The Picos de Europa National Park is the second most visited national park in Spain. Do you want to travel the Picos de Europa by car?
It is also the largest protected area in the country and covers territories of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León, although the most visited mountainous part is Asturian.
The Picos de Europa consist of numerous peaks over 2,000 meters in altitude, with Torre de Cerredo being the highest point in the range at 2,650 meters, although the most famous peak of all is Naranjo de Bulnes.
Route by car through the Picos de Europa. In asturias
Cangas de Onis
Our route by car through the Picos de Europa should start in Cangas de Onís, a good base to visit the area and the eastern coast of Asturias.
It can be said that Cangas de Onís was the first capital of Spain and the place from where the Reconquest began in the year 722 thanks to Don Pelayo.
In Cangas de Onís we can enjoy its Roman Bridge, numerous pre-Romanesque churches and the Parador de Turismo.
From Cangas de Onís you can make very interesting excursions and guided tours of the Picos de Europa. The ones we recommend are the following:
The Sanctuary of the Virgin of Covadonga
Another of the main points to see in the Picos de Europa is the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Covadonga formed by two main points, the Holy Cave, where the image of the Virgin is located, and the Basilica of Santa María la Real de Covadonga.
It is a neo-Romanesque basilica built at the beginning of the 20th century in the same place where there was an old basilica that was destroyed by fire in the 18th century.
In the Cave was where Don Pelayo hid with his troops, according to the reading.
Lakes of Covadonga
If you keep going up the road that takes you from Cangas de Onís to the Sanctuary, you will reach the most famous place in the Picos de Europa, the Covadonga Lakes.
Be careful because on the road to the Lakes of Covadonga you will find even cows but it is worth getting to where the lakes are and starting a beautiful route on foot.
In summer, Easter and times of great influx it is not possible to ascend by car. You have to take a free bus that leaves from Cangas de Onís Soto de Cangas.
The Cabrales region is famous for its cheese, a delicacy that you should taste and enjoy.
As well as the towns that you can find in it, such as Arenas de Cabrales where there is also a cave-museum where you can discover the history and process of making cheese.
Before reaching Arenas de Cabrales, it is mandatory to stop at the Mirador del Naranjo de Bulnes, the best place from which you can see the famous peak.
From Arenas de Cabrales there is a spectacular road that follows the course of the Cares River and takes you to the Bulnes Funicular, in Poncebos, the fastest way to get to the town of Bulnes, which cannot be reached by car.
We recommend following a very narrow, winding and steep road (so be very careful) that takes you to another viewpoint where you will be breathless discovering the impressive mountains of the Picos de Europa.
Route of Cares
In Poncebos begins the well-known Ruta del Cares, a 12 km walking route that takes you to Caín, already in the province of León.
The Ruta del Cares runs through a gorge carved into the rocks of the mountains and is spectacularly beautiful. Although the trail is quite wide, care must be taken in some areas where there is a vertical drop that can cause vertigo.
The duration of the route, round trip, can take you about 8-9 hours, so we recommend you do this route on a different day than the one we propose by car, since you will not have time to see everything.
The end point of this beautiful route by car of the Picos de Europa, in its Asturian part, is Sotres, the highest town in Asturias and which is reached through a narrow road where the cows and goats, the water and the vegetation will be your only companions.
The tranquility and fresh air will be what you breathe in Sotres while you admire the town and feel nature in a way that you will not be able to enjoy anywhere else.
The Picos de Europa outside Asturias
The Picos de Europa in León. Valdeon Inn
This area of the Picos de Europa is not as well known as the neighboring regions, but it is also worth a visit. In addition, in Caín de Valdeón is where the Ruta del Cares ends and there you can take the opportunity to visit the area.
Posada de Valdeón is the main town of the municipality of the same name. The granaries and the contrast of the green landscapes with the gray of the mountains are a hallmark of this place.
Very close to Posada de Valdeón is the Chorco de los Lobos, some old wolf traps that allowed to protect the cattle. The animals were led to this enclosure by the inhabitants of the villages and once there they fell into the death pit where they were killed. Today these traps would be viewed with disapproval but in times past they were necessary for the livelihood of the ranchers of the time and deserve to be visited to be surprised by their ingenuity.
The Picos de Europa in Cantabria. Source of
Located in Cantabria, this town is also very touristy and, in addition to having a Parador de Turismo, stands out for the famous Cable Car that takes you up to 1,850 meters high, offering you stunning views of the Picos de Europa.
Fuente De is a perfect place to start some of the most beautiful routes in the national park. It is very close to Potes, one of the most beautiful towns in Cantabria.
We recommend you read our visit to Fuente De and discover this beautiful corner,