Discover one of Italy’s most beautiful paradises of valleys and mountains
The Picos de Europa National Park, located within the provinces of Asturias, León and Cantabria, is a paradise for spectacular mountain landscapes. Venture deep into its beauty with our proposal for the best trails in Picos de Europa.
The hiking trail along the Cares River, also known as the Divine Gorge, passes through the towns of Caín (León) and Poncebos (Asturias). Following along the bank of the river, the Cares Trail gives way to a walk through rugged nature with narrow paths and tunnels carved into large limestone rock walls, bridges and also mountain goats. The Cares Trail is one of the most visited and well-known hikes in Picos de Europa. This path is a must-do in this national park!
The Covadonga Lakes are made up of three lakes originating from glaciers (Enol, Ercina and Bricial). The latter of the three (Bricial) only fills up in years with abundant snow and precipitation. Being one of the places to visit in Asturias, the Covadonga Lakes offer Lake Enol, which houses a replica of the Virgin of Covadonga, followed by a visit to Lake Ercina. What is the best surprise? If you follow this path on a sunny day, you will be able to see the Cantabrian Sea from the King’s Lookout.
In the heart of Picos de Europa is the Picu Urriellu (2.519 m), also known as Naranjo de Bulnes. This trail going up north of this peak starts in the Pandébano Pass and goes to the Urriellu Mountain hut, where you can delight in spectacular views. Do you go wall climbing? To get to the top of Naranjo de Bulnes, there are climbing trails that vary in degrees of difficulty. The most imposing ones are found along the western face, and are only recommended for the most highly skilled.
Fuente Dé is one of the main points of access to Picos de Europa from Cantabria. If you are looking for a trail in this area, you can go by the Fuente Dé cable car to the upper station, where the Cable Lookout is, with fascinating views of the Liébana Valley (depending on the clouds). From there, you can follow the Áliva Circuit, which mostly goes down, and enjoy the high mountain ambience where one should not miss out on the photogenic Royal Chalet or the Áliva Mountain hut.
La Hermida Gorge, created by the course of the Deva River, is the longest in Spain. The trail to Tresviso starts at this gorge in Urdón. Along this route, you will be on one of the best trails for hiking in Cantabria, you will zigzag your way along surprising slopes and, moreover, you will be able to see the source of the Urdón River. This is a mountain trail that must not be overlooked on your list of places of interest to visit in the national park.
The Ring of Peaks is a great circular route that connects nine shelters in Picos de Europa, and it is divided into three circuits. For starters, we recommend following only the Vindio Ring before the other two: the Extrem Ring and the Three Massif Ring. The Vindio Ring is about 60 kms long, and it can be started from Cordiñanes de Valdeón. You will discover unique panoramas with shelters in the middle of nowhere, along with cows grazing in the high mountains.
The Arcediano Trail is one of the hiking paths with the most history in Picos de Europa. This path with Roman origins as well as having been used heavily by thousands of muleteers joins Castile and León with Asturian Principality. In order to do a leg of this classic trail, we can take off from the township of Soto de Sajambre until we reach Amieva by crossing 15 kms of meadows and mountain passes. This is the best option for a route between the pretty towns in Asturias and León Provinces.
Sotres (1,050 m), pinned among impressive mountains, is the highest village in Asturias. It is a mountain town in which cattle and good gastronomy coexist and a whole world of hiking trails. With this route starting at Sotres you can get a unique view of the valley carved out by the Duje River and go to Pico Boru (2,129 m), then later go on to the Cueto Tejao (2,159 m). Once you are done, there is nothing better than a good portion of Cabrales cheese!
Soto de Sajambre is a township located at 930 m in the Sajambre Valley (León), which is an ideal place for active tourism. From this village, you can begin a route towards the Los Porros Lookout and the Vegabaño Refuge, a mountain pass for thousands of mountaineers in Picos de Europa National Park. Later on, you can go up the Roblón de Cuesta Fría and lastly, La Cotorra. This is a trail for contemplating some of the most privileged views in Picos de Europa.
Can you imagine dipping into a natural pool? La Olla de San Vicente is a natural pool with clear water from the Dobra River that flows down from Picos de Europa towards the Sella River. 'Dobra' comes from the Celtic word for 'water'. The walk to the natural pool, near the national park, is ideal for hiking with children. In Asturias, close to Cangas de Onís, you should also head to the Dobra Bridge and then edge along the river for about 30-45 minutes on foot. Bring your swimsuits!