Leon Natural Parks
Parque Regional y Nacional de Picos de Europa
This is one of most rugged and characterful areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Situated in between Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León, the Picos de Europa are one of Spain's major natural treasures.
The Picos de Europa contain three highly distinct massifs: the western, del Cornión, the central, de los Urrieles and the eastern, de Andara. The greater part of the first two massifs lies within the borders of Castilla y León.
The park's proud and challenging silhouettes are sculpted from ancient grey Palaeozoic limestone. Some of the higher peaks of the region include Torre Cerredo, El Llambrión, Torre Blanca and La Peña Santa de Castilla. These four summits exceed 2,500 metres in altitude.
To the South of the main area of the Picos de Europa, there is another series of mountain ranges, in particular the Picos de Mampodre and the Picachos de Yordas y Gilbo, which rise over the picturesque valleys of the rivers Porma and Esta. This magnificent collection of mountain landscape corresponds to the Regional Park of the Picos de Europa.
In rocky areas, visitors can still observe what were the effects of intense glacial and karstic moulding, and the immense beech and oak woods covering the lower parts of the park provide refuge for numerous different animal species, most notably, bears, chamois and capercaillie.
Under the limestone peaks, in the Leonese valleys of Valdeón and Sajambre, the rivers Sella and Cares have created steep cliffs of incredible beauty, forming an impressive landscape. The gorge of La Garganta del Cares, also known as the Garganta Divina del Cares ("divine gorge"), is one of the most interesting landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula. The best way to get to know these places is to journey through them on foot.