Walking in the Picos de Europa
42 walks and treks in Spain's first National Park
By Robin Walker
Guidebook describing walks and multi-day treks in the Picos de Europa, a striking limestone range that forms part of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain. Routes vary in difficulty and some include an element of scrambling. Includes notes on transport, bases, accommodation and equipment, plus history, geology, plants and wildlife.
SeasonsThe Picos de Europa can be visited at any time, but May–June are best for the meadows of the lower and middle mountains, and July–September for the high summits.
CentresCangas de Onís, Covadonga, Arenas de Cabrales, Bulnes, Sotres, Panes, Potes, Fuente Dé, Posada de Valdeón, Caín, Oseja de Sajambre, Amieva
DifficultyThe routes are graded from easy to very difficult and take anything from 3 hours to a full day. In the lower and middle mountains, walks follow tracks and paths and navigation is generally straightforward. In the high mountains, paths can be vague and exposed and require good navigation skills. Steep climbs and descents mark many middle and high mountain routes.
Must SeeEl Naranjo de Bulnes, Torrecerredo, Peña Vieja, Peña Santa de Castilla, Morra de Lechugales, Collado Jermoso, Vega de Liordes, Jou de los Cabrones, Jou Santu, the Cares Gorge, the Canal de Trea, the Covadonga lakes, the Mirador de Ordiales, karstification, poljes, beech woods, rebeccos, Griffon, Egyptian and Bearded vultures
Guidebook to 38 walks and 4 short treks of 3-4 days in the stunning Picos de Europa mountains of northern Spain. The walking routes are between 8 and 24 km in length and are graded by difficulty, ranging from easy valley walks to difficult ascents of the high peaks. The walks cover the areas of Cangas de Onís, Cabrales, Liébana, Valdeón and Sajambre.
Alongside detailed route descriptions and 1:50k mapping, there is plenty of information on potential bases, manned refuges, local transport and facilities along the routes. There are also background notes on the area's rich geology, plants and wildlife.
Spain's first national park, the Picos de Europa feature striking karst landscapes of jagged peaks and deeply incised gorges. However, there are also beech woods and picturesque alpine lakes, and the diverse landscapes support a wide variety of plants, wildlife and birdlife. The walks showcase many of the region's highlights, including its high peaks, the Covadonga lakes and the breathtaking Cares Gorge. The landscape of the Picos is widely considered the jewel in Spain’s mountainous crown.
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Robin Walker began mountaineering in his native Northumberland at the age of 13, and went on to walk and climb throughout the British Isles, Norway, the Dolomites, the Alps and the USA. In 1981 he moved to northern Spain, his early experiences culminating in Walks and Climbs in the Picos de Europa (Cicerone, 1989).View author profile
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