The scenery in the Picos de Europa is truly breathtaking. Immense slopes and spectacular gorges, beautiful mysterious forests and emerald green valleys, sparkling clear streams and jutting jagged peaks piercing the clouds. The abundance and variety of plant and animal life, high mountain pastures filled with a spectacular array of wild flowers including many orchids. The region is also rich in culture and the traditional ways still dominate the lifestyle here, long may it continue!
The Picos De Europa are found to the north of the central section of the Cantabrian mountain range. They cover an area of around 20 kilometers north to south and 40 kilometers east to west. This compact range is clearly defined into three individual massifs. These are called
El Cornion, the Western Massif. Los Urrieles, the Central Massif and Andara, the Eastern Massif. These are separated by salmon rivers called the Sella, Cares, Duje and Deva . It is fortunate indeed that most of this magnificent area has been declared a Spanish National Park.
The Buferra, the national park information centre is situated in the Western Massif with its Peña Santa de Castilla summit at 2,596m, the largest and most varied of the three massifs. Visitors to El Cornion will have the opportunity to see the exquisite lakes of Enol and Ercina. For many, the starting points for excellent walks in the mountains offering breathtaking views including the Ordiales viewpoint and the spectacular views over Ponga.
Around 45 miles driving distance from Oviedo, Covadonga is often the gateway for many visitors to the Picos. Considered historically to be the birthplace of modern Spain, this is the site of the battle when Pelayo the Visigoth Prince defeated the Moors (many believe with divine help in the form of an avalanche caused by the Virgin Mary which crushed the enemy). These days there is a shrine to the Virgin of Covadonga who helped Pelayo, the architect of the Reconquest of Spain. There is also an impressive and photogenic basilica. The twisting and quite challenging road beyond Covadonga runs past the Mirador de la Reina offering impressive views out over the Atlantic before reaching the glacial lakes of Enol and Ercina.