The Picos de Europa National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa) is a National Park in the Picos de Europa mountain range, in northern Spain. It is within the boundaries of three autonomous communities, Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, which are represented on the body which runs the park. The park is also a popular destination for hikers and trekkers.
It was the first of the National Parks of Spain. When it was created 22 July 1918 with help from Pedro Pidal, 1st Marquess of Villaviciosa de Asturias, it covered the western part of today's national park, centered on the Lakes of Covadonga. The Parque Nacional de la Montaña de Covadonga, as it then was called, had an area of 16 925 km². On May 30, 1995 and then on december 3, 2014 the park was extended to include its current total area of 67 127 km².
On July 9, 2003 UNESCO approved Biosphere Reserve status for the National Park. Picos de Europa is one of several biosphere reserves in the Cantabrian Mountains which are being integrated into a single super-reserve to be known as "Gran Cantábrica".
The total area of the park is 67 127 km² and is shared by Castilla y León, Asturias, and Cantabria. The highest point of the park is in Torre de Cerredo peak, 2,648 m AMSL and the lowest point is 75 m AMSL in the Deva River, that is, a vertical drop of 2,573 m. The geological features of the park show the effects of glacial erosion on the limestone massifs that form the Cantabrian Mountains. The human population is about 1300. Vega de Liordes, an enclave in the León sector of Picos de Europa belonging to the municipality of Posada de Valdeón registered −35.8 °C (−32.4 °F), a record low temperature, on January 7, 2021.
Picos de Europa is not close to any of the major international airports. Bilbao is about a 3 hours drive away. Generally going by car is the easiest option.
When to visit
The best time to visit is during the summer months. Specifically June and September are good options as the weather is mild. It can get really warm during July and August. The winter is generally cold in the mountains.
Map of Picos De Europa National Park
Image gallery of Picos De Europa National Park
Visitor/Information centres in Picos De Europa National Park
Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.
Hiking trails in Picos De Europa National Park
Almost all national parks have some opportunities for hiking. You can see some of the more popular trails here. You should get local information for detailed information on all trails of the national park.
Cabins & Shelters
This section lists some of the cabins and shelters for the national park. They can be great places to stay for the experience or as overnight stays on hikes.