Walking

Opportunities for walking in the Picos de Europa are limitless, with something for everybody. There are gentle valley strolls, gorge walks, low and high peaks, taxing ascents (and descents!), high mountain circuits, multi-day traverses using the network of refuges, serious winter expeditions - and even ways of getting up high without having to use your legs!

For a good introduction to mountain flora, a short circular walk around the lakes of Ercina and Enol in the western massif is recommended. This walk has easy car access, the availability of bars, gorgeous scenery throughout, and can be extended to the King's Viewpoint overlooking a protected beech forest.

A good long walk to get into alpine habitat, to see alpine flora and possibly some chamois, is the full-day ascent and descent from near the lakes to Hou Santu and back. This walk takes you through traditional majadas, with their cabins and cattle tracks, through limestone karst scenery, to the foot of the highest peaks in the western massif.

The route to Ordiales Viewpoint leads through the same majadas, before crossing impressive limestone karst scenery, notable for its fluting, to this stunning lookout point, with the land falling away to the valley 1000m below. To reach a mountain village without having to climb on foot, it is possible to take the funicular railway to Bulnes village in the central massif. Until the year 2000 the only way in was on foot, and this route can still be walked, either up or down (or both!). The valley above Bulnes, climbing to the col of Pandébano, is good for montane flora and majadas, and allows views of the famous Picu Urriellu, or Naranjo de Bulnes. There are bars and restaurants in the village.

To get higher still without having to climb on foot, the cable-car from Fuente Dé whisks you to 1800m in the central massif, right up there amongst the alpine flora, with views south into more Cordillera Cantabrica. It is possible, logistics permitting (i.e. two cars and a long summer day, with an early start and late finish), to walk the classic traverse from the cable-car top station across the massif to Poncebos in one very long day (with 2000m of descent).

Probably the most famous route in the Picos de Europa is the Cares Gorge walk, in the deep narrow canyon that separates the western and central massifs. The path is carved from the cliff-faces of the valley-sides, with a series of bridges and tunnels. The route can be lengthened by continuing through the majadas to Posada de Valdeón (logistics and time permitting).

Following an old Roman route through a series of majadas, with views of extensive beech forests, the Archdeacon's Path traverses from Soto de Sajambre to Amieva, on the western edge of the western massif.

If you want to explore the cultural landscape of an old mining area, a circular walk up in the eastern massif leads through the Mines of Providence at Andara, using old mining tracks for some of the route. Apart from the mines, this walk gives views of majadas and beech forest, with stunning scenery throughout.