The Peaks of Europe is one of the most beautiful and emblematic places I have ever been to. The green landscapes have an immaculate and pure, ethereal beauty, a place that seems untouched by man. The trails through the region are wonderful, like drawings reflected in a deep blue sky.
The Peaks of Europe park consists of 3 large massifs and is located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria, and León, and has places of devotion, such as Covadonga and Toribio de Liebana.
1. A Stunning Park
UNESCO declared 7 Biosphere Reserves in 2003 in the Principality of Asturias. Forests and lakes were the initial reason for this classification. In the heart of the Peaks of Europe National Park, emerges the mountain Picu Urriellu and the stunning Lakes Enol and Ercina. From the top, the landscape over the lakes is impressive.
The Buferrera parking lot is the beginning of the organized guided routes that the park has around these lakes. With a duration of three to four hours, they go through meadows where in past times, during the summer, the shepherds settled with their families. The route also passes near an old mine from the 19th century.
There are routes for all tastes. You can reach the viewpoints of the King and Ordiales, or even the Penhas Santas of Enol and Castile, with an altitude of 2,596 meters. It is with the milk from cows and sheep that graze in these places that Gamonéu cheese, typical of Onís and Cangas, is produced and acclaimed as one of the most interesting products of the region. This place is a refuge to the fauna because, in its forests, peaks and gorges live some of the most representative mammals and birds of the Iberian Peninsula.
2. Covadonga: The mythical cradle of Spain
12 kilometers from Ercina and Enol stands the sanctuary of Covadonga, a huge cathedral flanked by a small waterfall and a place of worship, there is a magnificent candle corridor where pilgrims make their promises and requests. The Cathedral stands stately in its magnificence. It is worth visiting, not only for its majestic architecture but also for the entire surrounding landscape.
Here where the green of trees touch the sky and where the peak of the Cathedral tears it up, we watch amazed at the splendor of a pure landscape. A true spectacle offered by nature. The area also has some restaurants serving local specialties and some shops where you can buy souvenirs.
3. The Divine Throat between Poncebos and Cain
I advise you to visit Poncebos, a small village where the Cares Route ends. This route challenges the most adventurous. It has a deep throat which they call “Divine”, and which separates the West and Central massifs. Located between Poncebos and Caín, this route lasts six hours, and although it stimulates anyone’s adrenaline, is wonderful from the landscape point of view, but also scary, due to the abyss that exists throughout the route, without any kind of protection.
4. Panoramic Train or Cable Car: An Unforgettable Trip
In Poncebos, you will find the Bulnes funicular station, a kind of metro or panoramic train, where adults pay 22 euros for a round trip and children just over 6. For centuries, the Asturian village of Bulnes, has been isolated between mountains. Today, it is accessible to tourism and it is worth admiring its typical facades. The Naranjo de Bulnes is the most emblematic mountain of the Picos de Europa that you should visit.
More charming villages like Sotres, Tielve, Tresviso, and Potes, are worth visiting. Don’t miss Liébaba, in the Cantabrian Mountains, the cable car of Fuente Dé, which allows you to get closer to the highest mountains, looking like you are suspended in the middle of an idyllic sky, scenery of rugged mountains and endless valleys. But be aware that the queues are huge, especially in the summer, and you may not find a place. The cable car makes several trails, so the demand is great.
The climb on board is similar to a trip to another dimension. In 1996, the cable car stopped transporting ore and was converted for the transport of tourists, who thus ascend to the viewpoint of Cabel, at 1,834 meters. The extraordinary panoramic is only comparable to that offered by the Corzo and Oso viewpoints, already in the province of Leão. Also know that Potes is the best place to buy the smoked cheeses of Aliva, Lebeña, and Tresviso, and also to taste Lebeña stew and local bagasse. Potes houses are an excellent suspended balcony over the river Deva. Few Kilometers later, the monastery of Santo Toribio rises.
5. The Cabrales Valley
About one and a half hour from the Peaks of Europe Park, going up the river Güeña through Onís, we reach this valley, flanked by the river Cares and famous for its cheese. This is how you enter the Massif Central or Urrieles, with the Picu Urriellu with 2,519 meters, whose fame challenges the climbers, given its vertical wall of five hundred meters, to the west. The climbing of this wall requires a lot of skill, to the point that the climber has to stay overnight in suspension on the mountain, which provides us with a rare scenario at dusk, it acquires a special orange tone that illuminates any soul.
6. Muniellos: Get lost in the Magic Forest
About 5 hours from Peaks Park you should know Muniellos. Only 20 people a day can enjoy the experience of visiting the Muniellos Forest, one of the best-preserved in Europe. The circular route of 20 kilometers is plotted and is free, although it is possible to hire a tour guide. For about seven hours, a 600-meter difference in height is covered. Take suitable clothes and food because there is no infrastructure on the route. All these places are blessed by timeless beauty, that you cannot afford to miss.