mountain range located on the border between France and Spain, offer beautiful landscapes and a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.

Deciding which range to visit will depend on your interests and the type of activities you enjoy, as well as your location and the time of year you plan to visit.

The Picos de Europa are known for their beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and skiing.

The region is home to a number of protected areas, including the Picos de Europa National Park. It’s located in northern Spain, and can be easily reached by car or public transportation from cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

The Pyrenees are a mountain range located on the border between France and Spain, and offer a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and skiing. Well, the region is home to a number of protected areas, including the Pyrenees National Park in France and the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in Spain. The Pyrenees are located in southern France and northern Spain, and can be easily reached by car or public transportation from cities such as Toulouse, Barcelona, and Zaragoza.

What is the highest peak in Europe?

Mount Elbrus is a mountain located in the Caucasus in Western Russia. It stands at an altitude of 5,642 meters and is the highest peak in Europe. Mount Elbrus is a stratovolcano, which is a type of volcano characterized by its sloping sides and cone-shaped shape.

Mount Elbrus is located in the western part of the Caucasus Mountains, which run through Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Caucasus Mountains have other high peaks including Mount Kazbek which stands at an altitude of 5047 meters and Mount Dykh-Tau which stands at an altitude of 5205 meters.

Mont Blanc sits at an altitude of 4,810 meters and is located in the western part of the Alps, which is a mountain range that runs through several European countries including France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

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