The Picos de Europa National Park

  • The Picos de Europa National Park is located in the Cantabrian Mountains, between the provinces of Asturias, León and Cantabria.

    Its vast expanse comprises territories belonging to the boroughs of Amieva, Cangas de Onís, Onís, Cabrales, Peñamellera Alta and Peñamellera Baja.

  • Plant life

    Large rocky areas, virtually devoid of vegetation, are the dominant feature in the landscape of the Picos de Europa, especially above 1,500 metres. At lower altitudes, shrubs and grassland are interspersed with remnants of wooded vegetation. In areas with ​​ potential for forestry, the predominant types of wood are beech, pedunculate oak, mixed forest and holm oak. Linden trees offer up their medicinal flower to the residents of Caín and varieties of flowers that blossom under extreme conditions bring colour to the hidden trails of the peaks.

    The characteristics of the Picos de Europa correspond to those of high mountain climates, with temperatures ranging around 8°C at mid-mountain and below 0°C in the peaks, where precipitation increases and there is heavy snowfall, mainly in winter.


    A great variety of different landscapes come together in this setting which are home to a peculiar animal kingdom of singular importance in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.

    It is common to observe the flight of the golden eagle dominating the mountain; vultures and owls nesting on the steep walls of the mountains; capercaillie in wooded areas and mallards fishing in the Lakes of Covadonga, alongside the coots in Lake Ercina and the alpine choughs that find food under the protection of visitors.

    Going deeper into the crags of the high mountains, it is easy to come across unkempt chamois who shed their coat in spring until turning a deep reddish brown. The deer, an emblematic animal of these forests, coexist alongside the partridge and wild boar.

    The rivers that cut through the Picos de Europa vibrate with the unruly presence of otters, trout, salmon, alpine newts and the Seoane viper.

    Large populations of bats live in the numerous limestone caves and a great number of owls awaiting dusk to go hunting are easily distinguished in the abandoned high mountain pastures.

The highest peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains are to be found in this setting where the legendary history of Asturias was forged.

Different geological folds and glaciations have shaped a tortuous landscape sculpted by ice and the effect of water on the limestone, forming a magnificent karst mountain system. The three main massifs of this natural wonder are bounded by deep valleys and gorges, which arose due to the erosive passage of the sharp tongues of glacial ice and the force of the rivers' waters which, even today, continue to dissolve the limestone, shaping the rock at its whim. Both the River Deva and the Dobra, a tributary of the Sella, flank the mountains to the west and east of this mountain chain, with the River Cares and its tributary, the Duje, being responsible for dividing up the park into its three massifs.

The central massif is home to the highest peaks in the Cantabrian Mountains in the form of the sheer-sided Urrieles, dominated by the most emblematic reference in the Picos de Europa: the immense beauty of Naranjo de Bulnes or Urriellu Peak. Its 2,519 metres of difficult terrain have not prevented human settlements from emerging, the most famous being the village of Bulnes. Until 2001, it was accessible only via a steep, narrow mountain path. Since then, access to the village is easier thanks to the funicular railway that cuts across the mountain from the town of Poncebos.

To the east of the Urrieles lies the eastern massif, the Andara, the smallest with a gentler profile, whose highest peak is Morra Lechugales at 2,400 metres. The westernmost of the three massifs is that of the Picos de Cornión, near the Royal Site of Covadonga, a place of pilgrimage visited by thousands of people each year. There Lakes Enol and Ercina reflect the high mountains where the legendary history of Asturias was forged.

Visitors to the grotto itself in Covadonga can enjoy the ever-present footprint of the karst process in the Picos, in the picturesque emergence of the Orandi River below the image of the Virgin. Between the Urrieles and the Cornión and separating the central and western massifs from south to north, runs the River Cares, whose crystalline waters rage throughout its course. Outstanding among the beautiful peaks of the western massif rises La Peña Santa de Castilla at 2,596 metres. On the way to this peak can be found Ordiales Scenic Balcony, with a drop of almost 1,000 metres down to the valley below, instilling awe in all who visit it.

Reserva Biosfera
Boroughs it comprises: Amieva, Cangas de Onís, Onís, Cabrales, Peñamellera Alta y Peñamellera Baja (Eastern Asturias)
646 km2
Maximum elevation
2,648 m. at Torrecerredo (central massif)
Contact Address

Visitor Reception Centre.
Casa Dago

33550 Cangas de Onís

Phone 985 848 614

Bulnes Funicular Railway
(Arenas de Cabrales)

Phone 985 846 800


Access to Lagos de Covadonga by public transport 2022:
Road closure from 08:00 to 21:00 h.
09 to 17 April (both inclusive)
23, 24 and 30 April
01, 02 and weekends May
01/06 to 16/10 (except 25/07 and 08/09)

Road closure 08:00 to 19:00 h.
22, 23, 29, 30 and 31 October
01 November
03 to 11 December

Rates (valid all day):
Adults: 9,00 €.
Children under 12 years: 3,50 €.
Children under 3 years old: free
Journey from Cangas de Onís to Covadonga: 1,55 €.
Parking in car parks: 2 €.

Further information

People with reduced mobility can use their own vehicle.

Special transport plan Ruta del Cares, Poncebos, Tielve and Sotres 2022:
First bus (Arenas 8:00 h.) - Last bus (Sotres 21:00 h.)
09 to 17 april and 01 june to 16 october
Parking areas:
Arenas and Ovar (closest to the start of the Cares route).
Sotres: preference for residents
Poncebos (Bulnes Funicular): residents only.
Arenas to Poncebos - one way 1,55 € - return 3,00 €.
Arenas to Tielve or Sotres - one way 2,60 € - return 5,00 €.
Poncebos to Tielve or Sotres - one way 1,55 € - return trip 3,00 € 3,00

Further information

Access to Pandébano (start on foot Vega de Urriellu) 2022:
Limited access from 8:00 to 15:30 h.
13 to 17 April and 17 June to 30 September
There are 64 parking spaces (when full, traffic will be diverted to the AS264 road).


The Picos de Europa National Park
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